Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Still can't get it right!

Still can't get it right!

NO SPAM ALLOWED! Discuss stuff not related to Japan or Japanese. The rules are the same in this forum as in the other forums.

Still can't get it right!

Postby Hatori » Tue 01.01.2008 5:42 pm

Hello! As I was watching anime subtitles in Loveless with my best friend... We realized that even American anime companies can not put down the real translation. I detected a few words/phrases here and there in Loveless, and they were saying completely different things than what it actually meant.

This honestly bothers me. This stupid company, doing only English subtitles on certain animes just make it "easier" for the American eyes to read. This show is (as I like to say) brotherly love in it's own sense and they're softening so many themes to the show!
Same thing with the other anime I bought by the company, Princess Princess, they have been saying things that are completely different than what it actually says.
For example, when I watched Loveless:
Subtitle- "I miss you very much. I wished to see you."
And the character said," daisuke," and kept on saying it over saying he loved somebody.
I did just an extra bit of research on daisuke and did not find any results to it meaning," I miss you."

I know whenever they do voiceovers in English, they change many meanings to be in sync with the lips and to do whatever they want to change. Knowing that a character is surely saying something else with altered subtitles really bothers me. If the company really wanted to, they could totally create different personalities and plots in the shows! :@ I have also come upon the fact that they might be doing it to my beloved manga. O_O

In a way, this is a rant and somewhat an educational experience, yelling to the screen saying their translations are different than what the characters are saying.
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
lol
~ハトリ~
User avatar
Hatori
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Thu 10.13.2005 10:31 pm
Location: Chicago Suburbs
Native language: English
Gender: Female

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Gundaetiapo » Tue 01.01.2008 6:25 pm

You mean 大好き I think? "I miss you very much. I wished to see you." might be an ok translation, hard to tell without the surrounding Japanese dialogue and without context.
Last edited by Gundaetiapo on Tue 01.01.2008 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gundaetiapo
 
Posts: 527
Joined: Fri 03.30.2007 11:26 am
Location: New England
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Dehitay » Tue 01.01.2008 6:50 pm

Since when are American companies known for being good at doing subtitling? A good fansub group easily beats an American company. Their subtitling is incredibly similar to captioning the dubbed version of the anime.

Also, as a side note, I've watched Loveless and your idea of brotherly love is somewhat creepy >=P
www.bananamonkeyninja.com
The only webcomic endorsed by Banana Monkey Ninja
User avatar
Dehitay
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 8:36 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Oracle » Tue 01.01.2008 7:55 pm

I've worked professionally as a translator and have done some subtitling work (for NHK documentaries though, not anime) so I can comment a bit.

There is a physical limit to how much subtitles can deliver: you only have two lines of text, a fixed number of letters on the screen at once, and the subtitles only change ever few seconds, so there it is almost always necessary to condense the original spoken content to fit everything in.

Whether the group doing the translation is good or bad, the translation will need to be modified to fit into subtitles. The art is in keeping what is most necessary and discarding/modifying what isn't. I'm not familiar with the program, but what you've described isn't necessarily a 'bad' translation. Translating natural Japanese into natural English is about context, meaning and 'feel' rather than translating word to word. Sometimes a single word in one language requires a whole sentence in the other language to capture the same meaning.
Last edited by Oracle on Tue 01.01.2008 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Oracle
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon 02.13.2006 9:03 am
Native language: English

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby doinkies » Tue 01.01.2008 8:56 pm

Oracle wrote:
I've worked professionally as a translator and have done some subtitling work (for NHK documentaries though, not anime) so I can comment a bit.

There is a physical limit to how much subtitles can deliver: you only have two lines of text, a fixed number of letters on the screen at once, and the subtitles only change ever few seconds, so there it is almost always necessary to condense the original spoken content to fit everything in.

Whether the group doing the translation is good or bad, the translation will need to be modified to fit into subtitles. The art is in keeping what is most necessary and discarding/modifying what isn't. I'm not familiar with the program, but what you've described isn't necessarily a 'bad' translation. Translating natural Japanese into natural English is about context, meaning and 'feel' rather than translating word to word. Sometimes a single word in one language requires a whole sentence in the other language to capture the same meaning.


I agree with this post. I've seen good official translations on DVDs and really doinky fansub translations. I've also seen good fansub translations and doinky official translations. A translation needs to be both a) accurate, and b) natural-sounding. A lot of people forget this when they translate. I can't count the number of times where there's a scene with two people talking to each other and one person is saying something like 「藤谷くんはやさしいね」 to the other person (who is 藤谷くん) and the subtitle says "Fujitani-kun is nice". That sentence sounds fine in Japanese, but it sounds like Tarzan when directly translated to English. I'd translate that sort of sentence as either "Fujitani-kun, you're nice" or simply "You're nice".

I have not seen Media Blasters' DVDs of Loveless (I only saw the fansubs once long ago), so I can't comment on the translation quality there but I will say that I liked some of their other translations (though they often have typos).
Last edited by doinkies on Tue 01.01.2008 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
あなたが好きだと言ったこの街並みが
今日も暮れてゆきます
広い空と遠くの山々 二人で歩いた街
夕日がきれいな街
-森高千里 「渡良瀬橋」
User avatar
doinkies
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun 09.24.2006 8:34 pm
Native language: English

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Wakannai » Tue 01.01.2008 9:23 pm

Since when are American companies known for being good at doing subtitling?


For a while.
A good fansub group easily beats an American company.


This may have been true in the past, not so true for stuff in the last 5 years or last decade, especially from the major anime houses. Professional translators have the option to contact the scriptwriters and the artist to clear any translation confusion, and they often do.

Every translation in America is approved by the originating Company. Translations aren't just made and then sold. They are made, then sent back to Japan for approval, then they are sold.

The "fansubs are better than pro-trans" arguments are simply a regurgitation of an argument that was true, 20 years ago. It's like people going about and proclaiming that the sound barrier will never be broken. Because they are too busy repeating hearsay as fact, to do the research to discover it already has.
Last edited by Wakannai on Tue 01.01.2008 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wakannai
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Thu 10.18.2007 6:38 am

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby saraLynne » Tue 01.01.2008 11:37 pm

Localization and an attempt to sync words to mouth movements has a lot to do with it, too, though. It's not bad translation just because it's not literal.

I consider it bad translation when it IS too literal. Making the transition into English should be localized. So it doesn't bother me when I think they're saying something slightly different than what the translator put down.

Translators also tend to add personality to a character through word choices in English. DB fansubs gave Ichimaru Gin (Bleach) a southern, nice-guy drawl. I thought it was a pleasing effect, considering what an evil bastard he was.

If you're using Anime to learn Japanese by comparing with the subtitles, then this is bad for you. But the fansubbers (and official subtitlers) aren't doing it for students of Japanese, they're doing it for the people who want to watch it for enjoyment.
Image
User avatar
saraLynne
 
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed 07.05.2006 3:02 am

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 01.02.2008 11:28 am

Wakannai wrote:


The "fansubs are better than pro-trans" arguments are simply a regurgitation of an argument that was true, 20 years ago. It's like people going about and proclaiming that the sound barrier will never be broken. Because they are too busy repeating hearsay as fact, to do the research to discover it already has.


as mentioned before, fansubs can be and are better than some commercial translations and some commercial translations are better than fansubs.

there is no hard line that either are better, but there is evidence that either could be better depending on who does it. Just because someone's job is translating, it doesn't mean they are the best to do it..
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Dehitay » Wed 01.02.2008 2:11 pm

If you just want a smooth flowing sequence of text that matches the flow of the story, then professional subtitling is probly your best bet. But I think a majority of people actually want to understand the story in the same way Japanese viewers do. Japanese puns are incredibly common but don't always translate well, so they constantly get altered in professional subtitling which isn't as well appreciated by viewers like me. The same thing happens with a number of common Japanese phrases. One thing that fansub groups do that I have yet to see a professional company do is give explanations (via fansub notes) instead of translating when appropriate.
www.bananamonkeyninja.com
The only webcomic endorsed by Banana Monkey Ninja
User avatar
Dehitay
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 8:36 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby everdream » Wed 01.02.2008 2:55 pm

^ Ah, I know what you mean.
I've seen two versians of subtitles for a Japanese Drama.
When it came to phrases, say, 'itadakimasu' One version said 'let's eat'
and the other gave an explanation of what it was.
We grow too soon old and too late smart. - Steve Wright

'Know thyself?' If I knew myself, I'd run away. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
- Joe E. Lewis
everdream
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun 11.11.2007 3:32 pm

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 01.02.2008 11:16 pm

although i'll still watch fan-subbed dramas, i've given up on reading japanese in translation. i'm not spending so much effort studying the language to read it in translation, after all. that being said, having attempted translating japanese myself over the course of my studies, i've gained some understanding of how difficult it can be to find the right word or phrase in english. if anything, translation is an art. you just can't translate everything literally, or if you did, the end result wouldn't sound anything like natural english. sometimes you have to do some interpretation as well.
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
skrhgh3b
 
Posts: 517
Joined: Sun 07.24.2005 3:57 am

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 01.07.2008 7:11 pm

This honestly bothers me. This stupid company, doing only English subtitles on certain animes just make it "easier" for the American eyes to read.


If you ever try translating things yourself (real translations, not "look up 90% of the words in the dictionary" beginner efforst), you will see how offbase your comments are. Translation does not consist of writing down the dictionary definitions of every word in the Japanese in English word order. You cannot judge a translation harshly because word X didn't appear exactly in the subtitles as it does in the dictionary.

This is particularly true of Japanese, which is far away from English in a lot of ways. You need to reproduce the *feeling* and *meaning* of the original text, not the dictionary definitions of the words.

Fansub notes are horrible. They should be a last resort, because very few people want to have their watching experience constantly interrupted by pointless notes. Good translators can communicate the feeling of the original words without having to resort to external explanations of that sort.

But I think a majority of people actually want to understand the story in the same way Japanese viewers do


A majority of anime viewers want to enjoy the anime. Japanese viewers do not need to consult footnotes to explain every joke or cultural reference, and American viewers should not have to do that either.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Wakannai » Mon 01.07.2008 7:53 pm

One thing that fansub groups do that I have yet to see a professional company do is give explanations (via fansub notes) instead of translating when appropriate.


I watched excell saga once with the cultural notes on. It's very annoying. Not an improvement at all. Better to localize than explain. Most people that watch a show are looking to be entertained, not taught the subtilities of Japanese culture and language.
there is no hard line that either are better, but there is evidence that either could be better depending on who does it. Just because someone's job is translating, it doesn't mean they are the best to do it..


I was responding to someone saying that Fansubs are inherently better than commercial translations all the time.
Last edited by Wakannai on Mon 01.07.2008 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wakannai
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Thu 10.18.2007 6:38 am

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Dehitay » Mon 01.07.2008 9:19 pm

I'm over 90% sure that fansub notes are preferred over changing a Japanese phrase or joke completely so that any original meaning is lost. Even in the cases where the same concept gets conveyed but the meaning changes, I think viewers would still prefer fansubs. However, the only way to really get a good guess is for somebody that knows of a popular anime forum with polling options, to go there and ask

Do you prefer fansub notes when there is no English phrase that conveys the same meaning?
Yes, fansub notes explaining things are better because you get to understand it like a Japanese viewer
No, they should just convey the same concept with a English phrase to not disturb the flow

And Excel Saga isn't really the best example for this kind of thing. The subtitles alone were annoying as hell since multiple people would talk at once (usually one of them being Excel talking at 400 wpm). With Excel firing off every single satire/joke that exist in anime like some kind of machine gun, of course fansub notes for Excel Saga would be annoying.
www.bananamonkeyninja.com
The only webcomic endorsed by Banana Monkey Ninja
User avatar
Dehitay
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 8:36 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Still can't get it right!

Postby Wakannai » Mon 01.07.2008 9:54 pm

I think for questions like this, you have to reverse it. Think about American cultural jokes like, "Where's the beef." or "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

If I were Japanese. Would I really want a little documentary about a series of commercials that ran using these slogans and just how these slogans came to be considered funny. Not that a joke than needs to be explained is ever funny.

Attending one panel, I heard one Voice actor say that the writer for an Anime he did said, "If the joke doesn't translate, then make a joke about tits." It's sorta that that way for all storytellers of talent. If a storyteller inserts a joke, that means they want the audience to laugh at that point, the storyteller just wants the result. If they know that joke doesn't work, they would rather use a different joke than try to explain the first one.
Wakannai
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Thu 10.18.2007 6:38 am

Next

Return to General off topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron