Fansub review for the Hyouka was completed last night, and all releases, including my own, had a bunch of errors. Admittedly, nobody’s script was bad enough to be labeled with “F” grade, but number of mistakes can be quantified, and I had a grading scheme ready. Viewers just have to see the “difficulty” level to change their expectations.
It’s not my intention piss off other groups with my review. It’s to help viewers choose, provide constructive criticism for other fansubbers and maybe used to avoid making similar mistakes (even Hadena‘s leader had enough common sense to ask me about those mistakes), and to further improve my own translation skills. I didn’t want to turn this into a shitstorm and valerauko is in a same group as me, but this Commie joke has lasted long enough. Why they are reviewing other groups when their release is worse than other groups… is beyond me.
The full post is pasted below and italicized. I’ll explain every error other than the ones he already admitted to be wrong.
So apparently my translation of Hyouka has “way too many errors to fully understand everything being said”. Sure there are mistakes (as I pointed out in an earlier post), but that doesn’t make the release incomprehensible. I don’t care if people call my translations bad, because “bad” is subjective and if there are mistakes in it, then it’s justified. On the other hand, I can’t stand it when people label my stuff “guesslation” (as happened before). When I hear that “you can’t understand everything being said” I don’t think of “oh they must have made a mistake or two” but “hell they fucked up the whole thing”. Which is not the case.
It starts as early as the very first line. The matter at hand is quite troublesome. He uses a color analogy of “rose-colored” and “gray”, which have clear and obvious meanings in Japanese (and sound poetic) – on the other hand, as can be seen from the debate it stirred up in the comments at Whiners, that isn’t the case in English. It sure is obvious for translators, because we understand what’s being said before we translate it. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the same meaning in the target language. In this case I took the risky shot at changing rose-colored and gray to high (point) and low (energy), which makes sense in English and other than the words “rose-colored” are falling out of the bulletin board near the end of the episode, it doesn’t seem to have any importance.
Calling something that’s a matter of tastes an error? I may do that here, because I made it clear that I point out stuff that I don’t like or don’t agree with, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are incorrect. In a review that claims to be objective this won’t do. High and low gets the analogy through perfectly, and the colors simply don’t matter.
Let’s think this through for a second. Subtitle is made mainly for people who don’t speak the language. This means if something is missing in subs, it’s not getting to the target audience.
Symbolism in color is common in just about all cultures, so the viewers can see them on screen. However, the main character goes out of his way to use specific colors to describe his life.
The original author could’ve easily used equivalent terms for “flamboyant” and “dull” to describe this, but he chose to use color, and KyoAni even put cherry blossom in the opening scene to compliment those words. This is the opening monologue for this show. If you’ve seen even 10 shows with such introduction scenes, it would be clear to you that this line sets the tone and main theme of an entire series.
I don’t understand how anyone who has ever translated anything would actually tell me it’s fine to remove those colors in this scene. “Making sense in English” is important., but can writing an entirely different script that removed symbolism expectation for an entire show even be considered to be a translation? I can understand simplifying these things in a random conversation in Ep7 or something, but important lines like these should be translated with care.
What happened here was that they encountered a line that they didn’t know how to render in understandable English, so they chose to dodge the entire theme by scriptwriting a line that will set the tone for rest of the series, and even referenced in the very same episode. In essence, this line was dumbed down to the point that it didn’t reflect the impact and effect it would’ve had on the Japanese audience.
Apparently translating 寂しい生き方 (sabishii ikikata) literally (really literally) as a “lonely way to live” is incorrect. No, it’s not.
“Lonely way to live” would be 「孤独な生き方」in Japanese for the very reason「寂しい生き方」would be a “sad” or “pathetic” way of life. This is indisputable in context, and leads to the next scene with Fukube going “I didn’t know you were a masochist” or stiffer way of putting it, “I didn’t know you like to hurt yourself.” Avoiding clubs and romance doesn’t automatically make you feel lonely. They clearly hate interacting with people. Fukube said his line because Houtarou just openly admitted that’s a sad way to live.
So not translating the girls’ lines here is apparently a mistake as well. Well, I guess that’s kind of valid. However, unlike later in the episode when Eru and Satoshi are talking while Houtarou is thinking, these lines here can not be understood at normal volume, just by paying attention. In my eyes that means that it’s not meant to be understood. You don’t add the subs for sped-up or incomprehensible dialog even if you tweak the audio enough to make it understandable. Consider what the average Japanese watcher would understand.
Their conversation is not important at all, but the “camera” is zoomed right at them. Why did the camera just move away from the two main characters to show these two random girls A and B? Because it shows there are still people around the room, and chatting like that after class with friends is a normal part of high school life. MC doesn’t like to be part of bigger groups, but he’s not entirely antisocial and still has a friend to chat after school. Yeah, you can still tell they’re talking, but what they’re saying isn’t school work. It’s casual chatter between friends, just like the two main characters.
Why did I omit the walking scene later when those are support characters? Because the main dialog was a monologue. Do you know what that is? Monologues are included in TV shows so that characters can talk directly to the audience and express what they’re thinking or feeling. That’s automatically far more important than anything else being said in the same scene.
The volume for the conversation was toned down even though they were right in front of him (as opposed to this one, from distance of the main character). It’s not even possible to hear both for an average Japanese viewer, and you’ve omitted parts of it because it’s hard to hear. This is not discernible unless you were paying attention specifically to the background, and I made the compromise to omit it entirely as soon as the monologue had begun, because my translation style is to create a script that can be understood without pausing. It’s distracting and you’re less engaged when you see texts all over the place. Just like TV. There is no reason to distract the audience in that scene IMO, and it’s far more important to absorb the monologue.
Of course this is technically leaving things untranslated, so I penalized myself. You have done the same, so I penalized you as well. I fail to see the problem.
You think of a history club at the mention of “Classics Club”? I suggest you read more classics then.
Movies can be “classics”. Songs can be classics. So can art, or anything that’s a piece of work. Google search gives me a bunch of golf fan clubs and ancient history clubs that goes on museum visits and departments for ancient history. I did find some that’s only about literature, but why pick a confusing one when there’s an alternative that somewhat describe it 100% of the time? It’s not like “Classics Club” is perfect. Admittedly, “Book Club” loses a lot of detail, but is the description “old and still known today” more important than what it’s actually about?
It doesn’t really matter which one is better, because they both aren’t equivalent titles for the club.
Again, I have penalized both choices because neither fully describe what the club sounds like it is from the Japanese title.
Yeah, I indeed made a mistake on this line. I misheard と as a の. It’s supposed to be “aikido and restraining techniques.” I’m not sure what 逮捕術 (taihojutsu, lit. arresting arts) exactly covers (never even heard about it before), but according to the Japanese wiki, although it has the usual martial arts moves (kicks, punches etc), these are only used to suppress and restrain the opponent.
Two different martial arts. Pretty obvious.
I pointed out this mistake myself earlier.
“My son, you haven’t introduced me to your fiance yet.” “She’s not my fiance!” This is called an assumption. Liberal it may be, but I wouldn’t call it an error.
This can be acceptable depending on level of tolerance to free translation, but the guy is hiding behind the door. This line is totally acceptable if she said “who’s that beside you?” and he was standing right beside the MC, but that’s not the case.
“Would-be” works all right for me here, replace with “wannabe” or something along those lines if you feel like nitpicking.
“Would-be” implies he will become one in the future. This line is said by the same guy who later says he knows a lot of useless things. The term he chose means nothing but “fake”.
You can twist the story to say he does approve of his skills inside, and didn’t want to just say he’s smart because it’d feed his ego, but obviously you didn’t translate that line, and that’s still a stretch from what we’ve seen in Ep1. This is scriptwriting.
It’ll go to his head and he won’t ever shut up again. This is within the range of a valid liberal translation for me.
It’s pretty apparent that you have misheard this line for some variant of「付きまとう」or guesslate rather than translating from「付きあがる」. Mazui made the same error. I don’t see how him getting conceited can be translated to “never get rid of him” in this or pretty much any other context.
This is really a bit over-simplified. 成績優秀、眉目秀麗、深窓の佳人 (seiseki-yuushuu, bimoku-shuurei, shinsou no kajin, lit. good grades, beautiful, beauty raised with tender care). We don’t mention her upbringing.
“If he starts thinking, he’s reliable”? Really? You can be sure he’ll reach a conclusion. Not necessarily solve the problem, but something will come out of it. That’s what reliable means.
My literal TL suggestion was ”[...] he can be pretty reliable” and I used “you can bet on him.” He can’t reach to the conclusion 100% of the time, but the point of the line is that he’s actually very sharp despite him not caring about anything. Not implying he’ll absolutely reach a conclusion. This is nitpicking though.
I interpreted his いい加減だな (ii kagen da na) to refer to how he’s overdoing the whole literary style. This line feels just too far from the one where he changes the setting to refer to it. I may be wrong of course. As for the “bloodshot” mistake in this scene, I already pointed it out in the notes post. The “half-closed” gets the sleepy clue across though, alleviating the seriousness of the mistake.
This is a clear error. Now that I look at it, it seems like it’s a literal error by translating「加減」as “amount”. A pretty elementary mistake.
There is no arguing this line means “you’re not stressing over the details and just changed the story after my correction” or literally “You’re so half-assed”. Mazui‘s “Drama over accuracy, huh?” was an epic-tier localization for this line, and one of their lines that was best out of the three groups, as I mentioned in the review.
Again, I don’t know why you would insert the “half-closed” line out of nowhere in a scene with a lot of description already, especially when her eyes are wide-open. You added a clue where it didn’t exist, and it went horribly because it didn’t match the video. If this isn’t scriptwriting gone wrong, I don’t know what is.
“From whom”? I see a “who” clean and clear. The “when” is missing, but in this context I think the “where” is enough. In Japanese it’s easy to pile interrogatives like that, but in English it doesn’t work. Nor is it important.
I did write the wrong thing, but the point still stands. This line show’s his obsession for details so he can attempt to solve the mystery. Fukube’s response shows he was capable of answering the question in the exact order because he’s a database and remembers every detail of where he got the information. MC uses him as a database with those queries.
He just made up this whole seven wonders thing. “We could call it the second wonder” or something along those lines. “Could be” ispassable.
This is just horrible nuance. “Could be” implies Fukube didn’t already decide it’s the second, yet Fukube’s already said very clearly this is the second wonder on his list.
Recruitment memo? Recruitment note? Just nope. Maybe notice, that would really be better than poster, considering its nature.
It’s a a note that’s physically pinned to the bulletin board. Just like how the poster is a notice, but it’s a physical object that’s not ripped out of a notebook. Translating a piece of memo as “poster” is in no way accurate.
Do not rewrite the script. Translate.
There have been recruitment notices popping up for years. Obvious they have known about them, but have no authority over them. 把握 (haaku) can mean to be in control of something. True, it can also mean to grasp or to understand, but to me that would sound like the council didn’t know the full extent of the club’s activities, not that they didn’t know about their existence.
I’m sorry, but「把握」is rarely used to describe control in Japanese. This is not 「手の内にある」”In the palm of hand” equivalent.
This line is 100% “[not] known”, or in the same usage, “grasp [of knowledge]” . Also, “they know about the club, but don’t know what is does” is the exact meaning of that line, and that’s not exactly same as “under their authority”.
Taking some liberty and called it an “unofficial club” to describe their relationship with the committee is fine, but what it translates to is “for a club we know nothing about”. They know there’s a club, but knows nothing about it.
“Corner of the building” is what she literally says, but corner (隅 sumi) has the meaning of a place out of the way in a building. Replace “place” with “nook” if you feel like nitpicking.
As for the problem with the clubs, 水墨画 (suibokuga, I hear her say that first) does mean painting in India ink. I personally have no idea what that actually is (nor do I care, considering how much importance it has on the plot), so I’m not going to argue. The missing club is either 理科 (rika, science) or 囲碁 (igo, the board game go). I’m not sure because of the distortion.
不慣れな奴ほど奇をてらう (funarena yatsu hodo ki wo terau). In retrospect I would probably go very liberal with this line. The point of it is that people doing something they’re not used to (they are 不慣れな), tend to do it in a roundabout way.
I should’ve added “arguable” to this line. However, “you stand out because you’re don’t know what you’re doing” is hardly a smart line this line was treated as. In context, it’s much more likely to be a line from the third-person perspective: Something you see that isn’t acting in a common way stands out, just like another Japanese saying「木は森に隠せ」(“hide a tree in the forest”). This line could’ve been an acceptable interpretation though.
Either way, this line is a clear mistranslation because “more you want to show off” part makes no sense at all. The intention is to hide the note. The appropriate word was “more you stands out”, so it’s an error on an important line.
I pointed out these lines in the notes post. I really did miss the point here (if I accidentally managed to get some of it across, that’s a relief). Apologies, etc. I also noted that I have no idea about baseball phrases.
He just wanted to keep things as they are. He didn’t want to refuse her flat out, but he himself didn’t realize why. He didn’t want to tell her to piss off, but he didn’t want to use much energy either. This is a situation that you call a status quo.
This is explained in the technicals section. There’s no need to explain it again. He delayed her asking the question. Not pissing her off.
I know there are mistakes (and I still hold my opinion that only that “nothing better to do” in the beginning and the “change the subject” in the end are really serious mistakes), and maybe next time I’ll
take a whole day to pass over it a dozen times to fix them all . The translation doesn’t make sense? You can’t understand the story? Well, too bad for you then. It seems to make sense to 20 thousand people.
Nobody can understand the story with these subs. 20,000 viewers never complained because they understood the story you wrote, a simplified version of the story. Mazui‘s translation is harder to understand, but their script at least had closer resemblance to what was actually being said, which is a slightly better translation in my books. This release is very well done for the speed of your release, but it’s nowhere near sufficient in terms of full enjoyment of this series. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people find this show boring, because it’s not an ecchi or action show where the script isn’t as important for the purpose of entertainment, and the script is toned down way too much.
People make mistakes, but the fact you’re still arguing when I pointed out the mistake shows that your Japanese is nowhere near fluent, nor near my level. I’ve seen a lot of false accusations of errors in your review for quite some time, and I strongly suggest you double check the facts before even attempt to point out mistakes or refute mine if you’re going to continue, before someone else might shows up and embarrass you again.
As for Commie, it really seems their whole culture is about not giving two shits about the original dialog, as seen from their response to the review. I always hear people saying crap about Commie, but I’ve always given you guys the benefit of doubt. Errors are inevitable when you translate fast, and maybe the group wanted wanted to add personality to the script that match the characters rather than boring recycled stock translation all the time, or maybe it’s just lack of resources to TLC after editing, but I was apparently wrong. It’s just all about scriptwriting lines that seem to make sense and reads naturally in English.
I pointed out that story comprehension is an extremely important skill for fansubbers. If translators and editors don’t understand the show, all the viewers won’t. It was clearly the case with the Commie release, as the staff who worked on it can’t even see the importance of color in this show, not to mention a whole bunch of errors that weren’t just about not understanding Japanese.
Anime is more than just the story. There are visual cues and details that can completely change viewer experience, especially for a more “serious” show like Hyouka. I like seeing localized subs, and great interpretation of lines, but subtitle should match the audio in terms of meaning, tone, and effect.
If “the story makes sense” is the only goal, then you’re setting a very low standard. Translation doesn’t mean you can just write whatever makes sense or sounds nicer. If you want to just have fun with the script, go ahead. Don’t use false information to try to justify it when someone tells you it’s a mistake.