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Old 2013-01-11, 23:35   Link #1
Write
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"Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" (Translation Liberties)

Do you mind when sub groups take personal liberties with the translations?

Spoiler for Sasami-san@Ganbaranai:


I haven't even seen the episode yet but I imagine that line was translated in good fun, referencing gg's previous ill-received subs.

What do you guys think?

Last edited by Write; 2013-01-13 at 02:26. Reason: Riiiight.
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Old 2013-01-12, 01:16   Link #2
Traece
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Write View Post
Do you mind when sub groups take personal liberties with the translations?

What do you guys think?
I remember Coal Guys did this a bit as well. I think specifically with Toradora during the one dream sequence where they changed the name of the little hut/outhouse thing, or whatever it was.

As long as it's obvious what the original meaning was it doesn't bother me. We all know what "itadakimasu" means at this point, and a hundred other phrases that are used every five minutes.

Although I can see why it would annoy some people, since sometimes it's done to poke fun at the series.

Edit: Oh, and I'm not sure how I feel about this thread title. I'm sure there's some kind of message here or it's supposed to be funny, but I had no idea what I was going to read until I got in here.
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Old 2013-01-12, 01:20   Link #3
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Do you mind when sub groups take personal liberties with the translations?
Like with everything, it depends on context. The group in question almost completely rewrote Joshiraku at times, sticking with the same beats of the comedy but exchanging it for similarly bad English puns. And the show was still hilarious. I'm using [other group] for Sasami, and I know at times this group has had a snarky attitude that can be kind of off putting... but for dialogue heavy shows, the ability to make it flow naturally in English is a gift that needs to be cherished a little more often.

And it's not just them. Some of the translations I've seen Crunchyroll's team do for shows like Humanity Has Declined are really good. They rendered the fairies' lines in a way that gets the message across in English. Translated subtitles should be more about conveying the meaning behind the words rather than the actual words in a 1:1 ratio. That way leaves you ending up with TV-Nihon and... I'm really not very fond of those guys.
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Old 2013-01-12, 01:36   Link #4
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I seem to recall the group that subtitled the original Minami-ke decided to start having fun in the openning television safety annnouncement. Since it was the same every episode, they messed around with it after a while.

Also that Haruhi and Licky Star had a fairly good team work on them, but sometimes they had "fun" as well.
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Old 2013-01-12, 01:46   Link #5
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All I remember was Hidan no Aria's "throwaway" subs which was due to the subbing group disliking the series so much that they decided to use troll subs.
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Old 2013-01-12, 01:49   Link #6
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I know that some people just can't stand even the slightest bit of liberal translation.
for example:
Quote:
Jap:"watashi ha ningen wo yameta zo, JoJo~!!!"
Eng:"I have discarded my humanity, JoJo~!!!"
and he protests of too liberal a translation.

Personally though, I don't mind liberal translation as long as the "spirit" of it is transferred across. BUT, only in medium other than anime. I conveyed this in the "common mistake fansubbers made" thread.
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Old 2013-01-12, 09:50   Link #7
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I'll just leave this here...



I don't mind liberal translations so long as the original meaning is preserved and the subs aren't liberal simply for the sake of being liberal (i.e, only do it if it's needed). The best subs are those that can find a balance between literal and liberal.
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Old 2013-01-12, 13:39   Link #8
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The thing here is that "preserving meaning" can be quite tricky. If we're talking about translating something from one context to another, part of the meaning is inevitably lost. The best that translators can do is come up with close approximations.

That's why there are two possible approaches to translation: One is to attempt to preserve as much of the original meaning as much as possible. This is where the so-called "weaboo subs" come in. The other is to entirely translate something into the context of the audience of the translation. An example of this is how some would translate bad Japanese language puns into equally bad English puns, but somewhat differing in meaning. Neither is incorrect, to be honest. It's all a matter of what a translation effort wants to achieve.
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Old 2013-01-12, 13:52   Link #9
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That's why there are two possible approaches to translation: One is to attempt to preserve as much of the original meaning as much as possible.
translating things "literally" is an exceptionally bad way to preserve the original meaning, brah
(since the meaning is only preserved if the reader already is familiar with all of the idiomatic expressions, cultural references etc involved; i.e. they basically have to speak the language you're translating from)

I really don't understand why this debate keeps popping up again and again and again. People keep going "hurp durp neither style is wrong", but a translation that doesn't translate shit is by definition a bad fucking translation. End of discussion.

You can certainly debate whether "rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" is a good translation of "itadakimasu" or not, but asking if "taking liberties" is okay or not is really silly, because "taking liberties" is what translating is.
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Old 2013-01-12, 16:52   Link #10
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I dont mind things like that if its poking fun in an english way (especially for common Japanese phases). But I dont like offensive stuff when its not ment to be offensive.

I do particualar like reading TL jokes/comments under the panels or on credit pages when it comes to manga.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
I seem to recall the group that subtitled the original Minami-ke decided to start having fun in the openning television safety annnouncement. Since it was the same every episode, they messed around with it after a while.l.
Yes I found that awesomely funny, Kinda why I would tell friends to get the Ayako subs ^_^
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Old 2013-01-12, 18:06   Link #11
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Originally Posted by Velsy View Post
I do particualar like reading TL jokes/comments under the panels or on credit pages when it comes to manga.
I agree.

It's a much better way for groups to "leave their mark" on a series they're translating than messing with the material itself. They need to convey the point of the dialogue and that's it, everything else is unnecessary.
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Old 2013-01-12, 18:53   Link #12
Qilin
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Originally Posted by TheFluff View Post
I really don't understand why this debate keeps popping up again and again and again. People keep going "hurp durp neither style is wrong", but a translation that doesn't translate shit is by definition a bad fucking translation. End of discussion.
You misunderstand me. It all depends on who the intended audience of the translation is. The first approach assumes that the audience is already familiar with the culture to a certain extent while the second assumes absolutely no familiarity. The aptness of each is entirely contextual.

While a translation that doesn't translate anything obviously can't be called a good translation, there's still the matter of expressions that do not have any close equivalent to the other target language. I'm not taking about common expressions like "itadakimasu" or "yoroshiku onegaishimasu". This comes up as more of an issue when it comes to the use of honorifics and Japanese wordplay. A translation that only captures the vague "idea" of a scene rather than the actual meaning can't be called a good translation either if that's how you feel.
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Old 2013-01-12, 19:56   Link #13
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So you have tone, meaning, and intent. A lot of the times, you can't have all be accurate.

For example "itadakimasu" → "rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" (haven't see the ep yet, but I assume that is what was being translated).

"Itadakimasu" would preserve meaning, intent, and tone, but really wouldn't translate anything. Everything would have to be in a translation note, or be required as a piece of prior knowledge to watch the translation.

"rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" preserves intent and tone, but it really doesn't have anything to do with a direct translation of what the original words actually mean, so translation notes.

"I shall receive" preserves the meaning, but throws intent and tone out the window completely. It doesn't fit the situation or how it's being used at all. You would need a translation note to explain everything. "Let's eat" preserves intent and meaning, but doesn't convey the tone right.

So basically. MOAR translation notes. Or go out and learn Japanese at a basic level, so you can tell when the translator just fucked up everything they said to preserve tone and intent, or to figure out the tone and intent when the translator does a literal translation.

Personally, I think liberal + translation notes is the best translation. Tone and intent are what is really important to watching something for fun. Yes, it's useless for analyzing anime, or watching anime to aid in learning Japanese, but I think those two groups are fairly small minorities of the anime watching population.
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Old 2013-01-12, 19:57   Link #14
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So basically. MOAR translation notes.
If translation notes are going to be done, I'd prefer they be on the post the episode is released on, or a separate text file. Like most modern manga releases. They don't need to actually be in the episode. That's distracting.
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Old 2013-01-12, 20:03   Link #15
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I believe a handful of dubs did end up translating itadakimasu to rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub; Azumanga Daioh did that in its English dub, and for English speakers, it makes sense to some extent. It doesn't help us understand Japanese language attributes per se, but rather, localises it somewhat and helps those unfamiliar with the language orient themselves. That said, there's nothing wrong with some translator notes
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Old 2013-01-12, 20:05   Link #16
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
Personally, I think liberal + translation notes is the best translation. Tone and intent are what is really important to watching something for fun. Yes, it's useless for analyzing anime, or watching anime to aid in learning Japanese, but I think those two groups are fairly small minorities of the anime watching population.
This is basically what I'm getting at. It all depends on which audience a given translation is meant to please. Commonsense is enough to know when to use which. Translation notes are always welcome for me, provided that they're placed somewhere unobtrusive like the beginning or end of an episode.

There was a time when I would agreed that liberal translations were sufficient, but now that you have writers like Nisio Isin or Koji Kumeta in the anime scene, I'm not so sure anymore.
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Old 2013-01-12, 20:17   Link #17
Midonin
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There was a time when I would agreed that liberal translations were sufficient, but now that you have writers like Nisio Isin or Koji Kumeta in the anime scene, I'm not so sure anymore.
I pledge the opposite. A liberal translation is absoloutely needed to get someone like Kumeta across. Again, I point to the subs of Joshiraku, from the only group that was willing to sub it. It was a translation that wasn't exact, but it hit the timing of the jokes, and the feel of the puns was more or less the same was what they were in Japanese. This was a script that not only needed to be convey the language, but the humor and all the wordplay games that ensued. Literal translations would've rendered Joshiraku stilted and confusing instead of sharp and creative. Literal translations are really only useful from an academic standpoint, not an entertainment one.
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Old 2013-01-12, 20:37   Link #18
Qilin
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I pledge the opposite. A liberal translation is absoloutely needed to get someone like Kumeta across. Again, I point to the subs of Joshiraku, from the only group that was willing to sub it. It was a translation that wasn't exact, but it hit the timing of the jokes, and the feel of the puns was more or less the same was what they were in Japanese. This was a script that not only needed to be convey the language, but the humor and all the wordplay games that ensued. Literal translations would've rendered Joshiraku stilted and confusing instead of sharp and creative. Literal translations are really only useful from an academic standpoint, not an entertainment one.
I see where you're coming from, and I enjoyed the translations for Joshiraku as much as anyone else, but at some point, I had to stop and ask myself: Am I watching this for the jokes of the original work's author or for the jokes put in by the translator?

At some point, it starts becoming a different thing altogether. That's what I'm afraid of, kind of like translating a Kansai dialect into Southern speech. Now, I agree that it was the best way to translate the show for a western audience, but that doesn't make it into a good translation. Still, the translation notes that came a few days after were a great touch, and I appreciated it.
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Old 2013-01-12, 21:39   Link #19
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I'm American and I don't even say "rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" and I don't know a single person who does.

It's a painfully stupid line to use in anime.

Last edited by Write; 2013-01-12 at 21:52.
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Old 2013-01-12, 22:18   Link #20
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The major problem for me is that itadakimasu is polite speech in Japanese, while "Rub a dub dub. . ." is rude / oafish in American (dialect of English). To me, you should always maintain the same level of politeness when translating; a sorrowful well meant apology shouldn't be translated as "my bad dawg!" just as an off the cuff casual hello shouldn't be translated as "Greetings gentlemen!"
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