Say Hello to Crymore’s Second TL Reviewer

This post was written by mini-ezo. He is not Dark_Sage.


Hello world, this is mini-ezo. mini for short, I suppose.

Dark_Sage saw my “I should do TL reviews” tweet and remembered that I had volunteered long ago to spend my long summer days suffering through mediocre amateur translations of old cartoons, and so here I am. Although I don’t have quite as much free time this summer, I’ll try my best to direct y’all to the best translations in the scene.

Now, time for some background. I’ve been fansubbing for three and a half years, starting as a founding member of Interrobang‽ Subs (huzzah for shameless advertising) and occasionally reaching out to some other groups, particularly FFF. Including some pretty in-depth TLC, I’ve translated a grand total of 18 seasons worth of shows, plus some shorts, movies, and OVAs. You can find my detailed history here. I was also a scanlator for a time before that, but nothing big really came from that, as you may imagine. My background in Japanese is from living the first 18 years of my life in Tokyo with a Japanese family; my English comes from going to an international school and two years of college in the States.


The Reviews

Sensei so metal

I imagine my reviews will be to kokujin-kun’s as Caly’s are to D_S’s: oldsubs, OVAs, and movies. I can’t say for sure, though, as kokujin-kun and I may collaborate to review as many running shows as possible, seeing how this site’s been going these past few seasons. As for the grading scheme, I agree for the most part with kokujin-kun’s, so I plan on sticking to something similar.


An Important Note:

Fair warning: I am a “filthy liberal” translator. I say to hell with Japanese sentence order, structure, word choice, and anything else for that matter, if for the sake of a better-flowing, more entertaining, more engaging script. Anime is a type of literature, so the script would naturally have to be something that can complement that. I’m not saying that the translator can do whatever the hell (s)he wants, but as long as the line has reasonable length, fits the acting, and carries the message across, I will be more than happy to approve of that line. Although incorrect translations exist, there’s no such thing as a correct translation. I’ll be looking for more than just accuracy in my TL reviews – I want ingenuity and creativity; lines that will make me think, “Shoot, why didn’t I ever think of that?” and slap myself in the forehead.

Bad example.

If, on the other hand, I see generic, uncreative, or unfitting lines, I will try my best to offer alternatives. That’s how I’ve been doing my translations: make a line, and if I can think of other ones, put them in comments. It’s up to the editor to choose which one gets to see the light of day.

And if you have better ideas than mine, by all means, give them to me. There’s always something new to learn in translation. It’ll also make my reviews better. This is a review site, not a grading site, so the more constructive criticism, the better.


That’s about all I have to say for now. See you in my next post.

43 thoughts on “Say Hello to Crymore’s Second TL Reviewer”

  1. Hello there, mini-ezo. Your reviewing process sounds pretty interesting. I’ll be looking forward to your reviews.

  2. Hey, Mini-Ezo, nice to see the Crymore crew growing (more content is always a bonus). Have you put any thought into what you’ll be reviewing first? As an editor for a group that deals primarily with old junk and OVAs (Saizen), this is relevant to my interests and I think there are a lot of groups out there that are overlooked on Crymore simply because they’re not keeping up with current series. So it’s nice that they’ll be getting some recognition too :D

  3. >I say to hell with Japanese sentence order, structure, word choice, and anything else for that matter, if for the sake of a better-flowing, more entertaining, more engaging script. Anime is a type of literature, so the script would naturally have to be something that can complement that.

    I thought this was a given doe? Even academic scholars translate Fukuzawa’s dissertations “liberally”.

    But kudos & congrats!

    • @echo off
      echo Applying Patch %progress%
      xdelta3.exe -d -vfs "Dark_Sage" "Dark_Sage Patch file.vcdiff" "Dark_Sagev2"
      echo File successfully patched! Deleting old file...
      del Dark_Sage

  4. May I ask you a couple of questions?

    Are you of the opinion that translators can alter the original content as long as the result is “ingenious or creative”?

    Do you believe that the translations themselves should add entertainment value on top of the original script?

    If so, where do you draw the line before it becomes script-writing, and what would you deem as an “incorrect translation”?

    Finally, what do you hope to achieve through translations?

    • Jesus. What is this, a job interview?

      First of all, it’s impossible to literally “alter the original content” when you’re creating subtitles. You may be persuasive enough at first, but people will eventually realize the discrepancies between the subtitles and what’s happening on the screen. Creative lines are necessary for giving the characters character and making the lines sound like humans are actually talking. Nobody speaks the same way, so generic translations are something to be avoided, as a rule of thumb.

      What I want to do when I translate is to take what I, as a native speaker of Japanese, feel from the source content and put it in English. Since the Japanese doesn’t have to go through any lossy conversions in my head, it directly becomes a strange thing that I like to call a “cloud of thought stuff,” and then I proceed to turn that into English. In that aspect, translation is always script writing.

      Also, you could say that translation always adds entertainment value to the original script – for someone who has no clue about Japanese, the original script itself has zero entertainment value. What I strive to do is take that entertainment value as-is and deliver it in another language. The original wording, vocabulary, and all those linguistic thingies are merely guidelines or perhaps hints when I translate. I feel like I’m being redundant here.

      Although I’ll usually take off points for blatantly generic translations (“It can’t be helped” being a big one), if it fits, I’ll let it pass. I won’t be taking off points for stuff that works.

      Now, if there’s a translated line that produces a “cloud of thought stuff” in my mind that is perfectly identical to the one that the Japanese produces, I’ll give bonus points. I’ll also give bonus points to lines that I never would’ve thought of. The standard unfortunately changes depending on my mood, and there’s really nothing I can do to change that. That’s how humans work.

      I’ll read a line. I’ll put myself in translator mode, and imagine what I’d do if that was the first line I came up with. Would I press enter and move along? Would I add a note to the editor saying that it doesn’t feel right? Would I slap myself across the face, curse my idiocy, and think of an alternative? Those are the questions I’ll be asking myself constantly as I review these subs.

      And to tell the truth, I can’t really say what an incorrect translation is. If it feels wrong, I’ll mark it down. That’s pretty much it. But if people can persuade me that it’s correct, I’ll take it. But don’t expect me to take any “but [insert LN/Manga translation group] said this,” because that has absolutely no evidence backing its accuracy.

      I hope that answered your questions. It’s hard to write about things like translation that rely almost solely on subjective standards.

      • Well, he joined three weeks ago and didn’t write a damn thing, even after I contacted him and he said he would get on it. So yeah, I’m not gonna keep him around in the hopes of getting 1 review a year. It’s a waste of my time and betrays the expectations of Crymore’s readers.

        • How do you decide on people to write reviews on your website? Like do you have a conversation with them to see how smart they are or somthing?

          • Well, in the case of Mini-Ezo, he’s a translator whom I’ve known for years, and who offered to do TL Reviews for Crymore some time ago. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t grab him at the time, I declined because I didn’t want to overload you guys with too many posts (yes, you can begin laughing now).

            Anyway, I was following him on Twitter, and this month he tweeted again about wanting to do reviews. Knowing I let you all down last season with lack of content, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take him up on his prior offer. Knowing he had the experience, and thinking he had the motivation, I figured even if he sucked at writing, the base content of his posts would provide you all with sufficient value for your time investment.

            Unfortunately, he wasn’t really motivated at all, and that leads us to this situation.


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