Translating for Japanese Cinema


Some years ago, I was asked for a Japanese to Spanish translation for an anime film. Everything sounds as usual for now, only it was not a translation for the Spanish version of the movie, but for the original version which would premier in Japan. It is the first time my translation work has been used in an original version, although it can only be noticed in very small details.


The movie is Toaru hikūshi e no tsuioku (とある飛空士への追憶, also known as The Princess and the Pilot). It premiered on 1st of October 2011 in Japan, and it’s based on Koroku Inumura’s novel with the same name which was published on the 19th of February 2008. It’s a story of war and love for everyone, especially in its movie version.


The fantasy world the action is set in has a kingdom based in the Europe from the first half of the 20th Century, and they took Spanish as their language of reference. So some things related to that country and its people that appeared on the movie needed to be written in Spanish. And the people making the movie had the taste to ask a real translator instead of being okay with an automated translation.


I guess very few people who watched the movie in Japan noticed any Spanish text, and also some things like the letter in the picture aren’t readable because of their size. But I do think this kind of attention to detail can make a movie more memorable.

By the way, you may have heard of this story because the author keeps writing novels set in this world, and this year an anime series was produced for the sequel to the first movie: Toaru Hikūshi e no Koiuta (とある飛空士への恋歌, also known as The Pilot’s Love Song).

I was very happy that they based their fantasy world on Spanish culture and history.

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