View Full Version : Full Metal Alchemist - Bratya (Brothers)

12-25-2006, 02:36 PM
Quite a few things to say about the translation, so this is gonna be long...

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"I am so sorry before you."

A more accurate translation would be "I am so guilty before you". It still sounds awkward, but I can't think of an equivalent English expression. Perhaps someone else could think of one.

"It's forbidden to try to return / One taken by the earth."

There is no "forbidden" per se in the original. The word "nel'zya" can be used to express both "impossible" (cannot) or "forbidden" (should not, must not). "One cannot try" makes little sense, however, so I'll go with "should not try".

I am not sure I agree with the previous translator's footnote regarding the word "togo". It looks like a masculine pronoun referring to a person rather than an inanimate object, but I could be wrong. I am really tempted to use a plural pronoun ("those") and avoid the icky issues of translating gender of words.

The word "return" isn't a good choice (here or elsewhere in the text). It's "directed away" from the actor, which is clearly not what the original implies. A more precise translation would be "bring back".

Finally, the original is in the active voice, so I'd like to keep that.

Phew. So many corrections for two lines. Here's my final version:

"One should not try and bring back / those who the earth has taken"

Moving on... A minor correction to the transliteration of the next two lines:

"Kto znayet zakon Byitiya, pomog by i mne nayti otvet."

Note the extra space separating "by" and "i". The change of meaning is probably too insignificant to bother with. Something like... "he knows the laws (and probably the answer) could have helped me, too, to find the answer". Anyway, back to the translation...

"The one who knows the law of existence / Could help me to find the answer."

First off, this part sounds strange in the original: normally, you would use "laws" instead of "law" in this context. I am going to do that because it makes more sense, really.

Now... I don't like the way the word "byti'e" ([state of] being, existence, reality) is translated. I am tempted to translate it as theologically-flavored "Creation", but I'll resist the temptation and translate this expression as "the laws of the Universe" instead.

I also disagree with the tense of the verb "could". The speaker did not find the answer after all, so I'd be inclined to use something more hypothetical like "could have helped".

Here's my final version:

"He who knows the laws of the Universe / could have helped me find the answer"

Moving on...

"I was very mistaken / There's no cure for death."

The original uses the word "cruel" to describe the mistake. It can be used figuratively to mean "severe", "grave". I'd say it's more appropriate to translate this as "badly mistaken", or perhaps even "I made a grave mistake". The second line, despite the previous translator's doubts, is a pretty literal translation of the original. I would get rid of the "medicine" footnote.

"Dear Mom, sweet Mom!"

I could argue that the first adjective is more powerful emotionally than "dear". I am thinking about something along the lines of "beloved". The second adjective means "tender" or perhaps "gentle". I think I'll go with the previous translator's version, though, since it conveys the emotions adequately.

"But all our efforts / Unfortunately were in vain."

There is no "unfortunately" in the original. It's simply "But all our efforts / were in vain" (and, um, yeah... the translation is so much more compact than the original).

"I tempted you / With the wonderful hope"

A subtle (and perhaps debatable) correction to the second part, yet important enough to mention IMHO. The word "prekrasnyi" can be translated as "beautiful" or "wonderful" (its meaning is actually pretty close to "suteki"). If you take a close look at the lyrics, "wonderful" is not really appropriate. It implies that the speaker actually thinks his hope was good, which is clearly not the case (all this talk about temptation and sins). "Beautiful", on the other hand, fits perfectly, especially if you understand it as "attractive". It looked attractive, it tempted them, they regret it. So, "beautiful hope" it is.

"Of returning our home"

Again, "return" vs. "bring back", the latter being more appropriate. As for "our home"... well, the literal translation is "our family's hearth", which isn't exactly the same as "home". They are talking about bringing back their family, not just their home (which is how it is in the anime, by the way). I am afraid this is going to be lost in translation, though.

"You're not the only guilty one."

For some reason I prefer "you are not the only one to blame".

"There's only one road before us"

This translation is incorrect. It implies that the brothers have no choice but to go down that road, but there is nothing like that in the original. What we have, however, is the little brother saying that his road and the other brother's road are one and the same. I am not sure how to translate this adequately. Something like "we walk along the same road" or "we share the same road".

"We will purge our sins completely"

The correct translation of the first part is "we will atone for [our] guilt", although I suppose "sin" is OK, too. The last part in the original means "to the dregs" (lit. "to the bottom"), as in "drink to the dregs". I think I am going to use the word "fully" here instead of "completely"...

"I cannot blame you"

That should be "I cannot blame you for anything".

"I am not hurt at all"

A strange choice of words in the original. It's all about guilt, blame, grudges and so on, not being offended or insulted. The word "hurt" used here is not incorrect, but "grudge" would fit in better. My variant:

"And I bear no grudge at all"

"Well, we sinned / By wanting to be stronger than everyone else"

The correct translation of the first part is "Our sin is grave (severe)". The second part features is very cumbersome both in the original and translation: "to want to be stronger...". I am going to nudge it a bit to make it flow better:

"Our sin is grave: / We wanted to be stronger than anybody else"

Moving on, skipping the choir part...

"I'm guilty for all of it"

One word appears to be lost in translation. A more precise version is "It's all my own fault".

"I was tempted"

Another word lost in translation. The correct translation should be something like "I was tempted myself" or "I, too, was tempted".

"But what should we do, how should we be?"

The second part is translated incorrectly. It's the same question as the first part ("what are we to do now?") repeated in a different form to convey a stronger feeling of confusion. I am not sure there is an English equivalent here. Personally, replace "what" with "whatever" or perhaps drop write off the second part altogether.

One other alternative is to use "where do we go [from here]?" for the second part. The meaning isn't exactly the same, but it kind of fits in...

"How to fix everything, to forget?"

Here we have an implied "we" from the previous line, so I think I'll keep it in the translation:

"How do we fix everything? How do we forget?"

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Phew. Alright, time for the revised translation in full.

Forgive me, little brother,
I am so guilty before you.
One should not try and bring back
those who the earth has taken.

He who knows the laws of the Universe
could have helped me find the answer.
I was badly mistaken:
there is no cure for death.

Dear Mom! Sweet Mom!
We loved you so much,
but all our efforts
were in vain.

I tempted you
with the beautiful hope
of bringing back our home.
My brother, it's all my fault.

Don't cry, don't be sad, big brother.
You are not the only one to blame.
We walk along the same road,
we will atone for our guilt fully.

I cannot blame you for anything
and I bear no grudge at all.
Our sin is grave:
We wanted to be stronger than anybody else.

Dear Mom! Sweet Mom!
We loved you so much,
but all our efforts
were in vain.

I, too, was tempted
with the beautiful hope
of bringing back our home.
It's all my own fault.

But what do we do now?
How do we fix everything, how do we forget?
One should not try and bring back
those who the earth has taken.

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And that, as they say, is that.