Re: Joshiraku not meant to be subbed
Caphi wrote a lengthy post about why he thinks that Joshiraku is not meant to be subbed. To start from the conclusion, I must say that he’s probably right.
However, I’d probably put it differently. I’ll not go into what’s meant to be subbed and what not, but it’s sure as hell true that unless you are familiar with the Japanese culture, even watching Joshiraku subbed is probably a half-assed experience.
As a fansub translator my job is to translate the dialog (and the signs showing up on screen within a reasonable range) and I’m doing my best to provide you with a translation as accurate and as funny as possible. The problem is that the humor of Joshiraku is at a deeper level. It’s not just the dialog that’s funny, it’s the whole situation, the self-irony and the Japaneseness of the series as is.
Joshiraku is very clearly aimed at the Japanese audience and the Japanese audience only. This kind of humor is most probably not even funny for the western audience. Puns and wordplay are usually considered the bottom line for comedy. Not to mention that unless I redraw the entire series and get people from Rizon to provide voice acting, there is no way that “jokes” like the “Give it back!” shouts at the sea or the relation of the dog to the shamisen could be localized.
But honestly, I don’t mind. If only people who are more or less familiar with Japanese culture can appreciate it, I’m fine with that too. At least someone appreciates it. Caphi’s right – subbing Joshiraku is probably a complete waste of time.
But I like translating and Joshiraku is a really good challenge to make it even more fun. And I hope that even without getting all the cultural references, all the puns and all the irony, you there watching the subs are able to appreciate at least a little more of the show than just watching it raw. After all…
So yeah. Not to mention the opening and ending songs are seriously addictive.