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Post Reply Fans DECIDE: Nyarko-san vs. Nyaruko-san
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
Deadline: Friday, March 23rd

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! The stars are right, and the Great Old Ones have risen! This is Jason Thompson, Keeper of Arcane Lore for the Crunchyroll release of Nyarko-san! Another Crawling Chaos!, based on the popular light novel series written by Manta Aisora with illustrations by Koin. Inspired by the creations of 1930s horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, this is the tale of Mahiro, an ordinary teenager, and a shapeshifting god(dess)…the silver-haired tsundere, the Crawling Chaos, the Mad Faceless God, Soul and Messenger of the Other Gods…NYARKO!!

Or is it Nyaruko? Or Nyarlathotep? Good question, and maybe you can help us decide?

H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is most famous for writing horror and science fiction stories which invented a bunch of alien gods and monsters, which later became known as the Cthulhu Mythos. One of the common features of the Great Old Ones, Other Gods and other Mythos creatures is that they have names that are intentionally supposed to be unpronounceable to human tongues; only the aliens themselves can really say 'em. But whereas in English it's possible to write a name like "Cthulhu" or "K'n'yan" and leave people scratching their heads for 80 years wondering how to pronounce it, Japanese kana are a phonetic writing system, so it's impossible to write a name without telling people how to say it. Thus, everyone's favorite manifestation of the dreaded god Nyarlathotep is known in Manta Aisora's light novels as ニャル子 ( "Nya-ru-ko").

But!! H.P. Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep, the God with a Thousand Forms who our heroine is based on, is written in English as "Nyarlathotep," not "Nyarulathotep." In Japanese, Nyarlathotep's name is written a variety of ways, including ナイアーラトテップ ("Na-i-aa-ra-to-te-ppu"), ナイアーラソテップ ("Na-i-aa-ra-so-te-ppu"), ニャルラトテップ ("Nya-ru-ra-to-te-ppu") and, in Aisora's novels, ニャルラトホテプ ("Nya-ru-ra-to-ho-te-pu"). If Nyarko's name is short for "Nyarlathotep", technically, should it be "Nyarko"? Or should it leave the Japanese "ru", even though that's different from how the original name "Nyarlathotep" is written in English?

To add to the confusion, all Japanese sounds end with vowels, never with consonants (except the "n"), so even if Aisora wanted it to be pronounced "Nya-r-ko", he would have to write "Nya-ru-ko." In modern spoken Japanese, the "u" is mostly silent, so whether you wrote it in English as "Nyaruko" or "Nya-rko," in Japanese it would probably sound like "Nya-r-ko."

How does any mortal translator Romanize the unnameable, unspeakable terror of the Other Gods? That's the question: keep the original H.P. Lovecraft reference and go with "Nyarko," or go closer to an absolutely literal Japanese translation and go with "Nyaruko"? Let us know what you think the name of Nya--(CENSORED) should be! We'll be waiting for your decision.

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Posted 3/16/12
If name is taken from English, the English spelling should be given precedence. Nyarko or Nyarlko are both reasonable version.

Nyaruko is weeabooism at it's worst. English spelling should not be constrained to Japanese's syllabic restrictions.

If someone in anime is named Greg. Greg is the correct spelling. Not Gureggu.

If someone mentions Eddard Stark in anime. Eddard Stark is correct. Eddaado Sutaaku is just plain dumb.
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
As this isn't a word or name from Japan I would say, stick with the English conventions for naming (even though it isn't quite English either).
As oriscus said, using Japanese sounds for non-Japanese names/words in translations just seems wrong.
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34 / M / St. Louis
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
Since when is it a good idea to let fans decide something like this? BTW, every vote for "Nyaruko" should decrease your confidence in literary intelligence in this world. Hyper-Japanification of stuff is the Anime fandom version of Jersey Shore levels of intelligence.
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
Nyarko or Nyarlko for the reasons above.

EDIT: How did I manage to actually miss the poll :/
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
Due to it being in katakana, "Nyaruko" is by definition an approximation. Linguistic approximations, by convention, are not translated back as approximations but rather as their actual form.
A good example of this would be when a german translation of
"Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!"
into
"Mächtig Führer der Wurstmenschen" (this was an anonymous student transcription of the book, and may be wrong)
which was then translated back into english
"Mighty Fuhrer of the sausage-people"

As you can see, it is wrong. This is the same. Approximations should be avoided if the correct is obtainable and/or obvious.

source: http://thesecularity.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13174
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzWpGxLkWNM
zeldak 
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Posted 3/16/12 , edited 3/16/12
Ooo, this is a tough one. Normally, I would be of the same opinion as some earlier posters that non-Japanese names should be translated correctly and not as a literal translation of the katakana.

However, "Nyarko" just sounds dorky to me somehow. "Nyaruko" sounds prettier.
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Posted 3/16/12
...Too bad Aisora didn't let the fans pick which spelling he used, since honestly I'd have preferred one of the ones that starts "Na-i-aa" instead of "Nya," unless she's pretending to be Bast! That said, I'm picking "Nyarko" for all the reasons cited above.

A better question is, are you considering restoring the "Cth" spelling to the beginning of Kuko's name? I'd think that one would more seriously trigger the "literal transliteration vs. restoration of the original non-Japanese spelling" issue.
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Posted 3/16/12
For names I think you should do whatever gets the author's intentions across. In this case that would be Nyarko, since that helps get the reference across for the English audience.

A fine example of this debate in previous shows is Hellsing. When they were dubbing the original series they were told to use "Arucard" but kept thinking that was wrong since it was clearly Dracula spelled backwards and thus Alucard. I feel like this is a similar issue where, if you could ask the author, the response would be to use Nyarko since that's what the name probably would have been if Romanji had been the original writing system.
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Posted 3/16/12
It seems to me that the name ニャル子 (Nyaruko) is the name given by the Japanese character in the story to the eponymous character.

The "ko" naming convention takes the foreign name Nyarlathotep (which is itself not English, but invented Egyptian) and repurposes the initial syllables into a new pseudo-Japanese name. This isn't a question of incorrectly re-romanizing a non-Japanese term. There was no existing character named Nyarko in Lovecraft's mythos-- the name is an original Japanese invention, ironically similar to the invented Egyptian "Nyarlathotep" which took the Egyptian suffix convention "-hotep" and tacked it on to a nonsense beginning name.

Lets look at an earlier example. A character might be named "Greg", this is difficult for a Japanese person in our story to pronounce, so they decide to use the pseudo-Japanese nickname Gureko. Are you saying that the only acceptable romanization for this is "Greko"?

It's fine if you think that Nyarko is simpler to read or pronounce, or if you prefer that it looks closer to the name it took its inspiration from. I simply disagree that it is self-evident that it ought to be romanized that way. There's nothing weeaboo about that.
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25 / M / Colorado, USA
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Posted 3/16/12
This is a really tough situation, I appreciate your thoroughness in addressing it. However I fear the average CR member will have no idea what's going on here, much less read all the info, so I likewise fear the poll at the top. (Luckily, the thoroughness itself serves as a good filter, plenty will flee)

Because of the "-ko" ending, the name immediately becomes less foreign and more Japanese. If it weren't for that "-ko", I'd find the decision a lot easier. Like choosing "Nyar-chan" over "Nyaru-chan". But instead the name is already changed to use Japanese conventions.

As it is, I feel the author has already made a mistake in handling the name as the author seems to have read "Nyarlathotep" without having any comprehension of foreign pronounciation of it. The author probably saw "Oh look, a Lovecraftian god that begins with 'Nya'! Catgirl opportunity ahoy!" (I'm assuming this heroine will be given catgirl traits to some extent). However I think any non-Japanese person (or at least English speakers) familiar with the awkward Lovecraftian pronunciations (or lack of) would NOT pronounce it "ニャ".

Thus what I'm getting at is that the author did not prioritize or have the knowledge for preserving the pronunciation of "Nyarlathotep". It was less important than pursuing a nekomimi design (even if she's not an all-out catgirl, the author I'm sure would want her described as "cat-like" in behavior at least). Thus the result of the author's creation is a very japanified name.

The closest match to what the author knows he or she is putting out is "Nyaruko", fully in japanese pronounciation. Regardless of "r" or "ru", it is clear that we'll be pronouncing the first part "ニャ", which is not reasonably accurate for pronouncing "Nyarlathotep". So since we have the japanese-y "ニャ", and the japanese-unique "子", the name has become heavily Japanese before we get to the "ル".

I look forward to the work, basing a cute girl off a Lovecraftian god sounds entertaining (and has been done before to good effect).
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Posted 3/16/12
i chose the first one... (more easier to say TBH)
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Posted 3/16/12

SpaceNinja25 wrote:


Lets look at an earlier example. A character might be named "Greg", this is difficult for a Japanese person in our story to pronounce, so they decide to use the pseudo-Japanese nickname Gureko. Are you saying that the only acceptable romanization for this is "Greko"?

.


So long as it's about wrestling, :D

"Gerrard" in fairy tale is, most likely, supposed to be the name "Gerald". I'll be honest, intentions are 90% of the fight. If there is supposed to be a real close connection between the stories, either using the general plot and translating it for japanese audiences, it should be nyarko. If they are just using the name cause it sounds cool, they can call it whatever they want and have it translated however it sounds.

it sounds like this is the former, thus Nyarko would be most appropriate. It is closest to what they are trying to reference and most understandable by any audience. If you have original material that you are sticking in google translate to change to another language, you have the original, why would you use the google translation to translate it back?

Really depends on how the author intends upon using the previous author's ideas to tell his story. Just sayin...
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Posted 3/16/12
Stick with the english. Sometimes you can mess up if you want to do a literal translation. So it´s better to leave some things a little loose.
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Posted 3/16/12
I got my money on the japanese guy!
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