Fansubbers having fun07/02/2009
Fansubbers are gods among men. Their work is strenuous, frowned upon from a majority of the anime industry and motivated by nothing more than the adulation and gratitude received from their fans. And yet, they still manage to release punctual, accurate (for the most part), and professional translations week after week after week. We recognize the blood and sweat put into their works and we thank them, we rely on them, and we question them, how could mere mortals accomplish such awesome deeds?
However, there is one faulty road that some fansubbers decide to occasionally take that gives me a lot of mixed feelings.
Just when you are about to praise about how a fansub equals or even exceeds the quality of a professionally subbed work, something smart-aleck like in the above screen wiggle its way into an otherwise flawless work. I guess these are the little things that make fansubs what they are, the occasional jab at the characters, translating the Engrish “sankyu” as “arigatou”, and breaking the fourth way and directly speaking to their audience. These methods are a fansubbers way of telling us that they are there toiling day and night trying to get us the latest releases. They are not robotic, like official translations, which are very accurate and to the point, but lack heart and soul.
But then this question comes in, does a sub work really need a soul. The purpose of a sub is to help us understand the enigma that is Japanese. If random things start to pop up in between the translations it can be very distracting and can even kill the mood of an entire episode. I realize that they are doing this for free, but it is a huge responsibility nonetheless. Some fansubbers need to understand the weight their jobs carry. Hundreds upon thousands of fans heavily depend on them to bring them the anime they deserve, anime in its original language, in its true form, not defiled by ear bleed inducing dub work and heavy editing. To underestimate this responsibility and pull things like intentionally translating something wrong or ruining a scene can not only be disgusting, but also disappointing as well.