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Aradiel



Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Farla-hime wrote:
let's at least not forget that back in the day dub VHS outsold sub).

But why was that the case? 95% of my VHS anime is dubbed, but that's only because I didn't get any choice in the matter - 95% of the releases here were dub only.

(95% is a guess, but you get my point - saying the dubs outsold subs doesn't really mean anything if subbed versions of the dubbed shows were unavailable.)

Devil Doll wrote:
I have a feeling that everywhere in Western countries the degree of literacy is declining (due to ever more media like videos and games being available that no longer require literacy from the audience), so if an ever growing part of the audience doesn't even master their own language perfectly then why should they not watch speed subs when they're fast and for free?

The number of grammar and spelling errors I've seen in professional works astounds me... and I'm meant to be dyslexic.

Moomintroll wrote:
There's nothing stopping you from importing the shows that haven't been released here from the US.

I am actually yet to see a single multi-region DVD player in the UK. The closest I have is running some 3rd party software on my PS2 (which may be breaking the crappy copyright laws that Sony managed to shove through)
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luisedgarf



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:18 pm Reply with quote
zayl wrote:
it is not uncommon for fansubbing groups to insert a brief comment educating the viewer about this cultural note. I've rarely seen such care in the subs of licensed DVDs.


Thanks for the cultural note, seongsae-nim but I don't think that many people will like to learn another culture while watching, per example, an stupid comedy like, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Hayate no Gotoku Or do you think that a foreigner like me can able to learn English (as an example) watching Scarface, Get Rich or Die Trying, or Undercover Brother?
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Master Lee



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 47
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:49 pm Reply with quote
I don't believe they meant to imply that you could learn to fluently speak Japanese by watching the "cultural notes" of anime episodes.

I believe it was saying that by having cultural notes you will be better able to appreciate and understand what is occuring and why it's occuring.

For example: Suppose you're not familiar with the idea of "saying grace" before a meal. If you saw this occur in a film without some explaination as to why... it would seem horribly out of place.

Another example would be... if you were to watch Sacha Baron Cohen's movie based on "Da Ali G Show" and you knew nothing about the trends of "urban youth / "gansta" society the characters dialogue, dress, and actions would make no sense.

Just my two cents...

Master Lee

(Note to self: I never thought "Da Ali G Show" could ever be used to explain anything..."
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Furudanuki



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1874
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:21 pm Reply with quote
luisedgarf wrote:
zayl wrote:
it is not uncommon for fansubbing groups to insert a brief comment educating the viewer about this cultural note. I've rarely seen such care in the subs of licensed DVDs.


Thanks for the cultural note, seongsae-nim but I don't think that many people will like to learn another culture while watching, per example, an stupid comedy like, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Hayate no Gotoku Or do you think that a foreigner like me can able to learn English (as an example) watching Scarface, Get Rich or Die Trying, or Undercover Brother?

Comparing learning a foreign language from movies to explaining a specific cultural reference from said movies is specious at best. And if you don't already some knowledge about the culture, plus you have no interest in learning, then there is really no point in you watching pun and reference-laden shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Hayate no Gotoku in the first place. If you don't already have a clue what Setsubun and/or mamemaki are, a scene showing Hayate and Nagi chasing Tama around the mansion while throwing beans at him isn't going to make much sense. Just as someone watching a show set in Mexico who has never heard of El Día de los Muertos is not going to have a clue why vendors are selling little sugar skulls. I guess I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would want to watch something, know that a sizable portion of the content is going completely over their head, but prefer to remain uninformed.
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tygerchickchibi



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 1309
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:22 pm Reply with quote
._. Honestly, I've seen anime DVDs with cultural notes.

Preferably, I would NOT like them placed on the screen as I'm watching the show. It's distracting and a little annoying to me. I believe there is a section to read the cultural notes, and that's fine with me.

On a side note...

The best way to learn a language that you plan to use in the future is to actually study it. If you go to college and take Japanese classes, the instructer will tell you if you have learned Japanese through anime, they'll tell you to throw that sh*t out of the window, because it's very, very, INFORMAL.

You can't even learn Japanese characters through anime, what makes you think that anime is really the best way to learn it? Unless you're already taking classes and just want to use it to see how much you remember.

But anyway, that's all I have to say about that.
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Farla-hime



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:01 pm Reply with quote
Aradiel wrote:
Farla-hime wrote:
let's at least not forget that back in the day dub VHS outsold sub).

But why was that the case? 95% of my VHS anime is dubbed, but that's only because I didn't get any choice in the matter - 95% of the releases here were dub only. (95% is a guess, but you get my point - saying the dubs outsold subs doesn't really mean anything if subbed versions of the dubbed shows were unavailable.)


That is a good point, I mean, I remember being really miffed that the subbed VHS tapes of an anime were $5 more as a rule over the dubbed ones. I always grudgingly paid the extra 5 bucks, but I can imagine it may have discouraged people who were neutral or undecided on the choice of dialogue to just go with the price point... Sad But maybe the reason they did this was because the dubs always sold better? Although that's sort of a Catch 22 since making the subs more expensive not only encouraged people to buy the dob, but also made it so diehard sub fans could only buy 4 tapes for every 5 tapes that non-diehard fans could buy....Eeeeeevil.

On the other hand, I have to admit that every time I lend out my anime, I tell the person/people "DON'T WATCH THIS IN ENGLISH. WATCH IT IN JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES!!" Then I make them swear up and down they'll do as I say, and guess what? Not ONCE has a person followed my recommendation, and EVERY time, they have made fun of something that wasn't present in the original J dialogue (such as poor singing, stupid "character" voices, as DevilDoll put it "American bubbegum audio" that "sounds like Mickey Mouse"). That's the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd kept my sub-only tapes, then those ingrates wouldn't have the opportunity to watch the dub. Twisted Evil

I also thought I'd add my experience with subtitle "professionals," since so much is being said about them here. I worked with some others on a few Japanese short films getting subbed professionally (which ran at >$600 for a 30 minute sequence regardless of the amount or difficulty of the dialogue) and found that professional subtitlers aren't really willing to discuss the translation. There were words that didn't make perfect sense in the context of the conversation, as well as awkward word choice in others (in our opinion), so we asked about it before finalizing the subs. The subtitlers seemed BAFFLED that we would be concerned over word choice or the translation of a certain word. They weren't at all interested in discussing the translation of a word/phrase in the context of the situation, and they eventually just replaced the words/phrases we asked about with things we openly wondered might be the better choice for translation. Basically, if we thought they should have used what we were suggesting, what the "H" did we hire them for? Anyways, it was like pulling teeth to get them to give subtitling/translation more than the initial time and thought they already put into it. Everyone's got a deadline, I guess. But I'm just saying that maybe *some* of the anime companies who don't have the Perfect most Precise translation you would like *might* not have the most control over the situation... Confused

And RE the cultural notes "fansubber advantage" I offer one word: Animeigo.
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Devil Doll



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:08 am Reply with quote
luisedgarf wrote:
I don't think that many people will like to learn another culture while watching, per example, an stupid comedy like, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Hayate no Gotoku
It's not exactly about learning another culture so that you can live there and act like a native Japanese.

But remember the scene mentioned earlier in this thread (taken from "To Heart 2" IIRC): Two people talk about a third one (and not exactly favourably). Scene cut to that third person who's sneezing.
Japanese common sense implies that this means (to the Japanese audience) that the third person is somehow aware of someone else talking about her. But how do you explain that to the audience other than by adding a footnote? There's no dialog you can translate like "I wonder who was talking about me right now" which is essentially the message of this scene.

Another example would be the boke and tsukkomi references you can see in anime every now and then: Some character is doing something completely incomprehensible to the non-Japanese audience (such as suddenly hitting another character at the back of the head) which at the same time is completely transparent to the Japanese audience because they know what owarai is. Unless you explain what's going on the whole scene will remain a mystery to the audience, and they may even wrongly consider the character in question acting like a freak.
It's a bit like Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote references to ACME - this is what I would consider "American culture" because an audience outside of the U.S. will most likely fail to understand the reference and why it is considered to be funny.

Tongue twisters, references making fun of other animes, ambiguous Japanese terms (the legendary "koi" double meaning of "love" and "carp"), puns based on alternative meanings of Kanji or intentional mispronunciation of words, characters talking in a Japanese dialect for being tagged as outsiders, even the situation where a Japanese character is facing an ambiguous information that can't reasonably be kept ambiguous in any Western language (the "aisatsu" scene of Haibane Renmei where Rakka can't possibly know whether Kuu is expressing "greeting" or "farewell" which makes a hell of a difference storywise)... there's a plethora of elements that may appear in anime and can't reasonably be expressed by simply translating the dialog.
And given the nature of the Japanese language (which has a larger amount of homophones and ambiguous terms than Western languages, thus making the creation of puns much easier than in English) these aren't exotic examples, they're actually being used in a lot of anime (most notably in comedies) and quite often are the source of fun/entertainment for the whole scene. Do you like watching a comedy where everyone in the audience is laughing except for you?

The same applies to visible Kanjis not being translated. Storytelling doesn't always rely on dialog, it may provide significant information in the form of images (remember the "Statue of Liberty" scene in Planet of the Apes?) and visible text (take "Byousoku 5cm" as example which has very little dialog overall but lots of visible information such as the whole itinerary being presented by a hand drawing a long, complex, red line across a map of Japan, slowly telling you the names of all cities that will be shown during the course of events of this episode, and whenever you'll see a sign with a name of one of these cities later in this show the Japanese audience will know how much of the journey has been completed by then which is significant for the story because it's kind of a race against time). But how can you as audience be able to follow the story when essential parts of the information just aren't translated?
Neglecting visible signs may do as much damage to the comprehension of a story by the audience as leaving out a dialog line every now and then (something the professional translators are doing as well as I pointed out in my Love Hina examples). Imagine a character reading as letter whose content is visible to the audience, and reacting shocked... how can you understand what's going on unless you are able to read the content of said letter?
It may be as simple as a name tag at a door - Kanon 2002 comes to mind with the scene in the final episode where the fansubbers added a footnote running "We consider it an improvement to the story not to translate this sign as not to spoil the surprise for you in the subsequent scene"... and what a surprise it is! (It's the climax of the whole series, actually.)

So this isn't about learning something for future use, it's about explaining something for immediate use because the information will get lost otherwise and the audience will not understand what's actually happening in this show.
Compared to this, explaining an "itadakimasu" at the beginning of a meal by using a footnote appears redundant to me nowadays, and the same goes for translating honorifics: As these terms occur so often in animes it makes sense to not even translate them any more because the average anime fan will understand them anyway... so some of the "learning" actually does happen (if only for cultural elements of marginal importance).

And for those who prefer their anime without footnotes - no problem: Using a Matroska container and softsubs, a fansub can offer them alternatives like "subtitles plus cultural references" and "subtitles for dialog only". It's not like the translator needs to dictate the taste of the audience.
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Aradiel



Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:12 am Reply with quote
Farla-hime wrote:

That is a good point, I mean, I remember being really miffed that the subbed VHS tapes of an anime were $5 more as a rule over the dubbed ones. I always grudgingly paid the extra 5 bucks, but I can imagine it may have discouraged people who were neutral or undecided on the choice of dialogue to just go with the price point... Sad But maybe the reason they did this was because the dubs always sold better? Although that's sort of a Catch 22 since making the subs more expensive not only encouraged people to buy the dob, but also made it so diehard sub fans could only buy 4 tapes for every 5 tapes that non-diehard fans could buy....Eeeeeevil.

Yes, quite a Catch 22. Perhaps the availability of subs over here was influenced by the sales figures in America. If so, that annoys me greatly. Just because we speak essentially the same language does not mean the markets are direct mirrors of one another.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote
Aradiel wrote:

Moomintroll wrote:
There's nothing stopping you from importing the shows that haven't been released here from the US.

I am actually yet to see a single multi-region DVD player in the UK. The closest I have is running some 3rd party software on my PS2 (which may be breaking the crappy copyright laws that Sony managed to shove through)


Shocked

Pretty much every DVD player sold in the UK (and elsewhere) is multi-region provided it isn't made by Sony or Toshiba and that's been the case for years now. You just have to enter the region-free code with your remote. Takes about 30 seconds.
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luisedgarf



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 490
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:16 am Reply with quote
For Herr Devil Doll: If the word Japanophile should be defined in some way, maybe your name should be in that definition. Smile
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jel123



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 108
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:37 am Reply with quote
Devil Doll wrote:
It may be as simple as a name tag at a door - Kanon 2002 comes to mind with the scene in the final episode where the fansubbers added a footnote running "We consider it an improvement to the story not to translate this sign as not to spoil the surprise for you in the subsequent scene"... and what a surprise it is! (It's the climax of the whole series, actually.)

Wow, just about everything you have written is exactly what I look for in subtitles and for exactly the same reasons you express. The above quote has me a bit confused though. Does this mean that the image of the sign should not have been in the original so someone that knows Japanese could have been surprised as well? That sort of boarders on editing the story it self. [Disclaimer: I have not seen Kanon 2002 and am not familiar the the scene]

Quote:
Compared to this, explaining an "itadakimasu" at the beginning of a meal by using a footnote appears redundant to me nowadays, and the same goes for translating honorifics: As these terms occur so often in animes it makes sense to not even translate them any more because the average anime fan will understand them anyway... so some of the "learning" actually does happen (if only for cultural elements of marginal importance).

While this is true for anyone that has been watching subs for a while there are always new fans being introduced that won't recognize these common terms. ANN has its lexicon page but it would be nice to have a short list of terms commonly used in anime for reference.
One exception in translating honorifics is when they are being used improperly either for effect or as an insult. At least this is something I would never pick up on.

Quote:
And for those who prefer their anime without footnotes - no problem: Using a Matroska container and softsubs, a fansub can offer them alternatives like "subtitles plus cultural references" and "subtitles for dialog only". It's not like the translator needs to dictate the taste of the audience.

This is done on some DVDs, Excel Saga with its "Menchi enhanced" subtitle track comes to mind. While some fansub groups do release multi language softsubs, I would be really suprised if anyone would go to the trouble of adding a second "extras" track. From your experience how much more effort would be involved to make a dual sub track release? Would each need to be timed from scratch or is it as easy as just editing a text file?
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Zac
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Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:16 am Reply with quote
Some of you guys come across as bizarrely obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:40 am Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Some of you guys come across as bizarrely obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture.


The term "Japanophile" implies a negative connotation, and for good reason. Those who insist that dubs are never - ever - as good as or better than the original track are clearly wrong, and their misplaced enthusiasm is amusing at best.

However, despite the majority being misguided idiots, there are some who are genuinely fascinated by a culture and language that is not their own. While I do think it is unusual, I would not label it bizarre. The term "bizarre" is better used to describe something like Excel Saga.

I think Devil Doll's interest in Japan is more endearing than distasteful or strange. Some people come across as creepy in their obsession, others come off as dedicated in pursuit of their hobby. Devil Doll, I argue, belongs in the latter category.

Eh, just my thoughts, as usual. But anyway, what were you expecting? Given the amount of Anime fans worldwide, it is very likely that a certain percentage of them will take an interest in the very culture that spawned their hobby. What is bizarre about that?


[By the way, sorry to talk about you, Devil Doll. But it appeared to me that Zac was indirectly referring to you, and I thought you made a good example.]
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jel123



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 108
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:52 am Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Some of you guys come across as bizarrely obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture.
It's a little to difficult derive the full meaning of what you are saying from a one-liner. This is a site dedicated to anime after all so most of us are probably at least a little obsessed. From what you have written in your column and elsewhere one would have to conclude that anime (and, by extrapolation, Japan and its culture) is more than just a 9-5 job for you too.

Exactly what in this thread strikes you as a "bizarre" obsession with Japan and Japanese culture?
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Furudanuki



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:07 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
The term "Japanophile" implies a negative connotation, and for good reason. Those who insist that dubs are never - ever - as good as or better than the original track are clearly wrong, and their misplaced enthusiasm is amusing at best.
Japanophilia is simply a love of, or interest in, Japan and things Japanese. It is no better or worse than Anglophilia or Francophilia, and it only has a negative connotation for those who choose to insert or infer one. Insisting that dubs can NEVER be as good as the original is the mark of an absolutist, not a Japanophile. And while there are certainly absolutists to be found among Japanophiles, I have never gotten the impression that they make up a significant percentage. They do tend to be noisy, though. Wink
Zac wrote:
Some of you guys come across as bizarrely obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture.

My parents (neither of whom are ethnically Japanese) met in Japan. They were married in Japan and lived there for several years on each of two separate occasions. I was born in the US, but grew up surrounded by Japanese (and Korean and Chinese) things my parents had brought back with them, including the hundreds and hundreds of slides my mother took during her travels all over the country. I heard bedtime stories about Momotaro and Tongue-Cut Sparrow right alongside Grimm's and Hans Christian Andersen. So I think it would be quite bizarre if I lacked an enthusiastic interest in Japan and Japanese culture. My interest in anime arose from my existing interest in Japanese culture, not the other way around. Smile
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