OtaKing77077 has a message for you all about your fansubs

Subatomic Brainfreeze brought this video to my attention, and I feel it’s worth talking about– if only just to pick it apart in the same way that this guy picks apart fansubs. I guess I’ll also take this opportunity to do the “My Perfect Fansub” post I’ve been planning but have never done for some reason. It’s two blog posts for the price of one!

This OtaKing guy actually gets it pretty right for a decent portion of his video. I too think that most translation notes are extraneous, and notes on cultural references can be delegated to an attached/downloadable PDF/txt/html/whatever file. I also think leaving shit untranslated is lazy, but at the same time am indifferent to honorifics. I guess I just got used to that stuff. His bit about screen clutter is good, too.

He does however kind of shoot himself in the toes. His attitude is no better than the that of the fansubbers he’s bashing, and his animated avatar is really quite cheesy (I do respect his animation work, though, but that’s only because I can’t animate for shit.) Near the end he becomes too nitpicky, getting on the cases of Shinbo shows like Pani Poni Dash and Zetsubou Sensei. The fact that ADV’s release of Pani Poni looks exactly like Oyasumi’s and gg’s kind of destroys his argument, but I guess he’s just not used to anime with lots of on-screen text. Not really a surprise, I guess, since according to everything on his DevArt page, he’s stuck in 1987.

Oh yeah, and we all know that all VHS fansubs weren’t prime examples of translation genius. I know. I watched them when I was younger.

Anyways, my idea of a perfect fansub is quite simple– white/yellow text in Arial or some other sans-serif font with a decent, competent translation, and any notes would be shown at a screen at the end or in an downloadable file I’d never read. Softsubs would be nice, but a hardsubbed release like this wouldn’t bother me. Of course, I’d like for openings/endings to be free of karaoke, and I would also like no overlays (that’s become something of a fad now-a-days.)

The only group which really subs stuff in this manner is ADTRW, and they never finish anything. That said, the current style of fansubbing doesn’t really bother me. To be honest, even with all their shit all the stuff I watch is bearably done.

God, I really can’t write today.

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11 Responses to OtaKing77077 has a message for you all about your fansubs

  1. Owen S says:

    So, this guy is like what Mr. Answerman would be if he was slightly educated in real otaku matters?

  2. No I think this guy is a crazy person stuck in the mid-to-late 80s.

  3. Blank says:

    I feel the same as you; I agree with some of his points, but others are way out in left field. Looking at his deviantart page though… wow, this guy IS nuts. He says he’s a professional translator, but what the hell company does he work for?

  4. 3x as random says:

    I dunno, I sometimes like Karaoke for the words and better understanding ,but I don’t need flashy stuff. Probably just some linear subtitles, like what the Triad does.

  5. Sub says:

    hahaha this guy is AWFUL.

  6. Magusman says:

    You bitch too much about fansubs. :P

  7. mt-i says:

    Someone over at Japanator commented that “Hypocrisy” and “Selective bullshit” applied quite well to the video itself. I think he has a point.

    The reason why translatologists the guy likes to quote from feel the need to give this kind of advice is that as a rule, professional translators don’t get it right either. Dropping honorofics and localizing everything is best if you can find alternate ways to convey a similar meaning, but this is really hard, and realistically, the “professional” anime translations I have experience with (mostly French ones, granted) don’t even try to. They do okay most of the time (and really bad in a few instances), but not significantly better than fansubs, except for the lack of flashy fonts and bumpy karaoke. And some meaning is lost in the process, too.

    As for pointing to Pani Poni Dash and Zetsubou Sensei, I felt it was disingenuous, but the guy may just be a clueless old-timer as you suggest.

  8. Sean says:

    I uh, agree with him about the shading and character detail issue and generally hate the way character are drawn in newer anime.

    But I wouldn’t create a ridiculous graphic like that detailing it!

  9. Well it’s a matter of opinion. He just seems very MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY about it.

    Personally I like both the old and the new, so whatevs.

  10. Tatsujin says:

    I wonder what he though of RightStufs release of KareKano

    As for me I could care less. I just think fancy karaoke/typesetting is a waste of time.

  11. K99 says:

    > I wonder what he though of RightStufs release of KareKano

    You hit it on the head. I agree with many of his points where he’s trying to argue about the aesthetics of modern fansubbing… but…

    The video is primarily an attack on fansubbers. He lumps all fansubbers together as one single-minded group and selectively chooses the worst examples of whatever he wants to argue against without surveying and acknowledging the different behavior of each group or individual. You can note this in his video whenever he says “Fansubbers do this.”

    In addition he (intentionally perhaps) mis-used the words ‘professional’ sub to describe the ideal kind of fansubbing that should be done. In reality, professional subtitlers are merely ‘professional’ because they make money from it, and not because they are ‘superior.’ In fact it should not be difficult to find examples of how unprofessional ‘professional’ subtitling is compared to certain fansubs. It’s as if he has an idealized image of ‘professional’ subbing, a mirror to the idea he has about the situation with all ‘fansubbers.’

    It’s too bad as the relevant points he makes about the subtitles themselves are drowned out by the hate that he expresses at fansub groups. The video is no better than a rant. The good points he makes about the styles of subbing, though true, will have to be left for another to make, hopefully one who can use logical arguments rather than ad hominem.