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WatcherZer



Joined: 29 Dec 2016
Posts: 79
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:52 am Reply with quote
One thing I always find amusing listening to the dialog in Japanese but usually fails to make the subs is the way small Japanese children always refer to themselves in the 3rd person.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 6621
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:20 am Reply with quote
WatcherZer wrote:
At my High School (UK) teachers did indeed use Surnames unless addressing you informally. We also tended to use surnames to refer to each other as well (probably around 60% of people were referred to by surnames, 30% by first names and 10% nicknames).


It's a strange thought to wrap my mind around. How do conversations between students play out anyway?

"Hey, Henderson! Over here! Henderson!"
"Hey."
"Did you see the movie yet?"
"No, Williams, but I'll go see it on Thursday."

That's how I'd imagine it, but it just doesn't feel right to me because surname usage when friends talk to each other sounds excessively formal. It'd be, as I mentioned earlier, as if everybody was referred to like Cartman in South Park.

For the record, I've had a lifetime of roughly 95% given name and nickname usage and 5% surname usage. The only people who were referred to by surname was always "title + surname" and were my teachers in school, the professors at university (with a few exceptions who preferred their given names without a title), and some of my bosses at work, but not all of them. Hence, I am thoroughly used to using given names by default in casual conversation. That's why it feels weird and jarring to me to see Japanese students refer to each other mostly by surname. But seeing peolpe's accounts of mostly surnames, it is making more sense to me.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
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Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:46 am Reply with quote
I never really found that jarring, probably thanks to a couple of factors. First is that growing up in Australia, we get a fair bit of British media, and as British posters have noted, calling people be surname isn't uncommon there. Second is that we also get quite a lot of American media too, so I grew up with an awareness that different countries do things differently, even when they speak (more-or-less) the same language. So going into anime, quite a few things didn't make immediate sense to me, but I never really found any of the differences jarring.
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:04 am Reply with quote
I've come to believe that it's oversimplifying to classify subtitles and translations just on a 2-dimensional literal-liberal spectrum. A more useful model could be a 4-quadrant one, with one axis being literal-liberal (use of TL notes; degree of adherence to Japanese phrasing and word order; assigning exact equivalents for common JP words and phrases), and the other being unlocalized-localized (honorific/title use, name order, measurements, foods and cultural terms like moe/otaku/tsundere). All combinations of these attributes have been used by some entities or others, for example:

* "Literal + Unlocalized" -- the standard/stereotypical fansub treatment over the years. Honorifics used, Eastern name order, jokes explained with TL notes, stiff phrasing meant to reflect the JP dialogue as much as possible.
* "Liberal + Unlocalized" -- the "happy medium" I most prefer; uses honorifics, Eastern name order, and some untranslated terms, but adapts jokes where possible (visual puns where rewrites clash with the imagery are the worst stumbling block here) and strives for flowing, natural English. Some of the better fansubbers over the years used this approach after evolving from an early literal/unlocalized period, though I haven't seen it too much in official subs.
* "Literal + Localized" -- a surprising number of official subs fall into this quadrant, as they avoid honorifics and such to maintain certain standards of accessibility, but don't put much effort into adapting jokes/puns or creating enjoyable phrasing. Kind of the "worst of both worlds" imo, as subs like this won't please purists or those craving a more natural adapted English experience.
* "Liberal + Localized" -- used by some official subs, often ones translated or subtitled by native English speakers. Also a hallmark of certain fansubbing groups that eschew honorifics and other "purist" elements, often engaging in very liberal phrasing bordering on rewriting, so much they're accused of acting like dub script writers. Speaking of whom...

Cptn_Taylor wrote:
Steven Foster dubs are reviled on this forum almost unanimously, yet he does what a good translator is supposed to do. That is to capture the essence of the Japanese dialog and find an acceptable English equivalent.
I actually don't revile Steven Foster or his dubs, but would you really describe adaptations like this as "capturing the essence of the Japanese dialogue"?

Generator Gawl 01, 04:27 (subtitled) wrote:

1-Masami: What? You washed it?
1-Masami's mother: You left it lying around, so of course I washed it.
2-Masami: I was going to wear it. That's why I left it out. Don't go barging into my room!
2-Masami's mother: Don't leave things on the floor. You're working today, who cares what you wear?
3-Masami: This afternoon I'm going out with Natsume!
3-Masami's mother: Well, if it's just Natsume then it's okay. It's not like you're meeting some boy or anything.
4-Masami: You never know, someone might come up and talk to me. A lot of guys like me, you know?
4-Masami's mother: What? I didn't hear what you said.
Masami: I'm not as unpopular as you think. You have no confidence at all in your own daughter. And I try so hard.


Generator Gawl 01 04:27 (dubbed) wrote:

1-Masami: What? How could you?!
1-Masami's mother: Don't bother me right now, Masami; I'm meditating.
2-Masami: It's my job, Mother! You can't call in sick; I'm not sick!
2-Masami's mother: I just don't think it's a good idea with that stalker around. They say he only stalks fast food employees!
3-Masami: No one is gonna stalk me, Mother!
3-Masami's mother: Now don't say that, honey. I'm sure you're stalking material.
4-Masami: God, Mother, I can't believe we're having this conversation. Sometimes I swear I think I'm adopted.
4-Masami's mother: I heard that, darling.
5-Masami: Hang in there, because soon you'll be on your own. (mockingly) "Now don't you say that honey, I'm sure you're stalking material." That woman is insane. She's crazy.


And a good portion of the dub is like this. Is there really anything in the JP version of this scene that's "too Japanese" or otherwise unadaptable to English? This isn't localizing jokes or cultural elements to be more accessible to English audiences, it's changing character personalities, drastically rewriting dialogue (like how the mother's 4th line in English is the exact opposite of the Japanese), filling silences with offscreen dialogue DBZ-style (the last sentence of the mother's 2nd line), and completely inventing things from whole cloth -- the "fast food stalker" isn't in the JP at all, it's from a rewritten TV news segment earlier in the episode. Compared to stuff like that, I never thought "Onee-sama -> Sissy" (apparently it's a Texas thing) was that big of a deal, just like it wasn't that big a deal in general when Funimation used it in Fruits Basket.

The case can easily be made that those changes improved otherwise-mediocre shows like the aforementioned Generator Gawl, Ghost Stories, Milk-chan, Orphen, and the sections Foster directed of Sorcerer Hunters and Those Who Hunt Elves. But the Foster backlash was not merely Japanophile purists nitpicking broadly-defensible localization decisions. Still, it's too bad many of Foster's Sentai-era dubs degenerated into "make the actors bang out this literal subtitle script readthrough on time and within budget."
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peno



Joined: 06 Jul 2016
Posts: 232
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:22 am Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
I've come to believe that it's oversimplifying to classify subtitles and translations just on a 2-dimensional literal-liberal spectrum. A more useful model could be a 4-quadrant one, with one axis being literal-liberal (use of TL notes; degree of adherence to Japanese phrasing and word order; assigning exact equivalents for common JP words and phrases), and the other being unlocalized-localized (honorific/title use, name order, measurements, foods and cultural terms like moe/otaku/tsundere). All combinations of these attributes have been used by some entities or others, for example:

* "Literal + Unlocalized" -- the standard/stereotypical fansub treatment over the years. Honorifics used, Eastern name order, jokes explained with TL notes, stiff phrasing meant to reflect the JP dialogue as much as possible.
* "Liberal + Unlocalized" -- the "happy medium" I most prefer; uses honorifics, Eastern name order, and some untranslated terms, but adapts jokes where possible (visual puns where rewrites clash with the imagery are the worst stumbling block here) and strives for flowing, natural English. Some of the better fansubbers over the years used this approach after evolving from an early literal/unlocalized period, though I haven't seen it too much in official subs.
* "Literal + Localized" -- a surprising number of official subs fall into this quadrant, as they avoid honorifics and such to maintain certain standards of accessibility, but don't put much effort into adapting jokes/puns or creating enjoyable phrasing. Kind of the "worst of both worlds" imo, as subs like this won't please purists or those craving a more natural adapted English experience.
* "Liberal + Localized" -- used by some official subs, often ones translated or subtitled by native English speakers. Also a hallmark of certain fansubbing groups that eschew honorifics and other "purist" elements, often engaging in very liberal phrasing bordering on rewriting, so much they're accused of acting like dub script writers. Speaking of whom...

I am with you, I too prefer the second approach. It was also approach that Crunchyroll had in past, but for some reason, they switched to fifth approach, which I would call "Literal + Unlocalized - TL notes". That's pretty much how all CR subs are these days. It's really quite annoying approach, to be honest.
And it's also how I recognise that certain subs weren't done by CR, if they clearly don't fit this approach. Like Naruto and Boruto subs, which use only one honorific, Sensei, which goes along with Viz's translations of Naruto franchise, hence I am pretty sure these subs are by Viz, not CR.


Last edited by peno on Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 6621
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:41 am Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
* "Liberal + Unlocalized" -- the "happy medium" I most prefer; uses honorifics, Eastern name order, and some untranslated terms, but adapts jokes where possible (visual puns where rewrites clash with the imagery are the worst stumbling block here) and strives for flowing, natural English. Some of the better fansubbers over the years used this approach after evolving from an early literal/unlocalized period, though I haven't seen it too much in official subs.
* "Literal + Localized" -- a surprising number of official subs fall into this quadrant, as they avoid honorifics and such to maintain certain standards of accessibility, but don't put much effort into adapting jokes/puns or creating enjoyable phrasing. Kind of the "worst of both worlds" imo, as subs like this won't please purists or those craving a more natural adapted English experience.


Not just visual puns, ANY kind of puns is near untranslatable unless, by coincidence, something happens to work in the language you're translating to. Unless you mean that visual puns will, by their nature, restrict the adapted script/subtitles to using whatever is depicted.

I think the fansubs that fall under "Literal + Localized" are the ones where they have at least moderately skilled translators but the team, as a whole, is either not creative enough or does not have a broad enough knowledge base to accurately convey what they're trying to say. It's been a while since I watched any fansubs, but I do recall at least a couple of cases where the translators could not identify an object or diagram displayed onscreen or incorrectly transliterated a foreign word and then made up their own stuff. When you can put up a bunch of translators notes for takoyaki that describes the cooking process and every ingredient but don't know there's a word in English for converting arable land into desert, "desertification" (which is what one fansubbing group for One Piece was guilty of), your knowledge is way too specialized.

Maybe it's because I'm a trivia person, but it was something that really bugged me about some of these fansubbers: They have an encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese cuisine, Japanese culture (well, what they can pick up from anime, at least), and maybe Japanese history, but they are well below average in everything else, sometimes including the use of English. To be a good translator, you must know a lot about not only the language and culture you're translating from, but also the language and culture you're translating to.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 586
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 bangs the nail right on the head there. Though my preferred spot on the chart is just about on the literal/liberal border, and very deep in unlocalised territory.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 2459
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:33 am Reply with quote
peno wrote:
I am with you, I too prefer the second approach. It was also approach that Crunchyroll had in past, but for some reason, they switched to fifth approach, which I would call "Literal + Unlocalized - TL notes". That's pretty much how all CR subs are these days. It's really quite annoying approach, to be honest.

We must be watching a very different menu of shows on Crunchyroll because I can't recall ever seeing translator notes. I don't watch the mainstream offerings like One Piece, though, so perhaps it's more common with those? Even a show like Demi-chan, which had some extended discussions of biology using a white board just translated the written texts with no additional explanations.
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peno



Joined: 06 Jul 2016
Posts: 232
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:57 pm Reply with quote
Actually, you misunderstood what I meant by "Literal + Unlocalized - TL notes" or, in words, "Literal plus Unlocalized minus TL notes". In other words, I actually meant that what CR is doing now is pretty much what fansub groups did in past, except they don't include TL notes.
BTW, One Piece, just like Dragon Ball Super and other Toei titles, is translated by Toei, not CR, which is why their style is quite different from usual CR subs, in other words, they tends to be more liberal and localized. And now, even Funimation is using these subs for their DVD and BD releases and probably even as base for their dubs.
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Polycell



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Posts: 4529
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:27 pm Reply with quote
As an amusing aside to the whole metric/US measurement debate, NASA's developing the Space Launch System in American units to avoid the rather massive cost of converting the Apollo-era infrastructure*, but the Wikipedia article insists on giving the metric conversions before the actual sizes.
Shiroi Hane wrote:
I was just thinking the other day how I think of large audio jacks as quarter inch and small ones as 3.5mm.
That's because this is correct: while it's in the same ballpark, a 3.5mm jack isn't exactly half the size of the 1/4" jack(a bit of math makes the 3.5mm model look to be more like 1/7-ish).


* Plus, let's face it: NASA has a rather bad track record when it comes to trying to combine standard and metric. It'd probably blow up on the crawler if they didn't maintain unit consistency.
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