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Subtitling, Voice Dubbing, They Are All The Same For Localizing
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Posted 1/10/09

DomFortress wrote:


Arcuied wrote:


DomFortress wrote:


Arcuied wrote:

I think it's rather that people consider dubbing=Americanizing, which sometimes it is (e.g. Initial D), which is also one of the reasons fans prefer fansubbing over official subs, this could also translate as "licensed manga vs. scanlated manga".

Let's face it, some companies do suck and try to make changes that they believe are for the better but instead, end up ruining the anime (e.g. Dragon Ball in it's first years), yet others do try to keep the original dialogues as much as they can. Unfortunately, they also need to cater to newcomers to anime, and that can be a bit difficult when trying to translate words or terms that are rather untranslatable or it would change the whole context (e.g. -senpai, -sama, hitsuzen), or cultural quirks (e.g. calling classmates by their last names but your girlfriend or friends by their name).

But I found that the English dubbing on some anime series were done so well with the scripts, the voice acting and directing, that it was even better than the original Japanese voice acting. Godannar, Dai Guard, G-Gundam, actually a lot of super robot genre anime series with over-the-top acting, all have superb English voice dubbing.

Now that I think about it, the English dubbing in anime is trying to compete with the Japanese voice acting in terms of script writings, acting and directing. And as an anime DVD collector, I'm getting twice as many acting contents with my North American licensed DVD that featured both spoken languages. Now talk about being spoiled.


I agree that some dubs do end up being better than the original. A few years ago, Mexican dub was considered the best in the world, I'm not kidding, and not just including Japanese anime, American cartoons and movies as well.

I don't think this has been mentioned before, but in Japan, dub acting is a well respected career, whereas in other parts of the world it could be considered a side-job or hobby. That might be one of the reasons the original dub is considered superior, since it's taken more seriously unlike in America. That's changing now though.


However the Japanese voice acting business is suffering in the market as of late:

80% of Seiyū Take Part-Time Jobs to Make Ends Meet
posted on 2009-01-05 23:14 EST
Voice-acting agency head says only 10% have full-time voice careers

Ameba News posted the first part of an interview with Shōmu Shirogane, who is a seiyū (voice actor), a narrator, and the president of the Winner Entertainment voice-acting management agency. According to Shirogane, there are about 1,600 people who work as seiyū in Japan. Of that number, about 10% work full-time as freelancing seiyū. However, 80% cannot make ends meet with their voice-acting assignments alone, and have to take on part-time jobs elsewhere. The remainder includes actors, idols, and media talents who perform in other fields. Another 80,000 are said to be potential seiyū and people who are applying to be seiyū.

Many in the latter group are training to be seiyū in over 50 vocational schools for the profession in Japan. Shirogane acknowledges that becoming a seiyū is difficult with little guarantee of success, even for the approximate half of the profession that are affiliated with an agency. Ameba News' second part of the interview will include Urara Takano, another seiyū who runs a seiȳu management agency called Remax.


Source:
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-01-05/80-percent-of-seiyu-take-part-time-jobs-to-make-ends-meet


Well that wasn't my point exactly, my point is that voice acting is a respectable career that can jump-start people into fame (Hayashibara Megumi, Koyasu Takehiko, Inoue Marina, Miki Shinichirou, etc.), but only recently have fans noted the names in the credits and have begun to also recognize the talent of American voice actors. Regardless of whether it pays for the bills or not, voice acting is one of the things that makes or brakes an anime, IMO.
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Posted 1/10/09 , edited 1/10/09
An earlier post mentioned that 'first experience" Phenomena.

And I have to say it works both ways. Whatever actor I hear first tends to be who I think of as the voice for the character. For example, for me, Lisa Ortiz is lina Inverse. all others, including the great Megumi Hashibara and whomever ADV got to do their Lina are pretenders. That's simply becuase I heard Lisa Ortiz in the role first.

Conversely, it is the japanese actor or actress for animes that I've seen first subtitled.

this applies more generally, Dubs sound... weird... If I've already seen the sub. But conversely subs are WAY too high pitched if I've already seen the dub.
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Posted 1/10/09

papagolfwhiskey wrote:

An earlier post mentioned that 'first experience" Phenomena.

And I have to say it works both ways. Whatever actor I hear first tends to be who I think of as the voice for the character. For example, for me, Lisa Ortiz is lina Inverse. all others, including the great Megumi Hashibara and whomever ADV got to do their Lina are pretenders. That's simply becuase I heard Lisa Ortiz in the role first.

Conversely, it is the japanese actor or actress for animes that I've seen first subtitled.

this applies more generally, Dubs sound... weird... If I've already seen the sub. But conversely subs are WAY too high pitched if I've already seen the dub.

An excellent example of what I was talking about.

Regarding your final statement, I have also experienced this. After watching the dub first, the female Japanese voices seeming too high pitched, and sometimes with too little difference in tone to make the different characters readily distinct. That said, I have to wonder how much of it is due to being able to understand the language when listening to the dub, and thus noticing differences in pronounciation and inflection.


On a slightly different topic, I bothers me that characters or devices that speak english are redubbed. I assume it is due to some licensing issue (i.e., the need to make payment to the original Japanese VA if their voice were used). For example, I fully expect that when I recieve my first Nanoha DVD from Netflix, I will find Raging Heart (or Raising Heart) being voiced by someone new, despite the fact that it originally spoke in english.

Posted 1/10/09 , edited 1/10/09
I got to say this is a rather informative post, considering Dom started it. But really..I tend to agree to a point. I dislike Americans..'Americanilazing' something that doesn't belong to us. Where as Pokemon since it is aimed at a younger audience, subs just won't work. And changing verbal ques and storylines to fit the target audience is ok.

But I dislike changing subtle racial ques and idiosyncrasy to make it more western. Part of Anime I thoroughly enjoy is learning new things about a people or country. Such as Boku or the Sneezing thing. One of my primary examples is Angelic Layer.

On Angelic Layer Ich-chan tells his subordinate as a punishment to eat a bowl of udon without making any noise. Many may not know but in Japan and Korea and China for that matter, noodles are to be slurped. Slurping noodles shows respect to the makers of that food. When it was translated to English the whole thing got changed to 'Eat Udon through your nose'.

I can understand subs are a pain..sure. I can understand people do not always want to lose site of the anime because their busy reading the subs. And while I personally can read and watch a show at the same time. Many do not find enjoyment with that and find it to taxing. There is nothing wrong with that. Subs, and Dubs each have their place in the Anime market.

My debate/argument is..why when an anime is being watched by an older audience, can a small text appear on the show saying..'In Japan Udon is to be slurped nosily showing respect to the Maker' hold it on the show for several moments long enough to be read by anyone and go on with the dub. Keep the dub with the original script..why americanize it? Why change the storyline?

Anime is not our culture and never will be. Even if more and more people get involved, Disney and Pixar will always undoubtedly be the head of the pack. So instead of changing it..keep it in the script and let Americans learn of another culture. What is our primary wish to change things? Understanding a people is by understanding their culture and how they think. Something we will never appreciate if we continue to change things to our standards.

As for the Voice acting. Often even Japanese voice actors do not match the 'flapping' of the characters. So I think that shouldn't really be a major factor as long as it's close. But I can see how unconsciously we notice it and it throws off our perspective.
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Posted 1/10/09
Conversely if footnotes are needed why can't they be liner notes or a separate text file. Animeigo used to do that with their footnotes on "You're under arrest"

when you change langauges not matter how you slice it, there will be changes. "Get Smart" becomes "Max la Menace" when going between french and english, languages that at least evolved side by side in europe.
Posted 1/10/09

TheAncientOne wrote:


There is absolutely nothing wrong with you preferring dubbed over subbed. Be it your reading speed..visual accruity or simple desire.

Just for note..I prefer subs. but I watched for instance Inuyasha from TV mostly. A Friend of mine let me borrow the rest on DVD and I tried watching them in subbed like usual..And I couldn't stand it. I prefer it in dubbed..go figure..and for note..My first experience was Robotech on TV dubbed..my first subbed was Urusei Yatsura which was a fan subbed on VHS way back when. It was at an acquaintance house, who gave me a creepy Otaku feel.

Anyway for a while most my experiences were dubbed. I prefer Fan subbed, to Dubbed or Legal subbed. Fan subbers give you an idea of the culture. They do not change the script and if something comes up they usually tell with a 'TN' Translator's Note, letting you know something about the culture

In the end I prefer subbed for that reason. If I wanted to watch cartoons and not get anything from them. I would watch stuff here. But I want to learn about other cultures, their jokes and what their little idiosyncrasies are.

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Posted 1/10/09

TheAncientOne wrote:

[

On a slightly different topic, I bothers me that characters or devices that speak english are redubbed. I assume it is due to some licensing issue (i.e., the need to make payment to the original Japanese VA if their voice were used). For example, I fully expect that when I recieve my first Nanoha DVD from Netflix, I will find Raging Heart (or Raising Heart) being voiced by someone new, despite the fact that it originally spoke in english.



Who's making Nanoha? One reason I started doing the whole online theiving thing was that I despaired of it ever being licensed.

not sure why it has (or might be) re dubbed but I agree. the device voices were fine.

on the other hand, if they Redub Revy and Balaika's (black lagoon) english as spoken in Japan sequences, I for one, will not cry.


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Posted 1/10/09
I like all. I like subbing if I believe the voice action is good, however at the same time, reading subtitles below constantly can take away the "feel" of the scene. I can't always get into it enough if I'm sometimes more concentrated at something else instead of watching the animation. A lot of the times the translations can possibly be wrong as well.
Sometimes the English or voice dubs can be better than the japanese version. This is hard to believe because a lot of people seem to dislike hearing their own language too much to where they refuse to look it's way.
I have met fans of English voice dubs before, it's rare, but there are a handful of people who prefer dubs because they dislike reading the text at the bottom constantly.
Like guy said, everything is needed for the entire process of localizing.
Posted 1/11/09 , edited 1/11/09

Batarang wrote:

I got to say this is a rather informative post, considering Dom started it. But really..I tend to agree to a point. I dislike Americans..'Americanilazing' something that doesn't belong to us. Where as Pokemon since it is aimed at a younger audience, subs just won't work. And changing verbal ques and storylines to fit the target audience is ok.

But I dislike changing subtle racial ques and idiosyncrasy to make it more western. Part of Anime I thoroughly enjoy is learning new things about a people or country. Such as Boku or the Sneezing thing. One of my primary examples is Angelic Layer.

On Angelic Layer Ich-chan tells his subordinate as a punishment to eat a bowl of udon without making any noise. Many may not know but in Japan and Korea and China for that matter, noodles are to be slurped. Slurping noodles shows respect to the makers of that food. When it was translated to English the whole thing got changed to 'Eat Udon through your nose'.

I can understand subs are a pain..sure. I can understand people do not always want to lose site of the anime because their busy reading the subs. And while I personally can read and watch a show at the same time. Many do not find enjoyment with that and find it to taxing. There is nothing wrong with that. Subs, and Dubs each have their place in the Anime market.

My debate/argument is..why when an anime is being watched by an older audience, can a small text appear on the show saying..'In Japan Udon is to be slurped nosily showing respect to the Maker' hold it on the show for several moments long enough to be read by anyone and go on with the dub. Keep the dub with the original script..why americanize it? Why change the storyline?

Anime is not our culture and never will be. Even if more and more people get involved, Disney and Pixar will always undoubtedly be the head of the pack. So instead of changing it..keep it in the script and let Americans learn of another culture. What is our primary wish to change things? Understanding a people is by understanding their culture and how they think. Something we will never appreciate if we continue to change things to our standards.


As for the Voice acting. Often even Japanese voice actors do not match the 'flapping' of the characters. So I think that shouldn't really be a major factor as long as it's close. But I can see how unconsciously we notice it and it throws off our perspective.


planetwarrior wrote:

This is such a great idea to make the audience in anime community bigger and anime should have mainstream, and casual alike ppl to watch them, instead of leaving it too much original(like Jap audio and concept), in which it target niche and real hardcore fans. @DomFortress, you're pretty smart and very informative that unlike many ppl here or somewhere need to know what's the problem and solve the problem in order to get the understanding of the circumstances.

It's also difficult to introduce certain anime titles to a wide range of none-Japanese anime fans using localization, when the ainme series had explicit contents made to attract a particular niche and real hardcore fans. As anime themselves are being more explicit with their contents, audiences who are new to anime subculture might not be able to appreciate the explicit content matters themselves. And this is where the bottom line for localization contradicts itself.

I defined the bottom line for localization on licensed anime that's aimed to entertain a wide range of local audiences alike, is by delivering the story itself to the local audiences faithfully and truthfully. But, when the majority of the local audiences are still not versed with the anime subculture itself, which has anime series with explicit contents that are seen as obscenities and taboos by the local cultural standard, then no matter how faithfully and truthfully the localization can get, the truth is the majority of the local audiences won't be entertained by the explicit contents.

The bottom line for localization is also its limit, it can't help the local audiences themselves to understand the explicit contents in anime, without keeping them entertained by doing more than what it was supposed to do. How much more editor's notes can be put onto the screen via subtitling, before the majority of local audiences find the texts themselves to be distracting? How truthfully and faithfully the storyline can be written for the voice dubbing, before the majority of local audiences find the actual lines themselves to be obscene and tabooed? As a fitness trainer, my professionalism demands that I know my trainee's limit, thereby not to injure them with some of my more demanding yet effective training regiments. This is the same professionalism that localization companies must have, in order to maintain their business standard.
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Posted 1/11/09
...your over complicating it, personally I don't like dubs because they just make all the characters sound like tards
Posted 1/11/09

C_South wrote:

...your over complicating it, personally I don't like dubs because they just make all the characters sound like tards

But is that poor localization, or just your own personal preference? If it's personal, then can you actually do a better job than the voice actor did, thereby making your opinion truthfully and faithfully?
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Posted 1/11/09

papagolfwhiskey wrote:


TheAncientOne wrote:

[

On a slightly different topic, I bothers me that characters or devices that speak english are redubbed. I assume it is due to some licensing issue (i.e., the need to make payment to the original Japanese VA if their voice were used). For example, I fully expect that when I recieve my first Nanoha DVD from Netflix, I will find Raging Heart (or Raising Heart) being voiced by someone new, despite the fact that it originally spoke in english.



Who's making Nanoha? One reason I started doing the whole online theiving thing was that I despaired of it ever being licensed.

not sure why it has (or might be) re dubbed but I agree. the device voices were fine.

on the other hand, if they Redub Revy and Balaika's (black lagoon) english as spoken in Japan sequences, I for one, will not cry.



Both the original series and A's have been licensed by Funimation. I was hoping it might show up on their online video portal, but no such luck (yet). Apparently they have yet to license StrikerS.

Speaking of Funimation's online video portal, those who dislike dubs should not dismiss it out of hand. Out of the 3 series I am watching there now, 2 are subs. There are also indications that they will offer a choice of dub or sub in the future. (The site is still in open beta now). Video quality is very good, and currently no commercials.

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Posted 1/11/09
Well it's not like all dubbing is bad, just that you know first impression goes a long way, and of course the first dubs were horrible, while now dubs are a lot better than they were in the past, my personal opinion is that by dubbing an anime it loses a part of it's charm, i don't know if anybody else get's the feeling that something just is off, plus sometimes i thought that the dubbing voice just doesn;t suite the character
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Posted 1/11/09

SylverDeimos wrote:

Well it's not like all dubbing is bad, just that you know first impression goes a long way, and of course the first dubs were horrible, while now dubs are a lot better than they were in the past, my personal opinion is that by dubbing an anime it loses a part of it's charm, i don't know if anybody else get's the feeling that something just is off, plus sometimes i thought that the dubbing voice just doesn;t suite the character


yes and no.

The earliest dubs sucked. so did the earliest 'professional' subs. Fansubbers 15 to 20 years ago were more professional than the anime company or import company hacks. OF course fansubbers from 20 years ago are now heads of companies like ADV.

for some animes, the awkwardness of translation is part of the charm. If the anime is set in japan and is deeply involved with an aspect of japanese culture. (for example 'slice of life' animes and comedies of manners require an understanding of japanese culture for their humour and pathos to work)

Others... Not so much.

as for dubbing being 'off' it depends on the quality of the voice actors and the translations. some dubs are TERRIBLE. the characters sound like someone is typing into a 'speak and spell' toy. or Stephen Hawking's voice box.

others are excellant.

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Posted 1/11/09

Batarang wrote:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you preferring dubbed over subbed. Be it your reading speed..visual accruity or simple desire.

Just for note..I prefer subs. but I watched for instance Inuyasha from TV mostly. A Friend of mine let me borrow the rest on DVD and I tried watching them in subbed like usual..And I couldn't stand it. I prefer it in dubbed..go figure..and for note..My first experience was Robotech on TV dubbed..my first subbed was Urusei Yatsura which was a fan subbed on VHS way back when. It was at an acquaintance house, who gave me a creepy Otaku feel.

Anyway for a while most my experiences were dubbed. I prefer Fan subbed, to Dubbed or Legal subbed. Fan subbers give you an idea of the culture. They do not change the script and if something comes up they usually tell with a 'TN' Translator's Note, letting you know something about the culture

In the end I prefer subbed for that reason. If I wanted to watch cartoons and not get anything from them. I would watch stuff here. But I want to learn about other cultures, their jokes and what their little idiosyncrasies are.


I have mentioned it before here on CR (likely earlier in this thread), but the best DVD set up I saw offered two different dubs; one that was basically the same as the dub script, and the other a more literal translation. Unfortunately, it wasn't an idea that caught on. The second best approach I saw was translators notes in the extras. These explained portions that were changed for cultural references that might be lost on the majority of a North American audience, or that were challenging to translate accurately into english.

I have certainly seen dubs that would serve as prime example of dubs that truly suck."Psychic Wars" (which was shown on Sci-Fi a while back) had such flat voice acting that I think I could have done a better job (and I certainly lay no claim to any acting skills). If someone thinks the dubbing for shows like Naruto and Bleach is bad, they should certainly avoid ever watching the dub of this one, lest their ears bleed and they feel like bashing their head against a wall to stop the pain.

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