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Bionicle Names in Katakana (Japanese)

Bionicle Names Japanese Language

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#1 Offline RaidMaster Productions

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Posted Dec 22 2013 - 02:50 PM

Ever since I was young, I noticed a similarity between the names of Bionicle and the Japanese language. Now I know that the names (mostly for the first three years) were inspired by Polynesian and Finnish words, but being someone currently learning the Japanese writing language (mainly Katakana) I couldn't resist trying out writing some familiar names in the language (names written in parantheses are the literal transliteration, since some of the original names aren't 100% combatible with the language, I have to make a few adaptations for those names).

So without further ado, here are the names of the Original Toa:

 

タフ Tahu

ガリ Gali (Gari)

レワ Lewa

ポハツ Pohatu

オヌア Onua

コパカ Kopaka

 

 

And without further ado, here are all the Matoran (マトラン) of Mata Nui (マタ ヌイ) featured on the MNOLG 2:

 

ガーコロ Ga-Koro

ノカマ Nokama

ニレタ Nireta 

ニクシイ Nixie (Nikushii)

ハリ Hahli (Hali)

マク Macku (Maku)

マルカ Marka (Maruka)

シャサ Shasa

ペラギア Pelagia

コツ Kotu

カイラニ Kailani

オコテュ Okoth (Okothu)

カイ Kai

アマヤ Amaya

 

ポーコロ Po-Koro

オネワ Onewa

ヘワキイ Hewkii (Hewakii)

ハフ Hafu

ゴリョ Golyo

カメン Kamen

アッリ Ally (Alli)

ピアタラ Piatra (Piatara)

キヴィ Kivi

ボウッ Bour

ペッカ Pekka

アコモウ Ahkmou (Akomou)

エペナ Epena

 

オヌーコロ Onu-Koro

ウェヌア Whenua

オネプ Onepu

タイプ Taipu

ヌパル Nuparu

ダメッ Damek

ゼマヤ Zemya (Zemaya)

アカム Akamu

カジュ Kaj (Kaju)

テフチ Tehuti

ドスネ Dosne (Dosune)

アイイェトロ Aiyetoro

アジボ Azibo (Ajibo)

マモル Mamoru

 

コーコロ Ko-Koro

ヌジュ Nuju

マトロ Matoro

コペケ Kopeke

パカサタア Pakastaa (Pakasataa)

タラヴ Talvi (Talavi)

コッカヌ Kokkan (Kokkanu)

トウド Toudo

アラキチネン Arktinen (Arakitinen)

ジャアチッコ Jaatikko

カヤリマ Kylma (Kayalima)

ルミ Lumi

ジャア Jaa

 

ターコロ Ta-Koro

バカマ Vakama

ジャラ ジャッラル Jala Jaller (Jallaru)

タクア Takua

カプラ Kapura

ヌリ Nuri

チリボモバ Tiribomba (Tiribomoba)

マガリャ Maglya (Magalya)

バランデラ Brander (Barandera)

アオダハン Aodhan (Aodahan)

アファタ Aft (Afata)

ヴォホン Vohon

アギニ Agni (Agini)

カラマ Kalama

ケアヒ Keahi

 

レーコロ Le-Koro

マタウ Matau

コング Kongu

タマル Tamaru

マカニ Makani

サンソ Sanso

ツウリ Tuuli

クモ Kumo

 
Could you translate any of the Bionicle Names into both of the Japanese language (Katakana and Hiragana)?

Edited by RaidMaster Productions, Dec 24 2013 - 11:20 AM.

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#2 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 22 2013 - 03:27 PM

This is very neat work. I do not know any Japanese so I can't really help with this project, but it's very neat how well many of the early names, at least, can be transliterated.

The linguistic similarities are probably mostly coincidence. Many of the earliest names were taken from Polynesian languages, which often have similar word formation (particularly in that there are very few consonant blends), and many other early names are taken from languages as wide-ranging as Latin (Pelagia), English (Nixie), Finnish (Jaa/Jaatikko), Hawaiian (Kailani), Irish (Aodhan), and even Japanese (Kai, Mamoru).

Still, that doesn't make the project any less interesting!

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#3 Offline NuvaTube

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Posted Dec 22 2013 - 05:56 PM

I learnt a bit of Japanese myself. I can see it now, the early names did fit in quite nicely as you say...hmm...interesting...Not sure what to make of that, as Aanchir said, it's probably coincidence. It might help some of us get a better feel for what made the old names sound they way they did, though.


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#4 Offline RaidMaster Productions

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Posted Dec 22 2013 - 07:20 PM

This is very neat work. I do not know any Japanese so I can't really help with this project, but it's very neat how well many of the early names, at least, can be transliterated.

The linguistic similarities are probably mostly coincidence. Many of the earliest names were taken from Polynesian languages, which often have similar word formation (particularly in that there are very few consonant blends), and many other early names are taken from languages as wide-ranging as Latin (Pelagia), English (Nixie), Finnish (Jaa/Jaatikko), Hawaiian (Kailani), Irish (Aodhan), and even Japanese (Kai, Mamoru).

Still, that doesn't make the project any less interesting!

That name so reminds me of My Little Pony. "The GREAT and POWERFUL NIXIE!"


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#5 Online GSR

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Posted Dec 22 2013 - 08:52 PM

This is kind of neat; to be honest, it's something I've noticed as well.  (I've been studying Japanese on the side the past four years or so, so if you ever want to practice, drop me a line!)
 
A few things I noticed, though (immediate disclaimer: I'm not tremendously familiar with some of the pronunciations here, so maybe my transliterations are off the mark):
 

ドソネ Dosne (Dosune)


That should be ドスネ; ソ is "so", ス is "su".

As an aside, in general in my experience hard consonants that don't exist in Japanese tend to be transliterated with an "u" sound afterwards. So the following:

マラカ Marka (Maraka)


Would probably be マルカ, "maruka", instead.

ニィエ Nixie


This reads more like "Nii-e"; 二 is "ni", and ィ is a secondary I sound that you might use with non-"i" sounds like "de" (so ディ, while it looks like "dei", reads "di"). My own guess would be something more like ニクシー, "nikushii" (going off of ピクシー for "pixie").

And one final fun thing; some of the Bionicle media was released in Japanese, so there are official transliterations for some of the early names. I don't have them on hand much, but a Tumblr user who watched Mask of Light in Japanese recently mentioned that, for instance, Vakama was pronounced "Wakama" (ワカマ) rather than the alternative transliteration that turns hard Vs to Bs (which would make him "Bakama", バカマ).

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#6 Offline Katuko

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 08:57 AM

I actually something like this myself; translating some of the Toa names for fun when I last messed around with Katakana. Good work on doing 'em all. :) Though wouldn't Lumi, which you have written ルモ, rather be ルミ ? モ is "mo", while ミ is "mi".

Like GSR says, most names have official Japanese translations too, but they can probably be a bit hard to find. I believe I foudn the same Tumblr, though, so I can quote a part which mentions names that got changed:

Names that have different pronunciations are as follows:

Jaller = “Jara (ジャラ)”

Tahu = “Tafu (タフ)”

Vakama = “Wakama (even though it would probably be “bakama”; ワカマ)”

Gali = “Gaari (ガーリ)”

Pohatu = “Pohatsu (ポハツ)”

Hahli = “Haari (ハーリ)”

Lewa = “Rewa (レワ)”

Turaga = “Tsuraga (ツラガ)”

Kohlii = “Korii (コリー)”

(I’m basing all of the sounds by ear, so chances are, I might have gotten some of them wrong in terms of “emphasis”)

The L/R change is common in Japanese because they use a sort of in-between sound where we have separate ones. There's been a lot of talk in the English anime community because of this, as people often can't decide whether they like a name best with R or L when translated.

It's also said that this was written "by ear", and I'm not at all good enough in Japanese to offer any corrections. For all I know the proper written versions might have some signs to avoid the "tsu" sound in Pohatu's translated name; and I could have sworn that I've heard a proper "hu" sound despite the available symbols being "ha-hi-fu-he-ho".


I believe I can write my own username without trouble, at least: カツコ

Some may pronounce it "Katsuko" this way, but I dunno what marks I can apply to indicate that it should be "tu". :P


EDIT: A cast listing showing Gali being voiced by the same person who did Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist gave me a chuckle. Lewa happens to be Sephiroth (FF7), too, so that explains his later affinity for long katana swords.

Edited by Katuko, Dec 24 2013 - 09:02 AM.

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#7 Offline RaidMaster Productions

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 11:13 AM

 

And one final fun thing; some of the Bionicle media was released in Japanese, so there are official transliterations for some of the early names. I don't have them on hand much, but a Tumblr user who watched Mask of Light in Japanese recently mentioned that, for instance, Vakama was pronounced "Wakama" (ワカマ) rather than the alternative transliteration that turns hard Vs to Bs (which would make him "Bakama", バカマ).

 

Much like Varan the Unbelievable (1958), the original name was バラン or "Baran."


I have transliterrated the other names from the years 2004-2007 into Katakana, using helpful information from you guys. I chose not to do the years from 2008-2010 because from then on I can say that the names started to sond less and less Japanese.

 

Metru Nui メツル ヌイ (Meturu Nui)

 

Matoran マトラン

Nuhrii  ヌリ 

Vhisola ビソラ (Bisora)

Orkahm オラカム (Orakamu) 

Ahkmou アコモウ (Akomou)

Tehutti テフチ

Ehrye アイリ (Airi)

 

Dume ヅマ (Duma)

Lhikan リイカヌ (Liikanu)

Nidhiki ニヂヒキ (Nidihiki)

Krekka カレカ (Keraka)

 

Vahki バキ (Baki)

Nuurakh ヌウラク (Nuuraku)

Bordakh ボロダク (Borodaku)

Vozakh ヲザク (Vozaku)

Zadakh ザダク (Zadaku)

Rozakh ロザク (Rozaku)

Keerakh ケエラク (Keeraku)

 

Sidorak シドラク (Sidoraku)

Roodaka ロオダカ

 

Visorak ビソラク (Bisoraku)

Vohtarak ボフタラク (Bohotaraku)

Boggarak ボガラク (Bogaraku)

Keelerak ケエレラク (Keeleraku)

Roporak ロポラク (Roporaku)

Oohnorak オホノラク (Ohonoraku)

Suukorak スウコラク (Suukoraku)

 

Keetongu ケエトング

 

Voya Nui ヲヤ ヌイ (Woya Nui)/ ボヤ ヌイ (Boya Nui)

 

Kanohi カノヒ

Ignika イギニカ (Iginika)

Inika イニカ

 

Piraka ピラカ

Zaktan ザカタン (Zakatan)

Hakann ハカン

Vezok ベゾク (Vezoku)

Avak アバク (Abaku)

Reidak レイダク (Reidaku)

Thok トク (Toku)

 

Matoran

Balta バラタ (Balata)

Dalu ダル

Piruk ピルク (Piruku)

Velika ベリカ (Belika)

Garan ガラン

Kazi カジ (Kaji)

 

Axonn アォン (Axon)

Brutaka バルタカ (Barutaka)

 

Mahri Nui マハリ ヌイ (Mahari Nui)

 

Barraki バッラキ

Pridak ピリダク (Piridaku-)

Kalmah カラマ (Kalama-イカ)

Ehlek エレク (Eleku-ウナギ)

Takadox タカドゥ (Takadoxu-エビ)

Carapar カラパル (Karaparu-カニ)

Mantax マナタゥ (Mantaxu-カマキリ線)

 

Matoran

Sarda サルダ (Saruda)

Idris イヂリス (Idirisu)

Defilak デフィラク (Defilaku)

Dekar デカル (Dekaru)

Gar ガル (Garu)

 

Hydraxon ヒダラォン (Hidaraxon)

Maxilos マィロス (Maxilosu)


Edited by RaidMaster Productions, Dec 25 2013 - 08:08 AM.

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#8 Online bonesiii

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 12:45 PM

I can't give any input to the Japanese side of this beyond saying "those sound cool!" -- but Raidmaster, some of your interpretations appear to be taking "throwaway" extra Hs in the English spellings as pronounced, when they're more likely there to make the names different from things that might be copyrighted already, and that's making some of your interpretations needlessly lengthy, like Nidhiki. (I remember no indication of the H being pronounced for him in the movie, for example.)

 

There... that's about all I can add. :lol: I tried. :P


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#9 Offline Emotionless

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 01:35 PM

Wow, this is interesting to look at! Sadly, I don't know Japanese, but this looks like fun!


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#10 Online Yukiko

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 01:40 PM

It's cool that someone's doing this.  I just came back from study abroad in Japan, so I believe I can help. ^^
 

I actually something like this myself; translating some of the Toa names for fun when I last messed around with Katakana. Good work on doing 'em all. :) Though wouldn't Lumi, which you have written ルモ, rather be ルミ ? モ is "mo", while ミ is "mi".

Like GSR says, most names have official Japanese translations too, but they can probably be a bit hard to find. I believe I foudn the same Tumblr, though, so I can quote a part which mentions names that got changed:

Names that have different pronunciations are as follows:

Jaller = “Jara (ジャラ)”

Tahu = “Tafu (タフ)”

Vakama = “Wakama (even though it would probably be “bakama”; ワカマ)”

Gali = “Gaari (ガーリ)”

Pohatu = “Pohatsu (ポハツ)”

Hahli = “Haari (ハーリ)”

Lewa = “Rewa (レワ)”

Turaga = “Tsuraga (ツラガ)”

Kohlii = “Korii (コリー)”

(I’m basing all of the sounds by ear, so chances are, I might have gotten some of them wrong in terms of “emphasis”)

The L/R change is common in Japanese because they use a sort of in-between sound where we have separate ones. There's been a lot of talk in the English anime community because of this, as people often can't decide whether they like a name best with R or L when translated.

It's also said that this was written "by ear", and I'm not at all good enough in Japanese to offer any corrections. For all I know the proper written versions might have some signs to avoid the "tsu" sound in Pohatu's translated name; and I could have sworn that I've heard a proper "hu" sound despite the available symbols being "ha-hi-fu-he-ho".


I believe I can write my own username without trouble, at least: カツコ

Some may pronounce it "Katsuko" this way, but I dunno what marks I can apply to indicate that it should be "tu". :P


EDIT: A cast listing showing Gali being voiced by the same person who did Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist gave me a chuckle. Lewa happens to be Sephiroth (FF7), too, so that explains his later affinity for long katana swords.

 


I believe you would write it カテゥコ or something similar?  There are some new ways to use Katakana when you don't have the actual sounds in Japanese.  (For instance, party would be transliterated as パーティー "paatii," not パーチー "paachi".)
 
 

I have transliterrated the other names from the years 2004-2007 into Katakana, using helpful information from you guys. I chose not to do the years from 2008-2010 because from then on I can say that the names started to sond less and less Japanese.

 

I'm curious, do you know about long vowels and tense/double consenants?  It seems they would really help make the transliterations a bit more Japanese sounding.
 
For instance, ar/or/ir sounds are typically transliterated as アー"aa," thus Carapar would be カラパー"Karapaa."
 
Adding a small ツ before a syllable makes the initial consenent harder.  It would be useful when you have syllables that end in a K and T, thus Akhmou would be アックモ "Akkumo".  However, it isn't used before r-sounds, so Barraki would just be バラキ "baraki."
 
A bit of it advice: the ウ sound is usually the most inconspicuous and better used when you want to make the vowel part of a syllable "disappear."  For instance, Sarda would be translated as  サルダ "Saruda" instead of サラダ "Sarada" (which, incidentally, means salad :P).


Edited by Yukiko, Dec 24 2013 - 01:42 PM.

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#11 Offline Katuko

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 03:54 PM

I have transliterrated the other names from the years 2004-2007 into Katakana, using helpful information from you guys. I chose not to do the years from 2008-2010 because from then on I can say that the names started to sond less and less Japanese.

That was about the time they started basing the villain names on "real" things as well, and adding some X's here and there. Vamprah, Chirox, Miserix, Mutran, etc.
 

I can't give any input to the Japanese side of this beyond saying "those sound cool!" -- but Raidmaster, some of your interpretations appear to be taking "throwaway" extra Hs in the English spellings as pronounced, when they're more likely there to make the names different from things that might be copyrighted already, and that's making some of your interpretations needlessly lengthy, like Nidhiki. (I remember no indication of the H being pronounced for him in the movie, for example.)

It might be because I'm Scandinavian, but I always pronounce "Nidhiki" as "nid-hii-kii" or something thereabouts. Similarly, "Hahli" is still "Ha-lee", but it has this vague "hhhh" whisper in the middle.
 

I believe you would write it カテゥコ or something similar?  There are some new ways to use Katakana when you don't have the actual sounds in Japanese.  (For instance, party would be transliterated as パーティー "paatii," not パーチー "paachi".)

Hm, so it's spelled "ka-te-u-ko", then. I guess "kateuko" might be closer in pronunciation than "katsuko", but I don't suppose カツーコ would work? "Ka-tsuuu-ko"? :P When I run it through Google Translate your spelling gives me the word "Katuko" back, so I guess you're right. My versions just give me "Katsuko".
 
 

I'm curious, do you know about long vowels and tense/double consenants?  It seems they would really help make the transliterations a bit more Japanese sounding.
 
For instance, ar/or/ir sounds are typically transliterated as アー"aa," thus Carapar would be カラパー"Karapaa."
 
Adding a small ツ before a syllable makes the initial consenent harder.  It would be useful when you have syllables that end in a K and T, thus Akhmou would be アックモ "Akkumo".  However, it isn't used before r-sounds, so Barraki would just be バラキ "baraki."
 
A bit of it advice: the ウ sound is usually the most inconspicuous and better used when you want to make the vowel part of a syllable "disappear."  For instance, Sarda would be translated as  サルダ "Saruda" instead of サラダ "Sarada" (which, incidentally, means salad :P).

I at least know of these, but I'm not exactly well versed in Japanese. All I know are some Katakana (with frequent references to the Wikipedia chart to remember half of them) and the Kanji characters to spell "Eastern/Touhou Project" ( :D). I at least know how to spell my own name... but it has two different spellings and I can't decide on which fits my tastes.

オスカ (o-su-ka = Oscar with an almost silent R)
...
or オスカール (o-su-kaa-ru = Oskar, but with a somewhat annoying "u" at the end)

The thing about Japanese is that they use the same sounds for the things we have as L and R, and a hard V becomes a B-like sound in their language. Plus, in order to have a proper consonant ending on a word, I don't think they have any sound to really do that. Most words seem to end in -a -i -u -e -o like their letters.

Some things may also sound a bit silly and grating after a while of watching anime, such as the constant usage of "brother" or "sister" (familiar honorific, not like they use it in BIONICLE) instead of names (Niiiiii-chaaaaan!)... But some things can sound much cooler.

マスタースパイス!! *Laser beam*
We should start translating attack names for Toa next. :lol:

Edited by Katuko, Dec 24 2013 - 03:56 PM.

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#12 Online GSR

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 06:06 PM

It's cool that someone's doing this.  I just came back from study abroad in Japan, so I believe I can help. ^^
 

I believe I can write my own username without trouble, at least: カツコ

Some may pronounce it "Katsuko" this way, but I dunno what marks I can apply to indicate that it should be "tu". :P


EDIT: A cast listing showing Gali being voiced by the same person who did Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist gave me a chuckle. Lewa happens to be Sephiroth (FF7), too, so that explains his later affinity for long katana swords.


I believe you would write it カテゥコ or something similar?  There are some new ways to use Katakana when you don't have the actual sounds in Japanese.  (For instance, party would be transliterated as パーティー "paatii," not パーチー "paachi".)


It might also be カチュコ ("kachuko"), though I admit I'm mostly just saying that because I don't think I've ever seen テゥ before. I'm going to defer to the person who just spent a few months in Japan, though. :P
 

I have transliterrated the other names from the years 2004-2007 into Katakana, using helpful information from you guys. I chose not to do the years from 2008-2010 because from then on I can say that the names started to sond less and less Japanese.

 
I'm curious, do you know about long vowels and tense/double consenants?  It seems they would really help make the transliterations a bit more Japanese sounding.
 
For instance, ar/or/ir sounds are typically transliterated as アー"aa," thus Carapar would be カラパー"Karapaa."
 
Adding a small ツ before a syllable makes the initial consenent harder.  It would be useful when you have syllables that end in a K and T, thus Akhmou would be アックモ "Akkumo".  However, it isn't used before r-sounds, so Barraki would just be バラキ "baraki."
 
A bit of it advice: the ウ sound is usually the most inconspicuous and better used when you want to make the vowel part of a syllable "disappear."  For instance, Sarda would be translated as  サルダ "Saruda" instead of サラダ "Sarada" (which, incidentally, means salad :P).


Also all very good advice. One more thing, though: make sure you're transliterating by sound and not by spelling. For instance:
 

Hydraxon ヒダラォン (Hidaraxon)


BS01 marks the pronunciation as "High-DRACKS-on". Transliterating that into katakana would give something more like ハイドラックション, "ha-i-do-ra-KU-sho-n" (maybe ハイッドラクション, "ha-i-DO-ra-ku-sho-n", or ハイッドラックション, "ha-i-DO-ra-KU-sho-n", would be better). That sort of "X" sound generally get transliterated as ック, "KU" followed by some syllable starting with S, in my experience (so here ック is followed by ショ, "sho".)

It's a bit tricky to get used to; once you start practicing more of the spoken side of things, you'll start to get a better feel of how pronunciations can be mapped to katakana.

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#13 Offline Katuko

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 06:49 PM

I must admit that I'm very happy with Norway using Latin letters, and that we therefore don't need to translate any names unless the name consists of a real word. Thus we still have the characters with their original names, just pronounced slightly differently; with awkward translations occuring with native English words, not Maori. In my language, Takua is still named Takua, for example, but his title of "The Chronicler" has to be awkwardly translated to the longer word "krønikeskriveren" ("the chronicle writer") because we have no shorter form. In Japanese they have a word for this, as far as I have gathered: 語り部 (kataribe or something?), which I believe translates to "storyteller" and has to do with handing down myths and legends etc. So where native English people say chronicler and the Japanese may have kataribe in 3 (somewhat complex) symbols, I'm stuck with "krønikeskriveren". Try fitting that on a business card.

Some other terms sound a bit awkward when translated too. For those in the know: Are there any BIONICLE terms that don't translate well into Japanese? I know that they usually use Katakana for foreign terms, but then they also often sound decidedly English, for example. Direct translation of the syllables into Katakana sounds, if you will. What do they do with "Chronicler"? Do they try to make it "Koronikuroru", or do they just use their native equivalent of the title?

Edited by Katuko, Dec 24 2013 - 06:50 PM.

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