Your opinion on leaving certain terms untranslated

  • This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
Sep 6, 2014
1,834
904
665
#1
Certain terms tend to be left untranslated in the fandom: Sailor Senshi, Ginzuishou, Shitenou, Tuxedo Kamen.

What are your own personal feelings on this sort of thing?

For me I tend to err on the side of leaving Sailor Senshi as is because Takeuchi/Kodansha/Toei can’t seem to decide on a translation and the current official English localized term is kind of umm wrong.

Tuxedo Kamen just sounds silly to me. Kamen means mask. His name is Tuxedo Mask. Same with Ginzuishou. Just call it the Silver Crystal.

Shitennou is a bit of an interesting case. The direct translation is Four Heavenly Kings. Which can sound awkward as they’re not heavenly nor are they literally kings and their title is reference to Buddhist mythology. I think Four Generals gets the idea better of their role but sometimes it just seems better to leave the term Shitennou as is.
 

SnowWolf

Luna Crescens
May 17, 2012
1,092
158
165
#3
Sorry, but for me, it's an English translation so put it in English!

Sailor Scouts or Soldiers rolls off the tongue better than Sailor Guardians, but I'm used to that term now. Somebody in the past suggested Sailor Sentries which I thought was quite interesting.

An old DIC promo referred to Tuxedo Mask as The Masked Tuxedo which I confess, I don't hate either.

Four Generals makes more sense than Four Heavenly Kings and there's evidence that's what it was supposed to be.
 
Mar 8, 2012
4,333
2,466
1,665
30
#4
"Guardians" isn't exactly a new term. Naoko was giving "Guardian" as the intended reading for "shugosenshi" from the very beginning, so it's obviously something she always had in mind (and even the DiC dub used "Sailor Guardians" on one occasion); the trouble is that the Sailors (sorry Silver, but I prefer to just call them "Sailors") are mostly just called "senshi," not "shugosenshi," so making "Sailor Guardians" the new, official, catch-all translation without changing every "senshi" to "shugosenshi" is awkward.

For the sake of avoiding confusion, I'll sometimes use "ginzuishou" to distinguish it from the Silver Moon Crystal, but that's really only appropriate in the context of informal discussions. "Ginzuishou" should never appear in an official translation.

"Tuxedo Kamen" is just unnecessary. I can't believe the Nibley twins translated Act 6's title as "Tuxedo Kamen - Tuxedo Mask." They should have either omitted the "Tuxedo Kamen" part or, as the French translation did, adapted the chapter's title to something like "Masked Man - Tuxedo Mask."

I'm super inconsistent with what I call Beryl's/Endymion's subordinate squad because I'm torn between personal preference, wanting to be accurate, and not wanting to confuse anyone. "Four Heavenly Kings" or "Four Kings of Heaven" are the most accurate translations literally speaking, and "Four Generals" is the simplest and best-sounding, but "Four Cardinal Guardians" (which I've used a few times) is probably the best way of translating "Shitennou" accurately (in so far as it's another term for the mythological group they're named after) without being incredibly weird sounding in context.
 

Tuxedo Kevin

Lumen Cinereum
Nov 22, 2016
698
417
165
#6
Certain terms tend to be left untranslated in the fandom: Sailor Senshi, Ginzuishou, Shitenou, Tuxedo Kamen.
With no damn reason for it, since Tuxedo Mask is how his name is romanized in SM merch from Japan even before DiC acquired the rights to the anime. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Regarding localization, it's pretty much like "Bunny" (Usagi's European name). In the (awful) English scripts Toei sent to foreign dubbing studios, that's how his name was written.
 

sapphire91

Aurorae Lunares
Jul 6, 2018
1,617
1,304
1,665
#12
It is completely unprofessional. A good translation should read smoothly, while giving the reader an experience as close to the native reader's one as possible. Things should be translated accordingly. Terms that are perfectly translatable should be translated. Of course the Four Heavenly Kings are mere Generals and leaving Shittenou hurts the , while translating it literary implies some weird male harem for Queen Beril. Senshi and Ginzuishou should never be left untranslated. I honestly do not mind the term guardian as much as some people do. Ginzuishou is a hard word, I personally like the way the twins translate it. All this unnecessary accents on Tenou, Kaiou and Meiou are just so bad. It is like using transcription symbols to write names in English...
 

Rachael

Luna Nova
Jun 2, 2011
276
38
15
#13
Personally, I think using the Japanese words when there's a perfectly good English translation sounds weebish. I admit I'm a little torn on what to call them--Sailor Soldiers is what I used to say, but Sailor Guardians is growing on me. I think it fits well. It's not perfect--especially when you're talking about Usagi's team, since "Guardian Guardians" sounds silly--but it sounds, I don't know, warm and comforting somehow. "Sailor Senshi" sounds nostalgic to me, especially when talking about "Inner" and "Outer." However, "Outer Guardians" sounds good, too. I like "Outer" better than "Inner," for some reason.

Ginzuishou - Silver Crystal. Maboroshi no Ginzuisho - Phantom Silver Crystal. That's my literal brain talking; "Legendary Silver Crystal" is also acceptable.
Tuxedo Kamen - Tuxedo Mask. It's a direct translation.
Shittennou - Four Kings. "General" is several different words that don't use that kanji. I actually don't mind if people say "Four Generals," since they are not literal kings, but it bugs me when people say that "Four Generals" is "more correct" than "Four Kings."

The Outer Guardians' names? This drives me up the wall because I can't decide on it. Ten'ou, Tenoh, Ten'o. I can't make the o with a line over it without somehow re-configurating my keyboard. At least we have Hotaru.

It does bother me that I say "Tuxedo Mask," but I don't call Mercury's first attack in the anime "Soap Spray." Why do I translate one thing and not the other?

I don't really mind "Scout," either, tbh. I remember people treating it like it was as bad as calling Amara and Michelle "cousins," but I can kind of see what they were going for...even if it makes no sense. I think it's kind of an appeal to their target audience--little kids. It was good for selling merchandise--"You, too, can be an honorary Sailor Scout!" "Soldier" sounds like something a grownup would be. I don't use "Scout," though.
 
Sep 6, 2014
1,834
904
665
#14
Personally, I think using the Japanese words when there's a perfectly good English translation sounds weebish.
Yes

I admit I'm a little torn on what to call them--Sailor Soldiers is what I used to say, but Sailor Guardians is growing on me.
Sailor Guardians if I’m talking specifically the Viz dub but I can’t bring myself to use it as a catch all terms.

I think it fits well. It's not perfect--especially when you're talking about Usagi's team, since "Guardian Guardians" sounds silly
Yes same with Saturn being “The Guardian of Destruction” like what? Soldier of Destruction makes more sense.


they are not literal kings, but it bugs me when people say that "Four Generals" is "more correct" than "Four Kings."
It’s not “more correct” but I think Four Generals gets the idea better as far as English phrasing better than Four Kings/Four Heavenly Kings/Four Kings of Heaven. The latter is more correct as far as straight forward translation, the former just gets the concept across better.

The Outer Guardians' names? This drives me up the wall because I can't decide on it. Ten'ou, Tenoh, Ten'o. I can't make the o with a line over it without somehow re-configurating my keyboard. At least we have Hotaru.
I always just go Tenoh, Kaioh, and Meioh


It does bother me that I say "Tuxedo Mask," but I don't call Mercury's first attack in the anime "Soap Spray." Why do I translate one thing and not the other?
Isn’t it more along the lines of Soap Bubbles Spray? I think ADV and Viz both went with Bubble Spray so that’s what I always used.

I don't really mind "Scout," either, tbh. I remember people treating it like it was as bad as calling Amara and Michelle "cousins," but I can kind of see what they were going for...even if it makes no sense. I think it's kind of an appeal to their target audience--little kids. It was good for selling merchandise--"You, too, can be an honorary Sailor Scout!" "Soldier" sounds like something a grownup would be. I don't use "Scout," though.
They called them Sailor Soldiers in the old dub as well more so in S when I want to say the term got used more often than Sailor Scouts before going back to using Scouts almost exclusively in SuperS again.
 
#15
I don't think a term should ever be left untranslated.

When it comes to translations for Shitennou, it's worth mentioning that Pokemon localized it as Elite 4. It's a bit simple but I think it captures the general idea of them being the 4 strongest generals/kings/whatever you want to call them.

"Four Heavenly Kings" or "Four Kings of Heaven" are the most accurate translations literally speaking, and "Four Generals" is the simplest and best-sounding, but "Four Cardinal Guardians" (which I've used a few times) is probably the best way of translating "Shitennou" accurately (in so far as it's another term for the mythological group they're named after) without being incredibly weird sounding in context.
Four Cardinal Guardians is my new favorite translation for Shitennou. :mrgreen: Shame no official translation ever used it.
 

Ale6

Luna Nova
Jan 10, 2018
151
73
65
#16
I think the most important job when translating a foreign property is NOT to directly translate everything to a tea, but to find the best match for a word or term that gets its original message across, but make it understandable to a different audience.

Anyway
-Sailor Guardians/Soldiers/Scouts (all of them are reasonable and have a good ring to them)
-Tuxedo Mask (if you say Tuxedo Kamen you must as well say "all according to keikaku")
-Silver Crystal (and please nothing fancy like they did in the manga with "the legendary silver crystal", long name and you don't need the quotations every time)
-Kings of Heaven/Generals (either way you know who they are if you refer to them with those terms, I think Kings of heaven is better sounding, if less fancy than Heavenly Kings)
 
Jun 30, 2010
1,293
386
165
www.smcx.me
#17
Generally, I prefer terms to be localized, but there is one exception.

I personally love Sailor Scouts, but given that it is only part of a version of Sailor Moon that is no longer canonical, I try to avoid using it unless I'm talking about the old dub.

Even though I sometimes use it, I dislike Sailor Soldiers, and and I'm definitely not a fan of Senshi, especially since it does not mean "soldier" in the strictest sense.

Generally, I'll vacillate between Sailors and Sailor Guardians, since the latter is the canonical term.

I definitely prefer Silver Crystal and Tuxedo Mask.

Shitennou is really tough one. On one hand, it is a stock Japanese phrase to the point where in Japan popular culture it's nothing more than the "Big Four," but the Western fandom latched onto it for Sailor Moon specifically. On the other hand, there is no catchall term for the four as a group...and for a good reason. Unlike later villain groups which either competed against each other or worked together, the four of them were essentially free agents. Heck, up until Jadeite's death, there was no indication there were even more in the anime, and even in the manga the characters were introduced and offed in quick succession.

I like to call them generals and avoid the Shitennou label, since I can't spell the word right, but calling them Shitennou at least gives me shorthand to use.
 
Last edited:
Mar 8, 2012
4,333
2,466
1,665
30
#19
Because I'm oblivious sometimes, I've only just noticed: Shitennou天王 / Haruka Tenou 天王 はるか. Was this ever pointed out in any of the old Stars musicals in which both appeared? Because if not, it should have been. Anyway.

Shitennou is really tough one. On one hand, it is a stock Japanese phrase to the point where in Japan popular culture it's nothing more than the "Big Four," but the Western fandom latched onto it for Sailor Moon specifically.
You make a good point. Looking into it, you're right about Shitennou's being used as something of a stock sobriquet in Japan to signify any exceptional group of four. To quote from Wikipedia, the term is often "applied to particularly famous or loyal retainers, in groups of four, to certain of Japan's most famous legendary and historical figures." In this context, "Four Generals," "Four Masters," "Four Guardians," or even simply "The Great Four," are more apt translations than the more literal "Four Heavenly Kings" or "Four Kings of Heaven."

Since the "Shitennou" in Sailor Moon have literally nothing in common with the "Shitennou" of Buddhist mythology (apart from vaguely corresponding to the cardinal directions......of the northern hemisphere), it doesn't really make sense to translate the term the same way (i.e. as "Four Heavenly Kings"). I feel like that's probably not what Naoko meant to convey, especially since it makes no literal sense (they're neither kings nor heavenly, especially while they're serving the Dark Kingdom). "Four Generals" would seem to be perfectly acceptable.

Though the DIC dub did not officially give them a group name, at least not in the show itself, we can infer that their title would have been the "Four Masters (of the Negaverse)" or the "Four Commanders," either of which would also be perfectly acceptable translations.

In terms of translations that are both accurate to the term's mythological etymology and the characters' actual function in the series, there are "Four Cardinal Guardians" (as I've mentioned already) and "Four Bestowed Gods," either of which works suitably as a complement to Sailor Moon's squad of "Four Guardian Goddesses" (more literally, "Four Soldiers of the Guardian Gods").
 
Last edited:
Sep 6, 2014
1,834
904
665
#20
Shitennou is used a lot in Japanese media for a group of 4 generalswho act as retainers for their master

In Pokemon it was the four strongest trainers in the region you faced after winning the 8 badges before you faced the champion (localized as Elite Four by Nintendo of America)

In Digimon Adventure the four Dark Masters are referred to as Shitennou in their intro episode title (later they’re revealed to be working for a more powerful Digimon essentially making it foreshadowing)

In Dragon Ball Z Garlic Jr’s four generals are referred to as the Mazoku Shitennou Four Heavenly Kings of the Demon Clan) referred to as the Spice Boys in the Funimation dub.