Can’t say I was expecting to write this post until I was #slighted so rudely by one Justin Sevakis. So, here you go.
This post is a response to the following: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2015-04-24/.87349
For clarification, that post was a response to a giant-fucking Twitter conversation involving my boys jabashque, coffeeflux, and the anime scene’s resident old man: Justin Sevakis (founder of AnimeNewsNetwork & professional encoder).
…which was, in turn, was a response to this post: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2015-04-17/.87155
Don’t worry; you don’t need to read up on any of that. My patented use of pretty anime pictures will be enough for you to get the gist.
That industry tho
Format’s pretty simple; I’ll just dissect Justin’s post because I can, and because I’m apparently banned from the ANN forum or something. (Well, I’m unbanned now, but I already wrote the post, so…)
[In response to a question coffee submitted to AnimeNewsNetwork at Justin’s request]
This question was a lot longer, and was pretty typical of a very specific sort of fan, the type that is extremely frustrated by what they deem as shoddy work in professional subs. There are definitely a handful of shows each season that are clearly being translated by each respective company’s “B-team.” Some of them have awkward wording or some general sloppiness.
Sort of, but that’s a misrepresentation. Poor quality usually doesn’t come from anime companies’ “teams”. Funimation, for example, only has one team, and last I checked (about a year ago, talking with a then-Funi dev I’d built up a decent relationship with) it was only about four translators.
Due to their desire to “remain” relevant, Funimation went balls-out and started throwing around as much money as they could, in order to grab simulcast licenses and get a piece of that Crunchy pie.
Because it’s dumb to just expand aggressively and keep the same amount of staff, Funi had to contract out more often than they usually did. That’s why you get subs like these, which would never see the light of day on one of their home video releases:
So the problem here is not endemic like Justin suggests — it’s fucking easy to fix. Contract to better translators; there are fucktons out there. That’s why you hire contractors in the first place — they’re easy to change out and you don’t have any real responsibilities to them.
Subbing so hard~
With the sheer number of shows and the ludicrous speed at which they have to be turned around, something has to give, and I suppose having a fully qualified team to do those things every season will always be a work in progress. But having a ready team of translators and editors ready to wake up at 3 in the morning to churn out an episode really quick and go back to bed is always going to be tricky, and I don’t expect everyone to be perfect all the time.
Bullshit through and through. Yes, delays happen, but if that’s the expectation, then that’s the expectation — it’s their fucking job. “Professionals” are always such whiners. When was the last time they even had to actually translate instead of throwing a provided script into Google Translate? Pampered little shits.
By the way, Justin is completely misrepresenting how much time this takes. Check out this sob story I heard from a Funi dev (ex-fansubber to boot).
Yes, nine hours is the worst-case scenario. Not exactly the story Mr. Sevakis was trying to paint, but I suppose “getting it right” isn’t exactly something
“we just translate Japanese tweets” AnimeNewsNetwork is known for.
A few of these dissatisfied fans, however, go to great lengths to find and catalog as many of these flaws as possible. There are whole blogs out there of screenshots, pointing out with a great deal of disgust what are usually very minor punctuation errors that most people would never notice. […] Ya gotta pick your battles, you know? Dedicating a blog to nit-picking the jobs of others doesn’t earn you sympathy points.
For the record, Mr. Sevakis is basing his opinion of Crymore entirely off of the Funimation Owari no Seraph review and the Chu-2 BD review. I’d like us all to take a moment to appreciate how out of touch this gentleman must be to think any criticism of those releases is “nit-picking” (protip: nitpicking is one word, old chap — F-).
By the way, do I get sympathy points if Funimation was so pissed off at my No-Rin review that they ran a DMCA against it to get it off Google?
The one thing that fansub aficionados point out over and over again is the lack of what they call “typesetting” in professional subtitles: the meticulous font selection, coloring, placement, and in some cases, animation of on-screen text. This used to be something sort of ridiculous back in the heyday of anime fansubs, but more recent developments in software have resulted in some truly spectacular work. I mean, look at this stuff. [Example below from fansub group Underwater’s work on Kill la Kill]
However, pro subtitles will never look like this, probably ever. The main reason why has to do with the software.
While true, that’s not the main reason. One thing you have to understand is that nobody of consequence makes a living off of creating subtitles. Much like the anime industry as a whole, you have to seriously sacrifice your financial stability to be an unknown, irrelevant cog in the middleman machine.
This shit isn’t just me being an asshole; it’s the accepted reality for anyone involved in the industry. Of all the devs I’ve talked to, none of them will tell you this shit is profitable. So most people with the requisite skillsets and even the slightest hint of ambition or pride will look elsewhere for gainful employment.
When was the last time you saw Funimation innovate? Sentai? Their subs haven’t changed since I bought my first anime in 2004 (you can thank Azumanga Daioh for the Sage I am today). Nobody in the industry has any desire to succeed — they just want to die of adult-onset mediocrity before the diabetes kills them.
The main reason
I got off on a bit of a tangent there, gomenz.
With enough staff replacement, the anime companies could absolutely copy fansubbers in terms of visually appealing subtitles. They’d just have to hardsub their releases. So why’s this a problem?
Any animated titles would have to be burned onto the video, which would absolutely enrage the video purists.
What Justin doesn’t understand is that no video purist is waiting for American BD releases. Japan hates reverse-importation so much that the idea of Americans having higher quality releases pisses the fuck out of them. Unless a distributor is willing to engage in shenanigans behind Japan’s back, the best you can hope for is parity.
So what “video purist” would wait X number of months for an American release that might just possibly be as good as a Japanese release but most likely won’t be?
If you want to know why American BD releases are nigh-unwatchable, you can thank this mythical edge case. And yes, they are literally the only reason anime companies won’t hardsub their BDs.
I dunno, this post didn’t really have so much of a point other than me enjoying target practice with words. Have a cute anime girl being cute: