dissertation on fansubbing, help!!
hopefully this is the right forum where I can find some illumination for my dissertation on fansubbing! My question in the dissertation is whether the innovative and creative fansubbing practices can be imported into mainstream subtitling because they are so cool and useful! Could you answer my questions below? some if not all, it would be great!!! its only 6, thank you!!!!!
1) Often fansubs use different colours to identify different speakers.
a) Do you find colours add to the enjoyment of the program?
b) If and when you watch officially subtitled anime versions (using white or yellow subtitles) do you miss coloured fansubs?
c) Would you like to see coloured subtitles in professionally translated anime and other film genres?
2) Sometimes in fansubs Japanese writings are accompanied by the English translation right underneath.
a) Do you like this idea as it helps you to understand the kanji?
b) Do you think it spoils the authenticity of the program and the translation with a subtitle at the bottom of the screen is better?
c) Would you like to see this strategy in professionally translated anime and other film genres?
SUBTITLES EXCEEDING TWO LINES
3) Sometimes subtitles are composed of three or four lines
a) Do you find the three or four lines is too much to read and you miss out on the action?
b) Can you read more than two lines without stopping the video?
c) Would you be happy to see more than two line subtitles in professionally translated anime and other film genre?
4) Fansubs offer translation notes on top of the screen to explain Japanese words, puns or to give other information.
a) Do you find them a useful tool to learn more about Japanese culture and language ?
b) Do you think they are a nuisance because together with the subtitle at the bottom of the screen it is too much information to read?
c) Would you like to see translation notes in professionally translated anime and other film genres?
5) What do you find annoying in officially translated versions of anime in terms of subtitles?
6) Still in terms of of subtitles, what do you miss in officially translated anime that you can only find in fansubs?
Colours: No. Subs should be non-distractive, different colours draw unnecessary attention to the subs. And I'm colour-blind :p
Inserts: Do you mean typesetting of signs, etc.? If so, yes, unless it's too obtrusive.
Three or four-liners: An abhorrence, becomes way too obtrusive and actually becomes hard to read as well.
Notes: use very sparingly and keep them short if you really need them to get the message across at that time. If you need something long, put it at the end.
Annoying in official: The restricted possibilites of using a nice and readable font for the DVD-subs. Getting better with BD, though.
What I miss in official subs... Difficult, as official versions differ in style. But, what's mentioned above: nice-looking, non-pixelated fonts (should not be fancy, though).
Different colors for each characters are annoying, but I think secondary color for background noise such as TV/phone etc is a nice alternative to italics.
I have experimented with using gray fonts (blue was original) for inner voice as an alternative for italics, but it was rejected by group's QC. I still think it looked nice though :heh:
This is necessary to understand what's going on in the story. Personally, I think TS should be applied if and only if it looks flawless, as in the viewer can't tell if it was added by the subbers or was there from the beginning (otherwise, they should be at the top or bottom as subs). In reality, people just place them on there even if it's distracting. Even "pro" subs do this.
Not acceptable. It's a poor translation that ended up longer than necessary or poor line breaks. The readability of subs is important.
I like using them because it's not always possible to fully convey what's being said with subs alone.
Notes should never appear at the bottom though.
And no, these are not acceptable for prosubs. CR these days caved in due to their weeaboo audience, but this is a poor practice for professional translations. They should always be localized to make sense in the target language or just be left out in hope that the audience will understand or care enough to research on their own.
- Use of incompetent translators (this is slowly disappearing).
- Crappy timing
- Yellow fonts (this is retarded)
- Untranslated songs in anime (this is an extension of incompetent translators, pro film subs almost always have them)
- UK English. I see your urge to use British spelling (I'm actually from Canada too), but American English is the universal language in the internet, and also for majority of English-speaking audience for practically every foreign language entertainment. I've actually seen prosubs do this, and I think it's pretty ridiculous.
Triple liners - yes avoid them - however the show "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" has massive complicated dialog. I should know. I know how to split the dialog to keep them to 2-liners.
A note like "(glick=glack)" at the bottom directly under the dialog can work and you don't have to look to the top of the screen while trying to read dialog at the bottom. I like to put the short notes in parenthesis. But huge notes should be in the credits at the end.
Yellow Fonts - You may not know this but the yellow color font was considered the standard for quite a while. It's not "retarded"(you could've just said you don't like it) - it doesn't blend in with the background as white titles tend to do at times. Of course, I'm old school - been doing fansubs since 1992. And I don't complain about the color of a font unless it makes it illegible. Some companies - like Bandai, Sentai, and Section 23 are going back to yellow subs.
Songs are complicated to translate - ask a translator(even my native speaking translators say they are difficult). Just because it isn't translated doesn't make the translator incompetent. Some groups wait for the printed version to be available so they can be accurate.
You've read Perez Gonzalez, Diaz/Munoz, and maybe Ferrer Simo, right? Most of the "traits of fansubs" you're asking about are things that were really common when they wrote, and really common in the Spanish subs they examined, but rare(r) now.
For your questions:
Colors are, objectively, terrible. They show a cutesy attachment to the characters that's occasionally appealing, but they're bad for legibility and easy to mistake speakers.
Typesetting depends too heavily on the content and the setting to be able to make hard and fast rules about.
Notes should never parenthetically gloss in text, and supertitle notes are terrible. Either localize the word, explain it in dialog, supply external liner notes, or assume your audience is smart enough to know it.
As for annoyances... Honestly, the biggest annoyance I have with official translations is that they've responded to the fanbase's demand for things like honorifics and stilted "accurate" translations to a degree where several pirate groups have made a name for themselves "deweeabooizing" stream and DVD rips. Silly self-effacing attempts to remain completely transparent-"here's exactly how it was in Japan"-are even worse than silly self-effacing attempts to remain completely transparent-"you can't even tell it's Japanese."
There's one situation where three liners are acceptable, in my opinion.
When one character is saying a long, complex sentence (that would normally be places on 2 lines), and another is trying to interrupt repeatedly by saying something short like "Hey!", then I think having the "Hey!" appear for a short time on the 3rd line is best.
The alternatives of splitting the long complex sentence into 1-line chunks just to allow the "Hey!" to be on the second line is more difficult to read in this case.
As for songs, on the one hand you "should" be able to figure them out but on the other hand their translation, especially when they're inserts rather than credit themes, is actually pretty rare in the real world.
Mandoric makes a good point that it stands out, so it was beneficial in the old days when video quality was poor and you had those blocky fonts, but for licensees like The Anime Network to still using yellow subs this day and age is pretty absurd IMO. They are simply distracting and hurts your eye.
As for songs, it is admittedly very difficult in some cases, but that is no excuse for not subbing them. "Can't translate it because it's hard" is exactly what I call incompetence by the translator. My response was to "5) What do you find annoying in officially translated versions of anime in terms of subtitles?" I can't blame a fansub group for lacking the resources to accurately translate songs, but a paid translator should be capable of translating everything he was assigned. Otherwise, it was a selection error by the client.
Now Funimation's Fullmetal Alchemist and several other of their shows that came out on BluRay have completely illegible white subtitles in many scenes. They get washed out by the background lighting or the "white-board" in one scene in particular. So the white subs with digital video is a poor point.
Yellow fonts don't hurt my eyes. And neither do white ones. To condemn something you simply don't like is childish. I've watch many digital and analog shows with yellow subs and there is no difference. I prefer mine with yellow fonts - but I'll watch white subtitles as well and not complain(as long as I can read them) If you simply don't like yellow, so be it.
The best thing here on fonts is to each his own.
I pay my translators so they translate the songs no matter what and we try and make them lyrical sounding if possible. If they have the song lyrics on the screen in Japanese it just makes it easier. They also go and find sources of info to confirm their translation of the song if necessary.
White subtitles are at least 100 times more common in DVD/BD subs today, and same can be said in fansubbing.
Funimation, if they really had pure white subs, then they made a typesetting mistake because DVD/theatrical sub standards are white text with black outlines. White and black produce maximum contrast, that's why it's easier to read than yellow and black. You're going to have a hard time convincing anyone to watch yellow subs with blue outlines, which has same amount of contrast.
As for yellow straining the eyes, I thought it was a common sense, but a quick search returns a website about colors that explains that. It's a website that specifically talks about colors. It's not as authentic as an academic paper, but I would say it's a pretty good source. Of course, you can get used to anything in time, and if you prefer yellow subs, that's fine, but the fact is, all major distributors as well as fansub groups today use white text with black/dark outlines because it's the easiest to read.
I was just talking about my pet peeves about official anime subs. I don't know what you paid to have translated, and my original comment was about official releases I've seen.
Yes, Funimation has a lot of titles and is a leader in this area.
I find any font that has a decent outline and doesn't blend into the background to be easy to read. That's why I don't whine about other fansub groups using white for their dialog. It's just not my preference.
My biggest pet peeve in regards to subtitles is when they use fonts that are not readable, especially on screens that don't have great contrast or detail to begin with (like on the projector at anime club). The basic yellow bolded with thick outlines works nearly every time. White fonts with thin outlines against white backgrounds can be *very* difficult to read.
While it was certainly kind for a lot of you to post and help out, we actually don't allow these sorts of "help me with my homework" solicitation posts on the forum, so I've locked the thread for now, with thanks again to all those who decided to help the poster out anyway.
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