Pokéverse Romanization
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Thread: Pokéverse Romanization

  1. #1
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Pokéverse Romanization

    So this has been bugging me for a while.

    How do we determine how a Japanese name is meant to be written in Roman letters? Especially in cases where the Japanese write it several different ways?

    The one that inspired this is (quelle surprise) Jirarudan. Most people use that version, although now the Bulbapedia claims it's not the "actual name". Now I'll admit I don't know Japanese, but I know a lot of people who do, and they've said there's multiple ways of writing ジラルダン out that are all equally legit. Yes it's (more than likely) derived from "Girardian", but we don't know how exact the writers wanted it to be to the word.

    Someone said "I guess we won't know unless the makers of Pokemon spell it out", but even that has problems (and also the character credit I have on my copy of his image song from the movie soundtrack is "Jiraldan", further complicating issues).

    To branch out into other characters (I can see you all going "FINALLY!"), a well-known example if that is Meowth. I've seen official Japanese merchandise that spells his name Nyasu, Nyasuu, Nyarth, and Meowth. Yes, the English name. Are all of these then taken to be "official" spellings of ニャース?

    And then we have the issue where the official spellings were clearly written by someone with no knowledge of the language the word is from (Prasle anyone?)

    There was even the issue of Denji vs Denzi, even though denji is a Japanese word.

    So with a translation/transliteration barrier, how can we be sure which words and spellings are the intent? If there's multiple possibilities, as in my first two examples, are they all technically correct?
    Last edited by Blackjack Gabbiani; 26th September 2008 at 10:02 PM.

  2. #2
    XXXXXXXXXX Dragon Char's Avatar
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    We've all been down this road before and the answer is "Who in the world knows except the Japanese themselves? We've have a few instances where they've written the names in Roman letters, but they are few and far between. This could arguably be the intended meaning, but the only problem is that we don't have this for every name in the pokemon world. Sadly, I don't think there is a such thing as one true translation, as Japanese to begin with is sometimes our closest guess at what it means. We don't have a concrete answer, and we never will. Translate however you wish, because there is no right or wrong, unless you got a syllable wrong entirely.
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  3. #3


    I was thinking of this back when D/P was first released in Japan and everyone had to use Japanese names. One that confused me was Garchomp. I saw Gaburaisu, Gablais, Kaburaisu, and Kablais. What is with the 'g' and 'k' switching? Doesn't the Japanese language specify between the two? I've been thinking that katakana would be a lot better if it had seperate characters for 'l' and 'r' sounds, and 's' and 'th' sounds, since it's used for foreign languages and all. So much confusion >-<
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  4. #4
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    Garchomp. I saw Gaburaisu, Gablais, Kaburaisu, and Kablais.<<

    I remember seeing Gabliath once too...
    forgot which form I use though, since I never talk about said Pokemon.

  5. #5
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    My rules on romanisation are:
    - Not to lose intended meaning
    - Not to Engrishize Japanese words
    - Not to make it sound Engrish (Nuckrars, Prasles and Airmd's and Dogohmbs say bai-bai)

    But those are my own policies.

    Bulbapedia's policy is to use trademarked romanisations (which often suck, like aforementioned Nuckrars etc.) when possible and to use the most possible translation if there is no Trademarked Romanisation.

    I think I'll make a list of my own romanisations for all Pokemon someday.


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