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Hey, Answerman! - Translation Mitigation


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gwern



Joined: 05 Nov 2009
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:32 pm Reply with quote
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wtf who goes to libraries anymore?


Lots of people. If you dig up national or state circulation statistics from the past 5 years or so, you'll find that libraries have been setting records for numbers of visitors and circulated items. (And contrary to predictions of the demise of printed books, there's still a metric fuckton of books printed every year.)
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
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Location: Towson, Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:37 pm Reply with quote
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Haven't all the people who track the anime market been doom and gloom for the past 4 years or more?


Only people who have been doom and gloom are Westerners who are upset that anime isn't being made that they like. From a sales perspective, its doing as well as ever and is very healthy. Those sales just happen to be going towards moe and other otaku oriented shows instead of Western oriented action shows or artsy stuff.
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Petrea Mitchell



Joined: 12 Jan 2007
Posts: 436
Location: Near Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:57 pm Reply with quote
Answerman wrote:
Be it a restaurant or a bank or anything else, when there's new owners, it's not uncommon for things to change. And when it comes time to draw up a new contract, the new owners may not agree to the original terms, and so on.


It also seems to be quite common, regardless of country or medium, for the new owners to feel that the old one was far too generous. This tale from British publishing springs to mind, for instance:

Quote:
The one fly in the ointment was that my draft introduction included a quotation from Bob Shaw's Fire Pattern. [...] Unfortunately I committed the routine courtesy of checking whether Bob's family had any objection to what I'd written and quoted, and his son stunned me by demanding a £300 permission fee. For 175 words. The mind reels.

Professional editors conveyed to me that "the late author's family" is a term of terror in the industry. Charles Platt robustly suggested I should tell the son and heir to piss off. Though knowing that Bob Shaw's own suggested fee would have been at most a pint of beer, I cautiously made a modest counter-offer; silence fell, and despite a follow-up letter continued for months. In the end, for safety's sake, that passage was paraphrased almost out of existence.
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tasogarenootome



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 560

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:10 pm Reply with quote
BWI is the devil, Dulles all the way! (well, it is further away...) Anyway, glad you're OK, Brian, but sorry about your car.

The question where you suggested Kickstarter was very interesting and something I've mulled over time and time again, but it does seem the biggest hurdle would be establishing credibility with a Japanese company in order to get licenses. Hmm...

As for Kickstarter itself, I think it's a very exciting opportunity, but again, we have to get Japanese companies comfortable with this method of crowd-funding.
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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 850
Location: Saint Louis, MO

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Ow. I know I shouldn't be surprised at such an attitude, but still...

Quote:
I'll probably be the 437th or so person to say this, but what's inexcusable is Sentai continuing to harbour Steven Foster. Anybody who checks out his work can see that he obviously doesn't like anime. What does he like? Himself. This is why he is one of the Enemies of Anime--the types who selfishly overimpose themselves on other people's work because, dammit all, those Japanese just don't understand that he's much more brilliant than the people who only create the work in the first place. The only reason I can see for to Sentai to continue to allow him to use the anime they license to wipe his backside is that he's holding something over the people at the top there, like incriminating pictures or videos. If that is indeed the case, then, if the concerned party really cares about and loves anime, they should own up to their indiscretions and sacrifice their career as well as cutting him out if it will stop the ongoing damage. It's bad enough that I refuse to buy Penguindrum--a series which I WANTED to buy--because of his greasy, ketchup-smear fingerprints all over it. I don't want to add anything else to that list. I genuinely want to give Sentai my money for their work, but not if it's covered in raging egomaniac drool.


*winces* Jeeze, Foster's among the "Enemies of Anime," huh? I'm not what one would call a "fan" of him either-- I created that "Penguindrum dub is being directed by... Steven Foster?" thread that expressed my worries with him, after all-- but still, that sounds like weeaboo speak to me, frankly. Wonder what other "enemies" there are besides 4kids. Looking at the content of this particular Answerfan letter, it seems the Biggest Things That Grinds His/Her Gears is Foster's sometimes very-liberal script adaptation and the moments where he didn't have actors take their roles and scenes seriously enough like in those infamous dub scenes from the second half of Guin Saga.

In that case.... as much as one might not find agreement with all the casting choices of characters, I don't think those two (admittedly theorized) bases of critique have merit with regard to Penguindrum, and at least the movies like GotF or Mardock Scramble he's worked on lately. There is very little script adaptation going on-- too little for some people, actually-- and the drama is never swapped out for comedy or vice-versa, with the actors themselves seeming to get the tonal intonations right. There isn't much in the way of "ego" stroking as far as Penguindrum's dub is concerned-- no inappropriate Americanized pop-culture references, at least, or scene-defiling slang. Now, if the "Foster syntax" (which some find awkward) is a big stickler for the letter-writer, and you are quite demanding of dub-acting as a performance art in of itself, I could understand the critiques a bit more. But for now, I see no ego-mania of the ADR Director going on with this particular dub, certainly no more than any other ADR Director of other shows.


Last edited by Animerican14 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kgw



Joined: 22 Jul 2004
Posts: 346
Location: Spain, EU

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:35 pm Reply with quote
As an insider (through from other Continent), let me tell you one thing: "Foreign" companies just release what Japanese owners or International Copyright Holders allow them.
I cannot tell names, but I do know that there has been times when Licensees asked the original owners to let them put some own-made extras in their DVDs and the answer was "no". And confidentiality contracts does exist for some reason, so the best you can do is s*ck it up.

And if the license is some "big name"*, then it's that but double or triple.

About the kickstarter: don't try to do it with manga or anime. A Spanish company lost their bid for Haruhi because they tried to crowdfund it. Apparently Kadokawa didn't like to have its license's prices published worldwide, and just play for safe and pretend it's the same with every other company.

*or they think it is.


Last edited by kgw on Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1585
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Here's a tip when it comes to translating light novels for ebooks:

Contact the Digital Comic Association (the industry group behind jmanga). Yes, that's about manga, but in the end the light novel companies are the same companies as the ones who publish manga.

They've been running translation contests and other events lately here in Japan, like two days ago:
http://www.digital-comic.jp/​info/​mtb.​php
in Roppongi.

If you go to these sorts of events you can find representatives from the big 4 publishers and introduce yourself as a translator, and it's actually possible someone will contact you... Then you can push your crowd funded light-novel idea, but be prepared to give about 5 power-point presentations to old men explaining to them what "Kickstarter" is Smile.

Oh, and you'd better be in Japan to get this to work. But honestly light-novels are definitely a licensing opportunity, especially if you're willing to front the risk of the translation. That's very very low risk for a Japanese publisher, they might throw you some B-C level titles and see what happens. Hell I'd do it myself if I thought there was actually any money in it (nope, no profit in light novels, sorry...)
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Aynslesa



Joined: 08 Feb 2012
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:42 pm Reply with quote
I just gotta high-five George, whoever and wherever he is, because he hit right on *my* biggest pet peeve - Illumitoon's B'tX release. Though I did not see a reference to my biggest issue concerning that release - the two-inch high BRIGHT GREEN subtitles that dominated the entire lower portion of the TV screen and made it nigh-impossible to just enjoy the footage (for what it was) that was playing. ::sigh:: Sadly I still have both volumes on my shelf... because that's the only way to represent B'tX in any DVD form.

...Brazil got Digimon in Japanese? D: Poorly packaged, poorly released Japanese, from the sounds of it, but... Japanese? D: Considering my recent ramblings concerning the unfairness of all this hype about Digimon boxsets in the US only to find out that they still (*still*) only contain the edited, English version from the TV release, this makes me very, very sad. (Also, Brazil, you have Saint Seiya. >< Clearly I'm living in the wrong country).
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angelmcazares
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
Posts: 1556
Location: Iscandar

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:00 pm Reply with quote
I want to think that crowd funding is a viable option to help produce new anime and manga content. We are connected as ever through the web, and I would think that generating, say, 1 million dollars could be possible.

I am also a dreamer, like you Answerman, but I think crowd funding might only work to fund small projects. I think it would be hard to find many backers to economically support something that might not turn out that great in the end.

I hope I am wrong, and projects like Kick-Heart are the start of bigger and greater things.
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DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 2072
Location: Romania, Bucharest

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:24 pm Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
Only people who have been doom and gloom are Westerners who are upset that anime isn't being made that they like. From a sales perspective, its doing as well as ever and is very healthy. Those sales just happen to be going towards moe and other otaku oriented shows instead of Western oriented action shows or artsy stuff.

What he said.
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Sago



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:27 pm Reply with quote
Aynslesa wrote:
...Brazil got Digimon in Japanese? D: Poorly packaged, poorly released Japanese, from the sounds of it, but... Japanese? D: Considering my recent ramblings concerning the unfairness of all this hype about Digimon boxsets in the US only to find out that they still (*still*) only contain the edited, English version from the TV release, this makes me very, very sad. (Also, Brazil, you have Saint Seiya. >< Clearly I'm living in the wrong country).


Yeah, since most non-English speaking countries got a (relatively) uncut version of Digimon, releasing it with the Japanese track is feasable. It would probably be a lot harder to do with the English dub, since both versions could occasionaly get very off-track (hello, Puppetmon episode). That said, international dubs of Digimon are still edited, in a way. Not exactly for content, but for terminology -- they all use the adaptaded character names, and English toy names. And that is transferred to the dubtitles... *facepalm*

In any case, they only released the first 26 episodes of Adventure before halting production (I think Digimon Savers went a little further, for some reason). And nobody was surprised -- if any given anime in Brazil releases over 26 episodes on DVD, it's a miracle (you constantly have poor things like Ashita no Nadja that are cancelled after releasing only 12 overpriced episodes).

As for Saint Seiya, Latin America loves its Caballeros del Zodiaco, and so does Brazil. Although I heard the DVD quality isn't *miles* better than Digimon's (man, Toei really handles things badly around here), it has all episodes released, all movies, all Hades OVAs and Lost Canvas is ongoing (...maybe). *sigh* I wish more series could go that far...if only...
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Divineking



Joined: 03 Jul 2010
Posts: 1092

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:02 pm Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:


Only people who have been doom and gloom are Westerners who are upset that anime isn't being made that they like. From a sales perspective, its doing as well as ever and is very healthy. Those sales just happen to be going towards moe and other otaku oriented shows instead of Western oriented action shows or artsy stuff.


Yeah pretty much, though I wouldn't say we're getting that much less of the mainstream/action want than people claim. Those shows are still getting made, it's just that since we're pretty much caught up with whatever Japan puts out these days we have to wait for them to make it. In the upcoming season alone I'd say there's a couple of titles bound to make action fans happy.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1263
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:12 pm Reply with quote
Sorry to read about your accident. I'm glad no one (save your car) was injured.
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dragonrider_cody



Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 1834

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:30 pm Reply with quote
Animerican14 wrote:
Ow. I know I shouldn't be surprised at such an attitude, but still...

Quote:
I'll probably be the 437th or so person to say this, but what's inexcusable is Sentai continuing to harbour Steven Foster. Anybody who checks out his work can see that he obviously doesn't like anime. What does he like? Himself. This is why he is one of the Enemies of Anime--the types who selfishly overimpose themselves on other people's work because, dammit all, those Japanese just don't understand that he's much more brilliant than the people who only create the work in the first place. The only reason I can see for to Sentai to continue to allow him to use the anime they license to wipe his backside is that he's holding something over the people at the top there, like incriminating pictures or videos. If that is indeed the case, then, if the concerned party really cares about and loves anime, they should own up to their indiscretions and sacrifice their career as well as cutting him out if it will stop the ongoing damage. It's bad enough that I refuse to buy Penguindrum--a series which I WANTED to buy--because of his greasy, ketchup-smear fingerprints all over it. I don't want to add anything else to that list. I genuinely want to give Sentai my money for their work, but not if it's covered in raging egomaniac drool.


*winces* Jeeze, Foster's among the "Enemies of Anime," huh? I'm not what one would call a "fan" of him either-- I created that "Penguindrum dub is being directed by... Steven Foster?" thread that expressed my worries with him, after all-- but still, that sounds like weeaboo speak to me, frankly.

In that case.... as much as one might not find agreement with all the casting choices of characters, I don't think those two (admittedly theorized) bases of critique have merit with regard to Penguindrum, and at least the movies like GotF or Mardock Scramble he's worked on lately. There is very little script adaptation going on-- too little for some people, actually-- and the drama is never swapped out for comedy or vice-versa, with the actors themselves seeming to get the tonal intonations right.


I feel some people forget that there is a big difference between script writing and directing. Steven Foster has directed shows he hasn't written, and also written shows he hasn't directed. Most of the criticisms I've seen of him have been related to his overly liberal script adaptations. or the exact opposite when he stays to faithful to the translation. With the exception of the about 10 minutes of Guin Saga, it seems very little is often wrong with his direction.

I can share some of the criticisms of his script writing, but I certainly can't share them when it comes to his directing. I think his casting is usually exceptional and spot on and he's been able to get some phenomonal performances of a large variety of voice actors. His 2006-2008 dubs at ADV remain some of the best ever made in North America, and despite some misses, he's turned in some excellent work at Sentai (Canaan, Angel Beats, Grave of the Fireflies), as well as some non-Sentai work (Halo Legends, Starship Trooper Invasion). I think some of his recent flops actually come from the time constraints placed on Seraphim to get the DVDs and blurays out on time. With North American sales less than stellar, I can somewhat understand this as Sentai needs to watch their costs and try their best to make sure each title at least breaks even (preferably turning a profit.) Complete series are now dubbed in the same amount of time that ADV only dubbed 3-4 episodes. Some compromises in quality is to be expected.

I have to say that I was pretty disturbed by the negative tone of that letter. It was completely over the top. I honestly don't understand the thought processes behind "I don't like this person that works at this company, so I will never buy anything from them ever, regardless of who works on it." There is a Funimation director that I've met personally (and worked with at a con as a volunteer) who I think is a total jack ass, and I don't particularly care for his work. In fact, I can think of only one decent dub he has ever done and even that had several of his trademark, lazy miscastings. However, I don't boycott the entirety of Funi's releases because he works there. That just seems so ass backward to me. I'm not going to refuse to buy something Jerry Jewel directs, just because they have another director that sucks. What's the purpose?

I'm getting so tired of the arguments over dub quality, certain voice actors, and Stephen Foster. If you don't like a dub, don't watch it. But you'll have to accept the fact that many others will. At least be open minded enough to give a dub a few episodes before passing judgement. I'm getting tired of people bashing dubs based on comments they've read here and at 4chan. At least ben enough of an individual to try it yourself and make your own opinion.

And for the record, I'm really enjoying the Penguin Drum dub so far. I thought Illich Gaurdiola was a bit miscast at first, but he pretty quickly got adjusted to his role and seems to be doing fine to me now. Monica Rial and Blake Shepherd are both excellent in their roles and couldn't be more perfectly cast. I know there is the whole incident/accident issue, but I would take that over the flat performances and horrible miscasting we've had in some other dubs from EVERY company. And for the record, Stephen Foster didn't do the translation, so you can't blame that one on him.


Last edited by dragonrider_cody on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dragonrider_cody



Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 1834

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:37 pm Reply with quote
Divineking wrote:
RyanSaotome wrote:


Only people who have been doom and gloom are Westerners who are upset that anime isn't being made that they like. From a sales perspective, its doing as well as ever and is very healthy. Those sales just happen to be going towards moe and other otaku oriented shows instead of Western oriented action shows or artsy stuff.


Yeah pretty much, though I wouldn't say we're getting that much less of the mainstream/action want than people claim. Those shows are still getting made, it's just that since we're pretty much caught up with whatever Japan puts out these days we have to wait for them to make it. In the upcoming season alone I'd say there's a couple of titles bound to make action fans happy.


Sales in Japan are pretty much the same as they have been over the past several years. No one is really disputing that. The "doom and gloom people" have mostly been concerned over the English language markets, particularly North America. Sales have declined pretty significantly, and most titles sell less than half what they would have in the early and mid 2000's. We've lost Geneon, ADV (mostly), Central Park, Bandai, and have had serious scares from Media Blasters. Even the king of the hill Funimation was sold off for only a fraction of what Navarre acquired it for. Their number of new releases every month has also continued to slow down as their release schedule becomes dominated by cheap re-releases. None of the points to particularly healthy. At most I'd say the market is no longer in free-fall, and is at least stabilizing.

True anime will continue to be made no matter what, even if the North American market completely went away. But many of us would like to continue to see companies like Sentai, Funimation, and Media Blasters continuing continuing to localize and sell products. Some of us like being able to get complete releases for fairly prices, and simply can't afford to pay Japanese import prices. Quite of a few of us would prefer not having to resort to fansubs and torrents to get the shows we want.
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