Forum - View topic
Title translations, or lack thereof (rant).


Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Anime
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Zalis116
Moderator


Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 6206
Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
TheHTRO wrote:
Saying that ADV's English language parody of "Gakkou no Kaidan" improves the show is, in my honest, unbiased, non fanboy-oriented opinion, like saying an English dub by 4Kids "improves" on the original version.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that, then. (And how can you say that you're not a purist if you're insisting on using the untranslated title in an English-language forum in a case where the title has been translated?)
In order to prevent myself from taking potshots at this topic in series discussion threads, I'm starting up my own thread out of frustrations with the actions of fansubbers, individual fans, and to a lesser extent R1 companies when it comes to anime titles. Specifically, I get annoyed when any entity insists on using Japanese titles when there are straightforward, non-lame, or even official English titles available. Sure, the Japanese language has a certain degree of foreign/exotic "coolness" to it, but there's something to be said for using titles that are intelligible to the average viewer rather than forcing them to remember or research the meanings of Japanese titles that could be easily translated.
Now, I've been fortunate enough to learn a fair amount of Japanese, but I've still got a long way to go, and there were times when I initially dismissed shows on a "what the heck does that mean?" basis, even for shows like Hayate the Combat Butler and When they Cry that I eventually went back to and really liked. So I'm trying to keep the "less fortunate" in mind and think about how people with no appreciable Japanese knowledge would perceive these titles on the shelves, in conversation, or on fansub listings.

So the question at hand, before I get into a tl;dr quantity of specific examples is: Are there any titles that you think should or should not have been translated by fansubbers or companies, and are there any shows you've avoided because you didn't know what the title meant?

----------------------------------

*begin rant*
Now, I can understand the logic behind using Japanese titles when the officially-translated titles are dramatically different, like with Hajime no Ippo / Fighting Spirit, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien / Rumbling Hearts, or Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora / Shattered Angels. But is there really a need to call Kino's Journey "Kino no Tabi" when it's been available under the English title for years? I can understand referring to the Japanese title for awhile out of habit/familiarity, but apparently old habits die hard. AnimeNation's Ask John has been one of the most visible "offenders" in this category, routinely dropping references to shows like "Chikyuu Shoujo Arjuna," "Shoujo Kakumei Utena," "Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai," "Juuni Kokuki," and "Mousou Dairinin" shortly or long after the official titles were available. In the case of Paranoia Agent, even the fansub release I have doesn't call it "Mousou Dairinin," and rightly so. If you're looking through torrent links of the latest releases, "Mousou Dairinin" doesn't convey anything about the content of the series unless you know Japanese, but "Paranoia Agent" does. (Although in fairness, I've noticed that John O. has cut down on this practice in more recent columns.)

Most of the time, I can understand R1 companies' decisions to leave titles in Japanese. Like with Koi Kaze, "Love Wind" sounds kind of lame, and it doesn't convey any essential information about the series' content anyway. Rurouni Kenshin could have been "Wandering Swordsman," but at least "Kenshin" is the title character and it makes sense to have the show named after him. (More sense than "Samurai X," anyway.) Same with Shakugan no Shana. Haibane Renmei isn't intelligible to the average viewer, but it's an equally "mystical" organization within the series from the perspective of main character Rakka, and "Charcoal Feathers Federation" is a bit of a mouthful. Gankutsuou had the "Count of Monte Cristo" subtitle. Ai yori aoshi presents a pun that's hard to deal with. On the other hand, anyone remember the massive Internet backlash when ADV wanted to use "Shadow Warrior Chronicles" for its release of Utawarerumono? Granted, SWC is way off-base, but I can't help but think using a 7-syllable Japanese word that most hardcore fans couldn't even pronounce or remember correctly, let alone understand the meaning of, was going too far in the opposite direction. Surely someone at ADV could've come up with a marketable rendition of "The one they sing of." Apparently Kannazuki no Miko wasn't too successful in its R1 release -- gee, you think a title that means nothing to the casual shelf browsers could've been a factor?

When it comes to fansubs though, I can't help but remember Youtube documentarist Otaking77077's phrase, "Hypocrisy or selective bullshyte." Take Familiar of Zero / Zero no Tsukaima, for instance. No fansub group released that show as "Familiar of Zero" (even though that title appears in places like the official artbook), presumably because they thought the title couldn't or shouldn't be translated. Okay, "Zero" is in English already, but what about "Tsukaima"? It's translated as "familiar" repeatedly in every episode, so why the need to leave it "pure" for the title? Someone I know IRL insisted on using ZnT over FoZ in conversation, even though he could barely remember the title or even pronounce "Tsukaima." His reasoning for not using FoZ: "Well, nobody else uses it." And there are lots of these titles that fall under the format [A no B], [Name no X], or [A to B] that offer very straightforward translations, yet still aren't translated. Mugen no Ryvius doesn't tell viewers anything about whatever "Ryvius" is, but Infinite Ryvius does. Luckily, "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu" became The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya at the fansub level, but Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu was not so lucky. (Kudos to one group for slipping in "Nogizaka Haruka's Secret" in the title screen, though.) Setting aside the naming order issue, where's the value in not translating "himitsu"? Most viewers won't know what it means offhand, and it's certainly not left in Japanese within the series; I never saw Yuuto saying, "Don't worry Haruka, I'll protect your himitsu." Rolling Eyes So I have to conclude that leaving it that way in the title constitutes hypocrisy or selective bullshyte. It's worlds apart from titles like Sekirei that have translatable meaning (apparently it's a type of bird), but are used differently in-story. The "A to B" titles are especially bad to leave untranslated; titles like Allison to Lillia are downright misleading if you interpret the "to" as the English directional "to." Yet the main fansub group for the series chose not to use "Allison and Lillia." Same way with Hakushaku to Yousei -- is anything lost by calling it "Earl and Fairy"?

And then there are titles that have direct word-to-word correspondence with English titles, yet fans and groups still won't use the translations. Ichigo Mashimaro / Strawberry Marshmallow, anyone? I've heard people continue to call the series that my avatar's from "Ouran Koukou Host Club" (or worse, " " Host Bu), even though both major fansub groups to release the series used "High School." I've made the case that Kyouran Kazoku Nikki isn't too well-known in fandom because to most people it's a string of incomprehensible Japanese words, when it could've been something intelligible like "Frenzied Family Diary." I didn't follow it as it came out for this reason, although I am picking it up now due to posts on this forum and AoD. Imagine if Irresponsible Captain Tylor were airing now instead of 15 years ago; would anyone be surprised to see "[GroupName]_Musekinin_Kanchou_Tylor_01_[CC4570AF].mkv" coming down the pipeline? "Binbou Shimai Monogatari"? Meaningless to the average viewer. "Poor Sisters' Story"? Meaningful.

And then there are series that have English titles within the animation, like Hayate the Combat Butler or This Ugly and Yet Beautiful World, and fans/ubbers still insisted on the Japanese titles. At least Bottle Fairy and Fullmetal Alchemist escaped that fate. Sometimes the Japanese companies have strange requests/demands when it comes to English titles, ranging from loose translations like Neon Genesis Evangelion to completely different titles like the aforementioned Rumbling Hearts. But is Gonzo's title Desert Punk really so different that it requires the continued use of "Sunabouzu"? For some, it is.
*end rant*

---------------------------------------

I could probably find some more titles to rant about, but I've burned enough time and space already. I will admit that I don't have easy answers for some titles, though. "Asatte no Houkou" isn't intelligible to the average viewer, but translations like "The Direction of The Day After Tomorrow" are a bit on the lame side and too lengthy. "Crimson-Stained Slope" is a bit silly, but "Akane-iro ni somaru saka" is equally silly if you know what it means, and it's just a jumble of random Japanese words if you don't. If it's going to be silly/lame either way, it may as well be intelligible. But despite the presence of cases like these, I'm inclined to agree with otaking77077 when he calls the fansub sphere "cliquey" and "elitist," because more often than not, they go for "coolness" over accessibility. Sure, fansubs are aimed at a more hardcore audience, but people shouldn't have to click multiple links and/or look up kanji just to decide if a show would be interesting to them or not. There's a reason ADV never released VHS tapes titled "Mamono Hunter Youko" back in 1993, after all.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 9285
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Utawarerumono as "Song of the West" would have been interesting, but it still means nothing to the show overall, I believe.

As for Zero no Tsukaima, it just feels to roll of the tongue better than the Familiar of Zero. Even Zero's Familiar sounds better. And I think that's what it boils down to, not just what translates better, but generally what sounds better no matter what language it's in.

And it seems to vary from show to show, but in the end, whatever ends up being the preferred title is the one that gets used more. Though the best are the ones that start off in English anyway, like Chaos;Head, so there's absolutely no mistake. But translating could have gone terribly wrong, like with Gurren Lagann. Yeah, Heaven Bursting Red Face!

So yeah, people would probably just go with what sounds less lame, and usually it's the Japanese because you don't directly know what it means. But the only one that seems silly to me is using Kido Senshi instead of Mobile Suit.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 2803
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:14 pm Reply with quote
Unless a show's title sounds ridiculously lame when translated into English, I'm in full agreement with you. Having gobs of unnecessary Japanese terms flying around smacks of either "purist" elitism (some might even say weeaboo-ism) or flat-out stupidity. As an example, I have an account on MyAnimeList, and it irks me to no end that any number of the titles on there are left completely in Japanese, even though the majority of them have been accurately translated in their licensed releases; hell, there are a few titles on my list that I have to constantly click on to remind myself what the hell they are. The entire function of language is to communicate thoughts and ideas, not to obscure concepts for the sake of "sounding cool."

And I feel like there was never any chance of Gurren-Lagann being translated (hell, I didn't even realize those two terms were actual words), since that phrase is used as a proper noun in the context of the story. The whole reason that Bandai decided to leave off the "Tengen Toppa" part in their release was because it doesn't really have a clear translation into English, and "Heavenly Breakthrough" doesn't sound all that great to begin with.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
larinon



Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Posts: 992
Location: Midland, TX
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:15 pm Reply with quote
I definitely agree that part of the problem is that fans want to sound cool and knowledgeable but end up looking elitist when they use untranslated titles, in particular the ones you mentioned. I remember that there was a time after it was licensed but before it was released in R1 that a number of people would still refer to Fullmetal Alchemist as HagaRen, which is the Japanese shortening of its title Hagane no Renkinjutsushi. And when you start thinking about how some fans will still call Fruits Basket as Furuba, which is the Japanese shortening of the English words in the title, it starts to get a bit frustrating.

I actually have a bit of a problem with When They Cry, one that you mentioned. I don't mind that it was translated, but the word "they" in the title has an unclear antecedent if you have no idea about the show. It's the cicadas that are crying, and while you sort of get that watching the show, it's not clear at the outset. Is it those little girls that are crying? Hard to say at first glance. Maybe using When the Cicadas Cry would have been more descriptive.

And regarding Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, I have a couple of friends whom I've gotten hooked on the show yet still are incapable of correctly remembering or saying the title. It just doesn't roll off our english-speaking tongues. I don't know that Haruka Nogizaka's Secret works so much better, but I agree that not translating Himitsu is puzzling.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address My Anime My Manga
Fermi



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Azumanga Daioh comes to mind as a weird title to translate, simply because it's a play on a person's own name and the name of the publication it was serialized in. If it was translated, I guess it would be called "Great King Azuma's Manga", or something like that? I think in cases like that, the names should be preserved to reflect something that's difficult or unique to translate.

Also, something like Pani Poni Dash! or Doki Doki School Hours should be kept as is, because the names imply some sort of off-the-wall quality to those shows (but to be honest, I'm not sure if there's a Japanese meaning to 'Pani Poni'; 'doki doki' means heartbeat I think).

But other than those examples, I generally do feel that it's a little brash and elitist to insist upon using the Japanese title, especially if there's an appropriate English translation of it. It's as if people who do this assume that every anime fans has some grasp of the language (let alone the basic phonetic alphabet) to decipher those words. It's even worse if someone uses a name happens to be the Japanese readings for English words: such as spelling out "Raki Suta" (Lucky Star) for example.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TheTheory



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 1028
Location: Central PA
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:28 pm Reply with quote
For a title, I don't so much care about the language, as much as it being something distinct. For titles in Japanese that usually means it should be something short and simple like Koi Kaze... or even utawarerumono. I wouldn't pretend to be able to properly pronounce them... but from the first time I read their titles I remembered them and could keep them apart from other shows. Once you get too long though (Kyouran Kazoku Nikki) and it all just starts looking the same to me. Of course, English titles (as it is my spoken language) can be longer and still remain distinct in my mind.

So yeah. Distinctness. Short or single words.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
retty



Joined: 11 May 2004
Posts: 118
Location: Cheshire, UK
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:57 pm Reply with quote
I've never liked the English release of Hana Yori Dango being called Boys Over Flowers. It just doesn't make any sense in English. But most of the time I'd prefer English titles so that I at least have a vague idea of what it's about and don't have to repeat the title to myself 10 times over until I can remember it. But when a direct translation is difficult I don't see why they can't come up with a new title that relates to the show better, rather than leaving it in Japanese. The Japanese do it to English stuff all the time, so why do we have to be so literal about translations?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dormcat
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 9838
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:22 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
The "A to B" titles are especially bad to leave untranslated; titles like Allison to Lillia are downright misleading if you interpret the "to" as the English directional "to."

Then what about the possessive case of "no" (の)? Wouldn't it be even more misleading (identified as "nay" or "negative" in English)?

Remember that romanization ("Allison to Lillia") and translation ("Allison and Lillia") are different. Yes, the former might be a bit misleading in the eyes of those who have no idea about the language (as opposed to more evident examples like "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"), but that is not the fault of romanization. It is just a tool (and an useful one); you can't and shouldn't blame a tool for those who can't use it properly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number My Anime My Manga
Dorcas_Aurelia



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
Posts: 5344
Location: Philly
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:34 pm Reply with quote
I'll admit that I do occasionally use the Japanese title instead of the English, but it's often due to habit and familiarity. For example, I had no idea what Kyoran Kazoku Nikki meant until you brought up this issue in a thread. It is frustrating to have the fansubbers refuse to translate titles. Like with The Daughter of Twenty Faces, I keep forgetting what the Japanese title is, but that's the one that they use. While it does feel kind of good eventually being able to pronounce titles like Utawarerumono and Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushi Sekai, I'd like to actually know what those words mean rather than repeating words that sound unintelligible to me.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail My Anime My Manga
DragonsRevenge



Joined: 15 Nov 2004
Posts: 1150
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:42 pm Reply with quote
Ooh, good topic.

Well, unless the title is impossible to blurt out or pronounce (Uwaterumono.....right?) I'm not too partial. I do agree with translating the title, as opposed giving it a whole new name. I doubt Rumbling Hearts is the name of that one, and I think it sounds really corny. And I hate, hate, HATE, Right Stuf, a company I mostly love and respect on several levels, for changing 2X2 = Shinobuden to Ninja Nonsense. Granted it's a nonsensical show, and it does fit, but something else could've fit the out there vibe of that show. Even Two By Two Shinobudben.

What really bothers me is when the hardcore Japanophiles insist on calling characters with obvious Western names by their romanized translation. There was an FMA freak on another board during the series original run who insisted on calling Ed and Al, Edo and Aru....why?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
abynormal



Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 427
Location: Louisiana
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:18 pm Reply with quote
DragonsRevenge wrote:

What really bothers me is when the hardcore Japanophiles insist on calling characters with obvious Western names by their romanized translation. There was an FMA freak on another board during the series original run who insisted on calling Ed and Al, Edo and Aru....why?


Oh, that really winds me up. There are still people who insist on calling Death Note's Light "Raighto." I think it just boils down to weeabooism.

I have seen instances where it had the opposite effect, though. In Princess Tutu, "Muto" was fan translated as either "Mytho" or "Mute." While Muto got the official thumbs up, I still feel the latter two would have made a better fit, especially when you consider the theme of the series and the character.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
frentymon
Forums Superstar


Joined: 27 Nov 2005
Posts: 2362
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:24 pm Reply with quote
@Zalis: I can see where you're coming from, and I agree to a certain extent but disagree on some points.

I believe you're arguing under the assumption that releasing fansubs under English translations would cause overall less confusion. The opposite holds true for me for certain titles, and I would get more confused when fansubbers release titles in English. It took me a while to figure out what the heck "Earl and Fairy" was supposed to be, and if say Akane-iro were translated as "Crimson-Stained Slope", I would probably be more confused if torrents were released in translated English titles. Since more fansub watchers tend to follow the Japan side more than the US side, I'd be willing to bet that more people who are fansub watchers are more familiar with Japanese titles of new releases than English ones. Thus, fansubbers changing their releases to English titles would cause more confusion than lessen it in my view.

Also, some of these titles would be guessalations at best. There are many different ways to translate certain titles from Japanese to English, and if an official title is not given then the only way to translate said title is by guessing. If the English-translated title of a series has been given from the producers or creators, though, then I would say fansubbers go ahead and change the release titles to that title (i.e. The Familiar of Zero). But for something like Akane-iro, I'd prefer a confusing and long title over an equally confusing English translation which might end up differing from an R1 release title anyway (and in that case, why not just leave it in Japanese, seriously?). "Akane-iro ni somaru saka" sounds less silly to me than its English equivalents because clauses in Japanese tend to translate to English awkwardly, and I feel this is a case of that.

Quick note on titles breeding confusion: As far as fansubs go, if the title isn't revealing enough, there's something called looking up a plot summary. If you can't be bothered to take 5 seconds to do that for a title that you don't really understand, then, well, I feel no sympathy for you missing out on certain shows.

I admit that say "Mugen no Ryvius" to "Infinite Ryvius" would not cause any more confusion for me, and it would cause more confusion for someone who is not versed in Japanese if fansubbers left it as "Mugen no Ryvius". So I'll agree on the point that if there's a particular title in which only parts of it were untranslated to begin with and the most important part of the title is in English or is a name, then it should be fully translated into English. E.g. "Shin Seiki Evangelion", "Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu", "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu", "Mugen no Ryvius", "Allison to Lillia", "Michiko to Hatchin" etc. Or if it is a licensed R1 title that's been around for a while and has an official English name that doesn't drastically differ or at least partially differ from the original title (examples of drastically differing titles: "When They Cry", "Rumbling Hearts", "Samurai X").

We should also remember, before we intuitively call fansubbers "idiots" for releasing This Ugly Yet Beautiful World as "Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai", that they fansubbed this before the English-titled R1 release, and back then no one would intuitively think, "Why did these elitists have to release the title in Japanese when I've only seen it as This Ugly Yet Beautiful World?" If they fansubbed it after the R1 release with English-title though (which shouldn't happen in the first place), it probably would be silly of them to release the title in Japanese. R1 Companies should indeed translate Japanese titles into English whenever possible to attract more buyers certainly, but I think it's fine for fansubbers to leave Japanese titles alone when the majority of the fanbase wants it like that, when it's not painfully obviously stupidly apparent that it really would be better off in English and is only left in Japanese because the fansubbers think they're too good to release it in English or something stupid like that.

tl;dr: I think fansubbers should translate titles into English in their releases if, and only if...
(a) The important part of the title (or all of the title) is in English (Katakana) or is a name. i.e. "Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu" = The Secret of Haruka Nogizaka
(b) The title is released in English in R1, and is commonly known as that and does not radically differ from the original title. i.e. "Juuni Kokuki" = 12 Kingdoms
(c) Even if the title is not released in English in R1, for some reason, the title is already popularly known by an English or English-translated name. i.e. "Kyou no Go no Ni" = Today In Class 5-2

Otherwise, leave the title alone, I say. Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto should not turn into The Important Things to a Mage.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address My Anime
BES Null Core



Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 604
Location: 六十周年的东方裁判
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:22 am Reply with quote
frentymon wrote:
Quick note on titles breeding confusion: As far as fansubs go, if the title isn't revealing enough, there's something called looking up a plot summary. If you can't be bothered to take 5 seconds to do that for a title that you don't really understand, then, well, I feel no sympathy for you missing out on certain shows.

Precisely the type of fansub elitism that stands under accusation in this topic. There is far more hassle introduced by transliterating all or almost all titles than simply having to look up a corresponding number of links. For any reasonably large collection of titles, we can define some arbitrary limit where titles on one side can be considered indicative of content and titles on the other side can be considered non-indicative of content. Since there is no reason to believe that there is high correlation between the title's failure to be indicative and the quality of an anime, we are forced to assume that the potential viewer can find a worthwhile series among those with an indicative title. If the viewer is not completely indiscriminate, then he can eliminate some of the series in the list by inspecting the names. Since some of the titles are indicative of the content, the probability that a given title in the pool remaining after name inspection is higher than in the entire pool. This greatly reduces the amount of time the viewer has to spend in finding a title to watch.

Take some concrete examples, and let us assume a pool of 100 series with half having indicative titles and half having non-indicative titles, and this factor is independent of every other factor.

Let us examine a scenario that is quite bad for transliteration: Suppose that the viewer has a 1/10 chance of liking a random series, and suppose that an interest resulting from an indicative title always implies interest in the title, then by transliterating the titles, the viewer would be expected to inspect 10 summaries to find a series he likes. By translating the titles, the viewer would be expected to inspect slightly less than 20 titles and slightly less than 2 summaries. That is quite a large collective waste of time when distributed across the large number of anime viewers.

On one hand, we have transliteration, a process that can cause conflict between the fansub title and the official title. On the other hand, we have translation, a process that can cause conflict between the fansub title and the official title. It seems clear that the one that causes the least frustration to potential viewers should be the correct choice.

dormcat wrote:
Zalis116 wrote:
The "A to B" titles are especially bad to leave untranslated; titles like Allison to Lillia are downright misleading if you interpret the "to" as the English directional "to."

Then what about the possessive case of "no" (の)? Wouldn't it be even more misleading (identified as "nay" or "negative" in English)?

No, because "A to B" is a perfectly common and valid English phrase whose meaning is completely different from "A and B," whereas "A no B" is broken English. Therefore, it takes far fewer instances of "A no B," on average, for a person with little to no knowledge of Japanese to suspect that something is amiss than with "A to B." It is then quite easy for him to acquire the necessary knowledge to correct his misconception. "A to B" is the more sinister of the two.

Quote:
Remember that romanization ("Allison to Lillia") and translation ("Allison and Lillia") are different. Yes, the former might be a bit misleading in the eyes of those who have no idea about the language (as opposed to more evident examples like "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"), but that is not the fault of romanization. It is just a tool (and an useful one); you can't and shouldn't blame a tool for those who can't use it properly.

Given that transliteration, of which romanization is a specific example, is required to handle most proper names contained within a title, what possessed you to assume that Zalis--or anybody posting here--is criticizing the process of transliteration itself rather than how it is being employed by English translators of anime?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zalis116
Moderator


Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 6206
Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:50 am Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
But translating could have gone terribly wrong, like with Gurren Lagann. Yeah, Heaven Bursting Red Face!
I think "Sky Breaker Gurren Lagann" would've worked, although "Gurren Lagann" stands well enough on its own. (Same with many official English titles that shorten the original: "Mobile Angel Angelic Layer" would sound silly and redundant.) GL was a show that I initially avoided partly because of the title issue. But in that case, there were other factors at work, such as no fansub group that I knew/trusted was working on it, the OP sounded like a Naruto song, the concept seemed silly, I didn't care for the animation style...

@larinon: Yeah, I also thought "When They Cry" wasn't the greatest translated title, either. That's actually one where I'll use the Japanese title in conversation from time to time. It just doesn't give a good indication of what the show's about, especially when you see all the costumed girls on the artbox. With Furuba, at least the shortened title somehow resembles the full title that less "elite" fans would know. Not so with "Hagaren," and it baffles me why people would use that when the English "FMA" abbreviation is available.

@Fermi: You're right about Azumanga Daioh. I've never given that title any "why isn't it in English?" thoughts, since the characters point out in-show that "Great King Azumanga" doesn't make much sense. It would be more misleading if it were translated to English. And other "nonsense" or onomatopoeia titles like the ones you mentioned are fine too, as there's no major meaning lost there.

And there are other titles that I don't have a problem with, like the currently-airing Toradora! It's short, it's memorable, and it's got rhyming appeal.

@dormcat: I considered "no" as well, but I can't think of any titles offhand where people would interpret it as the English negatory. Misinterpretations of "to" aren't the fault of romanization, but of an unfortunate coincidence of the Japanese particle and the English preposition appearing the same. Which is why I consider not translating "to" a disservice. If it had been "Allison ya Lillia," that misinterpretation wouldn't exist. (But then the title would be something like, "Allison, Lillia, and some others that we're not mentioning Laughing )
DragonsRevenge wrote:
And I hate, hate, HATE, Right Stuf, a company I mostly love and respect on several levels, for changing 2X2 = Shinobuden to Ninja Nonsense. Granted it's a nonsensical show, and it does fit, but something else could've fit the out there vibe of that show. Even Two By Two Shinobudben.
I take it you mean "Shinobuden," but I'll take that as a typo rather than a mis-remembering. RS was really between a rock and a hard place on that show, because as you know it involves a math pun that just doesn't work in English. Using Two by Two Shinobuden still leaves the "den" part untranslated, resulting in an apparent extra part of a name that casual viewers wouldn't even see as a name in the first place. Maybe "2 x 2 = For the Legend of Shinobu" would've worked, but that's a little lengthy. Given that the Japanese subtitle is "The Nonsense Kunoichi Fiction," I thought "Ninja Nonsense" was reasonable.
abynormal wrote:
I have seen instances where it had the opposite effect, though. In Princess Tutu, "Muto" was fan translated as either "Mytho" or "Mute." While Muto got the official thumbs up, I still feel the latter two would have made a better fit, especially when you consider the theme of the series and the character.
IIRC ADV's release had "Mytho," while the fansubs had "Mute" for awhile, then fixed it for the DVD release for part of the series. But Japanophilia in character naming (like the Edo/Aru/Raito) is a whole other issue.

@frentymon: First, I want to point out that according to my memory and ctrl+f, I never called fansubbers or other entities "stupid" or "idiots." I just disagree with their philosophies and motives on this topic. Just to make that clear in case this thread gets linked elsewhere.

But let's say the fansubs were released with English titles from the start? I think there's enough cohesion and communication in the community, between Suki/Enviro/A-Planet/"teh wiki", that it would be possible to get the major groups together and say, "Okay, here's the list of shows for Winter 2009, what English titles should we use?" I know that some fansub viewers are more familiar with Japanese titles, but if they know them well enough to remember them and associate them with the content of the series (which usually requires some knowledge of Japanese), wouldn't they also be able to recognize the English titles?

True, some titles do lend themselves to multiple interpretations, and maybe those would be better off left in Japanese. (But a "community agreement," as described above, could fix that.) However, my main focus is on titles that lend themselves to limited, straightforward translations. How much leeway is there with Toshokan Sensou / Library War(s), for instance? Close to zero, I'd say. And yet how many fansub groups actually released files named "Library War"? Much closer to zero.

The problem with plot summaries, aside from what BES Null Core brought up, is that it's hard to get a good summary of something that just started airing. Wiki's full of spoilers, and you're likely to get something like this on other sites:
AnimeNFO wrote:
Due to his rough appearance, Takasu Ryuji, a second grader, is thought of as a juvenile delinquent. One day, he encounters a new classmate, Aisaka Taiga also known as "Tenori Tiger" (small tiger in a palm) because she is very short, selfish, quick-tempered, and unstoppable.

One day after school, when Ryuji stayed in the classroom, he got to see an unexpected side of Taiga.
So...he's in elementary school?

Re: This Ugly yet Beautiful World -- I'm not blaming the fansubbers for not coming up with the exact same title that ADV used. I question why they insisted on using a lengthy, incomprehensible-to-most Japanese title when there were obvious signs from the creators as to how they wanted the show to be known in English. I assume you've seen it, but here's the title screen for the benefit of those who haven't. Obviously not every show has that kind of titling, but for those that do, I consider it equal in stature to an official R1 translation. Like how Gonzo streamed a show called "The Tower of Druaga." But surprise surprise, you can find "Druaga no Tou" via other means Rolling Eyes
Quote:
Otherwise, leave the title alone, I say. Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto should not turn into The Important Things to a Mage.
The second season of that show is going into a folder on my HDD labeled "Someday's Dreamers 2" Razz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Key
Moderator


Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 15036
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:30 am Reply with quote
Given that he quoted me to start the thread, it should be no surprise that I 99% agree with Zalis116 on this issue. (The other 1%? I don't agree that John Opplinger has gotten any better over the years about refusing to use commonly-accepted English names over original Japanese names.) This has long been a source of minor irritation for me.

Recent case in point: Telepathy Girl Ran, which multiple fansub groups have insisted on releasing under the name Telepathy Shojo Ran despite the fact that it's as direct and sensible a translation as you can possibly get and one of the three words in the title is in English (and the other a character name) anyway.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Anime All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Page 1 of 6

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Loading next article...