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Old 2011-09-19, 00:10   Link #1
solomon
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Question about Fansub Translation

I have a question about the translation part of the fansubbing process.

It relates to songs.

I notice that there are multiple translations of a single song. And sometimes all those fan translations will be different from the official translation provided by a licence holder.

I was wondering is it because the japanese songs are (grammatically, structurally and therefore conceptually) as wierd and obtuse as I think they are? I have been studying japanese for years and songs still trip me up. It's kinda like reading the Jaberwocky from Alice in Wonderland or trying to interpret those vague poems from high school english class?
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Old 2011-09-19, 05:40   Link #2
jfs
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I think it holds true for all languages that songs and other lyrics twist and turn the language to the extremes, making it hard to translate the meaning in a sensible way, at least not without heavily interpreting and effectively composing an entirely new song.

It only gets worse when the Japanese writers decided to add in a couple of random English words, you often either have to twist your translation in unnatural ways to fit them in as-is, or change those for something in a different grammatical form or different words altogether, which can also seem odd.
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Old 2011-09-19, 13:46   Link #3
Zalis
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Some of those fan translations are done from the audio alone, before the official Japanese lyrics become available. So they're subject to mishears and other mistakes, or run into homophone confusion where the actual word can't be discerned from the audio and context. Like with one of the Strawberry Marshmallow OVAs, where translators basically had to do a coin toss between sukuu (scoop) and sukuu (save) before the single came out.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heibi
Or the original version of the Sky Girls opening that was done before the printed version was available. The English words in the song really were misheard at first.
I meant to mention that example as well. The sad thing is, the misheard lyrics sounded better and made more sense than the actual ones. At least in Froth-Bite's version, don't know about Ayako's.

Last edited by Zalis; 2011-09-22 at 05:02.
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Old 2011-09-20, 23:08   Link #4
Mystique
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Yep, most are done by ear before official lyrics come out of which by them some groups can't be arsed to correct the translations for the karaoke.
Also songs usually have hidden depth to the meaning beyond literal translation, so it depends on the skill of a translator to be able to determine the subject and nuance for English and yes, from experience, it is a bitch, a royal headache and totally obtuse.

Not to mention, a 90sec anime OP/ED only takes the first verse, sometimes a bridge, the first and last chorus from a complete 3-4min tune, so we never get the full picture of a song at first.
And sadly, many anime songs just add engrish to sound cool, they should be shot ><;;
(one naruto tune comes to mind...)
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Old 2011-09-21, 17:54   Link #5
ConsiderPhlebas
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You mean things like “We’re unripe fighters. We won’t lose now”?
I've still to figure out how to get that "unripe" from the audio to my ears/brain...
(RO-KYU-BU!)
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Old 2011-09-21, 21:40   Link #6
Heibi
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Or the original version of the Sky Girls opening that was done before the printed version was available. The English words in the song really were misheard at first.
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Old 2011-09-27, 10:39   Link #7
Kokujin-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalis View Post
Some of those fan translations are done from the audio alone, before the official Japanese lyrics become available. So they're subject to mishears and other mistakes, or run into homophone confusion where the actual word can't be discerned from the audio and context. Like with one of the Strawberry Marshmallow OVAs, where translators basically had to do a coin toss between sukuu (scoop) and sukuu (save) before the single came out.

EDIT:
I meant to mention that example as well. The sad thing is, the misheard lyrics sounded better and made more sense than the actual ones. At least in Froth-Bite's version, don't know about Ayako's.
It's always fascinating looking at 2ch threads where people are trying to decipher the lyrics to certain anisongs. Well, at least I know everybody is prone to montegreens, especially if the OP is "GO!GO! Maniac" or something.
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Old 2011-09-27, 10:48   Link #8
Quarkboy
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I remember one.... The ending song to Airmaster...

That song was... totally impossible to translate without lyrics, and with lyrics it was only 50% impossible to make sense of.
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