“VIZ needs better quality translations!”

One thing I noticed since the recent events is that a lot of people like to claim that VIZ’s translations of their various releases just don’t match up with Manga Stream. The claim is that VIZ either makes some censorship changes, gets translations wrong or is just outright slow. I can’t answer for all of these. However, I would like to remind these folks that fan translations are not flawless and as perfect as they like to think they are.

One Piece is a perfect example to go with:

This is a good example of an absolute lack of translation consistency in translation, spanning from several random chapters, down to even the most recent ones. One thing that has always driven me up a wall is “Why do translators feel the need to leave words that can be translated untranslated?” I noticed in one chapter, Luffy uses his Gum-Gum Bell attack. The translators went with “Gomu Gomu no Kane” while adding a note to signify that “Kane” means “Bell.” That is a pointless thing that needs to stop. If you can translate it – TRANSLATE IT. That’s the whole point of what you’re doing – converting text from one language to be read and understood in another. If we wanted Japanese lessons, we’d pick up Japan.

But I digress. The above picture shows that fan translations are no more perfect than official ones. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten past the days of the horrible Dragon Ball Z VHS fansub craziness.

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By Tsukento Posted in Anime

6 comments on ““VIZ needs better quality translations!”

  1. Man! You are being too nice with their translation quality.

    Just think about how much confusion scanlations have caused in the past because they don’t fully translate something such as an attack or a name. One chapter a location will be called one thing and the next it is something else. Annoying as heck.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. You’re absolutely correct.

    Mangastream may be the best of the best for fan scanlators, but they’re still leagues away from being professional.

    This is an example I’ve been using a lot lately, because I know a lot of people bitched about VIZ using “Shadow Doppelganger” instead of “Shadow Clone” as their translation for Kage Bunshin.

    One problem: Bunshin (分身) absolutely IS the Japanese word for a doppelganger.

    Just visit http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/分身

  3. I don’t read scans much since I buy my manga, but I have to say that the translation quality of the scans I’ve read wasn’t amazing. They often leave panels blank and make many typos. And while Viz’s translations may not be perfect, I’ve seen worse from other professional companies – for example, I can’t stand CMX’s translation of Devil Does Exist. As to why manga companies may leave things untranslated, even though that particular choice may bother you, there are many other fans who feel as though certain things (attack names, etc.) should remain unchanged/as close to the source material as possible.

    • Sorry if this is a very late response, but I like to point out that there is one person who feels that the names of attacks and other certain things, feel much cooler if left in a different language, because they feel more exotic that way. That person is Eichiro Oda, because one example is how the names of Robin’s attacks come from both French and Spanish origins. Other examples are the silly things like, “Coup de vent” or “Coup de Burst”, which I think come from French language. I do agree that things like pronouns and common objects are probably best translated, because they aren’t anything special in the manga. Pretty much, if something is special, like a special technique or a rare item or a one of a kind theory, they feel even more special if they have exotic names. This need to have exotic names seems to be a growing trend in anime, you know the kind in the original language. Those japanese seem to be interested in other languages like the japanese fanatics that exist in the manga fandom. Examples are Kampfer, and Elfen Lied. I think they have German names for things.

  4. I have to chuckle when fans complain about the translations of these series. We are not talking about Hemingway or Shakespeare here. We’ve all laughed at crappy scanalations before (just take a look at some of the stuff still out there on some of the popular aggregation sites). We’ve also had our share of quibbles with the way some of the official translations have been done. However, it’s not like we ever have trouble following what is going on.

    People who use the translation excuse are just looking for a way to justify reading something for free. We’ve all done it and we’ll continue to do it. That’s a fact of life within the community. Just don’t try to shift the blame towards anything other than your own impatience or frugality.

  5. Sorry if this is a very late response, but I like to point out that there is one person who feels that the names of attacks and other certain things, feel much cooler if left in a different language, because they feel more exotic that way. That person is Eichiro Oda, because one example is how the names of Robin’s attacks come from both French and Spanish origins. Other examples are the silly things like, “Coup de vent” or “Coup de Burst”, which I think come from French language. I do agree that things like pronouns and common objects are probably best translated, because they aren’t anything special in the manga. Pretty much, if something is special, like a special technique or a rare item or a one of a kind theory, they feel even more special if they have exotic names. This need to have exotic names seems to be a growing trend in anime, you know the kind in the original language. Those japanese seem to be interested in other languages like the japanese fanatics that exist in the manga fandom. Examples are Kampfer, and Elfen Lied. I think they have German names for things.

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