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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:05 pm Reply with quote
I wonder if it would be easier on everyone if the Japanese just stop using loanwords and just have a word for everything in their language. When they come up with spell names in the Tales series, for example, they name a spell "Religious", but we change it to "Seraphic Bolt" for the localization because it's plain weird having an adjective as a spell name and Seraphic Bolt is a far more accurate depiction of what the spell is visually. Religious simply sounds cooler to them because it's an "exotic English word" to them, but the person or persons who came up with the name might not realize what the word means or the proper context to use it in.

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While on occasion one of these issues is caused by oversight over translations by a Japanese licensor who doesn't know English well enough, that's pretty rare.


Are you sure? Japanese people generally have pretty poor English knowledge to begin with, and many of them don't really bother wanting to learn to get it right because they consider it too much trouble.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:13 pm Reply with quote
SilverTalon01 wrote:
John Thacker wrote:
The examples you gave are all completely valid and correct translations for an American audience, just as it would be perfectly correct to translate loan words from American English to British English for a British audience.


Uh, wait, no. I'm pretty sure in neither the US nor the UK that tea and coffee are the same thing. I'm a little less sure on the butter and margarine one, but if butter is margarine in the UK, I'm interested in what they call margarine.


Yes, those two are different (but also translations that I've never seen), but I certainly wouldn't object if "milk coffee" is translated to "white coffee" for a translation aimed at a UK audience. I wouldn't go around calling it 'wrong" and insisting that "milk coffee" be used instead. Similarly for translating the US borrowed "spaghetti with meat sauce" (ミートソース) to "spaghetti Bolognese."
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lebrel



Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 300
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:13 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
WatcherZer wrote:
Japanese High school bloomers are actually similar to athletic bloomers worn in Europe in the 20's and 30's by ladies playing tennis or doing athletics so is the correct translation.


0.o

Japanese high school 'Baruma':

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

1920's-30's ladies athletic wear:

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

You need to get you glasses checked mate - because they look nothing alike. Not even close.


No, he's right. There was a brief period when women's sportswear (particularly tennis outfits) incorporated the same kind of "just covers the underwear" lower-body garment (real example - scroll down), which were indeed called "bloomers"*. The Japanese invention was ditching the skirt and just keeping the bloomers, rather than replacing the whole ensemble with shorts as the West did.

* basically, the baggy sporting bloomers like the ones you used as an example got smaller and smaller until they ended up like that. (Incidentally, that image is from the 1900's, not the 1930's.)


Last edited by lebrel on Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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CycloneSP



Joined: 26 Aug 2013
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:15 pm Reply with quote
on the subject of translator notes, I actually sorely miss them. I absolutely loved it when fan subs would put in TN's at the top of the screen to help explain a joke or give some cultural context for a misunderstanding/conversation. I felt it was always very informative and I just really enjoyed learning even a tid bit more about the show and japan in general.
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DJStarstryker



Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 127
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:16 pm Reply with quote
I sometimes wonder if some of these subbers think that jusu is only referencing juice. It's not. It's referencing any drink. Like you could have a conversation in Japan:

"I'm going to buy a jusu. Want one?"
"Sure, I'll take water."

The closest similarity I can think of in English is this: I grew up in a state in the US where soft drinks were called "sodas." I lived in Atlanta for a year. Being the HQ of Coca-Cola, many people in Atlanta will call them "Coke" generically. As in Pepsi, Fanta, Mt. Dew, etc could all be called Coke in addition to Coca-Cola.
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#861208



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Posts: 237
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:22 pm Reply with quote
lebrel wrote:
DerekL1963 wrote:
WatcherZer wrote:
Japanese High school bloomers are actually similar to athletic bloomers worn in Europe in the 20's and 30's by ladies playing tennis or doing athletics so is the correct translation.


0.o

Japanese high school 'Baruma':

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

1920's-30's ladies athletic wear:

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

You need to get you glasses checked mate - because they look nothing alike. Not even close.


No, he's right. There was a brief period when women's sportswear (particularly tennis outfits) incorporated the same kind of "just covers the underwear" lower-body garment (real example - scroll down), which were indeed called "bloomers". The Japanese invention was ditching the skirt and just keeping the bloomers, rather than replacing the whole ensemble with shorts as the West did.

This is true, according to someone I know who went to high school in New York in the 1950's. Their gym uniforms looked like the ones in anime.

Also, it is important to acknowledge that there are other English speakers and other modes of speaking English besides your own. I think it's more interesting to see a piece of wasei eigo that I've never heard before, and look up where it comes from, than to have things spoon-fed to modern American audiences (often regional... honestly, who says "crawdads" instead of "crayfish"? . . . . . do people in Arizona use that? because if so, that's some research but that's beside the point).

Also, in the sub of one recent show I really liked, the subtitles just... didn't translate a lot of the puns. Like, instead of getting both meanings in, they got neither. Which takes a lot of the charm out of the show.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Parsifal24 wrote:
I tend to favor formal equivalency to dynamic equivalency. As I 'd rather have the subtitle be as close as possible to the original language and not what somebody thinks the character should say. Or as some have pointed out some of Crunchyroll's subtitles what becomes an excuse to throw memes in the subtitle script.


There is no such thing as "as close as possible to the original language," especially not when a large portion of the audience does not speak nor read Japanese. If a show has particular poetic Japanese, it's inappropriate to translate into something stiff. If someone has a familiar in Japan meme or commercial reference unknown outside the country, there may be no particularly good option. (People particularly steeped in Japanese culture who do recognize it will complain if you change it too.) Puns in Japanese might occasionally have a perfect translation, but not always (and multi-language puns are basically impossible without notes.)

Quote:
To the point that one person I follow on twitter said that you would be better off watching a fansub of Amanchu than Crunchyroll's. Or the first episode of Gabriel Dropout, where whoever was translating and subtitling it at Crunchyroll decided to throw a hashtag in at one point. Now I neither speak nor read any Japanese so some of this I have to take on good faith.


Eh, in two decades of watching anime I have heard those complaints in all situations, from people preferring fansubs that insert more jokes to overly-literal and stiff commercial translations to people preferring fansubs because they had lots of liner notes, to people preferring fansubs with literal translations. There are many, many ways to validly translate something, different ways that work better for different audiences, and so someone will always prefer something different and complain. Crunchyroll employs a LOT of different translators (200 amongst all their languages, according to what they told my wife at Sakura-con this past weekend), and not only are different translators different, different translators will take different approaches to different shows (as they should.) The same thing is true of fansubs, for sure; I have seen absolutely horrible, inaccurate and unnatural dialog in fansubs as well.

There are plenty of shows where my wife and I agree that we would have translated something a bit differently (and other shows that we really liked the translation, like Rakugo Shinju). I'd say that on the whole the current CR translations tend to err on the side of stiff and literal that fail to get the humor or poetry of the language across and fail to be natural colloquial English. There are exceptions, but on the whole it's the other end of the pendulum from 20 years ago.
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:42 pm Reply with quote
SilverTalon01 wrote:
Uh, wait, no. I'm pretty sure in neither the US nor the UK that tea and coffee are the same thing. I'm a little less sure on the butter and margarine one, but if butter is margarine in the UK, I'm interested in what they call margarine.

You may rest in the knowledge that we preserve the distinction, both colloquially and officially. Trying to market a spreadable food item as 'butter', whereby its milk fat content is less than 80%, would soon land one in the good care of the constabulary...
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VerQuality



Joined: 01 Oct 2016
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:45 pm Reply with quote
Literal translations are just another aspect of terrible translations that leave a subtitle track in some sort of bizarre wilderness between english and japanese, while making little sense in either. It's not quite the same as leaving 'nakama' untranslated, or insisting on adding honorifics everywhere (it's anime, you can hear what honorifics they use if it's that important to you).

Another (relatively recent, and not particularly worksafe) example that goes the opposite way (the official translation used an overly literal translation, while the fan translations used a word that was more accurate) is the Watamote translation using 'b**ch' for bichi, while the meaning of that word in japan is much closer to sl*t. The english b**** is much harsher than it is in the japanese context, and fails to carry the implications of sexuality that bichi does. It makes Tomoko looks even worse than she is, and is actually kind of confusing, as she's referencing her friend's provocative and trendy style of dressing.

Also, loanwords are a thing in every language. If you were translating something from english to Urdu and left pajama as pajama, they'd be just as confused as when manshon is translated to 'mansion.'
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Stuart Smith



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 1055
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:53 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
These complaints about translation was (and is) always a huge pet peeve of mine about the anime community. For the longest time it seemed like things had to be completely literal or the translation was considered crap.

"I CLEARLY heard that character say 'mansion', and that's how they translated it in the fansub, [official translation] says 'apartment' so obvs the entire translation is 100% wrong"
Never mind the nuances that come with loan words, much less completely mishearing.

But even worse was the "the first translation I saw MUST be the correct one" fallacy. Like, a nobody in their basement with a Japanese dictionary knows better than a paid professional (And sometimes they do! I'm even one of them! Buuuut when you have two translations that differ widly in multiple areas, my money is usually on the professional translation being more correct.) It was especially bad with speedsubs vs official release, since many people didn't even know that their fansubs were a rush job.


Fan translations might be more prone to genuine mistakes, but official translations are more prone to changing things arbitrarily, like jokes/lines or names for copyrights issues. Or just plain censorship.

The line between the two have diminished over the years. Before, professionals would mock fansubs for having translation notes or leaving words in Japanese. Nowadays I see official Crunchyroll subs with untranslated words and notes to explain things like jokes, whether due to fan demand or what, those techniques are now considered professional.

One of my pet peeves is the swapping of surname and given name which was already pointed out. Another is a title like onii-chan or sensei being subbed as a character's name rather than brother or teacher/master.

Video games are a whole different topic, but I genuinely dislike how Square-Enix changes Dragon Quest and later Final Fantasy games to have a fake Shakespearin/Medieval dialect like they're writing for Lord of the Rings. It's especially annoying in games with dual audio like FFXIV where 'Thancred, daijoubu?! " is written out like "What say you, scoundral vagabound, is aught amiss? "

-Stuart Smith
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:59 pm Reply with quote
VerQuality wrote:

Another (relatively recent, and not particularly worksafe) example that goes the opposite way (the official translation used an overly literal translation, while the fan translations used a word that was more accurate) is the Watamote translation using 'b**ch' for bichi, while the meaning of that word in japan is much closer to sl*t. The english b**** is much harsher than it is in the japanese context, and fails to carry the implications of sexuality that bichi does. It makes Tomoko looks even worse than she is, and is actually kind of confusing, as she's referencing her friend's provocative and trendy style of dressing.


There was a bit of a kerfuffle regarding a similar set up when the review for My Romantic SNAFU's novel popped up; apparently the anime had the MC subtitled as saying "bitch", while the novel used the more accurate "slut".

Regarding FF14 specifically, while I can't say I care much for either audio option save for a handful of the English VAs, I do get a particularly nerdy kick out of all the mangled "Ye Olde English" the game employs in its translations; if nothing else, it's at least fun to read.
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 3798
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:02 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
Regarding FF14 specifically, while I can't say I care much for either audio option save for a handful of the English VAs, I do get a particularly nerdy kick out of all the mangled "Ye Olde English" the game employs in its translations; if nothing else, it's at least fun to read.


It certainly made Dragon Quest memorable back in the ancient days. XD
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EmperorBrandon
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 04 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:04 pm Reply with quote
WatcherZer wrote:
E.g. Japanese original dialog 'Football' translated to 'Soccer'

Except in that case, I'm pretty sure it's called "soccer" サッカー in Japan, so would this example even come up?
VerQuality wrote:
Another (relatively recent, and not particularly worksafe) example that goes the opposite way (the official translation used an overly literal translation, while the fan translations used a word that was more accurate) is the Watamote translation using 'b**ch' for bichi, while the meaning of that word in japan is much closer to sl*t. The english b**** is much harsher than it is in the japanese context, and fails to carry the implications of sexuality that bichi does. It makes Tomoko looks even worse than she is, and is actually kind of confusing, as she's referencing her friend's provocative and trendy style of dressing.

At least as far as the anime goes, Sentai did translate it as "slut" on the home video release. I saw some ignorance from fans about that translation choice.
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DerekL1963
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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Location: Puget Sound
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:16 pm Reply with quote
lebrel wrote:
DerekL1963 wrote:
WatcherZer wrote:
Japanese High school bloomers are actually similar to athletic bloomers worn in Europe in the 20's and 30's by ladies playing tennis or doing athletics so is the correct translation.


0.o

Japanese high school 'Baruma':

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

1920's-30's ladies athletic wear:

[ - imaged removed for space - ]

You need to get you glasses checked mate - because they look nothing alike. Not even close.


No, he's right. There was a brief period when women's sportswear (particularly tennis outfits) incorporated the same kind of "just covers the underwear" lower-body garment (real example - scroll down), which were indeed called "bloomers"*.


"Incorporated" does not mean "looks like" - especially in this case, where the bloomers were worn under the skirt in precisely the way Japanese baruma are not. Seriously, did you not read the article you linked to? It specifically explains that the bloomers pictured were worn under the skirt, they were not outerwear like Japanese baruma.
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DRosencraft



Joined: 27 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:17 pm Reply with quote
The whole problem stems from the fact that translation is part science, part artistic expression. A word can have a very clear meaning, but due to colloquial use, or the emergence of slang terminology, may not be applicable for a given situation. Why do translations use the given name instead of the family name, when in the spoken dialogue it's clearly the family name? Because using a person's family name is the common form in Japan, but would be odd in most other places if you're not in the military or talking to a superior (teacher, etc). A person speaking with a dialect is even harder to navigate in written form, when you

Then there are the nit-picky things. "Maker" and "manufacturer", in most cases you would hear the words used in English, mean the same thing, so complaint about translating "mekkaa" becomes a moot point. One might be technically correct, but conversational language is imprecise, and demonstrates its "natural" quality exactly because of these flaws, unless you want your character to sound like a lawyer. We have to remember, the same way some author in the US writing a novel or comic may want to toss in current jokes or the like into their works, there's no reason to think Japanese writers aren't the same.

The issue, as I see it, comes from the purpose the listener/reader. If you're in it for the entertainment value of the product - you want to be entertained by the anime/manga/novel - then you're likely fine with a deviation in the literal translation as long as the meaning is still there. Bloomers vs underwear vs pants 9/10 will not alter the joke, or betray some ability to use a colloquialism that likely no one else your circle of fellow anime viewers, or someone already immersed in Japanese culture will understand.

If you're that person who is an otaku, wants to be an otaku, is looking for that immersion in the culture, non-exact translations can understandably be annoying because it can confuse the understanding the person is hoping to gain. If you can speak Japanese, then the whole thing becomes moot since you should probably don't need the subtitles anyway. It'd be like having closed captions on while watching TV (which, mind you, is also often fraught with errors, and that's supposed to be just transcription of what's being said on screen).

I will generally trust official translations over fan translations. Professionals whose job it is to translate a work, from a source that is notorious for protection of the depiction of its works, are far more likely to be actionable and accurate than unaccountable individuals with no connection to the originators of the work they're translating. Not to say one side is always wrong or always right, but that if making the choice, official subs are a safer bet.
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