Hi, I’m Etoce. I’m here to review the shitty song translations people post on YouTube because puddi won’t do it.
There are a lot of shitty song translations on YouTube. And some good ones. But mostly shitty ones that need to be called out. In the words of famed song translation police officer damesukekun, “Translating other people’s words brings responsibilities.” I wouldn’t be that dramatic, but it’s pretty annoying when the most visible videos have experience-hampering subtitles attached to them. (Also, don’t worry, I won’t DMCA-takedown-request anything.)
Or at least that’s the noble reason to do this. Really, I just want to yell at bad translations because they annoy me.
Most YouTube translations are one-person jobs, so grades can be taken as a judgement of that person’s worth, rather than as just an appraisal of one particular video. As a result, I won’t be very inclined to review multiple videos from the same uploader unless I have a specific reason to.
Each review will have four components to the final grade. From importantest to unimportantest, they are
- Heart: The amount of love that I can feel emanating from the translator’s effort (usually this will be none)
- Faith: How accurately the meaning of the translated lyrics reflects the songwriter’s intent, in my estimation
- Craft: How well-written the lines are, and how well they flow together
- Sheen: Catch-all field for visual niceness, including but not limited to subtitle styling
Together, they combine to create a grade from A to F. Here’s an brief and unhelpful explanation of each level (I might add examples later):
- A: A-level subs represent efforts where every facet is done with unquestioned competency. Both the contents and feel of the song are faithfully rendered.
- B: B-level subs have a few questionable bits, but as a whole, both meaning and feeling are conveyed more or less faithfully, and the end result is pleasant.
- C: C-level subs are those which manage to avoid major blunders while not providing much worth of its own.
- D: D-level subs are the bare minimum of adequacy. The lines make sense and at least seem to be based on the original lyrics in some way, but have little nuance preserved.
- F: F-level subs either have major failings in interpretation, or are otherwise so poorly done that deciphering the subtitler’s intent is so difficult that you’d probably rather just close your eyes and listen to the song.
Remember, in contrast to 23-minute anime fansubs, these videos are only six minutes long, max. You have much less room to mess up.
How are you going to decide what to review?
I’m going to focus mainly on songs that I like (and therefore care about) to start, but if you have any suggestions, drop a comment.