Why we put TL notes on the site

At least from my perspective.

So I saw someone complain about why we include the notes here instead of, say, in-episode, or alternatively sub in such a way that notes are completely unnecessary.  Unfortunately, this is the best compromise we’ve got.  It’s pretty clear that using notes in the actual episode can be distracting, and the point of subtitles is to give the viewer as close to the original experience as possible.  Moreover, most things that we need to note (and honestly, we note more than we need to) can be figured out with context anyway.

For example, you can run into a lot of trouble when trying to translate food names.  Most people know that onigiri means “rice ball”, not jelly donut.  Sushi is a fully fledged loanword.  But what about okonomiyaki?  Being literal and saying “fried stuff you like” is not only wrong but also misleading.  So what do you do? 1) Leave it, and either do or don’t note it as you see fit. 2) Do a simple localization to “pancake” and let the viewer figure out that it’s not quite accurate? Maybe 3) Get as close as possible and say something like “cabbage pancake”?  Honestly, though we may each have our own preferences there’s no magical best way that everyone will agree to.

Here at Mezashite we will 9 times out of 10 opt for the first option.  Those of you with some knowledge of Japanese culture will understand right away, and most of the rest of the viewers will understand through context.  In Kiniro Mosaic I’m pretty sure we left kokeshi untranslated, and put a note on the site.  Fortunately, even if you don’t recognize the word you should be able to pick up it’s meaning pretty quickly from the images they show you.

That’s probably about it.  Maybe Etoce will have something to add later, or maybe he’ll actually finish the rant he’s writing right now.

8 thoughts on “Why we put TL notes on the site

  1. Interesting rants one can find here… XD
    But I’m really happy that you guys are subbing KinMoza, especially because you usually go with that first option… ^w^
    I really “love” you guys for that, and thank you for your hard and excellent work, keep it up.

  2. Personally I prefer a more transliteral ‘translation’ when necessary (the Mezashite way). I daren’t bring up FFFs “Dutch wife,” but treating your viewers like retards is just insulting. If I don’t understand something within the context, a simple look up is enough to educate yourself for future reference. I would think the people that want a very localised translations hardly care for Japanese culture, which contradicts the reason for watching anime in the first place. Hardly someone worth catering for. The only problem with this practice however is consistency; far too often I see “kouhai” translated as “underclassman” but “senpai” left untranslated for example. Just keep doing what you guys do, because it’s been seemingly great so far.

  3. You should absolutely not leave translation notes to the site. How many people who watch your subs actually visit the site for the articles? What happens when the group inevitably dies and people can’t access the TL notes anymore cuz the site dies? What about people who don’t even know you include TL notes on this site, or those that don’t even know it’s your subs they’re watching (streamfags, for example)?

    The only sensible choice is to include translation notes in the release.

    Luckily, you don’t have to make your release seem like a parody of old wapsubs. Throw a static frame up at the end of a release with all the TL notes you want and people can use that as they wish. I’ve done it before in subs (see: GotWoot’s Denpa Onna) and it’s worked perfectly for series that require lots of notes. It’s also how manga publishers handle it. (You’ll find notes in the back of a lot of volumes.)

    • My reasoning for leaving translation notes on the site is different from Akatsukin’s.

      As loveless as it sounds, I don’t care about all our viewers equally. My goal isn’t to spread the love for anime across the world, or even make my subs understandable to the most people. It’s to make the anime-watching world conform to my crotchety ideals, no matter how small my effect is. Therefore, I try to make my subs exactly as I would like to see them (also known as “with love”). I get my anime by visiting fansub groups’ pages, so I like people who do that, because they’re like me and I’m egocentric like that. So they get the TL notes. Then it’s the group that grabs torrents off Tokyo-Tosho or whatever that could theoretically know to look at our site for TL notes. Then it’s the people who watch streams, who I don’t care as much about, whose understanding isn’t really a top priority for me.

      I should also point out that most of our TL notes are either us explaining why we chose to do something a certain way (which is really “notes from the translator”) or a link to Wikipedia, neither of which actually contribute to understanding. I think we actually do the old-wap-style TL notes for the rare cases where it happens to be essential for understanding.

  4. Sorry, but who the hell are reading site when watching something. It’s dumb idea imo. Super dumb.
    And TL notes in subs haters? Come on that are fat stupid [stereotype] ‘Murican kids who thinks that Murica is the only country in the world. They can’t even think, so if something is too complex for them… Well they starts complaining.

    I really really, really, really, really, really prefer to stop video and read what it’s written on the screen, than getting up from bed, come to PC, open browser and read, than go back to bed and watch…

    And nobody is forcing anyone to read TL notes if they don’t want.
    So, gently please – don’t put notes on the site, but in the subs.

    • And please, don’t think that I’m hating your group. Not at all!
      I will use your work as a reference to my translation (for my language) of Kiniro Mosaic (I want to be sure thar that I’m not making mistakes, cut my Japanese is not perfect or A grade yet). Your translation is really great, and all licensing companies should be learning from you guys. The only thing which is bugging me is a Tl notes in your Web page. You really should consider putting at least a part of it in subs, because it’s supernotconvenient. Especially if someone just started watching anime / interesting of Japanese culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *