Lost in Translation

The top ten reasons why anime are “lost in translation”…

10: Lip Sync and Line Length
Lip Synchronisation, known in America as “fitting the flaps”, is a means of ensuring that the sound of the words being spoken matched the lip movements of the onscreen speaker. This can often lead to the addition of words on the spur of the moment in the dubbing studio – in erotic horror like Return of the Overfiend, this usually means the use of the F-word as a bonus adverb, adjective and noun! Subtitles normally suffer from the opposite problem – the deletion of parts of a script in order to make the lines fit a pre-determined length. Subtitlers must take into account not only the meaning of the line, but the reading speed of the average viewer…

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Trading in Insults

A call came in from the editor of the script book of Serenity, the movie spin-off from Joss Whedon’s Firefly. In which, you may recall, people swear in Chinese.

“We’re just doing the back cover,” he said, “and we wondered if you could write us a Chinese slogan: ‘If you do not buy this book, your associates will consider you to be a stupid inbred sack of meat.’”

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