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Interview With The Fansubber


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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 14082
Location: currently stalking my waifu
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:08 pm Reply with quote
Furudanuki wrote:
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.


I accept your point. It is not inherently a negative term, but it used as such when referring to certain people. An example of how neutral language can evolve into negative language, when people use it as such.

I enjoyed your post. You have a great cultural background, and it shows in your writing.
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luisedgarf



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 491
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:33 pm Reply with quote
[quote="Furudanuki"]
dtm42 wrote:

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


Curiously, I haven't meet someone who could be considered too way interested in Chinese or Korean cultures...
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Devil Doll



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
Posts: 656
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:44 pm Reply with quote
jel123 wrote:
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]
You're right about this point - this particular fansub has received negative feedback because of that decision. As a fan of this anime my heart it split in to about this decision: It does make the story better IMHO but it is a step away from the original work (not that different from the Love Hina dialog changes).
Then again, the whole Kanon 2002 series is a step away from the original story of the Kanon game (and again, to the better if you ask me) while Kanon 2006 tried to be as close to the game arcs as possible (and thus preserving a lot or problems that automatically come up when you turn parallel arcs of a game into sequential arcs of an anime).

I basically brought this example up to show the significance of little elements that tend to be ruthlessly ignored by non-fan translators: If this one little sign can make that much of a difference then try to imagine how much ignoring all signs can change the whole story. Which is what the commercial translators tend to do.

Quote:
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?
In terms of SSA/ASS softsubs it's a mere editing of a text file (i. e. deleting the footnote lines from the second copy of the subtitle file).
I can't comment in detail on the subs format on MPEG2 DVDs though. IIRC they're images, not text but given that a commercial DVD apparently can hold subtitles of different languages it shouldn't be a problem to specify "English with footnotes" and "English without footnotes" as separate languages and generate the images for these so there shouldn't be any fundamental problem with making footnotes optional.

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Whatever the attitude towards watching an anime might be for each individual fan, one thing should be obvious by now: There's more than one way to approach the challenge of translating a story cross-culture.
Some like it the "one size fits all" way, eliminating all Japanese elements and turning anime into "Disney with big eyes, nude skin and violence but no singing animals"; others like it the "as close to the original as possible" way, accepting the challenge of learning what's funny for a Japanese in order to understand Japanese comedy.
Some prefer a documentary about Troja, others prefer the Hollywood version that significantly rewrote the story. To each his own.

But at least I consider the attempt to translate a work preserving as much of its original content as possible a more valid goal for fansubbing than the attempt to get "fame" in an online community - this alone would be a bit too childish for me to invest my spare time. Compared to this I definitely prefer to be a Japanophile (well, actually rather being open to foreign cultures in general - there are certain Chinese movies winning awards in Western countries nowadays... and there's this one Korean movie I like...).

And as long as the R1 version and the fansub are producing different versions for different target groups, none of these will ever become obsolete, regardless of the pricing and distribution methods being used.

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By the way: It's not a god given that Animes are niche in the U.S. - Disney isn't niche after all, and how many copies of "Finding Nemo" have been sold world-wide?
If the anime industry were to consider the U.S. (and international) market their main target they should produce animes customized for the U.S. market - stories that could air on American TV without any modification. Toyota made it into the world leading car maker company after all because they listen to their customers - why shouldn't anime studios try the same thing?
If Americans don't eat what they don't know then feed them what they're asking for if you want to make money. Go produce animes tailor-made for Americans, with American dialogs, American voice talents and American culture. Don't try to make anime mainstream - try to "anime" mainstream. Compete with The Simpsons. "Avatar: The Last Airbender" might just be the beginning of a new breed.
These "USAnimes" would not require a lenghty process for being licensed in the U.S. and rewritten/censored/domesticised as to abide by American laws/tastes/requirements. And there wouldn't be any reason for fansubbing these in the first place.

Me, I prefer anime to be the Maserati of comics - rare, expensive, outlandish and as such an intellectual challenge for me. But how many customers does Maserati have? Just those few Italophiles, obviously...
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Farla-hime



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 16
Location: Your local traffic light lane divide.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:28 pm Reply with quote
luisedgarf wrote:
Curiously, I haven't meet someone who could be considered too way interested in Chinese or Korean cultures...


*AHEM* Did someone say KUNG-FU-PHILE? In any culture there are people who have a heightened interest in some other culture than their own. True most people to a degree are Ethnocentric, which is why criticising those who aren't is really kinda counter-productive. Sad If more people took interest in cultures not their own, wouldn't we be a little closer to world peace? *sings Give Peace a Chance and hands out daisies*

Devil Doll wrote:
As a fan of this anime my heart it split in to about this decision: It does make the story better IMHO but it is a step away from the original work (not that different from the Love Hina dialog changes).


Just gotta say that if the viewer doesn't know what the sign says, then it does seem a bit odd for him to go into that room. I mean...it's splitting hairs really, but I can see why it matters to know what it says.

Devil Doll wrote:
jel123 wrote:
From your experience how much more effort would be involved to make a dual sub track release?
In terms of SSA/ASS softsubs it's a mere editing of a text file (i. e. deleting the footnote lines from the second copy of the subtitle file).


It's the same w/ DVD. Unless you're using a really crappy program, which professionally there would be no excuse for, it's just as you said: adding/deleting the extra information (such as cultural references) and having an additional subtitle track on the DVD (pretty basic procedure to have 2 if you're adding any in the first place). In some cases it would be kinda weird to have a whole other sub track for this purpose--like if there's only 2 instances that need to be explained--but it *is* essentially as simple a process and if someone's going to complain about the extra information, I see no reason against adding a 2nd subtitle track. But of course, let's not forget they'll need a 3rd subtitle track with ((CC)) to appease hard-of-hearing viewers who need to read what the Americanized dialogue is saying. Hahahahaha--it never ends! Twisted Evil

Devil Doll wrote:
Whatever the attitude towards watching an anime might be for each individual fan, one thing should be obvious by now: There's more than one way to approach the challenge of translating a story cross-culture.(...)
Some prefer a documentary about Troja, others prefer the Hollywood version that significantly rewrote the story. To each his own.


This is so true. Take the horror films Ringu and The Ring. The Japanese studios prolly wouldn't have bothered releasing the original Japanese version subtitled in the US if there wasn't a market for it. It's not necessarily because people are Japanophiles per se as it is the arts side of it. Some people just don't like Hollywood-ized foreign films, just the same as some anime fans don't like Americanized anime. You can't really criticize folks for their taste in arts/entertainment (unless they like Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movies..that's just deranged Laughing ). And as far as wanting Japanese cultural references, etc, explained in your anime--how is that any different than watching a movie with the director/producer/supporting actor/assistant key grip commentary on it? It's just added interest/value to an entertainment you already enjoy. Very Happy

Devil Doll wrote:
But at least I consider the attempt to translate a work preserving as much of its original content as possible a more valid goal for fansubbing than the attempt to get "fame" in an online community(...)
And as long as the R1 version and the fansub are producing different versions for different target groups, none of these will ever become obsolete, regardless of the pricing and distribution methods being used.


This is such an important point you're making DevilDoll. I think this, and the importance of speed of delivery, is exactly the message that should be taken home from this interview, if nothing else.

Devil Doll wrote:
Go produce animes tailor-made for Americans, (...)
These "USAnimes" would not require a lenghty process for being licensed in the U.S. and rewritten/censored/domesticised as to abide by American laws/tastes/requirements.


Actually at the "Future of Anime in the US" conference (or whatever it was called), the US companies declared that the new business model should involve investing in anime at production time, and presumably therefore take part in the production process. Not sure whether this will be a good thing for anime as we know it/love it, but it will most likely result in some anime (the ones US co's take part in) being more palatable to the US market. Confused
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Ohoni



Joined: 10 Jun 2003
Posts: 3421
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:02 pm Reply with quote
Anime is a Japanese artform. Many of its visual and story elements are firmly entrenched in Japanese culture, to the point that 99/100 one can tell whether an animation is being produced by Japanese creators or by non-Japanese creators (such as the French), even if the style is very similar. To me, being a fan of anime and being a bit of a Japanophile are practically indistinguishable. If you enjoy watching anime, there's very likely something about Japanese culture and worldviews that you find appealing, whether you realize it as such or not. This is especially true of shows that actually take place within Japan.

As for how this relates to watching translated anime, dubs inevitably lose more in translation than subs. There are too many compromizes made to lipsynching and cultural differences. The ability of subs to ignore lipflaps to produce the most direct translation, to include in-line cultural notes (which dubs can also use, but rarely do), to more naturally include things like honorifics, which are less awkward in text than they are shoehorned into a dub.

If all else fails, subs include the original Japanese, and frequent anime viewers can quickly learn to pick up subtle ques from the Japanese dialog alone that do not translate properly into English (such as honorifics not in the subtitle text, differences between formal and informal speech patterns, Japanese accents such as Kansai, these are all things that can be picked up on without significant Japanese language skills, and yet are very difficult to replace with English equivalents.
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Stitch



Joined: 14 Feb 2004
Posts: 24
Location: The Netherlands
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:25 am Reply with quote
I'm also a fansubber, to be more accurate, I'm also with LE, I'm in the QCTeam. Like Tofu I'm also from the old generation, started with VHS, but I'm based in Europe.

I usually only help with the old animes that haven't been licenced and most likely never will. The only time I consider helping out with any of the other new projects is when they've been pending for QC over a month, or are so annoying that any other of the QC team can't bare to watch it again, yes it has happened, and someone has to ask me if I would like to help out, usually Gimp does that. However with the case of Wolf's Rain I was gladly to help out because I also disagreed with what AnimeJunkies was doing.
I also enjoyed working on the music video projects, LE subbed those in the past as well.

As you can see, this really is a hobby of mine, I only do it when I want and on what I want and not even weekly out of habit.

Will I stop fansubbing, I will not, will I stop fansubbing if the business adopts a new model and close the gap of release, I will not, however I might fansub differently, for example; making spoof subs, which basically means to have the subtitles translate into something totally different than what being said, to aim for a different amusement. Why? Because I enjoy subbing, working with other like-minded hobbyist as a nice enjoyable break from work.

I know very well the consequences from the business perspective, because I work in a field that has a simular problem, which is the games industry.

But like Tofu said, we fansubbers buy an insane amount of DVDs, I have bought entire series, just because I helped with one episode for fansubbing, after it came available to me, even when I didn't enjoy the anime, just out of ethics. However with the series I do enjoy it doesn't just stop at the DVDs, I also have to get the figurines, the soundtracks, posters or anything else I can get my hands on. I also go to conventions, at least 2 times a year, the maximum I managed was 7 times a year in various countries and recently it's been thrice a year.

I also do this with games, the process for that is way more complicated compared to anime fansubs. My target for games are usually doujinshi games, because a lot of times they will help out or don't mind if you do translate them to make it accesable for others.

I live and breath the asian culture, most likely that's because I'm mixed-blood European-Asian, starting with various martial arts as soon as I could stand up, playing games like go and shogi and so on.

I also have seen how the younger generations are less hardcore at times. In my eyes, those who just DL and don't buy anything have no respect for the creators and I can't even call them fans, I can only label them as consumers, the worst kind at that. Who's to blame? Fansubbers? I think not, I'd pin it more on society, business themselves and the unforseen side effects of techological advancements.

For example, regions are not needed and a platform can work damn well without it, just look at Nintendo's handhelds, they are region free and backwards compatible and it's the best handheld out there for years in a row.

Yeah but the console has regions. Indeed the game industry does the same with regions for the consoles and I'm also against that.

I used to need stacks of consoles and players to play from different regions, and most of those also need adjustment in powerfeed (omg look at all the cables that are needed).

Now I use my achieved skills to need only one for each platform, if they would sell a platform that would let me play any of the regions but I'd have to pay extra, I would gladly do so. Not to mention that having region actually requires more work, it's region free by default, you have to add in code to create regions, it's stupid.

In other words, the industry needs to stop complaining about what has been done and start coming up with practical solutions to solve the "problems" at hand and evolve along with the technology instead of sticking with old business models, those are like game franchises, same stuff over and over but the gameplay isn't getting any better, someone has to take the risks to try something new, if your not willing to do that than your in for a ride because like Tofu said, it's only going to get worse from now on and it'll increase getting worse with every generation, and eventually it'll all crash and burn.

But I have faith in the industry and the human race for its means to adjust, someone will come with a solution eventually. But with anything good, it all comes from many iterations so just try something else already, we from the older generation will support it if we think it's a good one.
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