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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 10

Another week, another episode of Samurai Master Cento.

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The Causes and Effects of Eighth-Grade Syndrome Throughout History

fotc (Mazui Subs, Unlimited Translation Works)

9  International Anime Fans, Particularly Those Who Watch “Fansubs”

This subclass of subculture-type eighth-grade syndrome cases is arguably the worst of all subculture cases. Typical symptoms of such a case include, but are not limited to

  • claiming to know Japanese, when in fact, the sufferer knows only a few phrases, and is unable to use them properly;
  • attending gatherings called “conventions” with other rabid and/or flaming cases, often dressed in unusual or inappropriate clothing in public prior to entrance into the venue, where social ineptitude and behavior acceptable nowhere run rampant;
  • a belief that anime is about cultural enrichment rather than entertainment, often including the idea that the translation of the medium is purposed for learning the language;
  • a belief that the purpose of a translation is to convert words to words, rather than experiences to experiences, which may mean localizing (because the perception of artistic effect falls under “experience”) literary devices, imagery, symbolism, humor, and other aspects of writing;
  • insisting that elements of the Japanese language are never translatable, when in most cases they are, often with creative manipulation and naturalization of language (sometimes known as “editing”);
  • a belief that one of the salient features of the Japanese language known as “honorifics” consists only of suffixes applied to names, despite the existence of several classes of honorifics pertaining to, for instance, verb conjugation, as well as “antihonorifics”;
  • insisting that honorifics be left in translations, complaining when the name-suffix class of honorifics is omitted, but never complaining when other classes of honorifics are omitted;
  • and a blind devotion to one or several “fansub groups” reminiscent of religious fanaticism, to the extent of verbally abusing other “fansub groups” despite having no reason to abuse them other than to reinforce the “validity” of the aforementioned blind devotion.

It is clear from the aforementioned sampling of symptoms that this subclass is exceedingly difficult both to handle and to appease, as they harbor seemingly endless flaws and fallacies, which are reinforced by the subcultural community and their eighth-grade syndrome itself.

Several of these symptoms will be discussed in the following subsections.

A  Translation

The purpose of a translation is to provide those who do not speak a language an equivalent or near-equivalent experience as one who does, that is, provide accessibility to the material. It is not the words, but the effect of the words on the mind, that is, the ideas behind them, which are of value. The translator must determine, for instance, themes, message, structure, style, voice, tone, and nuance, and based on these factors arrive at a decision on how to translate the source into the target language. To this end, it is often necessary to be interpretive and fill or omit details which are important or unimportant.

A translation is not a means of teaching the source language, but a means of providing accessibility. Because the purpose is to provide accessibility to those who do not speak the language, the resulting translation must be fully understandable without reference to terms in the source language. The inclusion of terms from the source language which can be translated or omitted for the substitution of natural structure or tone limits the accessibility to the material, and is thus lacking as a translation. The purpose of translation notes is to provide information about the context (such as historical or political details) of the material, and thus they are not acceptable for explaining terms or humor from the source language.

The translation must be one of ideas; if a word-to-word translation and transliteration were sufficient to deliver the full effect of a work on the mind, there would be no need for human translators—machine translation would be sufficient. The limitations of such translations are assumed known to the reader.

The above standards for translation have been broken and abused repeatedly in “fansubbing” and are typically spurned by those belonging to the class of eighth-grade syndrome sufferers under discussion.

B  Honorifics

Extensive use of honorifics is one of the salient features of the Japanese language. An honorific is a morpheme which contributes an emotive definite description independent of the propositional content of a clause. Several classes of honorifics exist, from “performative honorification,” which affects verb conjugation, to noun prefixes.

Honorifics are so prevalent in the Japanese language that they may be viewed as contributing to the tone of speech. They are a very natural part of the language, and the experience derived from their perception is no more than noting the tone of speech. As such, they are fully translated by appropriate selection of tone and quirks in the target language.

In the interest of time, only honorifics of verb conjugation will be discussed in this section. Furthermore, only two common morphemes will be presented here as examples, masu and chimau. Masu is an honorific morpheme indicating respect for the listener. Chimau is an antihonorific morpheme indicating contempt or disapproval for an action.

To see why it is unreasonable to include honorifics in verb conjugation, first consider the following two sentences:

  1. Mary-ga ringo-o tabe-mashi-ta.
    Mary-NOM apple-ACC eat-perf.hon-PAST

    • Mary ate the apple.
    • I am speaking in a respectful tone.
  2. Mary-ga ringo-o tabe-chimat-ta.
    Mary-NOM apple-ACC eat-antihon-PAST

    • Mary ate the apple.
    • I disapprove of Mary’s eating the apple.

Second, consider as well two typical translations for these two sentences:

  1. Mary ate the apple.
  2. Mary freaking ate the apple.

Finally, consider including the honorific and antihonorific in the translation:

  1. Mary ate-mashita the apple.
  2. Mary ate-chimatta the apple.

The inclusion of the honorific is both unnatural and incomprehensible to native English and Japanese speakers alike. It is thus natural not to include the honorific.

Similarly, the name-suffix class of honorifics is both unnatural and incomprehensible to native English speakers who do not speak Japanese, and it is thus natural and accesible—note the goals of translation—to omit the name-suffix honorific or substitute an equivalent English form as appropriate.

C  Concluding Thoughts on Such Cases

It is clear that the subclass of eighth-grade syndrome sufferers known as international anime fans, particularly those who watch “fansubs,” is one of the most difficult to handle; those who interact with these sufferers often consider them unbearable.

Their unbearability can be traced to their beliefs, which are flawed and fallacious without bound. These beliefs stem partially from a search for identity, especially cultural identity, and a desire to be associated with a community with “clandestine” habits and practices. The obsession with honorifics despite poor understanding of what honorifics actually are can be traced both to imitation of others within the subculture and to the placement of undue emphasis to things of little consequence, such as minor verbal connotations.

Due to the malignant effects of the symptoms of this subclass of eighth-grade syndrome on both the sufferer and his or her surrounding community, it is the opinion of the author that such cases require treatment of some form. No other class or subclass requires such treatment as they are, typically, harmless and sometimes even beneficial to both the sufferer and the world at large, whereas international anime fans, particularly those who watch “fansubs,” can only cause harm. Research is necessary to determine courses of treatment for this subclass of eighth-grade syndrome cases.

Creative Commons License
The Causes and Effects of Eighth-Grade Syndrome Throughout History by fotc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Research was funded in part by FFF Fansubs.

71 Thoughts on “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 10

  1. rifter on March 15, 2014 at 5:26 am said:

    Loved the article, it gave me a good chuckle. Thanks, as always, for the hard work.

  2. Shichimiya #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hang in there!

  3. So have you guys dropped SYD or not?q

  4. Kiyoso on March 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm said:

    The word ‘extravaginal’ was a SYD* reminder, I thought you can figure this much.

  5. may this out of topic
    sir, you will sub Prisma Illya OVA ?

  6. keemeef on March 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm said:

    If only everyone could read that article that would be great. (meme intended – http://i.imgur.com/6FZ39Jr.jpg)

    Also, as always, thank you for the hard work.

  7. @Arcs

    If we haven’t said it’s dropped then it’s not dropped.

  8. ar, how rude. I’ve only dropped 1 show ever.

  9. EcchiSkecchi on March 16, 2014 at 12:20 am said:

    I think foct is suffering from a syndrome that makes people think they are writing useful articles that scientifically prove facts about a made-up disease or other things.
    Guess there are all kinds of syndromes out there.

  10. Wow, I bet you guys had to empty your backs after writing all of this.

  11. skylion on March 16, 2014 at 2:48 am said:

    Chuunibyou: The TL/Editor Butthurt Edition LOL> Will you gaiz just stop butthurting the fansubbers?

    I heard you guys not only dropped SYD, but you actually eliminated Go Hands from production. How did you do that?

  12. SYD where bitches.

  13. moron_unit_zer0 on March 16, 2014 at 8:50 pm said:

    i still think over localization tends to alienate the hipster generation anime fans

  14. Pingback: M 7.1 A dive into Citizen Journalism is, and how it spreads | Afro Atelier

  15. – Ohayo, Raze
    – Ohayo, Raze-san
    If wikipedia is right, using last name directly without -san implies a certain level in intimacy between the 2 people. How would you translate it while dissing the usage of honourific?

  16. Silvermoonlight on March 20, 2014 at 7:04 pm said:

    Can you make an announcement for ep 11 if your going to delay it.

  17. I, for one, have little faith in humanity, but would like to believe that the general populace isn’t mentally retarded or lazy. If they have the neurons to find midget hillbilly bestiality scat porn to masturbate to on the internet, they can jolly well find out what several Japanese words mean in English on the Googly machine.

    Accessibility my fucking arse. Go watch some Michael Bay movies if accessibility is what you want. Don’t even need a brain to process that shit. Nice and safe for yanks like yourselves.

    Entertainment can be for learning as well? NAW. Nobody ever learnt nothin’ from entertainment. New English word you haven’t come across before while watching a movie? Fuck that shit. Throw that dictionary away, this is ENTERTAINMENT. Learning is what decapitation porn is for (I recommend Juan Gotoh).

    Bet if it’s up to you fuckwits, you’d translate Japan as America and turn Rikka into Rachel so the kiddies can grow up to be xenophobic and ethnocentric cultural imperialists like you fine gentlemen. After all, If Japan were to be translated into America, the “experience” of the show wouldn’t change (because I’m sure that’s the only thing that people who watch Chinese donghua like Winter Sonata want in their Bollywood films).

    In fact, it’d be closer to the ‘authentic Japanese experience’. Since the show is local for them, why not make it local for you pasty-faced white boys? It worked supremely well for Power Ranges and Cardcaptors. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Don’t tip-toe around like whiny little bitches bashing people’s tastes and preferences and go big or go home. Turn Japan into America. Do it. I dare you.

    Seriously though, liberal, plebeian translations are nothing more than the superfluous, over-embellished and pleonastic ramblings of a pompous and jingoistic ignoramus whose imagination has gone bat-shit fucking berserk and whose talents are best served writing for Ed Wood. Feel free to wrap your minuscule head around that, unless of course you consider this comment to be entertainment.

    …BTW, thanks for the laugh, I had fun writing this. 😉

  18. No one would advocate using “mashita” in subs because sentences wouldn’t even parse as English, but adding “-san” to the end of an already foreign name harms nothing and certainly provides a more accurate experience than rewriting a joke to avoid it. The appeal to accessibility fails when you consider that even the most casual subbed anime watchers prefer honorifics (see Crunchyroll). Rather, the people who object to honorifics tend to be immensely condescending elitists like the author of this essay.

  19. High level trolling. I’d say you have to be at least a level 70 troll to make a troll of such mastery.

  20. Reading that comment almost made we want to go read w/e you were ranting about but tl;dr.


  21. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement
    account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable
    from you! However, how could we communicate?

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