Post Reply How accurate are Crunchyroll's translations?
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21 / M / Cali
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Posted 11/26/16 , edited 11/26/16
are the English subs 100% accurate to the original Japanese anime/manga? How does translation compare to other anime streaming websites( legal/illegal)? I am asking this because I'm debating whether to an a certain anime on crunchyroll or another anime site. (BTW that anime I was talking about is FMA:Brotherhood)
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Posted 11/26/16
No translation is ever 100% accurate, and some are better than others. I prefer licensed subs over fansubs, and try to listen to the Japanese dialog while using the subtitles as sort of a guide.
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Posted 11/26/16

oneouts123 wrote:

are the English subs 100% accurate to the original Japanese anime/manga? How does translation compare to other anime streaming websites( legal/illegal)? I am asking this because I'm debating whether to an a certain anime on crunchyroll or another anime site. (BTW that anime I was talking about is FMA:Brotherhood)


Translation is an art, not a science, so nothing is ever "100%" That being said, the official translators have access to materials (scripts) and personnel (director, original creator, etc.) that fansubbers don't have access to. Since almost everything is translated quickly these days, most of those "fansubs" are just rips from CR or FUNi, with some copy-editing done to make minor changes.
mnmike 
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Posted 11/26/16

eyeofpain wrote:


oneouts123 wrote:

Translation is an art, not a science, so nothing is ever "100%" .


This.

Translators have to balance being literal ("true to the original") with being relatable ("understandable by a non-Japanese audience"). Translate everything too literal, and it sounds incredibly stilted--people talk like Yoda (because Japanese sentences are structured differently) and all humor and poetry is sucked out of the language. Make things too relatable, and you end up with an onigiri described as a jelly donut (google it). Finding the right balance is extremely difficult, and is often a matter of personal preference. As a general rule, fan translations tend to err on the side of being too literal; professional translations tend to err on the side of being too relatable.
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Posted 11/26/16
FMAB is an Aniplex title, so in all likelihood, AOA provided the subs themselves with the distribution.
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Posted 11/26/16

asharka wrote:

FMAB is an Aniplex title, so in all likelihood, AOA provided the subs themselves with the distribution.


AOA?
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Posted 11/26/16

oneouts123 wrote:


asharka wrote:

FMAB is an Aniplex title, so in all likelihood, AOA provided the subs themselves with the distribution.


AOA?


Aniplex of America, the subsidiary distributor in this region.
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Posted 11/27/16

eyeofpain wrote:


oneouts123 wrote:

are the English subs 100% accurate to the original Japanese anime/manga? How does translation compare to other anime streaming websites( legal/illegal)? I am asking this because I'm debating whether to an a certain anime on crunchyroll or another anime site. (BTW that anime I was talking about is FMA:Brotherhood)


Translation is an art, not a science, so nothing is ever "100%" That being said, the official translators have access to materials (scripts) and personnel (director, original creator, etc.) that fansubbers don't have access to. Since almost everything is translated quickly these days, most of those "fansubs" are just rips from CR or FUNi, with some copy-editing done to make minor changes.


Does CR and FUNi translators actually have access to the original creators?
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Posted 11/28/16

oneouts123 wrote:


eyeofpain wrote:


oneouts123 wrote:

are the English subs 100% accurate to the original Japanese anime/manga? How does translation compare to other anime streaming websites( legal/illegal)? I am asking this because I'm debating whether to an a certain anime on crunchyroll or another anime site. (BTW that anime I was talking about is FMA:Brotherhood)


Translation is an art, not a science, so nothing is ever "100%" That being said, the official translators have access to materials (scripts) and personnel (director, original creator, etc.) that fansubbers don't have access to. Since almost everything is translated quickly these days, most of those "fansubs" are just rips from CR or FUNi, with some copy-editing done to make minor changes.


Does CR and FUNi translators actually have access to the original creators?


They may not have direct access to the original creators for all licensed shows, but they have the option to submit questions through the Japanese rights-holder and Production Committee if there is any grey-area in a translation, and are often provided guides on how key terms and character names should be westernized: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2016-09-14/.106445.
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Posted 12/3/16 , edited 12/3/16
It's better than most fansubs, but it's not always entirely accurate.

Sometimes this is for artistic or cultural reasons; a word can translate literally to one thing, but in Japanese have a different connotation. This means the translators need to decide between a literal or a figurative translation, while all but invariably losing something in the process.

Sometimes it is a lack of foresight; while the Japanese writers likely know the story and plot of the entire season, that's not always the case (I think it's pretty rare, from what I've heard) with the people doing simulcasts. This means words that perhaps foreshadow something in Japanese may not in the English translation. For example, many words are not gendered in Japanese. It would be easy to refer to a character often without revealing their gender, but in English, we often prefer words with genders: girlfriend/boyfriend, he/she, etc.. It's definitely happened a couple of times that the translation picked a gender when, in retrospect, it may not have been the correct choice.

Also, sometimes they just mess it up. Pobody's nerfect.
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Posted 12/3/16
Translations are not hard lol. You can more or less expect the translations to mean the same thing as the speech except for the case where the translators and editors had a brain fart.

Interpretations are another thing though as everyone has their own way of doing them. Lots of professionals in the industry nowadays do interpretations instead of translations and as a result, a lot of people who may understand Japanese to X degree but have limited skill in interpreting have this tendency of bashing those interpretations, which is misguided.


Gotta love trying to re-do those puns tho.
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Posted 12/4/16 , edited 12/4/16

RedExodus wrote:

Translations are not hard lol. You can more or less expect the translations to mean the same thing as the speech except for the case where the translators and editors had a brain fart.

Interpretations are another thing though as everyone has their own way of doing them. Lots of professionals in the industry nowadays do interpretations instead of translations and as a result, a lot of people who may understand Japanese to X degree but have limited skill in interpreting have this tendency of bashing those interpretations, which is misguided.


Gotta love trying to re-do those puns tho.


This tells me you have never tried translating an art work (written or spoken) from Japanese to English. There is no direct correlation between words so every choice of English word you use has to be a matter of interpretation. You cannot separate translation and interpretation.

If you want a literal exchange of words, try posting some Japanese text into Google Translate and see what comes out. You may get lucky on a few basic sentences but I suspect you will get some very odd results from a few paragraphs worth.

As a more specific example, "hai" and "ie" can mean "yes" and "no", sometimes. However sometimes there are more subtle nuances and they can even mean the opposite. A literal exchange of words would swap every use of "hai" with "yes" even when the context is clearly showing the speaker is saying "no." Only through interpreting the context of the situation can you choose the best English equivalent.
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Posted 12/4/16

MidoriNoTora wrote:
As a more specific example, "hai" and "ie" can mean "yes" and "no", sometimes. However sometimes there are more subtle nuances and they can even mean the opposite. A literal exchange of words would swap every use of "hai" with "yes" even when the context is clearly showing the speaker is saying "no."

That sounds almost, but not quite, entirely unlike using sarcasm...
(perhaps without the accompanying bitterness, but then again, perhaps not).
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Posted 12/4/16 , edited 12/4/16

MidoriNoTora wrote:


RedExodus wrote:

Translations are not hard lol. You can more or less expect the translations to mean the same thing as the speech except for the case where the translators and editors had a brain fart.

Interpretations are another thing though as everyone has their own way of doing them. Lots of professionals in the industry nowadays do interpretations instead of translations and as a result, a lot of people who may understand Japanese to X degree but have limited skill in interpreting have this tendency of bashing those interpretations, which is misguided.


Gotta love trying to re-do those puns tho.


This tells me you have never tried translating an art work (written or spoken) from Japanese to English. There is no direct correlation between words so every choice of English word you use has to be a matter of interpretation. You cannot separate translation and interpretation.

If you want a literal exchange of words, try posting some Japanese text into Google Translate and see what comes out. You may get lucky on a few basic sentences but I suspect you will get some very odd results from a few paragraphs worth.

As a more specific example, "hai" and "ie" can mean "yes" and "no", sometimes. However sometimes there are more subtle nuances and they can even mean the opposite. A literal exchange of words would swap every use of "hai" with "yes" even when the context is clearly showing the speaker is saying "no." Only through interpreting the context of the situation can you choose the best English equivalent.


The example you're speaking of sounds like when you're trying to ask in English: You haven't done it? > Nope! Which I would assume given the lack of context here. While this may be misleading, it does not change the inherent message nor is it as "subtle" as most people might think. I could go around language exchange boards and not find a foreigner who misunderstands what it means. I could say "ano basho ni ikanakya" which is a double negative in Japanese but never a double negative in translated English. This is hardly an interpretation though as it's meaning is pretty obvious to even novices. Translators translate it without the double negatives without even thinking lol. If you want something difficult, it would be songs. Songs tend to have odd grammar and lyrics that have meanings that are cloudy even to Japanese listeners which would take some interpretation. I've been there and tried that. Stuff like what people say in anime are not difficult to translate but songs can be out there. This is one of the worst offenders that I've found personally:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EZSurY9_uo&list=PL8aIzp0viz5fZrAivIdBF6diDWRkVi4BC&index=35

The humans doing the translations/interpretations aren't brain dead. Using Google translate is not using literal translations, it's being stupid. Actually, there's a different technical term that describes word for word translations(no consideration for grammar in the translated text) that is separate from literal translations but it escapes my mind. I believe it's gloss? It's hard to completely translate word to word because of the particles but this hardly matters since the particles are thought to serve as fillers that spreads out the density of a sentence by linguists anyways, the main meat of the sentence are the actual words. Yes, I know the difference between lines like "ano basho de ikou" and "ano basho ni ikou" but knowing these particles that are the highest frequency words would not help your comprehension nearly as much as one would think compared to just knowing every other word. I've been there and tried that. As long as it's not a particle, even translating words like komorebi isn't hard. There is no 1 English word that means the same thing but its meaning is still obvious enough to translate. The fact that 1 word suddenly became several words isn't really a big deal considering that when listening, humans do not perceive speech word-to-word but rather, as a stream of sounds. This is why people can "know" the words yet be unable to hear them or use them in context if they've only practiced listening to words separately from context.

I know professionals like GaijinHunter who are bilingual and provide direct translations that means pretty much the same thing as the spoken dialogue when doing casual videos but when he works on titles like Kingdom Hearts, the localizations don't always say the same things as in the original. The reason they state is: Translations are not what's hard, it's conveying the emotions through choice of words. If you come after these professionals for doing so, a lot of them would say that it's misguided to do so.
CaelK 
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Posted 12/4/16
I really, really don't like direct (i.e. literal) translations. Like, at all. In fact, when I see a direct translation, I can usually tell if they're using the same dictionary as me. If all the translation looks like is a mass dictionary lookup, it's like the translator is too scared of getting something wrong, doesn't want to ponder the meaning of what's being said, or simply doesn't want to put in the effort to make good literature.

... Thing is, no matter what happens, any translation done has to be done from the lens of the translator. One translator may feel a character does some light cursing, while another may feel that he has an acerbic tongue while not drawing the ire of Captain America. You don't have a choice here if you're not that translator - what you get is the anime, manga, or whatever, presented in whatever way the translator feels is best.

There are good translations and bad translations, and some translations are better than others... but after you pass a certain threshold of quality, what makes one translation better than another differs from person to person.

So that being said, maybe I'll bring this thread back on topic. Anime-wise, I find it's generally good, though there are a few spots that can be questionable. It's mostly from an artistic standpoint (it could have sounded better in English), but occasionally an outright error will pop up... though granted, I usually look at subtitles before I do my own thinking because I mostly watch to relax.

The manga translations can be a little disappointing, though mostly from an artistic standpoint. I haven't read too much manga on Crunchy, but the few I have, I felt they could have flowed better or used better terms at times. I've felt this whether or not I read it first on Crunchy in English, or if I already knew what the original Japanese was. There are translations I feel could have been stronger while still including the original literal meanings.
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