Official Translation Review: DanMachi Volume 1

Volume 1 Cover

I certainly won’t put Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? into the post title. That’d greatly screw up my CSS.

But that aside, there’ll be no introduction or whatever in this official translation review and there probably won’t be any in the following ones either. Reason being, there’s really nothing that I didn’t mention in A Certain Magical Index‘s review already. They didn’t suddenly go and change the dimension and whatnot.

Let’s get to the point. Andrew is our friend. He really likes us and wants to do us justice. Now you might ask: who the f*ck is Andrew?! First of all, I was quite confident when I said that you can’t just throw a translator at something and expect it to turn out well in the last review. So let’s remember this name: Andrew Gaippe. He’s the sole, lonely translator they threw at this volume. Now further questions:

What did he do wrong? Nothing. What could he have done better? Well, nothing really?

If you ever get to experience or had the honor to experience the (kill-)joy that university is, you’ll learn that the shorter your exam evaluation, the better the score. This review’s gonna be short.

The translation is one slick, nicely flowing ride. Our friend Andrew certainly took his liberties in interpreting the original work (“Fistpump! Hell yeah!” stuck with me on that matter), so there’s no doubt that he’s a believer in liberal-ism. Furthermore, Andrew the Great didn’t care much about unneeded stuff. The sentences contain all you need to understand them. Nothing more, nothing less. And this depriving of empty words greatly strengthens the pace and impact of whole scenes, if not the whole volume. There’s even a considerable amount of characterization here and there, and chap Andrew kept it consistent. In other words, characters don’t talk alike, you can spot certain patterns. I’ve also got to commend Andrew-kun for working the cat-speech in like “What are nyou looking at, nya?” instead of “meow”-ing it or something similarly dumb. Lord Andrew localized where he needed (or had – cough, guidelines, cough) to and kept it close to the original where he could. I wonder if Yen Press also has guidelines on how to translate “onii-chan” and such? There doesn’t seem to be a character in here who calls the protagonist “onii-chan”-ish, but I would’ve liked to see what Andrew-ojisan would’ve done there. Or maybe there is such a character and instead of going full retard, And-drew decided to just ignore it completely? This would’ve been a smart choice.

I can literally only name two weak points of this translation: first, the typos “pile up” in the last two thirds of the volume. With piling up I mean there are like ten in 150 pages. Here a word too much Andrew-tan forgot to delete, a wrong character there, and maybe a missing quote or two. It does throw you out of immersion since it does flow so damn nicely that such mistakes stick out like a sore thumb, but they’re easily shrugged off and then diving back into it it is. The second thing is, that with the start of those typos you can also feel a small drop in quality. The first third bursts with nicely phrased sentences and the second third and beyond appear less polished up. But drop is maybe too hard a word for what’s happening. It goes from 100% to 85%. You really have to drag your nose out of the book to even realize something’s changed, since even those 85% are immersive and fast-paced enough to not let you realize in the first place.

And that’s it already! Nothing to grumble about but those two points. Flow, phrasing, characterization, impact, pace, it’s got it all. It’s not a 10/10 because it doesn’t feel like the epitome of godly translations, it’s not a 9/10 because there’s the small drop. If I had to guess, I’d say brother Andrew was either overworked or pressed for deadlines. Because he’s certainly got the 9/10 in him if he wants to. After having read A Certain Magical Index I really hope they won’t just let Saint Andrew go.

In the end, here I stand corrected. One person can do it and do it good. I’m also flagging this for “editing”, because reading this won’t hurt as a reference. It’s a safe bet.

Rating 8/10



2 thoughts on “Official Translation Review: DanMachi Volume 1”

  1. Genius review, I loved the Andrew-puns. It’s also good you’re reviewing something more light hearted.
    Good to hear it was an enjoyable read, hopefully they’ll keep Andy handy in case they need some more translations 😀


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