Literal vs. Liberal SubbingPosted: June 17, 2011
I was going to review Kino’s Journey since I just finished it last night, but then I remembered that quite a while ago I’d do a post on this topic. Since it’s kinda overdue, I figured now would be as good a time as any to get this typed up.
Also, this is my first post giving Windows Live Writer a shot, so if anything goes wrong, I’ll try and fix it ASAP. Hopefully nothing will, though.
This is an argument topic that I just don’t get. Don’t get me wrong, personal preferences will always outweigh even the heaviest arguments, but the reasoning behind the arguments for literal subbing absolutely baffle me.
First, I have a few examples, then I’ll just start ranting.
I don’t get this reasoning at all. Yeah, maybe it isn’t the same thing, but Red light/Green light fit so well that you didn’t even notice anything. Your friend had to tell you that it wasn’t the same thing.
Putting in the actual game and changing all of the dialogues and putting a TL note is a lot more work and really unnecessary for a translation that already works. Besides, do you know what the TL note would say? “Darumasan ga koronda is a Japanese game similar to Red light/Green light.” Completely unnecessary.
I wasn’t aware that changing dialogue around a bit to fit the character’s personality was a crime. In fact, it should be encouraged, if anything.
I included Raze’s response because he mentions why writing this post now is a good choice. For those of you who don’t know, gg has been using Hidan no Aria to basically meta-troll. I don’t have any pictures from their releases because I don’t watch them, though.
For the first half of the season, gg made fun of literal subbing fans and Eclipse. They copied Eclipse’s font for Shakugan no Shana, and used a similar subbing style. They also added TL notes for as many simple terms as they could get away with.
However, gg really outdid themselves later chunk of the first half of the season, when they made fun of the concept of literal subbing itself. For those of you who don’t know, Japanese sentence structure is basically Yoda-talk in English. A direct word-for-word translation is completely incomprehensible, which is why I find the concept of “literal” subbing to be inherently flawed.
Now, why would someone prefer this concept to liberal (or, dare I say, normal or correct) translating? I’m not sure. The biggest reason I seem to see is that people see Japanese culture as some kind of untouchable culture blessed by the gods themselves. However, if you want to learn about Japanese culture, anime is not the best source to turn to. Ask an actual Japanese person, or possibly go on a trip to Japan. Or use some .org websites. You can’t be sure anime concepts are true, even realistic-sounding ones.
Well, what about honorifics? Personally, I don’t really mind honorifics at all. They’re something so minor that they can actually blend in to an English script well enough. Which is also why I don’t understand why people can get so anal over them. Even if they aren’t in the script, you can still very easily hear them. Both sides can get what they want, essentially.
To sum this up, I don’t understand the concept of literal subbing or why it could be considered better, at all. When something happens in a show that has no adequate English equivalent, then I can understand leaving it in and giving a TL note. However, almost every time, there is an equivalent, or people are just complaining about something extremely minor.
Anyways, that’s all I can think of that I planned on covering. However, I did write this post in a rush, so if I did forget something, I’ll add it later. Or just answer comments that bring those things, if any, up.