Japanese in subs: The problems with cultural whitewashing

The importance of Japanese in translations for Japanese shows thread

So last week some guy was mad at me for some reason in the Gokai 2 release thread. In it, he suggested that the Medals be translated instead of using stuff like Taka and Tora and Batta and stuff. It seemed strange to me, since even if you don't know Japanese, it can't be that confusing to keep track of which Medal goes with which animal.

It was suggested that people would learn better by having the translation each time, a reenforcement of the meanings. And that makes sense, but it would seem to me that you'd learn a Japanese word better if you saw the Japanese phrasing. People more than likely know animal names like "hawk, tiger, grasshopper", it's the Japanese that they need practice on. Even if you missed a note, I'm sure you can infer "that's a bird" or "that has tentacles", it must be this animal. There's nothing wrong with saying there's a slight bump in the learning curve that one must overcome. I mean, you're watching a Japanese show with subtitles and not a dub or English remake for a reason, right?

Plus it's more fun to leave it in Japanese. Taka Medal, Taka Can. Plus the songs are done based on the Japanese names. What would you have instead for Hawk, Tiger, Grasshopper? Would the song need to be translated next? Hatigra combo?

I want to give you tools so that you can enjoy these shows, but I don't want to make the shows something they're not. There are a lot of problems with shoehorning one culture's thing into another's. Something is always lost. And to some extent, this is a sort of censorship of the original culture.

A real good example of this is the first book for Harry Potter. In Britain it's called The Philosopher's Stone, referring to the famous thingy that is a philosopher's stone, something that was a thing. You can Google "philosopher's stone" and find references to it that aren't Harry Potter. For America, it was dumbed down to Sorceror's Stone? You Google "sorceror's stone" and only get Harry Potter results. And this sort of thing is done throughout the book; there's probably a list of the changes somewhere. In any case, I'd rather read the original British book and stumble on the quirky differences between our language (and y'know, maybe look up something every once in a while) than read something that was changed because some guy thought kids couldn't handle "philosopher's stone". I mean, do you really want other people filtering the content for you? This is the kind of thing that happens when people take liberties with the original material. They change stuff around and make stuff up.

Is this stuff necessarily bad? Not exactly. I watched the Yu-gi-oh dub and enjoyed it. But I'm sure that the questionable content was cut out and certain references to the occult were cut out. Heck, didn't they even redo the animation so there was exposed bosom on the female characters? It's fine to enjoy the end result, but you have to admit that you're watching something removed from the original work. Sort of like watching a theater cut and a director's cut. People are probabaly going to have their preferences

Well, we try to preserve the cultural stuff. That's not to say we make things purposefully awkward. I really like gonig back and forth with QC to try to find a good medium ground. I don't want to cut something out entirely because it might challenge the viewers. I want to believe that you guys are smart and that you guys are learning a lot of interesting stuff by watching our subs.