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Post Reply subbed vs dubbed - why is there such a drastic difference in them?
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18
black clover for example. watching the subbed then watching the dubbed i'm like thats not what they said. why do they change the dialogue?
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18

jurge99 wrote:

black clover for example. watching the subbed then watching the dubbed i'm like thats not what they said. why do they change the dialogue?


usually for localization. Some cultural references won't be understood by a wider English speaking audience.

There are several anime that contain word games that only make sense in Japanese.

Sometimes they try to make it more humorous for a Western audience as well.

I can't stand the outboard motor screaming of Asta in the Japanese language version. He's much easier to handle in the dub.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18

HOOfan_1 wrote:

usually for localization. Some cultural references won't be understood by a wider English speaking audience.

There are several anime that contain word games that only make sense in Japanese.

Sometimes they try to make it more humorous for a Western audience as well.

I can't stand the outboard motor screaming of Asta in the Japanese language version. He's much easier to handle in the dub.


I think localization is definitely a part of it. Another part would be in making word choices that fit lip flaps better.

I was as annoyed as it seems everyone was by the extensive yelling, and style of yelling in Japanese language version of Black Clover. But after a few episodes I, like many others, both got used to the yelling and starting seeing it as an endearing sort of annoyance to the extent that it honestly no longer annoys and simply amuses me. I haven't watched any of the dub. Maybe I should just to see how they handled the yelling differently.

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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18

lorreen wrote:


HOOfan_1 wrote:

usually for localization. Some cultural references won't be understood by a wider English speaking audience.

There are several anime that contain word games that only make sense in Japanese.

Sometimes they try to make it more humorous for a Western audience as well.

I can't stand the outboard motor screaming of Asta in the Japanese language version. He's much easier to handle in the dub.


I think localization is definitely a part of it. Another part would be in making word choices that fit lip flaps better.

I was as annoyed as it seems everyone was by the extensive yelling, and style of yelling in Japanese language version of Black Clover. But after a few episodes I, like many others, both got used to the yelling and starting seeing it as an endearing sort of annoyance to the extent that it honestly no longer annoys and simply amuses me. I haven't watched any of the dub. Maybe I should just to see how they handled the yelling differently.



This kind of thing always reminds me of the "end grabber" (shiritori) game in an episode of Slayers Next - a reference to a Japanese literary game, but in the episode it was also used as a literal 'grab the person's rear' gag. Very difficult if they'd wanted to avoid the cultural reference to the word game while still keeping the animation, so they just went with it and hoped for the best.

Seems like they're often swinging back and forth between literal translations and more flexible dubbing that assumes the dub audience knows little to nothing about the source.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18

MakotoKamui wrote:

Seems like they're often swinging back and forth between literal translations and more flexible dubbing that assumes the dub audience knows little to nothing about the source.


It's most unfortunate I think when (some) dubs seem to take the stance, "Our viewers know absolutely nothing about anything Japanese, let's simplify things." Even though most viewers know more than enough about anime and Japanese media, and I'm sure could figure out anything slightly unexpected after seeing it once or twice.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/23/18
I haven't watched dubbed since I was a kid and I was watching anime on TV tbh. I much prefer subbed.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/19/18

jurge99 wrote:

black clover for example. watching the subbed then watching the dubbed i'm like thats not what they said. why do they change the dialogue?


They do. So do subs.

Don't assume that subs are giving you a complete translation (unless it's an obsessive fan sub that requires frequent pausing to read all the notes.)
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/19/18

MadeDragon wrote:


jurge99 wrote:

black clover for example. watching the subbed then watching the dubbed i'm like thats not what they said. why do they change the dialogue?


They do. So do subs.

Don't assume that subs are giving you a complete translation (unless it's an obsessive fan sub that requires frequent pausing to read all the notes.)


This. Subs often take as much liberty with what they translate but tend to slip under the radar of people who can't understand the language that is spoken.

My family lives in Germany, there's still a lot of Germans who understand little to no English so they dub positively everything.
The last time I went to the movies and watched something in the original, English, audio it had German subs and boy were those off.
Not only were things paraphrased, which is fine if it conveys the information better than a literal translation, but information was changed or omitted.
I had to eventually force myself not to read the subs because the feelings of "that's not what they said!" were starting to ruin the movie for me.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18
Personally for me its the voice actors. i feel like Dubbed Voice actors sound like a mediocre drama team from some middle school. They sound so overly dramatic or so flat it just drives me up the wall. I have tried a few shows in Dubbed as they say they are better but honestly the Voice actors make me want to rip my hair out.

On a side note for subbed I have found quiet a few anime where the subs don't translate what the person actually says. I agree its probably a mix of localization and half assed subbing on the part of UN-paid fans who do the work. Props to them for getting most of it at least partially correct though!


EDIT: Materialization Shiritori from No Game No Life looks like it would be freaking hilarious to play.
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/19/18
Because they need to rhyme with the mouth movements and the syllable's
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Posted 2/18/18 , edited 2/18/18
As others have said, changes in the script can occur in subbed as well as dubbed shows. There is rarely any consistency as it depends on the translator, the English production team and whether the Japanese production team have set a specific translation for a certain word.

An example of the latter is Sailor Moon; sailor senshi was translated in the 90's dubs to sailor scout and in the 90's subs to sailor warrior; since then the Japanese team have set their own translation of senshi as guardian, so all modern English adaptations use sailor guardian.

A recent example of an idiotic subtitle translation was CR's presentation of 18if. In one episode a character referred to as Hana, Hanako or Hanako Smith is given the translated name of Jane or Jane Doe. I found it extremely jarring to hear "Hana" but read "Jane" every few seconds and it ruined my immersion in the story. It was a real shame as it is otherwise a brilliant series.

Some of the worst subtitles though are from what I call the lazy translations of the 90s. They would "translate" the Japanese by adding extra lines into the dub, seemingly because they thought their audience was too stupid to follow the original plot. Then for the subtitles they reuse the same script, so you see text pop up when no one is talking. In the original Appleseed there are some long atmospheric shots of the arid lands around the settlement but the music is joined by a constant stream of text, indicating whole conversations that never happened.





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Posted 2/19/18 , edited 2/19/18

MidoriNoTora wrote:
A recent example of an idiotic subtitle translation was CR's presentation of 18if. In one episode a character referred to as Hana, Hanako or Hanako Smith is given the translated name of Jane or Jane Doe. I found it extremely jarring to hear "Hana" but read "Jane" every few seconds and it ruined my immersion in the story. It was a real shame as it is otherwise a brilliant series.


It was trying to focus on her name being "generic," which came up a couple of times but I agree they overdid it.
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Posted 2/19/18 , edited 2/19/18
As many people here have said, a lot of reasons ranging from the differences between Japanese and English as languages, differences in interpretations by translators, and trying to get mouths to look right. All of that being said, I think another major difference is that subs have more freedom in their translations due to the time constraints within each scene of a show. It's one thing to simply display what's being said on screen, but another thing entirely to synchronize and incorporate it directly into a scene without altering its pacing.
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Posted 2/19/18 , edited 2/19/18

DevinKuska wrote:

Personally for me its the voice actors. i feel like Dubbed Voice actors sound like a mediocre drama team from some middle school. They sound so overly dramatic or so flat it just drives me up the wall. I have tried a few shows in Dubbed as they say they are better but honestly the Voice actors make me want to rip my hair out.



I myself wouldn't mind watching dubs if there were better voice actors. To me it sounds like they are reading the script for the first time and doing the recording at the same time.

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Posted 2/19/18 , edited 2/20/18
There's a pretty comprehensive discussion about creating a dub script in the Commentary to episode 12 of Steins;Gate

https://www.funimation.com/shows/steinsgate/episode-12-commentary-3/?lang=english
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