Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kanye West Sucks Stronger & Harder

Kanye "George Bush Does Not Care About Black People" West has just released a new album called Graduation.


Alan and I both have watched the video, and he has documented the following errors:


That's pretty funny. Some of it seems to make sense, but it is all written in katakana, which is rather hard to read, especially as it flashes by so quickly. It is also sort of like reading a children's story written for preschoolers, who would not be assumed to be able to read kanji. Somehow the "baby talk" style of writing clashes with the "tough guy" image of the video.

Sometimes katakana is used to convey a robotic style of speaking, though.

I was initially optimistic that the katakana flashing on the screen might make some sense, since one of the first ones appeared to be ストロンガ which is in fact the transliteration of "Stronger," the name of the tune and this is flashed on the screen when Kanye sings the word. But my optimism did not hold out long.

This was followed by ヨリナガク which is the katakana version of より長く or the translation of "longer." This is not quite right because "I can't wait much longer" is sung, and the grammar doesn't match in context. And it seems odd that one of the words "stronger" would be transliterated as if it were a name, and the other word "longer" would be translated.

The first katakana bit in the video コセロ [kosero] at first didn't make any sense. It is flashed when the lyrics "that which don't kill me" are sung, so I can only assume it is supposed to mean "kill" but this would be 殺せ [korose] and would be written コロセ [korose] instead of コセロ [kosero] in katakana. So evidently they had some editing problems or a dyslexic typist. Anyway, the katakana doesn't match the lyrics because 殺せ is the imperative form, as in the order "Kill!"

The next one isn't too bad. He sings "right now" and イマスグ appears. This is the katakana version of 今直ぐ, which is in fact a good translation of "right now."

Then we see イマオマエガヒツヨウダ (ima omae ga hitsuyou da = 今おまえが必要だ) which is a good translation of "I need you right now."

But things went downhill from there. Some bits like ガンバレ (ganbare) are presumably supposed to be real words in Japanese, but this is misspelled so that it actually reads ガソバレ (gasobare), which makes no sense. I also can't see why it appears there.

Other katakana looks just like gibberish, but it flashes by so quickly I can't read it properly. The single characters (ne), (gi), (te), (za) and (yo) appear for seemingly no reason.

At one point I saw キガクルウ (ki ga kuruu = 気が狂う) or "to go crazy" which seems to match the lyric "go ape."

I am mystified by some bits like タツセイシロ (tatsuseishiro). What is this supposed to mean? Is this an error for タッセイシロ (note the small )? If so, it would be 達成しろ or "achieve it!" (But achieve what?) This mistake of using instead of ッ appears to be typical of typing by a non-Japanese typist that cannot tell the difference.

Another bit オレハコロサレナイ (ore ha korosarenai = 俺は殺されない) appears when the lyric "don't kill me" is sung, but the Japanese literally means "I cannot be killed." It is followed by …ハオレヲツヨクスルダケダ… (...ha ore wo tsuyoku suru dake da... = は俺を強くするだけだ) which does mean "... will only make me stronger..."

The lyric "I need you to hurry up" is appropriately accompanied by イマスグイソグンダ (ima sugu isogunda = 今直ぐ急ぐんだ).

In one scene, the nurse looks into a room and screams and "タスケテ!"appears as a sort of subtitle. This is a literal translation of "Help!" the phrase usually used where someone is captured and needs to be rescued -- the damsel in distress's classic cry. But it seems a bit incongruous for a professional nurse to call for security this way.

One bit レダケオマエヲ (re dake omae wo) seems to have been part of a longer phrase with both ends cut off for some reason.

The subtitles for the security guards' lines -- ウゴクナ! (ugoku na! = 動くな!) (Don't move!), トマレ! (tomare! = 止まれ!) (Stop!) and ナンダコレハ…? (nanda kore ha...?) (What the...?) -- appear to be fine, except that the typist continues to confuse with . So ナンダ [nanda] actually is the nonsensical ナソダ [nasoda].

Anyway, overall it seems like they did actually have a real translator translate some bits, but probably they gave the translator only extremely short bits of text to translate, which were translated out of context. And then they had a non-Japanese typist create the titles, so additional errors were introduced at that stage.

By the way, I like Daft Punk's version of this song much better than Kanye West's.


And I like this version as well.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ESPN & Matt Roth of Miami Dolphins

Dustin Chinn of Comedy Central (All Hail to Jon Stewart) spotted this giant (spring) on ESPN's website.

Neither of us understood what ESPN's intention of plastering this particular character on their site, especially when Spring is NFL's offseason.

After reading the site, the only I can think of is the "haiku" theme. Even with that, why didn't ESPN just use ?

Later Stacy emailed me this photo of Miami Dolphins' Matt Roth.

larger view

According to a 2005 interview with Pro Football Weekly, Roth claimed "I got some Chinese writing — my last name."

Roth is correct about they are simplified Chinese characters, however I really doubt his last name is .