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Old 2013-01-12, 23:09   Link #21
relentlessflame
 
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(I want to say first of all that this topic is indeed cyclic and has been done so many times before, so may not be long for this world...)

As far as my thoughts go...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ForwardUntoDawn View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryonosis View Post
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!"
I've linked these two comments together because there are related to me.

The translation of text should hopefully match the character of the speaker and the tone of the spoken line. So when you're doing a dub, you have an opportunity to help influence/create the tone of a character. If someone is always light-hearted, chipper, and likes to use silly sentences/sayings all the time, then maybe you can use the "rub a dub dub" line and it might sound like something that character would reasonably say. It becomes part of the image of the character. But in subtitles, you can't really divorce the text on screen with the way the line is audibly delivered in the original language and the tone they carry throughout the rest of the show. Unless the translator is intimately familiar with the whole show (or the source material) it's extremely difficult from them to invent a "voicing" for the character that will make sense. So, generally speaking, it may be a good idea to be a bit more restrained on some of the more extreme interpretations/"localizations" of lines. That isn't to say that subs should be overly literal either, but you don't want there to be a clash between the voice you hear and the words you read, since that breaks the immersion.

(One other thing I would say is that sometimes some of the people who translate/edit translations are not native English speakers, so in the process of trying to be clever and colloquial, they introduce sayings or mannerisms that aren't even natural in English, never mind a good translation of the line. So translation teams should always watch for this too. Ideally, you want to make sure that someone on the team is a native speaker of the target language, along with having someone who is a native speaker of the original language (or at least extremely fluent). In the middle is the potential for a great valley of inaccuracy on both sides.)
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Old 2013-01-12, 23:20   Link #22
Write
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(I wonder why we're censored from referring to sub groups when we're all fully aware that they exist. We're openly talking about them right now. Is there a citation somewhere that says we can't make these references?

(Censoring anime discussion. This must be serious business we're dealing with here!)

Last edited by Write; 2013-01-13 at 00:08.
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Old 2013-01-12, 23:31   Link #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Write View Post
(I wonder why we're censored from referring to sub groups when we're all fully aware that they exist. We're openly talking about them right now. Is there a citation somewhere that says we can't make these references?)
Rule 1.1 of the forum

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Old 2013-01-12, 23:35   Link #24
Eisdrache
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
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.
Or just use "Thanks for the food." When subs need to add translation notes for liberal translations then they're doing it wrong.
Also why should we learn japanese? It's the translator's job to do a proper translation, not ours.
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Old 2013-01-12, 23:44   Link #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
That isn't to say that subs should be overly literal either, but you don't want there to be a clash between the voice you hear and the words you read, since that breaks the immersion.
Yesss, glad there's someone else who can re-articulate what I said in the other thread I mentioned.

On the topic of translation liberties, there's something I've been thinking: the honorifics (most prominently "senpai"), and name calling in general. Do you think that translating "XXX-senpai" as just "XXX" acceptable? How about "Mr/Mrs/Miss/Sir/Madam.XXX" for "XXX-sensei/san/sama"? Do you think that not-translating these honorifics means that the translator is trying to preserve the original meaning or just that he/she doesn't have more in-depth knowledge of the language being translated to?

Personally, I think these are fine, though perhaps I may judge with a case by case basis. I'm asking because I currently have no idea how the fandom in general perceive these things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eidrasche
Or just use "Thanks for the food." When subs need to add translation notes for liberal translations then they're doing it wrong.
Also why should we learn japanese? It's the translator's job to do a proper translation, not ours.
I don't quite commend this mentality though. Good luck translating Saki without some kind of translation notes and good luck watching it without at least basic understanding of the mahjong terms.
Edit: oh, I missed that "for liberal translation" part. But my point is still the same, I think the watcher have some obligation to understand at least some technicality involved behind the work.
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Old 2013-01-12, 23:48   Link #26
Eisdrache
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I might have worded my post a bit too direct. There are indeed a few series where the use of translation notes is completely justified. However they are very rare exceptions and almost always there is a better solution.
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Old 2013-01-12, 23:54   Link #27
Athena
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I don't think translators note should really used. Of course, it's up to them if they want to write them in a blog post or whatever, but it's likely that many people won't even bother reading them.

That's not the problem though. The thing is that inserting translation notes would mean that there's the need to put one. However, if that the case, it means that the subs are either literal or have bad localization.

To me, a good translation is a translation that conveys the same meaning, not the same words. If you're going to watch a comedy show with puns, you don't want to stick with the original line, but an English equivalent.

Personally, as long as accuracy is preserved, I'd go with a more liberal one rather than a rigorously literal one.
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Old 2013-01-13, 00:07   Link #28
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Every once in a while, it becomes necessary for the translator to have to explain something, leave in some japanese, or wing it to something similar but not exactly what they said.

These instances can be puns or wordplay that just do not work in other languages. (There were several of these in a row in Azumanga Diaoh).

Colloquialism that are funny or has a different meaning that what the works actually say in Japanese (or even just in some regions of Japan) that have no humorous meaning outside of said region (example from English "He kicked the bucket" = "the person died". This was used visually in "Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". I know a couple that watched it in a Dutch theater with Dutch subtitles. They had grown up in the United State in their teens, so they knew what "kick the bucket" meant. So when that happened on screen they laughed. No one else laughed in the theater. The then, the guy that died's foot knocked over a bucket. So?)

And finally the last things is status. Asian languages from what I understand have tonal aspects that mean different things depending on how it is said. The word is the same, but the way it is said is different. Add to this the various levels of formality in how one is addressed, and how some shows use that as plot twists or stages in relationships. (or someone never calls him x-chan, it is always x or x-san) Something like that might not be able to come across easily, or naturally, in the language the words are being translated into. Especially, if the style of laungue doesn't normally have people speaking formally to each other or the variation to so small that it doesn't warrent formal, but isn't enough for nickname territory.
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Old 2013-01-13, 00:26   Link #29
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
On the topic of translation liberties, there's something I've been thinking: the honorifics (most prominently "senpai"), and name calling in general. Do you think that translating "XXX-senpai" as just "XXX" acceptable? How about "Mr/Mrs/Miss/Sir/Madam.XXX" for "XXX-sensei/san/sama"? Do you think that not-translating these honorifics means that the translator is trying to preserve the original meaning or just that he/she doesn't have more in-depth knowledge of the language being translated to?
Personally, I'm very geared towards the auditory-side. So what I hear is very important to me. When what I see on the screen is a mismatch to what I hear, in terms of the name, it sort of drives me crazy. So for me, I would prefer that they either just omit the honorific but keep the name as is, or leave the name and honorific as is. It's not because it conforms to any rule of good translation or is natural to what someone would say if they were really speaking the line in English. It's just because the clash between what is seen and heard is off-putting to me. For example, if someone refers to someone as "<Last Name>-san" in the dialogue, and the sub just says "<First Name>". It may very well that this is how that person might address that person if they were in an English context, but I always do a double-take and have to think "oh yeah, that's the person's other name" -- even if I know it. There are also issues of trying to preserve the tone and politeness level of the speaker that may be lost in this way, but I suppose someone could argue "well, you can still hear the voice anyway". But still, to me, this is jarring, although I totally recognize that this is more of a personal quirk than an objective rule. In a dub or other context where the voice isn't heard, I probably wouldn't have as big of a problem with this.
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Old 2013-01-13, 00:27   Link #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
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?
I kinda agree with this point. Not knowing much Japanese doesn't help my cause, but I'd rather things be more literal than liberal. I'm going out of my way to watch a Japanese show, I'd kinda like them to keep in cultural aspects and such. All I ask is that it be grammatically correct. It's part of why I prefer subs over dubs too.

Even stuff like sayings and proverbs, are they really that hard to understand given context?
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Old 2013-01-13, 00:28   Link #31
Random32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
On the topic of translation liberties, there's something I've been thinking: the honorifics (most prominently "senpai"), and name calling in general. Do you think that translating "XXX-senpai" as just "XXX" acceptable? How about "Mr/Mrs/Miss/Sir/Madam.XXX" for "XXX-sensei/san/sama"? Do you think that not-translating these honorifics means that the translator is trying to preserve the original meaning or just that he/she doesn't have more in-depth knowledge of the language being translated to?
There are no clean, flowing, translations that convey all the information conveyed in an honorific attached to a name. Sometimes that information is superfluous, but sometimes it is very necessary.

Translating names in general is hard, since a lot of information is conveyed in how you address someone that you really don't realize. Also, information that isn't conveyed is as important as information that is (example below). And most of the time it's hard to convert that information into a different language+culture that has it's own ways of addressing people that convey different additional information.

Spoiler for Another:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisdrache View Post
Or just use "Thanks for the food." When subs need to add translation notes for liberal translations then they're doing it wrong.
Also why should we learn japanese? It's the translator's job to do a proper translation, not ours.
Japanese → English is generally a very messy translation. The languages and cultures are quite far apart and every style of translation requires translation notes or understanding of the language/culture to get everything.

Unless you want to miss out on a lot of information that couldn't be translated properly, you either have a basic grasp of Japanese language and culture, or read translation notes.

Quote:
I might have worded my post a bit too direct. There are indeed a few series where the use of translation notes is completely justified. However they are very rare exceptions and almost always there is a better solution.
I would argue it happens a lot more than that. If you are going with liberal translations, there is lots of information that is left out or added in the process of translation.

If it is an airing series, a lot of the time we don't know if the information left out/added in is important, thus I think that warrants notes. Especially if its a mystery series or something, if the translation fails to convey information, or conveys extra information, that should be noted.

Quote:
I don't think translators note should really used. Of course, it's up to them if they want to write them in a blog post or whatever, but it's likely that many people won't even bother reading them.
I think putting translation notes and stuff in blog posts is good. The people who care will read it, and the people who don't won't.

Quote:
That's not the problem though. The thing is that inserting translation notes would mean that there's the need to put one. However, if that the case, it means that the subs are either literal or have bad localization.
There is tons of missing or extra information conveyed with every style of translating. Thus there is always a need for translation notes.

Quote:
To me, a good translation is a translation that conveys the same meaning, not the same words. If you're going to watch a comedy show with puns, you don't want to stick with the original line, but an English equivalent.
What if the words were important? What if it is a mystery series and the missing/extra information in the words completely screwed you over? What if you want to look at the series as more than light entertainment?

As for comedy. I'm decidedly a fan of Japanese jokes, that is why I want to watch the original joke. If I wanted to watch American jokes, I would watch television.

Quote:
Personally, as long as accuracy is preserved, I'd go with a more liberal one rather than a rigorously literal one.
Accuracy is not preserved either way.
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Old 2013-01-13, 01:10   Link #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
What if the words were important? What if it is a mystery series and the missing/extra information in the words completely screwed you over? What if you want to look at the series as more than light entertainment?
I can definitely think of cases where the way a fansubber translated something biased the understanding of the scene, and influenced understanding of key plot points. So if you are going to be liberal with the translation, you have be damn sure that you understand the full point of what was said (which goes beyond just the words that were spoken). This can be somewhat tricky for subbers doing week-by-week work when they're not familiar with the source material (or there is no source material), because it isn't always clear what interpretation is correct at the time (but it may become more clear later). A careless choice can come back to bite you later.

As a quasi-related point, one thing that annoys me a bit is when the translators aren't paying enough attention to notice the way lines are connected to themes, and when certain key lines are being repeated. I've even seen cases where an anime will show a flashback, and the line will be rendered in a different way than it was the first time (that changes the meaning somewhat) -- if it's a flashback, you'd better make sure it lines up! This is also why it's important to actually watch the anime you're translating and not just read a script file; otherwise, you could say something that doesn't in any way match what's on the screen due to a misinterpretation of the words (or an error in the transcribed script).

Anyway, all this only goes to support your point that translation is hard.
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Old 2013-01-13, 01:33   Link #33
Athena
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Quote:
There is tons of missing or extra information conveyed with every style of translating. Thus there is always a need for translation notes.
Then you stumbled upon the fact that translations are not perfect. If we have the add TL notes for everything, we will probably end up reading more than watching in some series like Medaka Box or others.

Quote:
What if the words were important? What if it is a mystery series and the missing/extra information in the words completely screwed you over? What if you want to look at the series as more than light entertainment?

As for comedy. I'm decidedly a fan of Japanese jokes, that is why I want to watch the original joke. If I wanted to watch American jokes, I would watch television.
Words are quite important and I agree with that. Just look at all the discussion over how to translate Hyouka properly was a pretty huge debate. But in that case, the translator or the editors would be to blame for that.

As for comedy, I am not saying that you should localize every single line, but that you should be able to laugh. The worst kind of thing you can do is having to explain a pun, because you just failed at making it enjoyable.

Quote:
Accuracy is not preserved either way.
I'm the sense that translation always lose it's meaning, fine. But if that's the case, you can only go watch the Japanese version.

BTW, a more blatant example of a headache for a translator would be Utsuro No Hako to Zero no Maria.

Spoiler for V2 or V3 spoiler:


The mere fact of adding a TL note sold the mystery, even though the translator is one of the gretest I know in BT.
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Old 2013-01-14, 04:18   Link #34
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Steins gate:

Sub: Hey mister. I am mad scientist. It's so cool!
Dub: (something like jive?)
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Old 2013-01-14, 13:36   Link #35
Dop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
It's just because the clash between what is seen and heard is off-putting to me. For example, if someone refers to someone as "<Last Name>-san" in the dialogue, and the sub just says "<First Name>". It may very well that this is how that person might address that person if they were in an English context, but I always do a double-take and have to think "oh yeah, that's the person's other name" -- even if I know it.
This really annoyed me in Viz's subs for their release of the Honey and Clover anime series. It annoyed me even more when they didn't even use the right character's name in the subs (someone says "Morita" - sub says "Yuuta" which is Takemoto's given name!).

A friend of mine works as a professional translator and she says where names are concerned you always use the name that's spoken, and you should never switch first/last names in the subtitles.
Mind you, she also says that dvd subtitling pays so little that most experienced translators won't touch it.
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