Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Seriously sub-standard

Flushed with pride after finishing my first series of subtitles, Toshi Densetsu no Onna, I rushed headlong into another short series: Renai Kentei.

This, it turns out, might have been a mistake. The thing about Toshi Densetsu... is that police jargon and urban myths are easy to find on the internet. If I got stuck, I could usually rely on some website having the correct translation (often Wikipedia, bless it). But Renai Kentei is all about love and contains informal language, abbreviations and slang which really slowed me down.

Is this okay? It's close enough...

This is not helped by the guy upstairs deciding that this week he was going to play loud music in the middle of the night. I'm writing this with that slightly wired feeling you get from too little sleep. It's also hard to concentrate on one thing for long as I constantly distract myself with forums, emails, YouTube etc.

Meanwhile, Renai Kentei is fun and harmless. But translating it really brought home how much I struggle to understand sentences without subject. Since the person or thing being talking about is often only implied in Japanese, I often had to stop and think about the context before making a decision about who was talking about what. And the use of language is far more informal than before, which slowed me down.

They're singing. Shall I bother translating?..
If translating can be compared to making a copy of a photo, I certainly felt like doing the subs for Renai Kentei could be compared to making a join-the-dots copy of a photo. I was often faced with a situation where I understood the meaning, but not the words. And vice versa.

In the end, though, I'm quite proud of my subs for episode one and am ploughing through episode two. But, in future, I'm going to try and see the first episode of a series before I decide to do the subs for them.


  1. "I'm going to try and see the first episode of a series before I decide to do the subs for them." that's good to keep in mind :)

    You should make a feature... something about the Life of a Fansubber xD I'm still trying to find Japanese captioning for Tsumi to Batsu. I don't even know where to begin looking for it...

  2. I asked at d-addicts, and it seems that WOWOW dramas aren't broadcast with subtitles, so that's why you never see japanese subs. It's a real shame. There's a WOWOW drama from 2010 called Soil that I'd love to sub, but doing it from the audio just isn't possible. Sad face.

  3. Meanwhile, I think if I wrote a sort of diary of a fansubber, at the moment it would be me thinking "What are they saying? It's all hiragana! I can't even tell where one word ends and the next one begins!" And then taking a break.

  4. Hey!

    It's weird cause I kinda have the opposite problem. I basically learnt most of the Japanese I know watching variety shows so it's mostly super informal language and puns xD
    If you ever need a hand, hit me up ^-^

  5. Thanks. I'll see what I can manage and then let you know.