Translation Review Midterms: Shingeki no Kyojin (Various Groups)

Fansub Review, Subtitle Comparison, Translation Review — By on July 23, 2013 5:39 pm

This post was written by kokujin-kun. He is not Dark_Sage.

So how are our tireless fansubbers doing now that the show of last season is halfway over?

[HorribleSubs] Shingeki no Kyojin – 13

[HorribleSubs] Shingeki no Kyojin - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.18_[2013.07.22_20.58.07]

This is an all-around solid, professional-grade release, at least in terms of translation. There were only a few lines where I felt I was watching a cheap fansub. The only quibble I have is that they could have qualified this sentence with “successful result” (成功者 seikousha)  in order to contrast how he had, in fact, run into some problems.

Final Grade: A

[gg] Shingeki no Kyojin – 13


If we’re talking about big mistakes, gg had about two, this being one of them (it’s supposed to be “A promise made.” (掲げられた約束) but it’s clear that this script was done on the fly. Some lines read smoothly, others are phoned-in, paint-by-numbers-with-a-dictionary fansub lines. Other quibbles about the translations can be seen here.

Final Grade: B

[Commie] Shingeki no Kyojin – 13

[Commie] Shingeki no Kyojin - 13 [E8E016F4].mkv_snapshot_13.26_[2013.07.23_12.15.23]

Only two major mistake that I could see, one of them being this eyecatch where they put down that cannons were the first countermeasures used against the (*sigh*) Eotenas when the original Japanese text says nothing about cannons being the first of anything. As for the entirety of the script, for the most part they had a good natural flow that didn’t rely on rolodex phrasing. However, in some parts their execution failed (and I’m not talking about the Eotens nonsense). For example why did they have Levi swearing like a pirate? Translation blather for this episode can be found here.

Final Grade: B+

[EveTaku] Shingeki no Kyojin – 13

[EveTaku] Shingeki no Kyojin - 13 (1280x720 x264-Hi10P AAC)[80AD31AA].mkv_snapshot_06.31_[2013.07.23_13.27.28]

Only one real mistake in this episode. This dude here is saying ttaku mendou kaken nayo or “Honestly, do not cause problems for me!” (koku version: “God! I’m sick of your crap!”)  I don’t know what they think “pulling your leg” means, but from a normal reading of the phrase, it’s not even the same idea as what’s actually being said. Putting those aside, a lot of the script seems to be too influenced by the original Japanese dialogue and pacing for my tastes. More TL blather here.

Edit: Bumped them up a grade because the line about “flaming water and land of ice” actually makes sense in context of past episodes.

Final Grade: B+ A-

[Lag-Taka] Shingeki no Kyojin – 13


This group had two, maybe three major mistakes. Here they forgot to have this guy retort to the other guy, “What the hell are you doing?” in this line. More translation stuff here. But even if the script is totally accurate, it still reads like an average amateur fansub script.

Final Grade: B

[Hatsuyuki-Kaitou] Shingeki no Kyojin – 09


And we round out these midterms with these slowpokes, and overall they had two mistakes in this release. For example, here, the term that’s being said here is senbou no manazashi or “looks of envy.” However, it was a chore to watch this release because their script, once again, reads like a slightly-above-amateur Japanese translation than a readable script that can be enjoyed by a wide audience. They even inserted an “I can’t be helped” for god sakes.

Final Grade: B

So the conclusion here is to just subscribe to Crunchyroll and get their accurate scripts written by people who appear to have at least taken some creative writing classes.

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returnity says:

Thanks kokijin-kun. Always nice to learn a bit more. Didn’t Commie switch to CR-edits, or was that not until Ep.14?

kokujin-kun says:

Yeah, they switched to CR edits, but it didn’t seem like a CR edit in the episode I reviewed. If it was indeed an edit, then they get an automatic fail.

habitat says:

You seem hesitant to rate things below B

kokujin-kun says:

Well, there’s a good reason for that. None of the releases are littered with the amount of translation errors to merit a C or “(barely) passable”.

Anonymous says:

How are Eotena not an F by default?

Solaristics says:

Because they swapped to CR edits in this episode review. All they did was make it worse though.

kokujin-kun says:

If it’s indeed a CR edit, then it’s an automatic F.

a says:

What about Funimation?

kokujin-kun says:

Honestly wasn’t aware that they were doing it.

…still don’t care.

Aru says:

Could you mention how “hard” a show is to translate when you’re reviewing it?

kokujin-kun says:

Nah, I’m not going to hand out cookies if someone does a show that they find hard. You either do a show accurately or you get out of the kitchen. Besides, you have to realize that a “hard show” is a pretty subjective creature. For example, “hard” shows would presumably be shows that I myself would find difficult to translate.

Akatsukin says:

I’d also think it’s hard to determine which shows would be hard in the first place. A deep, complex seinen may not use language that’s all that difficult, but a random battle shounen may use crazy terminology or make up phrases that need solid translation to be consistent and make sense.

lygerzero0zero says:

I will also add that easy to understand does not always mean easy to translate. Or at least, translate -well-. In fact, I find it’s often the simple stuff that’s the hardest to convey.

kokujin-kun says:

Oh yeah, there are also hard shows like R-15 or Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi where five minutes of a show will take 15-30 minutes because it’s the stupidest, most boringest crap you’ve ever watched, and you end up sending in a really phoned-in script, but that’s just me.

temp_late says:

For those shows, how much of it is the original (Japanese) script and scenario being ass, and how much of it is a result of an annoyed TL phoning it in? That’s not to say that a garbage script should be translated into garbage, but it’s certainly harder to work with a base that sucks.

I guess it’s something that can only really be answered on a show-by-show and case-by-case basis, sure. But any general thoughts? It’s often difficult to get any kind of decent reading on original script quality if you’re relying on a translation.

kokujin-kun says:

You’re right, if a show is fabulously bad (my personal pick would probably be Kiss Dumb), a translator can actually have fun with the script and write something that reflects how hilariously bad the show is. But if a show is just your basic template high-school haremshit, you’ll just be reaching into your rolodex of set English phrases for set Japanese phrases and calling it a day. Basically, it’s hard to give a truly bland and bad show a good, creative translation.

MrSh4dy says:

And then there’s Monogatari…
I can’t imagine anyone not having a hard time with it.

kokujin-kun says:

Yeah, even Aniplex thought shirouto doutei meant “amateurish virginity.” They still failed the episode and the rest of the show by screwing up that line.

Aru says:

Okay, sounds valid. Probably “hard” wasn’t the right term here… I meant something like the “general translation level” of a show, I think? Either way, as Akatsukin said, that may be hard to determine, so I’ll leave it at that.

kokujin-kun says:

Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to mention if a show seems difficult to translate, even if it won’t affect the final grade in the end. Just so you know, Attack on the Eotens wouldn’t count as a particularly difficult show to translate in my book.

Zeta says:

> wouldn’t count as a particularly difficult show to translate in my book.
Unless, of course, you decide to mess around with retarded Old English words that none of your staff members know how to inflect, right?

Aru says:

And the Germanese opening, of course.

kokujin-kun says:

Groups are free to make a show more difficult than it really is, and we are also free to choose not to watch their horsecrap.

And yes, the introduction of additional languages outside your skills set can be an added monkey wrench. I’d actually forgive J-E translators if they choose to ignore the German in the OP since it would sound like gibberish to the original Japanese audience it was intended for anyway. But, then again, the thing that separates great translators from merely good translators is that great translators ask for help when they need it since they don’t and aren’t expected to know everything.

corocoro says:

It also sounds like gibberish to the German audience. ;)
Anyway, I “solved” this by handing in three or four different possible translations for some of the lines – complete with notes explaining the different choices and which I find more likely. ^^

kokujin-kun says:

Oh right, I almost forgot that it could very well be a Japanese choir trying their bosom best to imitate Germanian. In any case, on behalf of certain fagsub groups, I thank you :)

deltakei says:

07:37 –> “I was scared to death back there!” vs “I can’t believe I’m still alive!”

It’s an expression: And it’s about being scared in this case.

15:55 -> They didn’t actually specify that it was just soldiers who were killed and MIA.

They don’t in this line, but we know it in this context. Earlier they did say that no civilians died, and I doubt they sent in any later.

kokujin-kun says:

Yes, you do have a point about the phrase being about fear, but remember that What’s-his-name said that line in the present tense while the line in the script is written in the past tense, so it still doesn’t convey accurately what’s being said.

That line at 15:55 didn’t actually count against you, it’s just a tiny quibble that I had. I still find it hard to believe that no civilians were lost, though.

mints says:

-> Add a “What the hell are *you* doing?” before the “hurry up and jump” part.

That line is actually there but got commented out by mistake :/ Since you have the muxed script it’s line 5: Comment: 0,0:06:59.37,0:06:59.74,SnK main,,0,0,0,,Look who’s talking!

-> Hey, you rookies! “Gaki” does not mean “rookie”

TL was “kids” but we thought “rookies” fits the context there.

Anyway, thank you for the review.

kokujin-kun says:

Okay, so you say. But even at that, it’s still a mistake.

I counted the “rookie” line as a “maybe” mistake since I do get what you’re going for, but it would have been better to just stick with “kids,” since it better conveys his apparent overall contempt for them.

Miki says:

In the very beginning of the first episode, [gg] translated “We lived in fear of the Titans”. All other groups actually didn’t translate to the word “Titans”, but rather, as a hint to “Them”. Is it accurate?
Also some used the word “Oppression” while others used “Ruled”, where gg translated it to a different context. Any comment?

FalseDawn says:

I’d have to listen to the line again to be sure (you’re looking for the word “kyojin” in the Japanese audio) but I think it’s a case of gg overinterpreting the line, especially as the same opening is used in the second OAD to describe Jean’s mother, so obviously gg’s opening wouldn’t work in that situation.

The oppression/ruled bit is less of an issue because, with a bit of poetic license, they both fit the context. Ruled is probably less accurate of the two, but the idea is that the human settlement are inferior beings, subject to the whims of the Titans, so neither can really be described as mistranslations.

I’m just an editor though, so maybe a translator has another view :D

Dark_Sage says:

Ruled just doesn’t make as much sense. gg tried way too hard on that one, as usual.

Vega says:

“a lot of the script seems to be too influenced by the original Japanese dialogue and pacing”

“So the conclusion here is to just subscribe to Crunchyroll and get their accurate scripts written by people who appear to have at least taken some creative writing classes.”

Everything wrong with the modern anime and fansub community in a nutshell.

And this is crap is being written by someone who is actually reviewing translations…

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