Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

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Forever_A_Phantom
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Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Forever_A_Phantom » July 13th, 2013, 11:23 pm

The part I'm asking about is 'Shounen'. I was under the impression that shounen (少年) was like the word 'guys' in English, and 'niños' and 'chicos' in Spanish, that is, words that can refer to strictly boys or a mixed group of boys and girls. An example of this use in Japanese would be the National Institution for Youth Education or 独立行政法人 国立青少年教育振興機構 (website: http://www.niye.go.jp/).

So should we really be saying 'Detective Kids' or something?
Last edited by Forever_A_Phantom on September 25th, 2013, 12:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei' Radlly Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby dumytru » July 13th, 2013, 11:50 pm

Um, 'shounen' literally means 'boy', but it also can be used as 'young'.

When you go meet a group of boys and girls, do you say "Hello, boys and girls!" or "Hello, guys!"?
Both work, even though 'guys' isn't meant for girls.

So, no! "Detective Boys" is a good translation.
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei' Radlly Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby usotsuki » July 17th, 2013, 4:20 pm

inb4 Junior Detective League (a more direct translation and one actually used in Catalan and probably other dubs).
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei' Radlly Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby b8ajenai » July 19th, 2013, 3:22 am

dumytru wrote:Um, 'shounen' literally means 'boy', but it also can be used as 'young'.


As "proof" of that, there's at least one time when Kudo is called shounan tantei, because he's a young detective. I don't remember which case, precisely.
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Forever_A_Phantom » July 22nd, 2013, 7:01 pm

dumytru wrote:Um, 'shounen' literally means 'boy', but it also can be used as 'young'.

When you go meet a group of boys and girls, do you say "Hello, boys and girls!" or "Hello, guys!"?
Both work, even though 'guys' isn't meant for girls.

So, no! "Detective Boys" is a good translation.


I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. 'Boys' is not a gender-neutral term, while 'shounen' is, in this case. Shouldn't we use a similarly matching gender-neutral term for young people?

On a side note, I've always understood 'guys' to be just like 'shounen' in that it is used for a mixed group or for a group of men only.

usotsuki wrote:inb4 Junior Detective League (a more direct translation and one actually used in Catalan and probably other dubs).


Yes, that is what is used in the English dub. I just don't like how they use the word 'league' for 'dan'; sounds a bit cheesy to me =)
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Freyr » October 25th, 2013, 8:34 pm

There are few truly gender neutral pronouns in general for English. People, kids, folks... that sort. Nothing spectacularly specific.

However most masculine terms are "soft," meaning they can be read as either gender-restrictive or gender-inclusive based on context/motivation. Man is used to refer to males true, as well as (hu)man(kind), which is male and female. You can say guys and mean both males and females. "Alright boys, let's get to work," can also express general neutral standings. Standouts against this are singular terms like "he/him--simply because we are expected to be precise when dealing with a single entity.

Females however get the unique terms, as "gals," "women," "ladies," "girls," etc all refer exclusively to groups of females (of course baring sarcasm or insult) virtually universally.

In the case of Shounen, it can be generally used to mean "youth," but has the a masculine undertone, making it's closet translation "boy." But again, "boy" is distinct from "boys," but since Japanese lacks plurals, it can be used a little more openly.
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Commi-Ninja » October 25th, 2013, 9:48 pm

Basically what Freyr said.

It doesn't help that English isn't very inflected.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider this:
French - English:
Je suis - I am
Tu es - You are
Il/Elle est - He/She/It is
Nous sommes - We are
Vous etes - You (plural) are
Ils/Elles sont - Them/They are
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Zenthisoror » October 26th, 2013, 12:28 pm

From my experience, I've found that 'shounen' does not really translate into 'guys'.
It is quite a gendered term, so if somebody pointed at a group of girls and said something like, "Asoko ni iru shounentachi ni kiite mireba?" it would be very, very strange.
You might see it used in terms of 'youths', but only when referring to boys mixed in with girls.

The literal translation of Junior Detective League works really well, so kudos to whoever came up with that.

On the whole, I'd love it if they referenced Sherlock Holmes and called them something like the Beika Irregulars, but I can only dream of the possibilities.
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Re: Does 'Shounen Tantei-dan' Really Translate to 'Detective Boys'?

Postby Puto » October 26th, 2013, 8:57 pm

Well, James Black did call them the 'Irregulars' in his first appearance.

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