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Heroine name change

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Here's my feedback. Please do not change the heroines' names. 

Modified Hepburn is simply the superior choice for romanization of any kind. Deciding which kanji to leave out during romanization is a bit ridiculous, like 志衣菜 -> Shina. Yuuka is another case. Yuka and Yuuka are 2 different names in Japanese, so let's not go down the SakuSaku route. While the site is inconsistent with her name, I would think the description was written by the translator, and such reflects the change in-game.

The full list is below, along with the devs' character description links, which include their names and furigana:

Title: Fureraba
Character in question: Hiiragi Yuzuyu
http://www.hook-net.jp/smee/friendlover/

Title: Sanoba Witch
Character in question: Shiiba Tsumugi
http://www.yuzu-soft.com/products/sothewitch/character.html

Title: Sankaku Renai
Character in question: Kisu Shiina
http://www.asa-pro.com/sankakurenai/character/chara4.html

Title: Hello, good-bye
Characters in question: Hiiragi Koharu, Rindou Natsume
http://www.lumpofsugar.co.jp/product/hgb/character/index.html
As there's no furigana, here's the game's wikipedia article which 
includes it - https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hello,good-bye

Title: Melty Moment
Character in question: Orie Yuuka
http://www.hook-net.jp/MeltyMoment/chara_yuuka.html

Character in question: Bonus - Hiiragi Chiemi (I know you didn't write her description, but considering the fate of the other two characters with this family name, I'm adding her too.)
http://www.hook-net.jp/MeltyMoment/chara_sub.html

 

Thanks for not giving me cancer.
PS: Yes, I know I didn't mention Shuuji (one of the MCs). I don't care about guys' names, but you could change it back as well. You know, for consistency. 

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That's 1 out of 6 fixed. Keep it up. If you can write ii in onii-chan, surely you can write it in their names as well. Shortening it without the use of macrons and whatnot is also kind of wrong in every romanization imaginable, including glorious Nihon-shiki.
And I'm gonna say it again, Yuka and Yuuka are different names. This is Yuuka. Clearly you don't have a problem with using modified Hepburn for long o (ou) romanization, so I really don't see the issue you have with this.

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Agree with you.

Some anon in 4chan made a patch for SakuSaku fixing the names (Yuma>Yuuma, Yuri>Yuuri). I'd rather avoid relying on patches from random people just to fix this problem.

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Don't worry, we haven't been ignoring this matter. The slightly patronizing tone may be inappropriate, but this is some legitimate criticism nonetheless. As such, we took the time and gathered opinions internally, and from other people in the industry.

First of all, there is no arbitrariness involved here. It's, admittedly, our fault it came off that way since "Rindou" wasn't supposed to be "Rindo." That was a mistake.
What we're doing is, leaving out vowels whenever there are consecutive vowels of the same letter, which is, in fact, very common when you take a look at localizations in general (Bandai, Atlus, Nintendo, etc.). Typically, there are regional differences, though. For instance, JP -> GER localizations also do ou->o, among other minor things.

There is a reason why this is done. Localizing isn't the same as merely translating. You need to make things sound and read natural, which includes names. Stuff like ii/uu is pretty unnatural in English and most other European languages. Not only are they unnatural, but they also serve literally no purpose since, for good or worse, the pronunciation of names in the English language can be very arbitrary. Why would you want to localize a name in a way that makes it read unnaturally when it serves no purpose? This is, by the way, also why JP -> GER localizations do ou->o. Because there is no "ou" in German.

You're 100% right that names like 祐華 and 由香 are pronounced differently. You can hear the difference quite clearly. However, the Japanese language is also a lot more regular when it comes to pronunciation. Other than minor differences in intonation (like when you go up and down) it's completely consistent. There is nothing you gain by transliterating these things except people who think that a name reads weird. We also happen to have a native speaker on our team who has been working as a translator for ten years now. He sees things the same way.

However, it's not like we're obstinate about this matter or anything. We have an audience that is a lot smaller than that of major studios, and VN readers typically have an understanding of these things. If a majority of the community prefers one version, we can gladly go with that.

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1 hour ago, akerou said:

However, it's not like we're obstinate about this matter or anything. We have an audience that is a lot smaller than that of major studios, and VN readers typically have an understanding of these things. If a majority of the community prefers one version, we can gladly go with that.

If the will of the people is required, then I believe it may be pertinent for me to pronounce myself on this matter.

Repeated vowels should remain if they are part of different syllables. An example I recall is Aizawa Eiichi from The Devil on G-String. Ei-i-chi, is how I would pronounce that, were I to read it aloud.

However, repeated vowels of the same syllable seem to serve little purpose but to make me sound silly trying to extend the sound. I read Yuuka as Yu-ka.
On text the names may be different, but I have some amount of difficulty pronouncing them differently. In this case, I am not against removing the repeated vowels.

These are my views on the topic.

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Considering you are doing moege, I would say it is much more important that you keep honorifics, onii-chan, and similar classics that we all expect from moege. There is nothing worse than reading romance VNs about "Hey Sara", "Don't call me Sara. Call me Sara", "Ok Sara, I mean Sara" or the random stranger loli who smugly says "onii-chan" to strike chord at the MC, and then it is replaced with "big bro". What kind of otaku get erections from being called big bro?

On to the topic of name spelling. It helps when characters have very similar names, like Yuka and Yuuka and trying to tell them apart. Not to mention I obviously pronounce Yuka as Yuka and Yuuka as Yu-ka. So the spelling kind of tells me how to read the name, like if it was the intention with different spellings to begin with.

I'm also a little worried that you seem to treat ou and ei differently, when it is just the way Japanese write oo and ee. It is still long vowels like ii and uu. If you are just going to randomly throw out letters, I'd prefer if you kept them all. It also ensures you don't botch stuff like ojou-sama and onii-chan on the off chance they survive through a localization process.

To be fair. I don't notice when they are gone, because it reads as normal. But I notice when they are kept, and it feels better.

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Thanks for the reply. I would like to address the points in the reply.

 

7 hours ago, akerou said:

What we're doing is, leaving out vowels whenever there are consecutive vowels of the same letter

Without reacting to the decision itself first, I will point out that based on the descriptions, you intend to keep nii-san/onii-chan. I wholeheartedly agree with keeping it like that, rather than translating it to Big brother or, God forbid, [MC's name]. However, the romanization has double i. I know. If you changed it to oni, it would look ridiculous. It would change (お)兄 to 鬼, wouldn't it? And isn't that pretty much the same as with the names? What about words like 多い or 遠い, how would you romanize those? What if you had both Yuka and Yuuka in the same game? Would your differentiate between the two names in any way? Why or why not?

 

7 hours ago, akerou said:

very common when you take a look at localizations in general (Bandai, Atlus, Nintendo, etc.)

 

The eroge "industry" is a bit different from the (JRPG) game industry. The former is for a niche audience of several thousand people (at best), while the latter is trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This is reflected on both the localization and the translation, which is often a borderline re-write. Example ahead:
The latest big offender I noticed is XBC2. The localization team, of their own accord, decided to give each country/continent a western regional theme. They changed the country names themselves from LATIN names for deadly sins to the chosen language while keeping the theme, for example Scottish gaelic. Same for character names, which are changed to from Japanese or Chinese (Chinese deities) to Latin, Greek, old Persian and God knows what. I don't think I need to mention anything about the dialogue, which is completely different from the Japanese version. I wish there was just an interface patch for it.

 

7 hours ago, akerou said:

You need to make things sound and read natural, which includes names. Stuff like ii/uu is pretty unnatural in English and most other European languages. Not only are they unnatural, but they also serve literally no purpose since, for good or worse, the pronunciation of names in the English language can be very arbitrary.

 

Why yes, I find the pronunciation of anything in the English language quite arbitrary. But that goes for any letter combination, not just for double vowel. Just as an example, a random person might read the ou at the end of your name as long u or as au. Even if they read it as ou, which i don't think is the case when ou is positioned at the end of a word, they would take each of the vowels separately, like in though. (katakana オウ rather than オー) If your name is read in romanized Japanese, the ou is long o. Not to mention double vowel read as a long vowel is not unheard of, both "native" words like door, or taken from distant languages, such as bazaar. Regarding the other european languages: Let's take two different languages - Finnish and Russian. Finnish has two consecutive same vowels read as a long vowel. Russian, when transcribing Finnish to cyrillic keeps it written like that, even though this is never done in Russian itself. I know you said "most", but I felt this was a good example, as it's also about transcription. Though perhaps transliteration would be a better word.

Overall, I think it's all quite irrelevant, as romanized words are supposed to be pronounced based on Japanese pronunciation. It's only about taking Japanese alphabet and changing it into Roman alphabet. If the sounds change along the way, there is not much point in the exercise. Basically, most of the names would be read differently as a whole if read in English, rather than if they were read in "Romanized Japanese". A standard VN reader (not counting people who don't really care about anime/eroge and only read highly popular Steam memege such as Nekopara) is capable of reading names with Japanese pronunciation (not accent). It's a very basic thing, which people pick up on very early when entering this world, along with things like honorifics. I can only imagine how much better would the scene be if everyone followed the same conventions, without making their own by combining the existing ones, and then not even being consistent in following these. I am not talking about you here, there are many fanTL groups and localization companies which do this.

 

So going back to your post, I believe the absolute majority of people who will be reading your game would pronounce Shina and Shiina in their heads differently, without ever hearing the in-game sound. That by itself makes the one letter very relevant and worth keeping. 

 

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6 hours ago, Poltroon said:

I read Yuuka as Yu-ka.

Yes, you'd pronounce Yuuka as Yu-ka. But you would pronounce Yuka as Yuka, because there is no apparent reason to read it as Yu-ka. See the difference?

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9 hours ago, akerou said:

However, it's not like we're obstinate about this matter or anything. We have an audience that is a lot smaller than that of major studios, and VN readers typically have an understanding of these things. If a majority of the community prefers one version, we can gladly go with that.

So, basically, you want to do a poll or something? Or do two versions, one with and without name changes, and see what gets downloaded more? Either way, If you're going to keep the honorifics, may as well keep the names too. Add my vote for modified Hepburn romanization.

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I agree with this idea. All of the Japanese characters should have their names written out in full. The vast majority of people who will be playing your games won't think the names look "weird" for having an extra "i" or "u", in fact they'll actually appreciate that you cared enough about the work to localize the names properly.

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3 hours ago, Name said:

Yes, you'd pronounce Yuuka as Yu-ka. But you would pronounce Yuka as Yuka, because there is no apparent reason to read it as Yu-ka. See the difference?

I'm afraid I do not see the difference. I pronounce both words with two syllables, a Yu and a ka. It is as I mentioned earlier: I don't see how to pronounce the two names differently.

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If I can chip in, I would read Yuka and Yuuka differently in my head. I would kinda hold "u" sound slightly longer in Yuuka and it seems natural to me. Maybe its because I know some Latvian language and there is a special sign for vowels that does exactly that (tho I'm not fond of that in this case, since it doesn't have set rules for it, but that's a different topic :D). But I would prefer if you leave it like that, if its actually different names.

I might've noticed this and forgot, but a question pops out on this matter - do Japanese VA in the games actually pronounce Yuka and Yuuka differently themselves? If yes, I'm definitely even more for leaving them in, because it would make reading more consistent.

 

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19 minutes ago, HeadHunter said:

I might've noticed this and forgot, but a question pops out on this matter - do Japanese VA in the games actually pronounce Yuka and Yuuka differently themselves? If yes, I'm definitely even more for leaving them in, because it would make reading more consistent.

They definitely do.

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42 minutes ago, HeadHunter said:

I might've noticed this and forgot, but a question pops out on this matter - do Japanese VA in the games actually pronounce Yuka and Yuuka differently themselves? If yes, I'm definitely even more for leaving them in, because it would make reading more consistent.

In-game video - https://youtu.be/z8Jogohftv0?t=2m13s. Compare it to some random 3D Yuka I found on YT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI37lNtgRAU

 

1 hour ago, Poltroon said:

I'm afraid I do not see the difference. I pronounce both words with two syllables, a Yu and a ka. It is as I mentioned earlier: I don't see how to pronounce the two names differently.

I thought the dash you wrote was supposed to mark long syllable like @Malamasala did right below your post, as that's the exact difference. Sorry, I didn't realise you were new. The above videos should help you as well.

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35 minutes ago, Panatical said:

They definitely do.

11 minutes ago, Name said:

In-game video - https://youtu.be/z8Jogohftv0?t=2m13s. Compare it to some random 3D Yuka I found on YT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI37lNtgRAU

Yeah, that's pretty much exactly how I thought it would sound. Usually I would just adjust how I read it, by hearing how they say it in the game, no matter how its written. But I definitely remember reading something where they left this in and hearing and reading that name would kinda "click" better.

5 hours ago, Name said:

The eroge "industry" is a bit different from the (JRPG) game industry. The former is for a niche audience of several thousand people (at best), while the latter is trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This is reflected on both the localization and the translation, which is often a borderline re-write. Example ahead:

The latest big offender I noticed is XBC2. The localization team, of their own accord, decided to give each country/continent a western regional theme. They changed the country names themselves from LATIN names for deadly sins to the chosen language while keeping the theme, for example Scottish gaelic. Same for character names, which are changed to from Japanese or Chinese (Chinese deities) to Latin, Greek, old Persian and God knows what. I don't think I need to mention anything about the dialogue, which is completely different from the Japanese version. I wish there was just an interface patch for it.

Also, I agree to this. You shouldn't look at these big companies as the standard for translating. They butcher a lot of stuff, sometimes they can even leave whole sentences untranslated. Maybe you can at least look at XSEED, they kinda do that type of "localization", while keeping the spirit of original script, and at least they are not sloppy with their work.

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I just wanted to say that I am for it to be like it was in the original. Fans VNs should be used enough to the japanese language that uu and  ii either doesn't bother them or is prefered.

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16 hours ago, Name said:

Without reacting to the decision itself first, I will point out that based on the descriptions, you intend to keep nii-san/onii-chan. I wholeheartedly agree with keeping it like that, rather than translating it to Big brother or, God forbid, [MC's name]. However, the romanization has double i. I know. If you changed it to oni, it would look ridiculous. It would change (お)兄 to 鬼, wouldn't it? And isn't that pretty much the same as with the names? What about words like 多い or 遠い, how would you romanize those? What if you had both Yuka and Yuuka in the same game? Would your differentiate between the two names in any way? Why or why not?

 

First of all, romanizing regular words is a little bit different than when you're romanizing names. Note that I'm talking about localization specifically here, not romanizing words/names in general. When limited to localization, and the need arises to romanize regular words in some scenario, it's always clear to the reader that you're bringing up words from a different language. As such, it's okay if it doesn't read naturally because there is no reason for it to do. Onii-chan/Nii-san, are, of course, not really "regular words" in this case. They're proper nouns, basically and need to be capitalized as such. In that sense, you're right, something like "Onii-chan" would be an instance where we deviate from our "rule." We can probably agree on the fact that "Oni-chan" would simply look wrong for basically any person who has ever read a manga or watched an anime. In the end, there is simply no hard rule here. It all comes down to what feels more natural for your audience.
 

16 hours ago, Name said:

The eroge "industry" is a bit different from the (JRPG) game industry. The former is for a niche audience of several thousand people (at best), while the latter is trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This is reflected on both the localization and the translation, which is often a borderline re-write. Example ahead:
The latest big offender I noticed is XBC2. The localization team, of their own accord, decided to give each country/continent a western regional theme. They changed the country names themselves from LATIN names for deadly sins to the chosen language while keeping the theme, for example Scottish gaelic. Same for character names, which are changed to from Japanese or Chinese (Chinese deities) to Latin, Greek, old Persian and God knows what. I don't think I need to mention anything about the dialogue, which is completely different from the Japanese version. I wish there was just an interface patch for it.

 

Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to say "We're doing this because the big studios are doing it that way." I was only arguing that there is an arguably good reason for it. Being a Xenoblade fan myself, I would completely agree that they went too far with the changes in XBC2, and pointlessly so. I haven't played the English version, so I can't comment on anything beyond name changes, though. I don't want to elaborate on this case for too long -- since it would get very, very long -- but the short version of it is, that I consider it a bad idea to sacrifice meaning and intent for the sake of presumably making it more natural, especially when there is no reason to do it. On the topic of XBC2, ira is written イーラ in Japanese, which is something that happens *a lot* when English, German, Latin or any other European language is written in kana. Simple reason. Like I said in my reply, these things are very arbitrary in these languages. An i can be pronounced shortly in one word, and long in another. As such, there is nothing lost by doing ii->i since one single i can be either short or long already.

Like I said myself, we have a much smaller, and more niche audience, which allows us to comply with what this audience wants, and as we said in our announcement post, this is very important to us. It's not like we made this choice because we thought it has to be this way. It's because we felt like the majority would be more comfortable with that since a lot of people I talked to seemed to prefer it this way. If, however, that assumption is actually incorrect, it'll be our pleasure to keep names completely unchanged.

I'm personally also very interested in how people in the community think about this matter, so keep the opinions coming.

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I'm in favour of keeping the original names. I'd imagine the vast majority of the community would also be against unnecessary localisations. 

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16 hours ago, akerou said:

Onii-chan/Nii-san, are, of course, not really "regular words" in this case. They're proper nouns, basically and need to be capitalized as such

The is kind of unrelated to this conversation, but I will reply to this, since you mentioned it. Onii-chan can be both a proper and a common noun, depending on the context. It's the same thing as with any other family member - not capitalized following an article or a possessive pronoun. I would add another one, and say it's also not capitalized when it's directly connected to the name (usually with a hyphen in translated text), because it doesn't replace the character's name. Saying all that, I admit I don't follow those rules except for the last one. 

I don't want to react to European languages -> kana, because I feel like that's a completely different topic than the other way around, due to the existing limits to the Japanese alphabet.

 

In the end, it doesn't seem like arguments are enough to win this battle. If you want to hear the will of the people, in addition to the people who have already posted in this thread, a poll seems like the best solution. I can't edit the OP to add it, so it's all up to you. I think we both agree it's better to deal with this once and for all sooner rather than later.

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Regarding the Onii-chan thing, yeah, of course. I was thinking of instances where it is used to address someone/in place of a name.

35 minutes ago, Name said:

I don't want to react to European languages -> kana, because I feel like that's a completely different topic than the other way around, due to the existing limits to the Japanese alphabet.

I didn't mean to say "they're doing the same thing" if that's how you took it. The argument is that there are many instances where a single "i" has to be stretched when written in kana, and in others doesn't. It supports my argument that in (most) European languages singe vowels can be pronounced long or short, depending on the word. In reverse, that means singe vowels can already encompass the role that stretched sounds in Japanese have, thus rendering the additional letter superfluous. From a purely linguistic standpoint, there is absolutely nothing wrong with dropping the extra letter. It, as I said, comes down to preference and what seems more natural to you.

35 minutes ago, Name said:

In the end, it doesn't seem like arguments are enough to win this battle.

You don't need to convince me. I'm personally fine with both versions since neither is wrong technically. I'm not a fan of over-localizing things myself, so I would also like to avoid changes where changes aren't necessary. In this case, whether these changes are necessary depends on how our audience sees this matter. From what I can gather so far, there is a substantial group of people who don't care either way and the majority of those who care seems to favor keeping names completely unchanged.

And right, this is a matter that should definitely be resolved before the release of our first title.

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May as well throw in my two cents.

Personally I think arguing over an extra vowel is kind of a strange hill to die on.  There are many more important things to worry about in a translation like slang, speaking mannerisms and generally making sure the translation avoids becoming another If My Heart Had Wings-tier disaster.  I read both versions the same way anyway so I won't mind if the majority of the community wants to revert the changes, I just think it's weird to fixate on it so heavily.

14 hours ago, Name said:

If you want to hear the will of the people, in addition to the people who have already posted in this thread, a poll seems like the best solution. I can't edit the OP to add it, so it's all up to you. I think we both agree it's better to deal with this once and for all sooner rather than later.

The problem is if we had a poll in this thread we might have a sample size of ~20 votes, not exactly 'the will of the people'.  Even if we were to get the message out across Reddit, 4chan, Fuwanovel and wherever else and convince them to vote, we might end up with a sample size of ~500 - 1000 if we're lucky.

Meanwhile if I take a glance at SteamSpy at look at the owner numbers for games like Nekopara, If My Heart Had Wings and Chronoclock, we have numbers hovering around the several thousand - several hundred thousand mark.  So the problem here is that most people who read visual novels aren't paying close attention to the translation process and any poll we make will most likely be very unrepresentative of the majority of people who will end up reading the games.

So by all means, feel free to measure popular opinion here on the forums, just don't act like it's a binding referendum when a large proportion of the potential consumer base isn't even aware of the discussion taking place.

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54 minutes ago, Fexofen said:

making sure the translation avoids becoming another If My Heart Had Wings-tier disaster.

More like another Hoshizora no Memoria tier disaster, amirite?

54 minutes ago, Fexofen said:

Meanwhile if I take a glance at SteamSpy at look at the owner numbers for games like Nekopara, If My Heart Had Wings and Chronoclock, we have numbers hovering around the several thousand - several hundred thousand mark.  So the problem here is that most people who read visual novels aren't paying close attention to the translation process and any poll we make will most likely be very unrepresentative of the majority of people who will end up reading the games.

So by all means, feel free to measure popular opinion here on the forums, just don't act like it's a binding referendum when a large proportion of the potential consumer base isn't even aware of the discussion taking place.

The "average" visual novel reader doesn't even care if the translation is accurate, never mind how names are romanized.

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15 hours ago, ちんちん said:

The "average" visual novel reader doesn't even care if the translation is accurate, never mind how names are romanized.

The ''average'' reader/user/player of anything doesn't care about anything, now that steams punks (pun intended) are the average.

 

You should always have your target audience in mind. If your audience doesn't mind, do it whatever way you want. If the target audience knocks on your door with lit torches and forks in hand (as in this case), it might be better to listen to the (angry) mob.

 

A poll might not work since those that care are writing their piece of mind here and those that don't care won't even take notice of the poll, thus resulting in a spiked vote (which I'd be all for, considering the likely outcome).

 

 

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As a rule of thumb I'd say removing something is always worse than doing nothing. And Chrono Clock is still the worse translation ever made. No other company than Sekai would let that linger to ruin their reputation. Mikandi would already be on re-translating it. MG would have promised to fix it. Jast would promise a patch to fix it.

And I'm not sure how good an argument it is when someone says they could read pope, pop, poop, the same way. Because it sounds more like they are lacking knowledge in how things are pronounced. The letters will always make a difference for people with the best linguistic skills.

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I think double u or double i is quite common in subs when watching anime or reading vns. It’s not strange or anything.

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