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View Poll Results: What makes a good translation, in your opinion?
Keeping every line as close as possible to a literal translation 38 28.36%
Trying to understand the essence of the original line and finding the best English to capture that 105 78.36%
Thinking of the audience and giving them what they expect or what they feel comfortable with 11 8.21%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 134. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2004-12-04, 21:03   Link #81
Kyle kun
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I voted for the second one. Direct translations can end up sounding off and even losing the original meaning, so I think fansub groups should, instead of using direct translations, try to capture the intended meaning. So long as they don't use any strange slang words or outdates phrases (eyes FunI).
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Old 2004-12-04, 22:07   Link #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayu-ayu
I agree, check dictionary.com--for its own definition of "non-standard":

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=non-standard

Essentially it means that it's a word that may have some acceptance in colloquial use but is nonetheless grammatically incorrect. It's a politically correct form of calling the usage illiterate and frowning upon it.
But if the character doesn't speak grammatically correct Japanese either, isn't it completely appropriate to use non-standard english to get that point across? It's one of the many techniques I use to help differentiate between the proper spoken Honoka and the illiterate (as you call her) Nagisa.
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Old 2004-12-05, 01:50   Link #83
Ayu-ayu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy
But if the character doesn't speak grammatically correct Japanese either, isn't it completely appropriate to use non-standard english to get that point across? It's one of the many techniques I use to help differentiate between the proper spoken Honoka and the illiterate (as you call her) Nagisa.
How is the viewer to tell if this usage is deliberate or accidental? When I see "alright" in a subtitle, I tend to assume the editor didn't know better... and then begin to wonder if the editor is really doing their job or not. There's no way you could distinguish by listening if a speaker intended to say "alright" or "all right" in English in the first place...so why err on the side of the more awkward, non-standard usage?

But putting the "alwrong" issue aside, that's a good question. I think that such a case is more understandable, yet I still personally favor allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusion from the context and a fairly direct translation. If you look at various works that have been translated into English from other languages, they follow this same rule in general, too. Take the Three Musketeers, for one example. Traditionally all the dialogue is presented in flawless English in translation, yet the reader is quite aware of the fact D'Artagnan speaks with an extremely thick Gascon accent. Why? Because it's said that he has one, and it is frequently apparent in the context of the reactions of other characters in the story to it.

I'm not saying that it's wrong to be expressive in interpreting the character but if your translation is direct and faithful to what is said, then the context and the reactions of other characters as well as the eye and ear of the viewer should provide fairly ample means by which to identify a unique character's quirks and mannerisms and associate it with the correct reason (dialect, character, intelligence, what have you). And further comment on the speaking patterns can be provided in liner notes as such (in an attached text file or after the show or such).

Anyway, that's all just IMHO. I think there is a lot of good precedent in other translated media, be it film, video, opera, novels, or what have you that has been developed over the years and there are good reasons for why these approaches exist.

To be fair, I've not seen your sub, and perhaps it would change my opinion if I did. I have seen some of the show raw previously though and it seems to me that not even knowing much of the dialogue that this difference comes off fairly strongly just through the anime's presentation of their characters. Anime excels at communicating things through strong acting and complimentary visuals.
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Old 2004-12-05, 14:56   Link #84
SirCanealot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayu-ayu
Essentially it means that it's a word that may have some acceptance in colloquial use but is nonetheless grammatically incorrect.
Then who decideds what is incorrect?
"I'm going... home" or "I'm going...home"?
"Color" or "Colour"?
"I'll see you later" or 'I'll see you later'?
"Red, white and blue" or "Red, white, and blue?"
"I'm going too!" or "I'm going, too!"?
"So we're going then?" or "So we're going, then?"
"It's big though" or "It's big, though"?
"Hey Dave, where are we going?" or "Hey, Dave, where are we going?"?
"I'm NOT going out!" or "I'm not going out!"

Face it, when you decide to write in English, you're taking a check board of rules, and you're picking and choosing which ones you want to follow (same in many areas of life, really).
Edit: and much of English isn't even rules: it's all personal choice, heh.
Everyone has their own opinions about English; I don't think saying flat-out that "alright" is wrong (or anything else) is a good thing to do really.
Although, in my opinion, there is two "alrights"(the same with all of the above - in my opinion - optional choices): there's the "alright" where the editor has sat down and said "Right! I'm gonna use "alright", I'll use commas here, and here! Don't like commas here... prefer this... I think this, personally; so definately not that...",
And then there's: "Duh, I don't know what I'm doing. Comma goes here?" (for lack of a better term - I actually don't want to be offensive in this case, hah).
Basically, I agree with K_R: there are a lot of un-educated people about now. I would know - I was one of them a little over a year ago (reading books now, I wonder how on earth I read them without the knowledge of English I have today - re-reading old books is like reading them afresh); but, I think, if an editor sits down and thinks about what he is doing, then sticks, CONSISTANTLY to what he is doing, who am I to say he's wrong?
English isn't my language. I can't say what's right, and why should anyone else?

Although, this IS all a case of context. In formal texts, so to not make yourself look silly, it is, of course, best to go with the rules the majority of people like (all right). And since fansubs, these days, somewhat fall into "formal writing" (due to the large number of people queuing up to flame fansub groups), I can fully see why most editors stick with "all right".

Infact, going slightly off topic, why don't we invent a new word. How about: al/all( )right? I think it covers both words quite well, don't you think? :P

Quote:
How is the viewer to tell if this usage is deliberate or accidental? When I see "alright" in a subtitle, I tend to assume the editor didn't know better... and then begin to wonder if the editor is really doing their job or not.
That's again where I look at consistancy. If an editor sticks to his or her guns, then, even if they're doing stuff I dislike, who am I to say they're wrong? Especially if the more "iron" rules of English are followed...

That's another reason why A.F.K. are the authority over all fansubs groups on the internet: PERFECT editing, and "alright". Ghayayayayayaya!!!!
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Old 2004-12-05, 16:13   Link #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirCanealot
Then who decideds what is incorrect?
"I'm going... home" or "I'm going...home"?
"Color" or "Colour"?
"I'll see you later" or 'I'll see you later'?
"Red, white and blue" or "Red, white, and blue?"
"I'm going too!" or "I'm going, too!"?
"So we're going then?" or "So we're going, then?"
"It's big though" or "It's big, though"?
"Hey Dave, where are we going?" or "Hey, Dave, where are we going?"?
"I'm NOT going out!" or "I'm not going out!"

Face it, when you decide to write in English, you're taking a check board of rules, and you're picking and choosing which ones you want to follow (same in many areas of life, really).
Edit: and much of English isn't even rules: it's all personal choice, heh.
Everyone has their own opinions about English; I don't think saying flat-out that "alright" is wrong (or anything else) is a good thing to do really.
Although, in my opinion, there is two "alrights"(the same with all of the above - in my opinion - optional choices): there's the "alright" where the editor has sat down and said "Right! I'm gonna use "alright", I'll use commas here, and here! Don't like commas here... prefer this... I think this, personally; so definately not that...",
And then there's: "Duh, I don't know what I'm doing. Comma goes here?" (for lack of a better term - I actually don't want to be offensive in this case, hah).
Basically, I agree with K_R: there are a lot of un-educated people about now. I would know - I was one of them a little over a year ago (reading books now, I wonder how on earth I read them without the knowledge of English I have today - re-reading old books is like reading them afresh); but, I think, if an editor sits down and thinks about what he is doing, then sticks, CONSISTANTLY to what he is doing, who am I to say he's wrong?
English isn't my language. I can't say what's right, and why should anyone else?

Although, this IS all a case of context. In formal texts, so to not make yourself look silly, it is, of course, best to go with the rules the majority of people like (all right). And since fansubs, these days, somewhat fall into "formal writing" (due to the large number of people queuing up to flame fansub groups), I can fully see why most editors stick with "all right".

Infact, going slightly off topic, why don't we invent a new word. How about: al/all( )right? I think it covers both words quite well, don't you think? :P



That's again where I look at consistancy. If an editor sticks to his or her guns, then, even if they're doing stuff I dislike, who am I to say they're wrong? Especially if the more "iron" rules of English are followed...

That's another reason why A.F.K. are the authority over all fansubs groups on the internet: PERFECT editing, and "alright". Ghayayayayayaya!!!!
What group is it that you work for again? Just out of curiousity.
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Old 2004-12-05, 16:46   Link #86
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Unhappy

A good translation for me is when there are as little japanese as possible left untranslated. "Oniisan", "Ochoufujin", "Sharingan" and japanese suffixes for non-japanese persons in anime for instance are irritation moments. Also, another problem is when there are too many explainations that makes me lose the pace for the moment.
Also, another thing that has nothing to do with the translation is that the subtiles are too quick. In a conversation between two characters, it's nothing more frustrating when there is only one comment shown at the same time.
Example
Welcome to the airport, Miyamoto-san Shown for 3 seconds and replaced by:
Thank you very much!

It would be much better if it were shown like this for 5 seconds:
- Welcome to the airport, Miyamoto-san
- Thank you very much!

A lot better in my opinion.

Even if the motto "Quantity before quality" seems to have its foothold in the digisubber's community (Or extern fansubs if you'd like), I wouldn't have anything against a little creativity in lines that are hard to translate.
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Old 2004-12-05, 16:47   Link #87
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Don't quote a whole reply like that and type one line -_-

And I currently only really actively work with AnimeYuki; I'm planning to work with a couple of other groups (editing), but I'm so lazy right now...
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Old 2004-12-06, 03:28   Link #88
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I've been an anime viewer for about 6 years, and a fansub translator for about 2 years.

When I started watching/fansubbing, I had no real opinion about what was a good sub/translator. At that point, it was something between 1 and 2 for me. It's not that I couldn't/didn't want to make up my mind, rather that I couldn't really find enough reasons for either one. The longer I've been translating, I've changed my opinion towards 2.


A few comments on posts made earlier on this thread:

- I see absolutely no reason to include Japanese in the subs, unless it's a name or something like that. I don't believe anime fansubbing should be educational material.

- Earlier on, jonny-mt said that the translator should include as much information and nuances from the original japanese sentence as possible... I disagree with this, partly. While it's certainly ok to do it if it's easy (the sentence in the target language doesn't suffer), this isn't always the case. Rather, the translator should aim at keeping the same feeling in the overall translation, whether it relates to the character, the scene, or whatever. Trying to do it by sentence leads often to weird sentences for the target language, in my experience. Naturally, you also have to consider the media; this kind of thing is easy to do in manga, but not so much in anime.



EDIT: As a general and simple rule, IMO translations shouldn't be made line by line, but considering the whole context.

Last edited by MrBrown; 2004-12-06 at 03:38.
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Old 2004-12-06, 04:17   Link #89
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my philosophy has always been this:

If it gives a picky native speaker of the destination language a reason to stop and say "what is that saying?" or "that's not right" then it's bad.

When I was learning a foreign language, a decade or so back in my life (wow, I'm getting old), we did a lot of emphasis on capturing the meaning that was being conveyed. That's influenced my views a lot.

In the case of idioms, if there's a parallel idiom, great! Use it! If the idiom is "carry his bale of rice for 3 li" I wouldn't expect an English translation that says "carry his bale of rice for 3 li" ... I'd expect "walk a mile in his shoes" (which is particularly apt because 3 li is just shy of 1 mile ). If it's something that has no equivalent in the language you're translating to, make a note of it! Translator notes, footnotes, comprehensive liner notes, even tacking on 15 seconds of blackness with explanatory text before the op ... all of these are perfectly valid ways of carrying meaning where inline language fails.

The goal of the translator and the editor together is ultimately, in my opinion, to generate something that's as close to the semantic (as opposed to the literal) meaning as possible, and as smooth as possible.

In the specific case of stuff like honorifics, who cares? If you've been watching anime for a few weeks, you've figured out the implications of the various honorifics you're likely to see (ie: -san, -chan, -sama, -kun, etc). Leaving them in is fine, as far as smoothness is concerned. Taking them out can be a little jarring if you're used to them, but that's something that's easy enough to get used to.

I definitely agree with MrBrown though. Both translation and editing (which collectively form the "language" side of fansubbing) have to consider the context of the whole. That's why the professional companies wait until the end, have their translators see the whole thing, get the whole sense of the series from the producers and from the show itself, and THEN start translating it. A lot of fansub series episode1's miss the mark, because the translators don't have a feel for the series yet, and neither do the editors (refer back to the numerous shitty Chrno Crusade episode 1's back when that was being fansubbed, for a glaring example of that).

So yeah. True to meaning. Not word-for-word, but impression-for-impression correctness. Flow in the destination language. That's what makes for a good translation.
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Old 2004-12-06, 06:48   Link #90
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Wow, complich8 summed up just about everything I was thinking of saying...

Although, personally I think the name suffixes should be included, since there really is no way to accurately translating them. For some shows leaving them off can slide by, but I still think they convey the feeling of intamacy that's important in every show, as it's an integral part of japanese society.

As for anyone who says absolute direct translations.... absolute anything is never a good idea. Though I shouldn't say that, because that's rather absolute, and there probably are some rare cases when pureness is advisable. Should I translate otaku as house? That's the dictionary definition, but rarely does anyone actually refer to a house as otaku anymore because it has become a rather negative term. Also, how about english?

I remember in one episode of monster there was a line that contained "stand play," when they really meant grandstanding. Stand play sounds very odd, and I thought it would confuse people, so we changed it.

An entirely direct translation is ridiculous, and often incomprehensible.
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Old 2004-12-06, 07:06   Link #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_R
I've been thinking, why do you people even care? It's not like you know Japanese to be able to tell the difference or even understand the implicit Japanese meaning to certain phrases, thus ruling out literal translations. And if you did know Japanese, why are you wasting time waiting for a fansub?
Some people (myself for instance ^^) know enough japanese to be able to understand some subtilities of the japanese language or to hear when the subs don't stick to what is said, but still not enough to understand most episodes without subs.
For instance, I could certainly understand a "yatta itadakimasu", and I even knew about itadaku's original meaning, but understanding a full show without subs is just to difficult and tiring. While I could manage it with certain show, things like Genshiken or GITS are clearly out of the question. And unfortunately these are typiclly the type of show where translation problems arise.
That said, I agree with most of your post, and prefer a translation that sticks to the spirit and meaning of a sentance, not to the worlds that were used.


As for the subject of translation notes, I usually really enjoy having them when watching a sub. Or, more precisely, I enjoy them being available somewhere. The problem of wehter to put them during the show, before, in a separate file or whatever is just personal preferance.
I think these notes are usefull because the usually provide a better understanding of the episode to the viewer by giving cultural references that may otherwise be missing. I'll make the parallel with book translations, and I've never seen anything wrong with translation notes in book. As a matter of fact, check any good translation of old and/or foreing text, and you'll find translation notes by the truckload. As it happens they're usually absolutly necessary to a clear understanding of the text....
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Last edited by Baba; 2004-12-06 at 07:26.
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Old 2004-12-10, 23:09   Link #92
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Just regarding this thread, I feel that complich8 hit the proverbial nail square on the head :P I couldn't have said it better myself (applauds)

Regarding the "alright" business. I am a native American english speaker, I grew up speaking American english. When I am talking casually with someone the thought of using the spelling "all right" for "alright" never enters my mind. The word has evolved to "alright" when used in a casual sense as far as I am concerned. If you are making a translation in American english and use the spelling "alright" in a casual sense, you're not only correct, but I think superior to using "all right" which conveys the wrong sort of mood. Colloquialisms have their places in subtitles. Sometimes it is correct to use "alright", "gonna", etc. Perfect editing != textbook grammar alone, it goes so much deeper than that.

BTW, regarding the root question, as a translator I try to pride myself on having the most natural english as possible w/o taking away from ANY of the original intent and meaning. I like to pretend I am writing a script for a TV show or a movie and think "How would they say this in english?"

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Old 2004-12-11, 00:14   Link #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofusensei
Just regarding this thread, I feel that complich8 hit the proverbial nail square on the head :P I couldn't have said it better myself (applauds)

Regarding the "alright" business. I am a native American english speaker, I grew up speaking American english. When I am talking casually with someone the thought of using the spelling "all right" for "alright" never enters my mind. The word has evolved to "alright" when used in a casual sense as far as I am concerned. If you are making a translation in American english and use the spelling "alright" in a casual sense, you're not only correct, but I think superior to using "all right" which conveys the wrong sort of mood. Colloquialisms have their places in subtitles. Sometimes it is correct to use "alright", "gonna", etc. Perfect editing != textbook grammar alone, it goes so much deeper than that.

BTW, regarding the root question, as a translator I try to pride myself on having the most natural english as possible w/o taking away from ANY of the original intent and meaning. I like to pretend I am writing a script for a TV show or a movie and think "How would they say this in english?"

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Old 2004-12-11, 03:14   Link #94
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Tofu is king :P

Colloquialisms is very difficult to comprehend for "foreigners" or people here in the English speaking world. It's also different in the Asian world so some liberties can be taken.

I speak four languages fluently (English, Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese) and switching back and forth, I can definately say, my grammar sucks - especially in mixed company. What's correct in one language can be very insulting in another. What can be "formal" in one can be very insulting in another.

Getting the honorifics and other culteral specific materials across without losing their meanings is a very difficult job and people like Tofu makes it look easy.
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