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Recently I purchased a series of light novels and on the very first page there is this sentence: "いい、ソースケ?"

The only possible translations I could come up with were: "OK, Sousuke?" or "Ready, Sousuke?"

But in the "official" (TokyoPop) translation, it translates it as: "Pay attention, Sausuke!"

I just couldn't find ANYTHING on this topic, so I would appreciate it if anyone could help me understand what this "いい" means. Thanks in advance ^_^

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  • The comments on Noir's answer to japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/16050/… might help you. – Aeon Akechi Aug 8 '16 at 14:12
  • @Nothingatall from the answers you pointed to, it seems that いい on it's own at the begging like that, translates into an end question: "Sausuke, understand/understood?", which does make sense in context. But is it a definitive answer though? – SiMe Aug 8 '16 at 14:49
  • One of my Japanese teachers says this all the time to people in my class who are talking while she is lecturing. – Nick Overacker Aug 8 '16 at 16:33
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    Normally "いい?" is "okay?", but I don't believe professional translators do such a simple mistake. You have to provide us with several sentences before and after this, both in Japanese and English. Professional translators do free translation all the time, and this "pay attention" may correspond to something you ignored around that sentence. – naruto Aug 9 '16 at 1:21
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    @naruto I added photos of both the Japanese and English versions. As you can see in the translation, they change the order of the sentences as well. I don't think it's necessary, but since they had the anime English dub when making it, they had a "better feel" for the characters. So it maybe made more sense to "translate" it this way. From all the other hints I got here in the comments it seems TokyoPop went more freestyle with their version instead of a direct translation. – SiMe Aug 9 '16 at 4:44
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This type of いい (or いいか, いいですか, etc) is used before the important information is conveyed, to draw the listener's attention. This can be safely translated as "mind you", "listen" or "remember". "Pay attention" also seems to be a good translation to me.

The question mark at the end of the sentence represents the rising tone of the speaker, and it's just another way to add the feeling of "..., you got it?", "..., okay?" to the sentence.

Examples:

  • いいか、締め切りは明日だぞ?
    Remember, the deadline is tomorrow.
  • いいですか、これは秘密ですよ?
    Mind you, this is a secret.
  • Then what about the question mark at the end? I'd assume it's there for a reason. – SiMe Aug 9 '16 at 4:59
  • So what you are saying is that there is no definitive answer and it is up to the reader to decide which one they see most fitting? – SiMe Aug 9 '16 at 5:20
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    @SiMe Definitive answer for what? Of course there are many ways to translate one foreign sentence. "いい?" can be placed both before and after the important information, but when it's translated into English, the natural wording may vary. One literal translation would be "Listen, Sosuke. Two thousand sheets of A4 paper (, got it?)" – naruto Aug 9 '16 at 5:27
  • P.S. I've also read in another question that the question mark may very well suggest informal speech. – SiMe Aug 9 '16 at 5:45
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I interplete Kaname's line, "いい、ソースケ?A4のコピー用紙200枚よ?" is making sure to Sosuke that they are going to carry away four bundles of copy paper, and "いい?” here means "Are you sure (certain)?,"comfirming if Sosuke is fully aware of his role.

In another way, Kaname is saying; "Listen, Sosuke. We are going to carry away 2000 sheets of A4 size copy paper."

I can understand why the question mark is put after "いい、ソースケ," but don't understand why the question mark is required after "A4のコピー用紙200枚よ."

  • I think both are there to show how informal she is with him. And also I assume that the first one suggests "Listen, Sousuke (, okay?)." And the second one suggests "Get about 2000 sheets of A4 copy paper (, got it?)". It's a suggestion and not said explicitly, probably showing in what tone she says it. That's what I understand from it after all the info I got. – SiMe Aug 9 '16 at 7:05

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