Fall 2011 Subtitle Reviews finished.
Shakugan no Shana III (Final) – niconico
Chihayafuru – Commie, NyanTaku
Persona 4 – Commie, Hatsuyuki-CTSS
Fate/Zero – Commie, UTW, Hatsuyuki, Crunchyroll
Haganai – Chihiro
I was thinking of doing full subtitle translation reviews this season , but after that Hanasaku Iroha comparison, it became clear to me that I simply don’t have that kind of time. Instead, I’ll just post my impression of each release I’ve seen with short comments. Honestly, it requires less than 100 lines of dialog to tell if the translator knows what s/he’s doing, so I think these ratings are fairly accurate even if I didn’t make direct comparisons. These scores are subject to personal tastes, but I’ll try my best to be fair.
All releases below are Ep 01v1 unless otherwise noted. Everything is rated on translation and how well the subs represent the source language.
It does not account for editing, typesetting, encode quality etc unless they affect subs enough to change intended meanings. Additional overall grading should be available this season again at http://www.whiners.pro/
Only major releases (regularly reach 1k download in Nyaa or other trackers) will be reviewed. I might make a TL comparison for series I like or ones with major groups in a very close tie (or just comically bad releases).
I will not accept re-reviews for any release with “B” grade or higher (because that’s already good enough) and series not worth watching again. Re-reviews are only for releases with translator changes.
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume Difficulty 5 (w/ Quirkiness 9)
Crunchyroll = A- (C), LS-8
The translation part is mostly good. Few questionable lines, but nothing too severe. Concise lines get to the point.
However, I didn’t like how quirks ika and de geso were handled. In Japanese, words containing ika was selectively chosen whenever possible, and de geso was used to substitute ones without. They were not meant to be jokes, just a quirky way of speech and a repeated pun on one word.
CR English subs on the other hand seem to randomly add squid, squidly, ink, tentacle etc to substitute words, which was sometimes outright confusing (I was especially not impressed with ink replacing “think”). In addition, it doesn’t have Japanese-like backup, which leads Ika-Musume occasionally talking normal. There were some really awesome wordplay present, but coin-flip inconsistency is never a good practice, and completely changing the intended meaning or adding stuff where they don’t exist is stepping outside of a translator/editor’s boundary.
I don’t know the ideal way of handling this, but I would probably go with italicized ink replacing “in” and “ink” (inkvasion, inkgenious plan, think etc) for intentionally selected words where possible. I mean, “Squid-vasion” should be “Inkvasion” no matter how you think about it. Then use some kind of backup for remaining lines just like de geso (maybe “I squidly _____” ).
CR subs quite watchable though, and depending on your tastes, you might not even find squid wordplay annoying.
FFFpeeps = C+ (D-), LS-4
Couple of translation mistakes in the script ranging from serious misinterpretations to minor dodging. The subs are understandable, but they don’t always represent what’s actually being said despite being more literal than CR. I also didn’t see the logic behind “little Ika” since that’s not her name (just what they call her). Should be “Squid Girl” or “Ika-chan”.
Did not attempt to translate squid wordplay, which may please some, but nothing to praise about.
Working`!! Difficulty 5
Ayako-Himatsubushi = C-, LS-2
There weren’t too many “critical errors”, but far too many awkward direct translations that didn’t really make sense or sounded silly. I would imagine most of their mistakes could’ve been fixed by proper editing. They’re days ahead of other groups though.
FFFpeeps v0 = B+, LS-7
I actually really, really like the translation for 98%+ of the lines, but goes far too liberal in few lines that didn’t fully represent what was being said (silver tongue, miles cuter etc).
m.3.3.w v0 = B+, LS-3
They were good other than a few lines being too long, and awkward wording.
It’s a bit too literal for my tastes, but that’s not necessarily bad.
Crunchyroll (ep2) = B+, LS-7
I didn’t see any blatant translation errors, but there were couple of lines that lost a lot of details in localization (i.e. minor errors) and some lines dumbed down. However, I think flow/tone is more important than detail in comedy, slice-of-life, or ecchi shows, and these subs are sufficient for understanding what’s going on in the story.
Although it doesn’t concern the actual episodes, Wagnaria!! must be one of the worst marketing title translation I have ever seen. I couldn’t even find it in their website at first through site search or ctrl+f in “Browse Popular Anime” at first. The whole point of marketing title is to make it easier to relate and find the content. Japanese title that’s already in English should never be changed. Changing official English title to Wagnaria!! when OP title screen still says Working`!! is a really dumb practice.
Bakuman 2 Difficulty 7
SFW = B+, LS-5
Translation is excellent for speedsub. It’s sufficient for impatient viewers.
TMD-A_D = C, LS-4
Very poor release for a slowsub. Translation errors, poor nuance. It’s worse than SFW’s speedy subs.
C³ Difficulty 8
(*It occurred to me that C³ wasn’t simply an ecchi/comedy show as Ep1 made it seem. UTW’s grade has been raised as stiffness is no longer an issue and their Ep3/5 had about the same quality. Difficulty rating has been raised as well to compensate for the weapon terminology.)
Hadena v2 = F+, LS-3 Hadena v1 = F
v1 was a joke. v2 translations seemed to have improved a bit, but there are still so much translation errors that I can’t recommend this to anyone. Terminology in this show is not that hard, but C³ doesn’t come with closed captioning and everyone speaks pretty fast. You need someone who’s fluent in Japanese to translate.
Commie = B-, LS-7
They actually made enough translation errors (over 10) to warrant a “C- to C+” grade, but their subs flow extremely well, so I bumped it up a little. Impeccable word choices on a few occasions. Smooth localization.
I can only say it was a poorly translated script edited to death for a passable final work. Maybe as a result, their consistency was horrible, like
> “…who’s this kid?”
> “Calling someone a child before fore you even know them?”
And few minutes later it was back to “kid” (The first two are direct references, so they should’ve been the same. The third one was pretty much on its own, so it could’ve been changed). Either change them all for complete chaos if that was desired, or have a logical TL convention. Even had inconsistency in a single term (“Cow-tits” and “Cowtits” both used)
If they had a competent TLC and QC, “A” or even “A+” grade wouldn’t have been out of reach with this release, but the accuracy simply wasn’t there. In any case, it was definitely the smoothest and most enjoyable read out of all groups so far.
UTW = B+, LS-4
There were only two critical errors and two questionable lines, which is decent for a show with no closed captioning.
I found the translation style to be a bit too literal for this kind of show, but no translation errors were caused as a result. As a translator, I found Commie’s subs to be more entertaining with liberal translations, but if you want to know what’s really going on in the show, go with this release.
Hatsuyuki = D+, LS-5
Slightly better translation than Hadena, but more mistakes than Commie. Lots of guesslations. Some really awkward lines, and has far worse flow than Commie.
There’s really nothing to be gained by waiting for this release.
Go for Commie you like liberal translations, go for UTW for immediate viewing.
niconico (Funimation) (Ep2) = A-, LS-4
Solid release. I count only 4 minor (one mishearing that was downgraded to minor because it was an interpretation that wasn’t wrong and acceptable as ultrahigh-LS translation) and no major errors. Other than a few localization that didn’t work and few lines a bit stiff, their translation was very good.
Gimme (Ep4) = D+, LS-3
They probably used two translators to push out this release faster (or the translator didn’t have the endurance to translate the entire show).
The first half was roughly “B-“, with only 2 majors and 2 miniors. The final 10 minutes had 9 major and 3 minor errors before I stopped counting minor ones, for about “D-” grade. Overall, the translation was very stiff, and most of the minor errors came from dictionary translations of rhetorical questions.
The subs are not in the watchable grade if half of it was so bad that it’s worse than Hatsuyuki. Also, I don’t know why they didn’t have OP/ED TL even when the official lyrics are already out (and they were slowly sang in the first place)
Fate/Zero Difficulty 8
niconico = B-, LS-4
How about doing a decent job on the global language rather than doing 8 horrible releases?
General accuracy is there, but the subs are contained in a horrible package. Only about 3 major literal translation gone wrong (such as “You have a good ear” for “News travels fast” or “You’re very well informed”), which isn’t that bad considering it was double-length episode. A few partially translated lines. Some questionable word choices, possibly from lack of TLC/editing support. Many lines are dumbed down as well, and a lot of detail was lost. While this is acceptable and usually even preferred for light comedy shows, Fate/Zero, especially with the first episode pretty much nothing but talking the whole time, should not have taken this approach.
Western name order plus “oh” for long vowels (i.e. Tokiomi Tohsaka) despite leaving in honorifics, which can only be described as retarded. Whole bunch of mis-timed lines in terms of time allocation, and the timer does not know how to break lines. Some lines were easily over 20 characters per second. They probably got a good Japanese mother tongue translator with a team of inexperienced idiots around him/her. Highly unprofessional work.
Overall, pretty much beatable by most reputable groups. Core translation is pretty good, so any group with competent TLC would have a chance for very good release as well.
Crunchyroll = C-, LS-6/9
NicoNico Based (Edit/TLC):
Commie = B-, LS-5
UTW = A-, LS-5
Hatsuyuki = B-, LS-4
Maji de Censorship Everywhere!!
Ahodomo = C, LS-6
There’s a whole bunch of translation mistakes, but this is not exactly a show where you need to know exactly what’s being said. More importantly, the nuance is excellent, and the flow is relatively good.
Watchable enough for me.
Hiryuu = A-, LS-5
Never even heard of this group because they seem to specialize in ecchi harem (which I rarely follow), but they’re pretty good. Only a few nitpicking from me. I’m disappointed about the Wikipedia title choice though. I don’t know which weeaboo or newb scanlation group came up with Do Love Me Seriously!, but it sucks. Should be something like Seriously Fall in Love With Me!!, Seriously Fall for Me!! or I’ll Seriously Make You Mine!! (Notice anime title has two exclamation marks). If it’s not the official translation, it’s useless. Although, Sentai’s MAJIKOI ~ OH! SAMURAI GIRLS is a garbage marketing title too.
I especially liked how their “Four Devas” rhymed with “Four Divas”, while still retaining the actual word “Four Heavenly Kings”.
Anyway, the translation was top-notch. Should give this group a try.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Difficulty 8
Hadena – F, LS-?
Hahaha I only watched it for the lulz. They actually edited for v1 this time, but it’s still guesslation. I would estimate over 50 lines of comical mishearing and over 150 lines of mistranslations in an estimated 500-line script. Why would you pick such a hard series to translate when you don’t even speak Japanese?
Go sub Digimon.
*LS-grade impossible to determine because they didn’t really translate.
Let’s wait for The Anime Network.
The Anime Network = B, LS-8
I hate Sentai / TAN’s ugly yellow font, but darn it!
Their liberal translations are always godly. Many of what I call ‘epic translations’ – perfect idiom uses and interpretations that not only had great nuance and flow, but also startling accuracy for those lines.
“Purists” will find this repulsive, but then again, so are Hadena releases.
TAN’s release for this series is textbook grade for liberal translations with relatively high accuracy.
However, there were about 5 major mistakes in the whole script and also some creativity gone too far. Having that many misinterpretations in a professional release is unacceptable.
Hatena (Ep5, 6) = D+, LS-3
A whole bunch of translation mistakes, typos, and awkward phrasing, but it’s good enough to roughly grasp the story.
Unlike Hadena guesslation, I can at least tell how and why their translator made most of the mistakes (and they had enough common sense to try to make these lines flow with the rest).
The lack of OP/ED and insert song is dumb since they could’ve just ripped them off CR or Commie subs. 4-liners and excessively large font were also annoying.
I can’t recommend watching this release, but it’s the only real choice available right now for immediate viewing.
TAN Based (Edit):
Commie (Ep1) = C+, LS-5
Commie (Ep 2~4) = B+, LS-5
Their Ep1v1 was poor, but their releases are looking pretty good now that they are editing official subs.
I didn’t bother to check Funimation subs, but I would have to guess they removed a lot of localization from TAN subs as their perceived LS-grade is considerably lower. On the other hand, Commie’s mistake rate appears to be only about 2 majors and 3 minors per episode, which is a lot less than TAN in the Ep1. It also reads smoothly.
For a difficult series like Horizon, the chances of another group coming up with better translation is pretty low.
Note: Correct TL for Ep1 23:02 – 23:17 — “In order to regain their former prosperity, the humanity used a historical record known as the “Testament” as a guide. They were divided into the Divine State in the real world and its copy, the Harmonic Divine State to reproduce/restore history.”
TAN made two major misinterpretations in this section:「歴史書を元に」is using “historic document as a foundation”, not “made a history book”. I would think this means they rebuilt the cities and culture according to historical records – the “floating city” they were in was clearly modeled after 21st century Tokyo (or further in the past).
「分かれて」in context is “divided into” rather than “separated the”, as in the survivors of the apocalypse were divided into two worlds.
I don’t know, maybe this is kind of important to understanding the show? Other mistakes were only specific to the episode or negligible.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) Difficulty 3
Crunchyroll = A+, LS-6
We have a winner, boys! Admittedly a very easy series to translate, but whoever translated it definitely knows what he’s doing. Maybe reused DVD scripts from the first series? In any case, there were zero mistakes of any kind – not even minor ones.
Occasional tricky lines interpreted perfectly, very good flow, and a couple lines of what I call “epic translations”. There’s literally only 4 or 5 lines I would change for extra nuance (have to sacrifice text length to achieve this).
Any fansub group translating this series from scratch is wasting their time, and likely screwing up their viewers with inferior subs.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle Difficulty 4
WhyNot = A-, LS-5
Solid release, just a few negligible errors. This show’s premise is so retarded, I’m not watching any more releases for this series.
It’s straightforward and comes with closed captioning. As far as translation is concerned, WhyNot’s release is good enough. There’s really no need to wait for any other release.
Tamayura: Hitotose Difficulty 3
Mazui-UTW = A-, LS-5
I only spotted one misinterpretation in the script and a few mistakes in the lyrics. Solid release.
Oyatsu = B-, LS-3
Feels very stiff, and couple of translation mistakes in the dialogue as well as songs. This is a good series to practice translation though.
Nishi-Taku = A, LS-5
Only one unimportant sloppy mistake and one error in the ED lyric. Very good word choices for the most part.
“, [pronoun] is.” is not a natural sounding speech quirk as it is in Japanese, though it is more recognizable.
Kimi to Boku. Difficulty 3
Crunchyroll = B+, LS-6
I didn’t know why I was watching a potentially BL shoujo anime where all the characters speak slow like they’re friggin’ suffering from heavy brain damage. CR’s subs gave me a bad impression right off the bat with “Zettai Azuma-sensei” (“Azuma-sensei for sure”) translated as “Taiazuma-sensei”. Seriously, where is the QC? The editor, even? There was a literal translation gone horribly wrong – “When did that happen?” was supposed to be “It’s ancient history.” And a few other subtle misinterpretations, but otherwise very good translations… Even some amazing interpretations.
Overall, it was better than average quality, but there’s no reason why such an easy show can’t be translated to perfection like their Hunter x Hunter.
Chihayafuru Difficulty 4 (w/ Carta Songs 7)
Crunchyroll = B+ (C), LS-5
Read the full review.
CR Based (Edit/TLC):
Commie (Ep1, 3, 5, 6) = A- (B+), LS-6
Very light editing as far as I can tell, but practically all CR errors fixed except for the meaning of “Chihaya Furu” (read the bottom of CR review for details). Poems were completely fixed… pretty good for the most part. This release is a lot better than the official version so far.
NyanTaku (Ep 2, 4, 6) = A- (B+), LS-7
Some episodes were nearly perfect, others (Ep4 in particular) had a lot of lines that were off. Overall, accuracy is similar to Commie. The poems did sound like classic poems. I personally prefer Commie’s version with easy to understand English, but if you’re ready to pause, this one may be better. In the end, it’s pretty much a matter of preference.
Maken-ki! Difficulty 4
Hatsuyuki = B-, LS-3
Everyone talk really slow, so it’s not hard to translate. Most of the errors are direct translations that didn’t convey the meaning of what was said.
The sub was very watchable, but the show was not for me.
Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers Difficulty 3
Zenryaku = C-, LS-3
Only made it through 10 minutes of this show. Song transliteration and translation, which is a good measure of Japanese comprehension skills, was not very promising. The show is very easy to translate, but there were at least 5 mistakes already. It’s understandable enough though.
Haganai Difficulty 6
Mazui = B, LS-5
Solid literal-side translation. Only a few minor mistakes and some lines too stiff (I think I saw “It can’t be helped” too), but there’s probably no need to choose other groups for those who follow the show every week.
Doki = C+, LS-3
This show comes with closed captioning, so it’s actually watchable. Still makes stupid translation mistakes like “such vulgar milk” for girl’s cow-tits. There’s no need to wait for this over Mazui.
Chihiro (Ep2) = B-, LS-4
Some really silly mistakes, but overall watchable. Many lines were kept in Japanese sentence structure, which sounded really awkward.
Persona 4 Difficulty 5 (w/ Quirk 6)
TAN / Hulu = B+ (B+), LS-8
Only one obvious mistake in the next ep preview. The character nuance seemed to be a bit off, but otherwise solid release. “Bear” quirk seemed fine too, but well, there could’ve been a bit more.
Doki = B- (C+), LS-3
They probably used the official subs to TLC, but that’s a good practice since it’s at least watchable. Only a few mistakes, although there were a couple of really dumb lines like “My butt is broken / It was like that to begin with…” instead of TAN’s “I cracked my rear. / That’s nothing new.”
Literal translations like “Kuma is Kuma” seems weird to me, but it’s their LS style, so I can’t really blame them.
Hatsuyuki-CTSS = B+ (C), LS-4
There were some stiff lines, but accuracy and nuance are clearly better than Doki. “~kuma” is pretty stupid though.
TAN Based (Edit):
Commie (Ep2) = B (B), LS-5
There were at least 4 major mistranslations. I didn’t check their Ep2 against the official subs, but mistakes are serious (saying COMPLETELY different things from dialogue), so I think they were mistakes from the original prosubs (does not appear to be editing mistakes). In any case, it’s not TLCed.
Translations seemed a lot more liberal than TAN version in Ep1. Again, no direct comparison was made, but their editors probably fixed a lot of excessive/annoying nuance.
Shakugan no Shana III (Final) Difficulty 8
Commie = C, LS-6
Good enough to understand the subs.
SS-Eclipse = B-, LS-5
A lot of details, but accuracy is only slightly better than Commie’s.
Doki = F+, LS-3
This release is shit.
niconico (Ep8) = A-, LS-4
Only one critical error and a few lines oversimplified. There’s not much to say other than it’s a solid translation.
Ben-To Difficulty 6 (Ep4)
gg = B+, LS-8
4 major and a couple of lyric and other minor translation errors. Almost as liberal as it gets without being wrong. Exceptional flow and generally good nuance. Editing sure went all-out. There are more major errors in this release compared to other two groups, but it’s fun to watch.
EveTaku = A-, LS-6
Only 2 major (assuming “Shana-san” was a typo) and 2 minor translation errors. No lyric mistakes that I could detect. This is an excellent speedsub script. I do prefer gg’s terminology, but this release is far more accurate.
Shikkaku = B, LS-4
2 major and a whole bunch of minor lyric and translation/nuance errors. This is relatively accurate, but I feel it’s a bit too stiff for this kind of comedy show. I also don’t get why they chose a font that’s uglier than Arial.
You can’t go too wrong with any of these releases.
Kidou Senshi Gundam AGE Difficulty 4
Gundam.info? (sage) = A-, LS-4
Translation is very literal, but accurate. Some really dumb lines like “Don’t hurry so much, or you’ll…” but otherwise reliable.
Mirai Nikki (2011) Difficulty 6
GotSpeed / GotWoot =
I will be translating this series starting from episode 2 (and re-translated most of ep1 GotWoot release, only a light TLC on GotSpeed ep1).
SS = B+, LS-4
= Good accuracy, but very poor nuance all around and questionable consistency issues. Complete disregard for direct references (i.e. ep2 – 7:07/14:53). Their translations are good enough to be substituted for GotWoot for whatever unknown reasons you dislike our releases, but I don’t think for a second I’m beat by these scripts, even for GotSpeed. Then again, I’m very biased for this series 😛
IB = B, LS-6
It appears their editors have gone too far in few lines and reworded terms in ways that didn’t represent the original lines. Still had some awkward lines and minor translation mistakes, consistency errors, and disregard for direct references. Their TS is sexy as hell and nuance is decent, but I would not be using these subs if I was a leecher.
niconico (Funimation) = A-, LS-4
It’s like they combined all 3 subs, but that’s not really a surprise because it appears to be done by a literal translator armed with the script, then a creative editing. A lot of lines had nuance issues, but no major translation mistakes.
UN-GO Difficulty 7
Crunchyroll (Ep1) = A-, LS-4.
No major errors, just a few context/nuance errors that can be easily corrected by a capable editor or TLC.
Doki (Ep3) = B, LS-4.
Probably has never heard of consistency – Regular honorifics are completely random. It seems they drop more often than not. On the other hand, they use “Nee-san”, “brother”, “Nii-sama”(on identical word), and even “Komamori-shi”.
Couple of stupid dictionary translations and wants to translate short lines using dictionary rather than what they really mean. It feels a bit off, but still watchable since this show comes with CC. I never understand why anyone would ever want to follow any of their releases though.
CR Based (Edit):
Commie (Ep2) = B, LS-5
Changes “The creator of the group” to “The founder of the group”, not realizing the line was supposed to be “Her biological mother” in the first place. No TLC was used to edit the script, and there were mistakes added like “refuse” changed to “reluctant”, adding words that didn’t exist and out of context like “willingly”. It reads smoother than CR, but this is not the way to edit.
Not worth waiting over Crunchyroll or unedited rips.
Guilty Crown Difficulty 5
Funimation = A-, LS-4
There were some lines that I felt were overly literal for professional translations, but I didn’t notice a major translation error in my first view. There were few questionable context issues though. Overall, it appears to need very little TLC, though maybe some editing would help.
Coalguys = B+, LS-4
Some lines were really liberal while others overly literal. Overall, LS level was very uneven like Funimation, and had almost identical average localization. However, there were a LOT of details dumbed down, and had couple of minor nuance errors. ED translation was very horrible considering how slowly it was sang (ED needs TLC too) .
I don’t really see the need to wait for this release.
Doki = Lower than C, LS-?
This one single screenshot in ji-hi is enough for me to tell the intelligence level of their staff.
Yes, the show is called “Guilty Crown” and that entire sentence is wrong. That single line is worth triple critical errors.
I might watch their release if I feel like bullying their non-Japanese speaking fan translators again.
Funimation Based (Edit):
Commie = A, LS-5
Extremely light editing as far as I can tell, which is good considering the strength of the original translation. It reads a lot smoother than Funi, most likely due to superior script timing and font. I really like the ED song translation as well. Solid release.
*EDIT: Localization style for all releases were dumb… “Shu Ouma”? Should be “Shu Oma/Ohma” or “Ouma Shuu”. I see this localization style is taken from the official website and reversed order, which upgrades its use to “questionable”, but what’s dumb is still dumb, especially considering they all altered “Fyu-neru” from the website to “Funell”.