A question about subtitles

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Whimper, Oct 13, 2002.

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  1. Whimper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 4
    There's a chance that I'll still be in Japan when Episode III comes out. My question is this- since the movie will be in it's original language, with Japanese subtitles throughout, how are English speakers supposed to figure out what the aliens are saying?

    For example, in AOTC, how did you guys understand the Geonossians (assuming you can't read Japanese)?
  2. Whimper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 4
    Well, thanks for the quick answer guys.



    I went and saw my movie, and there was no problem. The subtitles appeared in both English and in Japanese.
  3. ImperialJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 2001
    star 3
    Cool, I was wondering about that too.

    -IJedi
  4. The_Lady_THX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2003
    star 2
    Another question about subtitles!!

    When you get a movie in Japanese with the subtitles in english, do you loose any of the translation when you watch it? I know for a fact that you loose the total idea of the movie when its in english *I have Sailor Moon Box Set of the three movies released and watched them both in Japanese with subtitles and the dub, the dub changed so much! It wasn't even the same story line half the time!*

    But seriously those who know both Japanese and English, is what the sub title says, is that really what they are saying? Or are we missing some part of it?

    Princess Milo
  5. Whimper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 4
    I don't know very much Japanese at all, and yet I can tell you that you're missing a whole lot. It's not so much that parts of lines are left out- it's that a word-for-word literal translation just doesn't work for most languages, especially Japanese. Not to mention the incredible amount of cultural-specific talk that goes on in most shows that people who haven't lived in Japan just won't get. It's all got to be translated somehow, and the real question is how much inaccuracy is tolerable, towards the greater goal of having the movie still be entertaining?
  6. Ric Olie's Hairdresser Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 4
    As my understanding of Japanese improves to the level that I can watch a full length Japanese movie and understand 80-90% of it, I am enjoying Japanese cinema quite a bit more.

    The subtitles of American movies out here in Japanese are so dumbed down it's crazy. I saw Gangs of NY out here and (since the movie was so dull) spent most of the time concentrating on the subtitles. It took a lot of the oomph (what there was of it) out of the movie.

    Last week I saw a Korean movie with Japanese subtitles. Great flick (My Sassy Girl in English) but I definitely appreciated the scenes where my minimal (and I mean minimal) amount of Korean came through over those for which I had to rely solely on the Japanese subtitles.
  7. Whimper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 4
    There are a lot of things which lead to all that simplification in the subtitiles.

    1. Speed. Japanese people can only read so fast, and if you translated everything said, it would go by too quickly for them to be able to read it.

    2. Lexicon. Japanese just doesn't have the incredible amount of words that English does- and it certainly can't keep up with English slang, let alone the dozens of regional slangs that come through in movies.

    3. Culture. Many things which carry meaning to native English speakers, would be completely meaningless to Japanese viewers, if they were translated literally. So the subtitler has the task of deciding whether to translate that joke, write a new one in Japanese to fit the scene, or skip it entirely.
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