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Anime fansub - free translation of subtitles
Thread poster: Arnaud HERVE

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:34
English to French
+ ...
Feb 4, 2009

There are many threads about rates becoming ever lower. But... what about FREE translation?

I don't translate from JP, nor do I do subtitling, but I have a private liking for Japanese animation. I recently discovered that there is a whole world of "fansub" on the internet, i.e. subtitles made for free by amateurs.

Such translations are often unsatisfactory, but sometimes they reach a professional, commercial level. And they are free.

Even if they need proofreading, it would not surprise me if broadcasters who buy the licence for a particular anime didn't exploit the free translations, instead of calling a translator to do it all over again.

I wonder how far can this trend go: translations for free, by amateurs. I see it as likely that it will extend to history books too, by amateur historians...

PS: if you didn't know yet, I will teach you something today:
- Manga is the comic, on paper
- Anime is the cartoon, the movie
If you confuse Manga and Anime, teenagers in your family will believe you are an old unredeemable moron

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-04 10:35 GMT]


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:34
English to Russian
Fan translation Feb 4, 2009

It has always been out there. Fan subs, and even fan dubs of anime and western TV shows (Lost, Dr House), translation of open source software (e.g. Gnome), books (Forgotten Realms, Harry Potter) exist for many years. With more people getting Internet access, and Web 2.0 spreading around, number and perhaps quality of those translations grow, but they have never influenced actual marketplace. And they never will. It's like parallel world of enthusiasts that will never cross cold and rational world of commercial translation.
Consider this: content owners usually treat fan translation as a violation of copyright. People involved it might even be prosecuted.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 11:11 GMT]


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Copyright Feb 4, 2009

Vadim Poguliaev wrote:
Consider this: content owners usually treat fan translation as a violation of copyright. People involved in it might even be prosecuted.


So, if character in source says "good day" and it is rendered by a correct "good day" in target, nobody is tempted to exploit the free fansub?

There's a copyright for "good day"? Or "Michiko I love you"? Or "My robot is broken"?


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:34
English to Croatian
+ ...
Arnaud, you are my hero Feb 4, 2009

Arnaud, your commentaries are the most obscure ever. I give you the credit for this. For the most part, I would require a reviewer / translator in order to fully understand what you are saying.

I wish some of the colleagues would translate your postings for me, and of course, I ask them to do it for free.


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:34
English to Russian
Legal perspective Feb 4, 2009

Fansub is definitely illegal in countries that adhere to Berne Convention. Please google for more info.

Just as other kinds of fan translation, except for may be open source stuff.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 11:46 GMT]


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Dagmara Kuliś  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 14:34
English to Polish
+ ...
Fan subtitles Feb 4, 2009

Well, it's not that there is copyright on "good day" but we had quite a big problem with subtitles in Poland some time ago. The problem was that most of the time fan subtitles were prepared for divx and other unofficial versions of films, series etc. And so official distributors waged a battle against websites with subtitles.
As to the quality, I have seen a few episodes of Friends with such subtitles... I have no words to describe it, really. Things like shepherd's pie translated literally and so on. Of course, there are language enthusiasts who can achieve quite high quality but a vast majority cannot, at least judging from my own experience.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:34
English to Croatian
+ ...
Fan or Fun Subtitles ? Feb 4, 2009

I think that a phrase " fun subtitles" describes this concept better than "fan subtitles" .

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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Misunderstanding Feb 4, 2009

Vadim Poguliaev wrote:

Fansub is definitely illegal in countries that adhere to Berne Convention. Please google for more info.

So is other kinds of fan translation, except for may be open source stuff.


Vadim, I believe there is a misunderstanding somewhere. I did not describe fansub as legal. I agree with you it is illegal.


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Yvonne Gerstheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:34
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
Agree with Vadim and Dagmara Feb 4, 2009

I have to agree with Vadim and Dagmara. Copyright and license rights are a huge issue. Usually a publishing company/broadcaster buys the license from the Japanese distributor and starts the translation process a long time before the release date (or the purchase of the license) is announced to the public. So if fans work on their favourite anime or manga series at the same time as a publishing company and put the product on the internet that might cause real problems for the translators (or the one who put it on the internet).

I am not sure if publishing companies really search the internet for the fan sub translators to approach them with an offer. In my experience, they usually hire professional translators and proof-readers to ensure the quality.


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:34
English to Russian
I see Feb 4, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
Vadim, I believe there is a misunderstanding somewhere. I did not describe fansub as legal. I agree with you it is illegal.


I agree however that copyright laws in their current form are absurd. E.g. you can go to prison for making tatoo of Giger's alien or Mickey Mouse.
But I raised legal issues only to illustrate my point — fan translation is from Venus, and commercial translation is from Mars. They won't affect each other ever.


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Estimate Feb 4, 2009

For Polish or German, or American series, I can't tell, I rely on you all.

For the specific segment of Japanese anime into French, I estimate that 30% is directly commercially exploitable, with a 1 or 2 days proofreading.

There is also the problem of v2. That for version 2. The first amateur team will produce a gross first version, but one year after it can be taken over and proofread by another team, with a much better result.

v2 is almost always commercially exploitable. With 1 or 2 days proofreading.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 12:20 GMT]


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Yvonne Gerstheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:34
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
Yes and no Feb 4, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:

For Polish or German, or American series, I can't tell, I rely on you all.

For the specific segment of Japanese anime into French, I estimate that 30% is directly commercially exploitable, with a 1 or 2 days proofreading.


[Edited at 2009-02-04 12:20 GMT]


I was referring to Japanese anime and manga series, by the way. The problem with the fan subs is the question of the source. Are the subs you are talking about translated from Japanese into French or are English free fan subs the source? It doesn't look like a difference, but it is a huge one.

I am not sure how it is done in France, but I daresay that most publishing companies and broadcaster in Germany use translators who are specialised in the source language, in this case Japanese. Translating from a translation into the target language is always risky. I know of one Japanese book that was translated from the English (instead of the Japanese) source into German and provoked quite an outcry in the literary world, so the publishing company re-translated it from the Japanese source in the end. But that was not a manga or anime and it was years ago. But I don't think that too many broadcaster/publishing companies take this risk by exploiting fan subs that float on the internet.


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irina savescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:34
English to Romanian
Quality of the free fan subs Feb 4, 2009

I do not know what the quality of the French subs for anime is but I've seen quite a number of free fan subs in English and if I were asked to do a proofreading I'd charge my normal translation rate and start from scratch.
Those are the best examples of Engrish you could possibly find.
No, actually, it's the Google translate of subtitling. Would you accept a job for proofreading 10 pages done with Google translate?


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
From EN Feb 4, 2009

Yvonne Gerstheimer wrote:
Are the subs you are talking about translated from Japanese into French or are English free fan subs the source?


From English most of the time. You do often see anglicisms for lines that are supposed to come from Japanese (!)

Most amateurs will understand about a hundred words of JP, like "idiot", "holy shit", "elder sister" and such recurring phrases. Not more. Not full sentences.

Irina Savescu wrote:
I do not know what the quality of the French subs for anime is


It depends. Can be terrible. Even unreadable because of the font.

Can also be directly exploitable, with some proofreading.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 13:24 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-04 13:47 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:34
English to Croatian
+ ...
a court case Feb 4, 2009

If somebody messed with my movie script distorting the entire story line by a low-class amateur fUn translation, I know where I'd take it. Straight to the Court.

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