Pun Analysis 2: Are you hitting on me?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another pun analysis! This week, I’m looking at a pun translation from a manga called Takane no Hana nara Ochitekoi! This is not a manga I’ve read or plan to ever read, but this pun was very useful for my thesis research. I’d like to show it to all of you, as well as my analysis on this pun.

In Japanese, this pun revolves around the word tsukiatte (付き合って), which is used by a student asking out his classmate, and means please go out with me. The girl, however, interprets this as a different meaning of tsukiatte (突き合って), which can mean something like please hit me or let’s hit each other. This is a homophonous pun, as the words used in the puns have different meanings and different spellings but share the pronunciation of tsukiatte.

The pun in Japanese

In the English translation, the translator translated both forms of tsukiatte (突き合って and 付き合って) according to the meaning the kanji give them, and not to the double meaning of the pronunciation of the word. This removed the pun, but the translator added a note explaining what the pun was in Japanese. This is what we call a Pun to Non-Pun translation, with usage of an editorial technique (in this case, a translator’s note to explain how the pun works in Japanese).

The pun in English

I would personally try to keep a pun in the translation, possibly using the English phrase “to hit on someone.” This still gives ambiguity if used correctly and also matches with the Japanese meanings of tsukiatte.

How would you translate this pun? Leave a comment and let me know! This post is a bit shorter than my usual ones, but these analyses are pretty short. I have more pun translations available, and I will analyze them all eventually, so check back regularly!

3 replies on “Pun Analysis 2: Are you hitting on me?”

Gosh, this is a difficult one… I totally get why ‘hitting on me’ comes to mind as a translation, but I’m having trouble working it into the exchange format elegantly.

Depending on what Konno’s personality and his relationship to Kurosawa,

 ’Kurosawa, hit me up sometime’ – ‘But he said to hit him’

might be better? It uses the explicit ‘hit’ like your translation does but it doesn’t have to deal with translating around the ‘on me’ in the middle of the phrasal though. Of course both ‘To hit on’ and ‘to hit up’ are phrasal verbs, which makes the verb and preposition hard to separate, but it feels less awkward if the preposition you’re trying to create a misunderstanding around for comedic effect is at the end and not in the middle?
(The あう aspect also gets lost here although I am aware that あう is very hard to translate properly from Japanese to English.)

In my heart of hearts I’m thinking

 ’Kurosawa, we should take each other out on a date’ – ‘But he said ”let’s take each other out” ‘

might be the best translation here as it conveys Kurosawa’s lack of social skills, puts the conversation in a cuter tone than ‘ey bb wanna fuck’ and it’s maybe most natural as a pun but it isn’t as direct as the translations using ‘hit’ AND you’re shuffling a lot of things around to make this translation happen…

Great input! I agree that “hitting on me” isn’t the best translation here, but it’s all I could come up with when I was writing this.

The phrasal verb issue also crossed my mind, I think separating the verb and preposition only makes the dialogue more confusing. The comedic effect would probably work as intended, but it might look really weird on paper. If this were dialogue in an anime episode, it could probably work, but paper media are a lot more restrictive with grammar rules than spoken media.

I really like the “take each other out” translation! Kurosawa doesn’t seem like the most socially adept person around, and it’s the most natural of the options. It might not be as direct, but this recreates the comedic effect of the original dialogue really well. I can just imagine Kurosawa rushing to conclusions without listening to the entire sentence and just body-slamming Konno to the ground. I think you’ve nailed the translation on this one!

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