Fansub Review: [UTW-Mazui] Steins;Gate

B-Tier, Fansub Review — By on April 4, 2011 9:42 pm

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.

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This is a combination of groups that was supposed to make me cream my pants. “Dark_Sage OMG these guys are so good they are perfect you are so shit compared to them!” is something I hear often when I tell people I don’t find either group to be the greatest thing in the world. Ah, the problems I face for not being retarded.

As a little treat for you all, I’m going to go a bit more in-depth with my analyses on this review. Let me show you how a real editor handles this shit.

Ah yes, before I begin, I should note that kyonyUU has a good amount of respect for the translation work that UTW and Mazui do. I have no respect for anyone though, so please forgive me for any irreverance I display~

These need to be combined in some fashion. Based on the style of timing that Mazui used for this episode, the logical breakdown would be:

Line1: The universe has a beginning,

Line2: but no end.

The reason it needs to be combined is because:

A. “But no end.” is not a sentence in and of itself.

B. Having it stand apart from the previous line does not result in a better narrative.

That last part is what distinguishes this line in particular from other parts of the episode. (“Infinite.” and “Finite.” are displayed as sentences, but even though this is not technically correct, it leads to a better narrative.)

This is needlessly wordy. True, this is technically a sentence. And yes, it technically makes sense. But editing is about script improvement, not “legible enough” sentences.

There is no reason why the line shouldn’t read “Those who possess wisdom are the greatest fools.” It is more concise and reads better as a result. Additionally, as my friends at Commie delighted in pointing out to me last season, a good rule of thumb is to avoid mindless repetition. In this case, “who” is overused.

Again, this is needlessly wordy. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on the mindless repetition rule, but as I fix the sentence, I hope the problem becomes more clear.

“You could say this is God’s final warning to those who resist.”

Consistent, much? I don’t have to explain why consistency is important, do I?

Oh, hey more consistency issues. But wait, there’s one more thing you should note.

The conference will begin on the 8th floor hall? Funny, I didn’t think conferences began on halls.

“Dr. Nakabachi’s conference will now begin on the eighth floor.”

Ignoring the most obvious one for now, “discussions from a plethora of different angles” is really, really loquacious (I had to use a thesaurus for this one). What do we call discussions made from different angles? Oh, yeah! We call them arguments or debates.

Okay, okay. Now let me hit you with it. “basics structure”? The hell were they thinking? And no, this wasn’t an isolated incident in the script.

“There have been many debates over what its structure should be.”

“The basic structure of a time machine…”

Okay, I can see why the editor didn’t want to go with the tried and true “impudent fool”, but rogue really doesn’t seem like the best choice here. “Cad” has a lot of the same feel that the editor was going for here. But if all bets are off, I could see “buffoon” or any number of different insults being acceptable. But rogue? Come now.

“Impudent buffoon, of course I know that!”

One of the jobs of the editor is to make text readable in the timeframe provided by the voices of the characters. Even though this line was short, it was too long to read in the amount of time it was provided by the show. My suggestion reduces the total words from six to four, making it far easier to read quickly.

“They’re the only members.”

I’m gonna get a lot of heat for calling this an error, but fuck it. I’ll do it anyway so that people eventually get it through their thick skulls. In editing for American English (which I am assuming is how UTW-Mazui edits), “toward” is supposed to be use instead of “towards”. {Yes, I know American English calls for all punctuation to be put inside quotation marks, but fuck you, I have my reasons for doing it this way.}

Aww yeah, repetition rule again! Thanks again to Commie for being gigantic dickwads to me about this before. Now I can pay it forward.

“Are the 2-D girls that Daru-kun enjoys also like that?”

Damage.

“You’ve caused enough damage already!”

No, my friends. “Nevermind” is indeed a word, but it is not used in that context. Try out “never mind” instead. But even then, I prefer “don’t mind”. It’s a lot more natural and in-tune with what people actually say. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” would also work nicely.

“Don’t mind the details.”

Unless the concept of credits is different in Japan, this isn’t how college works.

You can have required classes, true, but all classes are for credits, making this sentence retarded as fuck.

“If it wasn’t a required class, I wouldn’t go.”

I’ll allow you guys to spot the problem with this one. Also, sorry. My .gif skills suck. You’ll have to click on the picture to make it go. >_O

Overall grade: B-

Best group combination, my ass. But they’re still decent enough.

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17 Comments

Alchey says:

Just saying, most of this is nitpicking. As such, I can and will debate all of your points (save the needlessly wordy points, that also annoys me).
>The period is used to convey a longer pause than a comma, although a semicolon may have been called for.
>”Metal Oopa” is an error, consistency is not in debate. Adjectives should never be capitalized, and you can hardly include “metal” as part of the proper noun “Oopa.”
>The number 8 is used in an attempt to shorten the line. However, on a four word line this is not required and allows for the use of eighth.
>I’m no whiz at English but “plethora” is hardly an “elite” word. “Basics” is merely a typo (if not, I hand you this point).
>I have yet to watch the episode, so I cannot really say if rogue fits in this context.
>Once again, as this is timing and I have yet to see the episode Ill come back and edit (if possible) on this point.
>This is like saying “customisation” is spelled wrong; it is supposed to be spelled “customization.” Both are acceptable.
>If “damages” was being used in a way relating what he has done to money, then it is perfectly correct.
>I am not yet in college, but to my understanding you have required credits in certain subject areas.
>Everyone knows how entering information on your phone works. Technically yes this was an error, but REALLY?

Dark_Sage says:

1. Typically, fansubs use ellipses to indicate a pause. A semicolon is not called for because the second part is not an independent clause.
2. Well, you recognize that they’re wrong here, so there’s that. I didn’t bring that point up because I wasn’t sure if the thing’s name was Metal Oopa or if there were many Oopas and this was just a metal one. I try to play it safe so I don’t have to deal with too many complaints.
3. I didn’t want to bring this up because I have bad memories debating people over this, but numbers under 10 should be written out. From what I’ve seen of the episode, reducing line size was not a primary concern of the editor.
4. My problem was not with the word ‘plethora’. It’s the whole “discussions from a plethora of different angles” part that is needlessly wordy.
5. K. The context is that main character interrupted the speaker at a medical conference.
6. Editing’s not possible on this site unless you’re an admin. Kinda weird, but I guess that’s how WordPress works. Anyway, you may as well assume I’m right on this. :3
7. So you’d be fine with a sub group that arbitrarily switched between British English and American English? Again, my argument is for consistency. Stick with one language, kthx.
8. He was referring to damage done to a TV.
9. Hmm… how to explain this? All right, so my college requires us to take certain “general education” classes. Science, literature, math, etc. Every class will give you credits. You can also take classes in your major that are required. But every class you take at college will give you credits.

The phrasing of the sentence in question makes it seem like he’s only taking it to get credits. But colleges have electives that you can take to fill up on credits. Unless the college system is set up so that there is only one class he’s allowed to take for the credits…

In that case, the sentence would better read as “If I didn’t need the credits, I wouldn’t go to this class.”

His main complaint, however, is that he’s taking classes he doesn’t want to, simply because they’re required. This has nothing to do with credits, which are inherent in every class.

I hope I explained that well enough.
10. Yes, really. Am I not allowed to point out mistakes?

I appreciate your willingness to discuss my points, however I don’t feel compelled to change anything I’ve said. That is, I’m pretty sure my complaints remain legitimate. But I would love to continue discussing this if you feel that would be beneficial.

Alchey says:

1. I was trying to be giving on this point (because I am so adamantly against it) by admitting they made an error. While not technically grammatically correct, I still believe that , similar to some books, this was done for emphasis and timing.
2. Fine.
3. Agree to disagree on this. Nothing I can really add here, and I am not convinced.
4. I misunderstood “loquacious” to mean excessively complicated as well as wordy (as in elite language), my fault here.
5. With that knowledge I will hand you the point.
6. waiting for the 720p
7. Honestly, yes I would. Maybe its just me (maybe its just you >.>), but switching doesn’t bother me at all.
8. It sounds feasible that “damages” in still in context, should the speaker be referring to the monetary harm caused by the breaking of the TV. I agree damage is also correct, but this is pointed out as an error.
9. It still sounds interchangeable to me…

I do understand your point, but you go to classes (required or not) for credits so what your REALLY need are the credits.

10. I felt compelled since I would debate every point except the “wordy” points.

Tukurai says:

If this is everything you can find about Mazui-UTW then these subs are fine by me.

You do live up to the site its name.

Dark_Sage says:

Well, yes, whining is the point. My reviews are most useful when I’ve reviewed the same episode by different groups. I’m sure you’ve heard “Which subs are better X or Y” before, right? I never found ji-hi to do a good enough job at answering that question. Picking arbitrary lines in a show has no bearing on the release’s overall quality. But having someone analyze each release? Yeah, I think that provides significant value.

These subs are watchable, no doubt about that. I never told you not to watch their release. But there is room for improvement, and if another group does a better job, I’ll make sure to tell you, so you don’t have to rely on the whole “well, this group’s name is _____ so they gotta be good!” argument.

Tukurai says:

I like the review you did, and the others you did too.

You are probably one of the few people who actually review these releases and notices these things, which is cool.

Jayson says:

I am very happy to have read this review. For the longest time, I thought that I was the only one that didn’t think of Mazui’s subs as amazing. Their translation accuracy is not very consistent either. I haven’t watched this yet so I won’t say anything about their translation accuracy this time.

ph4zr says:

It’s gotten to the point that I tend to gloss over errors and mentally correct them if they disagree with what I think I’m hearing or what makes sense, so I didn’t notice quite a bit of what you commented on. But, in retrospect, I agree with multiple points.

I also disagree on several:

>
As far as the wordiness bits go, I get the feeling that Okarin* is a wordy guy, so to me those lines fit his character. Being verbose in the TL just makes sense, from my perspective.

*Blame the girl.

>
As far as “toward” vs. “towards”,* it used to be the case that “towards” was considered the only correct version, but these days, at least, both are accepted. For sources you can just google “towards vs toward”. Consistency of usage is still preferable.

*I don’t care. I code/script, so as far as I’m concerned the British have it right when they leave the punctuation where it belongs.

>
With regard to “from a plethora of angles” being redundant and needlessly wordy, it is not necessary that any particular argument be concerned with more than one aspect of the point discussed. One argument/debate/discussion could concern itself with one issue, another with a completely different issue. On the assumption that the translation itself isn’t incorrect, I don’t consider “a plethora of angles” to be redundant information, but rather reinforcement that “a lot’s gone into this”.

Even if it was redundant, if I said “No. Never. Not gonna happen!” and someone translated it as simply “No ****ing way”, I would consider this somewhat* of a mistranslation. Yes, it conveys the basic meaning, but it’s not what I said. Some would argue you can get this information from the audio, I would argue that’s entirely not the point.

*Still less than “fatal error”, though.

>
…I say “never mind” all the time, and hear it more commonly than “don’t mind”. It probably has to do with my upbringing, but “don’t mind” is something I would usually use when I’m trying to use a stiffer tone. Granted, I do that fairly often, but in casual conversation I favor “never mind” over “don’t mind”.

The above is probably needlessly wordy by most standards, but I’m not an editor. XD

With regard to UTW-Mazui, I don’t know where I’d place them on an absolute scale, but at least compared to a lot of groups their releases are above-average. “God-like” is a bit… borderline fanboy/girl-ish, though, for any group.

ph4zr says:

Hell that was long. Sorry!

Dark_Sage says:

1. You can can have lengthy lines without being redundant.
2. The differences you find when you google it apply to British/American English usage.
3. “Yes, it conveys the basic meaning, but it’s not what I said.” Uhhh, if this is the crux of your argument, it opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms. Not sure how I can tl;dr the whole argument in this space, but I’ll try. Fansubs translate from Japanese into English. Some things don’t translate literally. For example, Japanese idioms. You can never get a perfect, 100% translation. Because of this, translating literally would result in nonsensical subs. And nonsensical subs are bad. ;)
4. Yes, “never mind” is used often. But how often do you hear it used alongside something like “the details”? That’s why I suggested different word choice there.

ph4zr says:

1. This is true. If anything, though, I’d only change the second “who” to “that” in the first line. The second change seems to work out well. He is pretty verbose, and the second line isn’t really redundant in its phrasing, but it does feel a bit awkward the way it was phrased.

2. Those differences strike me as mainly being issues of consistency on a more global* scale. As long as they’re consistent with their usage of “towards” over “toward”, they’re still correct in either language, so convention shouldn’t really matter. It seems to me more like saying “gray” is how we like to say it here, so “grey” is wrong, even though they’re just different spellings for the same word (that are both correct).

*Not literally global. Just wider scope than instance to instance.

4. -shrug- I’d probably use “never mind” even in that case just because it flows more naturally for me (since I use it more often). Whether or not most people would is something I wouldn’t know and have never really thought about. Mostly it’s just a nitpick-y point for me. I wouldn’t actually make them change it for a script if I were an editor*, in either direction. Still, the “nevermind” part is off, so a change would be made, anyway. Editor’s discretion, I imagine.

*Thankfully, I’m not. It seems like it’d be a nightmare.

3. I probably shouldn’t have phrased it like that. “Yes, it conveys the basic meaning, but [that’s] not [how I said it].” I didn’t pick a particularly good example, since it’s so far off from the original subject matter. What I’m getting at is that if you map everything the characters say to their essential meanings, you lose a lot of the character in the way they say things. It’s sort of like rounding numbers to an arbitrary decimal place (or significance): you may retain some of the essential information (magnitude, rough scale), but you lose a lot of the extra stuff that sets that number apart from the ones around it.

In that particular case, depending on what was actually said, I don’t think reducing the sentence further would necessarily be a good thing. I.e. I think the “plethora … [etc.]” is important for reinforcing how much the topic has been examined/discussed. It’s more extreme, but my reasoning is similar to that for reasoning how “many people from many different fields have approached this topic from many different perspectives” wouldn’t be quite the same if you removed any of the “many different [x]” modifiers.

As for the idioms, et al, bit, I can see your point. Certainly “itadakimasu” and the various “protocol-ish” greetings/farewells/phrases, and the many, many different ways of apologizing or giving thanks, would not generally have a direct translation into English. So, a line does have to be drawn somewhere. I agree with that. Mostly I disagree with where the line should be drawn. Personally I like to retain as much information as possible without negatively impacting performance.

As someone who lived overseas (not Japan) and had to immerse themselves in a foreign environment, I had (or chose) to learn some of the sayings and idioms of the local nationals. It’s true you can’t always expect to translate something like that literally and expect it to retain its meaning. On the other hand, it’s also true that someone who isn’t familiar with English sayings, even if it’s their native language, will probably just stare at you funny if you try to use one to explain something.

I don’t see much difference between that and Asian idioms/sayings. If anything, I’d be in favor of either translating literally and adding a TL note to explain the idiom, or translating meaning and adding a TL note (at the end) to explain that what they actually said was an idiom, along with its literal meaning and common usage.

You might argue that English sayings are usually self-documenting. Certainly “a fool and his money are soon parted” is… fairly clear in meaning. But then, “a journey of a thousand li begins with a single step” is also fairly self-documenting. Another one that I can’t remember goes something like “a deviation of a single centimeter will send you a thousand li off course”, which is also fairly straightforward. I honestly can’t think of a non-obvious example in English right now to illustrate why English idioms can be just as confusing to natives as those in other languages. I try to avoid speaking in a manner that would confuse others in a conversation, so I tend to not use such sayings.

I suppose that could be used against me, by saying that the viewers wouldn’t get the translations, which probably means things like that are more of a judgment call.

Other things like -san, -sama, sensei, et cetera, are touchier. English doesn’t really have a directly corresponding means of address, but that topic has been beaten to death, I’m sure.

Dark_Sage says:

All right, it seems we’re in moderate disagreement over those three issues, but I can respect your views and I definitely see where you’re coming from.

Also, don’t worry about editing. We editors usually don’t bother explaining why we make the changes we do (We see a line that needs changing and then we fix it, simple as that). If an editor can make the script better while staying true (at least to some degree) to the translation, that’s the goal.

This is one of the worst articles I’ve written, but it contains a few of my arguments on translations. http://www.crymore.net/2011/02/liberal-translations-literal-translations-and-proper-english/

I’ll write you a full response when I get off work. Promise. Right now, I’m gonna head outside and grab a bite to eat because it is fucking glorious out right now. :S

Dark_Sage says:

Okay, here we go. If a character talks in a certain style, it is possible to preserve that without raping the English language. Cool story: people who speak English don’t all sound alike.

… I guess that and my previous link fills up the entirety of my response. What a let down. Sorry~

ph4zr says:

Understandable. Hopefully I didn’t sound overly hostile or defensive at any point. I tend to get carried away sometimes. Interesting read, by the way. I’m probably guilty of that, since I tend to associate “literal” with “awkwardly worded” when it comes to fansubs, partially due to the widespread nature of the views you mention.

Anyway, it looks like UTW-Mazui released their re-do with a better raw, and they incorporated some of your changes. Maybe all of them, I’m not sure I want to re-watch it so soon—the show starts off fairly… all over the place.

hayaterocks says:

I’m a little late to the party, but I think I may as well post based on what I saw.

As an amateur translator having done small work here and there, I understand there’s no such thing as metaphrases especially with J/E. Still, there shouldn’t be a problem with transliterating words that already exist commonly in the English language.

So why wasn’t “toodeloo” kept? I always seem to see it as “tu-tu-ru~”. Just curious.

Dark_Sage says:

Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy late to the party.

A quick browse didn’t find me what you’re referencing, but I think I can answer the question.

Toodeloo means “bye”. I don’t think that’s what she’s saying. Rather, it’s more like “dun dah duh~”. As for why it’s not TL’d as such? Cuz there’s no confusion as to what is she’s saying. It’s easily understood as the Japanese equivalent.

You can translate it if you want, but I’d just leave it. It adds more flavor.

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