Zhou Tai An (kain@pacific.net.sg)
Sun, 11 Feb 2001 11:36:47 +0800 (SGT)

>Perhaps I should clarify a few things here. My intent was not to
perpetuate the
>sub vs dub debate, but to share my revelation as to why I, personally, don't
>like dubs.

Nononono, I wasn't accusing you of starting up a flame war or anything - I
was just stating that in my experience, it's usually not worth getting into
an argument over subs and dubs, since people will always have their own
(usually unchangeable) views. However, if you have good points and are
willing to argue them politely and well (as you have) then by all means go
ahead. ^_^

>It's not dubbing per se, but the cookie-cutter, one-voice-fits-all,
>fit-the-words-to-the-mouth-movements, funny-voices-equals-characterization
>of dubbing that has been the bane not only of anime but "foreign" film in

Very true.

>Have you ever watched the three Bruce Lee movies Enter The Dragon (AKA The
>Deadly Three), Return Of The Dragon (AKA Way Of The Dragon) and Fists Of Fury
>AKA The Big Boss)? The first is an Warner Bros/Run Run Shaw coproduction with
>the actors' natural voices and the second and third are Mandarin Circuit
>productions dubbed in the typical fashion. In one, we get a taste of Bruce
>Lee's unique character, in the other two we get the same king fu hero voice
>heard in every other Hong Kong martial arts film.

I haven't watched the movies, but I know enough about martial arts films to
get the picture...

>Dubbing is a necessary evil -- we'll always have to have it, for reasons cited
>in any number of posts, so it's necessary, but it will always alter to the
>character of the production, so it's evil. As has been noted elsewhere,
some of

Actually, I don't believe it's a necessary evil at all. It's just that
people are far too lazy and in some cases, xenophobic (yes, it's true - I
firmly believe there is some small, but present, element of xenophobia in
dubbing) to want to read subs. If only people could get to watch more subs,
I think the situation would turn around.

>the subtitling is just as bad as some of the dubbing and some of the dubbing is
>quite good. I've heard on a number of occasions from people who've seen both

This is true, however. Subs are NOT the Holy Grail of anime watching, as
some fans seem to believe. And some dubs are good - I daresay in some cases
even BETTER than the original. However, the current track record puts subs
way ahead...

>the English language version The Mysterious Cities Of Gold by DIC is actually
>better than the original Japanese show on which it's based, Child Of The Sun
>Esteban. I haven't seen or heard the latter, but I know I liked the former so
>much that, to this day, I'm still trying to find the Polydor recording of the

Can't you get it from Amazon or E-Bay?

>But all of that is beside the point, which is that any production, in any
>language, has a unique character that is altered by any adaptation and that
>dubbing, even good dubbing, changes this character. So does subtitling -- a
>sentence or phrase can lose an awful lot in the translation. Dubbing compounds
>this, however, by changing the character of the translated words as well as
>their meaning. With subtitling, you at least HEAR the original delivery, which
>may convey more than the words themselves.

This isn't always as bad as it seems...what you must consider, in the case
of most dubs, that's it's NOT a translation. Yes, you heard me. It's not.
What it is is a totally different take on a character - something like a
fanfic, if you will. For example, some characters in the American release of
Momonoke Hime aren't like their Japanese counterparts at all (Ashitaka comes
to mind) In this case, I consider Ashitaka a different character entirely.
I'll still prefer the Japanese version, of course (I'm biased ^_^) but it's
something to think about.

>Some productions are translated and dubbed as faithfully to the original as
>possible, although as noted above some alteration is inevitable by the act of
>translation. Such fidelity is extremely rare. Most are "adapted" in some
>way -- rewritten for the target audience or to accommodate cross-cultural
>differences or the necessity of combining more than one source. Both Princess

Yes, I particularly dislike this need of translators to localize a product
so much that all cultural nuance is lost. I can see the need to change some
proverbs here and there, but they tend to go overboard...sorry, this is just
a personal gripe.

>I've seen two different English language versions of Galaxy Express 999. The
>first was done by Roger Corman in 1985 and I saw it on Cinemax in 1986. I

Wow, that early?

>Speaking strictly for myself, I can say that I desire to have access to the
>original character -- the "true" character, if you will -- of any translated
>production so that I can see and hear it for myself. I may find that I prefer
>the Americanized version, but that's beside the point. The point is that the
>Americanized version necessarily has a different character and that, to date,
>subtitling is the only way to deliver an English translation (or
>while preserving the original character and allowing it to come through.

Very well put. I agree entirely. Notwithstanding the point above that I made
about character conversion, I think you're right in saying that the only way
to experience the true nature of a production is with good subs. Or, of
course, to watch it in original format.

>I bless the multilanguage DVD for allowing me to experience a program in the
>original language, with English language subtitles or dubbed into an
>Americanized version -- at my own discretion. And I will not buy First Gundam
>without that capability.

The problem with DVDs is that they cost a lot of money...^_^

Zhou Tai An (kain@pacific.net.sg)

"There is no one simple truth." - Rune Walsh

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