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Naming is one important aspect for an UTAUloid. As with their roots, the VOCALOIDs, their names give an insight to their purpose. This aspect for the UTAUloid is one with utmost importance.
Every UTAUloid is known by a name. So far, the following are the naming patterns observed for such characters:
- Purpose-based Naming: An UTAUloid is named based on what they will be used for. An example of this is VOCALOID Luka Megurine. Her Kanji-based name stands for "Encompassing Sound", which is the target of her bilingual voicebank, reaching out both to Japanese and English enthusiasts alike. For UTAU, UTAUloids like Tsubame Utanomiyatsuko is named to "Be the creator of songs," pertaining to his voicebank's purpose.
- Aesthetically Descriptive Naming: An UTAUloid is named based on his or her aesthetics or visual design. Many UTAUloids are named this way, like in the case of Taya Soune.
- Preferential Naming: An UTAUloid is named based on how the creator wants it; either after himself or herself, the voice source, or by a name unrelated to musical terms. VOCALOIDs Gackpoid and Megpoid are such examples. For UTAU, Camila Melodia, Kaiserine Sympherianne, Pomona Ito and Anaka Blythe stand out as examples, being named by preference and named after the author, respectively. Also there are UTAUloids with the same name as the author, or a variant of it, such as Aline Enbukyoku, Katarina Sokkyoune and Kurisu Koorine respectively. There are also UTAUloids with names which are inspired by other characters or people such as LUNA AKIMINE whose name inspiration was after Luna Lovegood one of the most famous Harry Potter characters.
Except for Preferential Naming, it should be noted that most family names of UTAUloids end with the Ne (音 "sound") or Uta (歌 "song") and other Kanji characters related to music or voice. This has been the naming pattern that was inherited from VOCALOIDs, but there are creators deviating from this pattern.
Defined Japanese Name
An UTAUloid possessing a Japanese name is always common. You can most likely thank/blame Hatsune Miku for this trend. This is due to the fact that the VOCALOID technology came from Japan, and her creators at Crypton Future Media are Japanese, and Miku is targeted for Japanese users. The Otaku culture also has an influence on Miku's popularity, which leads us to UTAUloids named in Japanese. However, an UTAUloid does not have to be named this way to be popular.
Japanese language is agglutinative and has a very complicated set of markers and inflections. Even a smallest mistake nullifies your meaning. In addition, most Kanjis used in Japanese have several meanings respectively unlike in original Chinese. These facts lead to the difficulty that a word combination, especially Kanji, often makes a totally new, different interpretation which you do not expect. If you are not sure, please ask for a help.
- UTAUloids named this way have proper Japanese names, whose Kanji characters resolve correctly with the pronunciation and their purpose. For foreigners, this is rather tricky without understanding the types of Kanji in circulation, and understanding of the Japanese language.
- First names and last names are strictly distinct in Japanese. In other words, each name has its own place. In English, for example, both Anthony Williams and Williams Anthony are common, but this is not the case in Japanese. Many names/words fit only either given names or family names. If you set a Japanese name, make sure to which the name is appropriate.
- While there are gender-neutral/androgynous names, not a few specific male and female names are strictly distinct. Most names including artificial names are suitable for a specific gender only. Gender-conflicting naming is a cultural taboo in Japan, and your UTAUloid may invite negative responses from Japanese fandom, whether you intend it or not, if you pay no attention to this fact.
- Machine translation is not reliable currently. Japanese language has nothing common with western languages in both words and grammar and it has extremely a lot of homographs, so a machine often makes incorrect translations. It may be a help, but do not take it literally and check it with a dictionary.
- As carried over from VOCALOIDs, most first names are written in Katakana and surnames are written in Kanji. In seldom cases, a Hiragana character may appear alongside the family name written in Kanji. Used in names, Hiragana in general expresses cuteness or immaturity, Katakana inorganic or foreign-oriented sense, and Kanji gives the formal, serious feeling. The exception however, is with Nana Macne, whose family name is written alongside with English characters. Usage of English word alongside Kanji as a family name is not encouraged however unless in special cases.
- Japanese names are usually nouns. There are some adjective and adverb names, but this style is not common. Most adjectives/adverbs in names sound very strange. If you are not familiar with Japanese names, it is prudent using only nouns. Also, in the Japanese way of naming, it is written family name first before given name.
- The Kanji 音, 歌 and 唄 usually appear just in family names as a custom. Of course, there is no hindrance using them in given names, but this case is rare. The only restriction is setting these Kanji both in given names and surnames, because such composition sounds redundant in a name.
- Creative deviations of normal definitions are not recommended, unless you know what you are doing. Japanese words have stricter usage than English words. For example, there are more than ten expressions for the word "I" in Japanese. Each of them has very different nuance and you have to select one of them for you according to your circumstances including your gender, profession, social position and so on. You must be able to defend this kind of deviation upon scrutiny. Explanations must be provided as well to prevent misunderstandings, and so that you will be able to express your idea clearly.
- Almost all Kanji has both On-yomi reading and Kun-yomi reading. On-yomi reflects archaic Chinese pronunciation and Kun-yomi is the japanized pronunciation. Although there are a few exceptions, On-yomi and Kun-yomi do not coexist in a word or a name. Make sure to unify the Kanji reading style.
- Do not divide or shorten each Kanji reading. Each Kanji has specific interpretation with its own reading. If you cut or shorten Kanji reading, you totally go against the grammatical rule.
- Name adaptations from anime, movie and other media is not recommended. Not a few of them go against the orthodox word usage. More often than not, outside their intended usage, they make no valid point if you are not able to tell key expression out of inflected ending, prefix and suffix.
Eastern names, including Japanese, are often written Family name first. In western naming, the given name is written first. Non-eastern names are always assumed to be of Western origin, simply because of the naming order, which originated from western countries.
In countries with western influences, with the exception of traditional Chinese names, all names of people regardless of ethnicity are given in this manner all the time. For cultural compatibility, a person may have an indigenous name alongside a western name.
- Some western cultures have elaborate names for a character, which may include middle names and maiden names. This depends on the creator's country of origin and culture.
- As with the Japanese way, a creator can also utilize name definitions in their own ethnicity that pertains to music, songs or voice, whatever is appropriate for an UTAU voicebank.
Transcription of a Western name in Japanese
- Non-Japanese names are written as they are in Katakana. For example, Angelica Morbid is アンジェリカ・モービッド. Foreign names do not have to be converted to Japanese style or the surname-first style except for Chinese and Korean ones. Usually a dot is put between first name and last name. For example, someone's name is called Mary Cross. Her name would be in Katakana, and between Mary and Cross, there would be a dot. マリ ・ クロッス. This "dot" would most likely be your "/" button.
- The sound [v] does not exist in original Japanese and it is often changed to [b]. In Katakana, バ line is the typical use (バ, ビ, ブ, ベ, ボ). Yet [v] becomes acceptable recently and is written as ヴ with small vowels (ヴァ, ヴィ, ヴ, ヴェ, ヴォ). Either spelling can be adopted.
- Names with non-Japanese sources and Japanese-sounding names whose family name has no Kanji-equivalent are always written in Katakana, and follows western naming conventions. The exceptions is if the non-Japanese name is in Chinese or Korean, in which the family-name-first naming method is followed.
Transcription of eastern names into English
- Chinese and Korean names adhere to the family-name first writing of their names in English. For the Japanese, their names can be written in the western naming order. Some Korean names may be written in western order, but this is seldomly done.
- In the event a Chinese or Korean name has both Chinese/Korean and Japanese name pronunciation is available, the ethnicity of the name is followed, depending on the character's country of origin.
- When writing a Japanese name in English, following the given-name-first order, it is always written using the Revised Hepburn method of Japanese Kana romanization. The usage of other romanization methods such as Kunrei-shiki should be properly justified.
- Chinese and Korean names may acquire a new name pronunciation when written in Japanese. The same holds true for Japanese names written into Chinese or Korean. It depends on the Kanji character used. Choosing to stick with the original pronunciation (such as in the case of Fangmei Wang) and keep the same kanji should have pronunciation clarification; choosing to transport to Japanese pronunciation (such as Shou Kaneyama) should also be specified as such.
As with every created character, a fictitious profile is created to increase the credibility and the "alive" factor of the character. In VOCALOID, this was done starting with Miku Hatsune's release. From there, and even with the Fanmade Vocaloids, it has been a tradition to create biological/profile information of a character. Earlier VOCALOIDs, like the 1st Generation VOCALOIDs like Meiko and Kaito do not have such detailed profiles that recent characters like Miku and Luka has.
However, the profiles created for the VOCALOIDs only include basic ocular information, such as age, height, weight, optimal voice range and genre. If other factors such as likes and dislikes are needed, they are mostly allocated by fans or writers, and their canon factor is often determined by their popularity. In short, if there's unavailable information, people resort to speculation.
This is especially true to writers who want to portray VOCALOIDs in their story, and information is EVERYTHING.
To somewhat alleviate the problem of lack of information, wikis like this and VOCALOID Wiki exists to become a reference point of both musicians, writers, storytellers and other users. Of course, it is ensured such information available is canon, reliable and credible. Cruft and falsifications are edited out. Any speculative information by fans that somewhat benefit the character is properly indicated to distinguish it from information given by the creator of such character.
Biologically, birthday is the date of birth of a being. For VOCALOIDs and UTAUloids, birthdate pertains to the day when they were first released to the world, in the same manner we were first given birth.
For UTAUloids, birth date can vary. It can be the time where the concept of such character was first thought of, or it is the date where the voicebank was released.
Birth year is calculated differently for VOCALOIDs. See Release Date below.
Age is pre-allocated by their creators. This usually is done in such a way that it matches the aesthetics portrayed in their official illustration, and the voice being portrayed. Take particular care in establishing this, as a young or cute character with a voice that doesn't match may result in peculiar situations (which are not necessarily bad, but can cause confusion).
Release Date pertains to the official date when the final voicebank of the character (or version 1) is released. Beta releases are considered premature/test subjects and are not considered releases.
Usage Clauses defines the terms and conditions the voicebank will be used in acceptable terms. It defines what can and cannot be done with the voicebank.
All UTAU voicebanks that do not include usage clauses have their terms and conditions based on the basic UTAU Usage Policy.
The following are boundaries defined in a voicebank's usage clauses.
- General usage permission - The author defines the general usage condition of the voicebank.
- Religious representation - The author may or may not allow the voicebank to be used for religious vocalizations and representation of the character in this section.
- Political representation - The author may or may not allow the voicebank to be used for political purposes, whether be in vocalizations, talk, character representation, and so on. Usually, voicebank authors will not allow this because of the stigma politics bring to people.
- Manner of presentation - The author defines the manner of presentation the character can be given. You will be surprised to know that many authors, especially from Japan do not mind their voicebank characters being depicted in "hentai" situations. But there's a catch; it has to be drawn well, and Japan has enough competent illustrators to cast the worry aside, and for such depictions, a forewarning must be provided.
- Feedback conditions - The author will dictate how or when to be contacted in case of troubles in regards to the voicebank.
- Redistribution conditions - The author defines when and when not to reproduce or redistribute the voicebank. Normally they will not allow people to redistribute the voicebanks, unless distribution of the file ceases unexpectedly.
- Disclaimer - An important part of the usage clause, is the disclaimer; it frees the voicebank author from unforeseen and inconvenient attachments that may arise between user and author. It also states the general state of imperfection, and that not all things will work hitchless for everybody.
Usage Clause tips
- Define anything clearly that may be interpreted differently. There should be no room for error, misreading, misunderstanding and miscommunication.
- Be firm but not reticulated. Inasmuch as you want to protect your voicebank and its avatar, do know some restrictions are considered unrealistic and cannot be enforced entirely, especially with the free and open nature of the internet, of course, with the exception of those that fall under the legal realm.
- NEVER intimidate or threaten the user in trying to prevent potential violations. Ragequitting "If violations of this rule is seen, the voicebank will be pulled out!" statements are immature and should not be mentioned at all.
- Open your line to questions and inquiries; establish a relationship between user and author.
- Never make unrealistic/unreasonable restrictions, as this will give you more trouble than its worth. (eg. restricting people from making kiddie songs from your voicebank because of personal tastes, not because of valid/technical reasons)