2

I have recently started watching the 2016 anime, Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless ( 田中くんはいつもけだるげ ). Plugging the Japanese into the Google Japanese-to-English translator, it comes out as "Tanaka-kun is always wonderful". One possibility is that there is a Japanese homonym that can mean either "listless" or "wonderful". That seems like a pretty big spread. But I guess if "bat" can either be a crafted wooden stick or a blind flying mammal, it certainly is a possibility.

Another possibility is that the translation does not capture the full Japanese meaning. Perhaps the implication is more on the lines of "wonderfully listless", which actually sort of fits the series.

A third possibility is that there is not really a concept in English that matches the Japanese. Having watched the first two episodes, I know choosing "listless" to describe Tanaka was an accurate choice. So maybe the translators chose a single English word that fits his personality and did not try to match the Japanese exactly.

  • 1
    I think this question is off-topic since it asks the quality of a translation. For OP how about asking in Japanese SE instead? – 絢瀬絵里 Dec 21 '16 at 7:10
  • @AyaseEri Do you not think it generally relevant and possibly interesting to any English-speakers watching the series? The meaning does tie with the anime itself, especially if a better translation is something like "wonderfully listless". I don't really object to moving the question, but is there a way to link a Japanese SE question to this Anime & Manga title tag? Or maybe ask both places, with the other forum's question focused on the accuracy of Google's translation in general? – RichF Dec 21 '16 at 7:20
  • 2
    Google Translate (like all other machine translators I've ever tried) is abominable for Japanese → English translations longer than one word. And even for just one-word translations sometimes, too - it claims the word "kedaruge" means "bewilderly"(???), when in fact it basically means "listless". Do not trust Google Translate for JA-EN translations; it will lead you astray. The English title is a literal translation of the Japanese title; there's nothing to read into here. (I'm not going to migrate this to Japanese.SE; it would not be considered appropriate there.) – senshin Dec 21 '16 at 8:31
  • @senshin thank you; "listless" it is. I had already realized that the grammar returned by JA-EN Google was not very good. It is surprising that it has problems with even single words, though. It is sort of, um, bewilderly. And wow, just looked that up on Google search -- 0 hits! "Google Translate, so good it can manufacture words no one has ever used." – RichF Dec 21 '16 at 15:45
  • 2
    While Google translate for JA->EN is typically useless, in this case it has a bit of an excuse. けだるげ is technically a combination of けだるい and 気 using this somewhat uncommon construction. Google translate does not seem to understand even the simple common cases of this form included in that link. However it also mistranslates けだるい as "Awful" for which I can find no good reason, so I'm not inclined to give it much credit regardless. – Logan M Dec 23 '16 at 18:21
3

Not only it's a good translation, but it's also the correct translation.

Logan has already explained the construction of the word

けだるげ is technically a combination of けだるい and 気 using this somewhat uncommon construction.

Using this as the base, searching for the definition of けだるい returns:

The conclusion is, echoing Senshin's comment:

The English title is a literal translation of the Japanese title; there's nothing to read into here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.