January 13, 2008

How To Make Subs Unreadable.

I've been eagerly awaiting the second season of Gunslinger Girl since it was announced a few months back.  I really enjoyed the first series, and seeing more of those characters was going to be the high-point of the winter anime schedule for me.

A few days ago, I noticed that the RAW for the first episode was available; when the fansub came out today, I was really enthused.

This evening, I settled into my chair, started up ZoomPlayer, cued up the show...

...and lasted two minutes before I closed the episode.

Look, I appreciate all the effort that goes into making a fansub.  You need a translator, a typesetter, a proofreader, and probably a few other things that I don't know about, but most of all, you have to really enjoy doing it since all that effort ain't gonna earn you anything.  I respect that, and I've never ripped a fansub group for doing what is basically volunteer work.

But for the luvva pete, AEN, how could you think that this was acceptable?

Please note that all I've done is adjust the size of the picture to fit The Pond's formatting.
This actually made the subtitles easier to read.
Oh, and the translation notes for "Nii-san"?  Just a guess here, but I'm thinking that those people who are d/l'g anime fansubs in the first place already know what words/phrases like that mean. 

I'm sure you can say that I'm only ripping on AEN because these problems have shown up in a show that I've been looking forward to, but I have to wonder if they even looked at what they were doing.  When I did my AMV, I had the good sense to have other people look at it before I made it generally available.  They found mistakes I hadn't noticed, made suggestions on how to tighten it up, and ithat made the thing better than it was before.  Quality Control is an important part of any project, folks.

I hate to say this, but even if they're the only group that winds up fansubbing the show, I won't be watching; those subtitles are just bad.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:52 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Seriously, why can't a fansub group find one font/style combination that works and stick with it? Hard-to-read fonts are right up there with obnoxious karaoke effects and nonsensical translations in my list of fansub pet peeves. I'll gladly pay $5/episode for readable, professionally translated subtitles on an official DVD when the only alternative is a fansub translated from Chinese subs with fonts chosen for coolness instead of readability.

Posted by: Andrew F. at January 13, 2008 02:45 PM (sUicM)


Like as not this was a case of someone deciding to be different just for the sake of being different. Of course, often that means "worse for the sake of being different". Experience at this point is pretty clear that bright yellow letters with black outlining are quite readable against nearly any background -- but that's boring. We need a trademark color combination so that people will know we're cool.

Kind of light painting all the fighter planes in your squadron with a distinctive pattern, or something. Except that made more sense.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 13, 2008 05:03 PM (+rSRq)

3 Treating it as a creative contribution is how they get around the fact that typesetting should be a boring, thankless job that no one wants to do for free. The only time typography should call attention to itself is when it's being used as advertising; otherwise, you're just a tagger.


Posted by: J Greely at January 13, 2008 08:38 PM (2XtN5)

4 Thankfully, I noticed last night that someone else picked it up. I breathed a big sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to suffer AEN's efforts again... (hopefully).

Gods, that was an awful job. Text running off the screen, a truly absurd font choice, and some material just plain didn't merit subtitles at all apparently. Oy.

Posted by: GreyDuck at January 14, 2008 11:06 AM (3q5Q5)

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