Localization in books, movies, and TV

Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 10:31 am
These days more and more foreign language movies are making it to mainstream culture in English language countries (US, Canada, UK, Australia).

In terms of exported media, localization is the process of indirectly translating or even changing things like names, removing untranslatable dialogue and phrases and such.

From the Japanese manga, Komi Can't Communicate where the title character is trying to improve her ability to communicate with others while circumnavigating her crippling social anxiety with a joke. The original text is Japanese (which I don't read or speak). I'm pretty sure the joke she writes isn't in the original text. Seems to me pretty obvious that "seconds" an English language idiom for taking an extra serving of food isn't something found directly translatable from Japanese (then again I might be wrong).

In the US, anime dubs (especially during the 90s and early 00s) have been infamous for changing characters names, censoring language and scenes - removing cigarettes and guns, changing food items from Japanese staples into things like jelly donuts even though the characters aren't eating donuts.

Pros of localization: untranslatable jokes will fall flat and the humor from word play and other country references which get lost in translation won't kill the tone of a given moment.

Cons of localization: In censoring or complete changing of the language and details, you lose a lot of the media's initial appeal and often quirk.

Do you prefer localization in your translated media exported from nonEnglish language content? What other cons and pros are there in your eyes?
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 11:44 am
It depends how it's done. literal translations never work. We don't say I have hunger like the French.

Anthony Burgess was praised for his translation of Cyrano de Bergerac, but some are bad.
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2022 11:51 am
I spoke to The Kid about this. He speaks Japanese. He told me about Black Butler.

There is one phrase that in Japanese means, I am simply a butler, but with one slight inflection it becomes I am a demon and a butler.

It's a pun that only works in Japanese, the closest English translation, which is the one they went for is. I'm one hell of a butler, but it doesn't have the same meaning.
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Reply Thu 10 Nov, 2022 08:28 am
I've heard that Don Quixote is best read is Spanish because many of the puns don't survive translation. If you read it in English (or any other translated language) then you are missing out on a lot.

I once came across a heated internet discussion over the least-bad way to translate it. Some people felt that translators should create their own puns that work in English but are entirely different from what was written in Spanish. Others favored translating the story directly without the translator adding any new content.
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