Crunchyroll’s translations from an editor’s point of view

Why? Because why not.

Actually, I’m writing this because it’s related to my last post but I didn’t think it was fit to include in that. Now, there are lots of people that talk about the quality of CR’s translations (i.e., how accurate they are, etc.) but really the only person I’ve seen ever comment on how they seem to an editor is Dark_Sage, and he’s not exactly what I would call a fair source or a useful judge. More importantly, he only reviews a single episode. Instead, I’m going to talk about how good or bad I thought CR’s script was over an entire season, or however many episodes have aired so far for shows this season.

First, let’s talk some general stuff. CR always (at least in my experience) includes honorifics. I heard they didn’t used to, but I’ve never worked on any show where they didn’t have them. Sometimes this isn’t a problem because they use them wisely, but other times they have honorifics for everything, even if changing “Sensei” to “Doctor” would be perfectly acceptable. Secondly, how often they localize jokes, food names, references, etc. can vary wildly. In some cases, they won’t even try to translate a joke/reference. In others, they come up with something that’s better than I could do myself. Lastly, from what I understand in some cases how they translate words, phrases, and terminology are dictated to them by whoever is licensing the show. I believe they also have to stick with name/show romanizations as well. I can’t really blame them for this if it’s true, but sometimes they really fuck this up.

Here’s a list of all the CR shows I’ve timed or edited in alphabetical order and what I thought of them.

Aiura – Show has barely any lines, so there’s almost nothing to mess up here.

Amnesia – The way they translated the name of the shop or whatever it is made no sense and they left a TL note for it to try to explain the joke which is never actually made in the show. This show is horrible though, so I don’t blame them for not trying.

Butt Biting Bug – Used “bottom” instead of “butt” for whatever reason. I hope it’s because they were forced to. Short show so not much to mess up.

Chihayafuru/Chihayafuru 2 – They absolutely ruined the poems for reasons beyond me. There are by my count at least five translations of the poems, some of which are not copyrighted, yet they did not use any of them. Instead, they translated the poems themselves and the translation was really bad. They also mistranslated the nickname for one of the characters (“matsuge” was “eyebrows” instead of “eyelashes”). Another character’s nickname is a pun on a multiple aspect of his character (Retro), yet how they translated it only works for the very first time it’s mentioned to explain the joke. Overall, this is extremely poor.

Free! – Very good. The translator knows swimming terminology very well (or at least enough to fool me and I know some stuff about swimming). My only problem is how they translate the titles. Some of them keep the horrible Engrish of the original for whatever reason.

Gatchaman Crowds – Although they don’t do anything special for how the main character speaks (which is definitely not normal), how they handle the rest is very good. There was a dip in quality for episode 2/3, but it’s been very solid otherwise.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita – This is probably one of the hardest to translate shows they’ve ever done except maybe Nisemonogatari. Although there are some translation errors, the editing is exceptional. Carrying across some of the character Romeo’s original writing has is definitely not easily (I struggled a lot with editing the BD specials), yet they did a fantastic job.

Mangirl! – Short show. Nothing special but again it’s hard to ruin a short show when it doesn’t have many lines.

Moyashimon Returns – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, but I have an idea who worked on this. Either way, the translator/editor definitely knew a lot about the show and bacteria, because I never had to fix any of that stuff. The rest of it was fine as well.

Natsume S4 – CR’s script for this show is pretty special. It has perhaps the most interesting localization decisions I’ve seen from CR. Basically, there are two different kinds of “monsters” in the show, “youkai” and “ayakashi”. For some reason or another, they translated “ayakashi” as “youkai” and left “youkai” as is. They also felt the need to throw “youkai” into random sentences where it’s not said. Anyway, it’s pretty weird since there is a distinction. When I discussed this with someone before, they basically said a lot more people would know what a “youkai” is, which is true, but I have no idea why they didn’t just translate both of them to English. I can’t really remember much else, but those two words are extremely important to the show.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – This is the worst script I have ever seen from CR. There are so many typos, grammatical errors, extremely literal translations, etc. A lot of the lines make no sense and don’t flow together. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t’ve even tried to edit this.

Nisemonogatari – Thank you #basedkoki.

Sakamichi no Apollon – Captured the different ways the characters speak and the various accents in the translation, which shockingly is more than they or fansubbers sometimes do. Was fine otherwise.

Senyuu. – The naming of characters is very inconsistent (even romanizing a name in two ways in the same episode of 50 lines). However, this is a short show, so not much to fuck up.

Silver Spoon – I’m quite surprised at how good this is. I didn’t figure CR actually had anyone who knew about farming, but I guess they do. Very well done.

Space Brothers – By far the best CR script I have ever seen, even after 70 episodes. Commie’s editor for this show has actually made a major change like 5 times over the course of the show. I’ve never seen CR do such a good job at writing lines in a way that flows well in English. They also do a very good job at not translating needless details that would make lines way longer and complicated than needed.

Sukitte Ii na yo. – Somewhat weak first few episodes, but by around episode 4 or so it was well done.

Tari Tari – So many consistency issues with the names of the clubs. Also did not translate the Spanish for some reason. They also ignored a kind of important joke with the name of the festival.

Teekyuu – I can only assume they didn’t actually watch this after translating it, because nearly every line is far, far too long for how fast they talk. S2 does a better job at having shorter lines, but it still has lines that are way too long every once in a while.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – Very well done. After the first few episodes, I basically had nothing to edit because they did such a great job. I mean, it’s not the hardest show to translate, but they still did a good job.

Tsuritama – For some reason they just ignored the MC’s sister’s accent. I don’t really remember much else because it was so long ago.

Yuru Yuri S2 – This should be an example of how not to translate a comedy anime. I’d estimate around half the jokes/puns were ignored or not translated, and the show has a lot. They also didn’t localize a bunch of things which made some jokes hard to understand. Editing this show basically made me hate it because of how bad the script was.

Yuyushiki – This should be an example of how to translate a comedy anime. My god, the joke translations were amazing. A lot of them didn’t even have to change the joke to work. They just came up with something that fit. As far as I can tell, no jokes were ever skipped or ignored because they were too hard either. Trying to edit this script would only lead to making it worse (at least for me).

So what the hell do you do with all this info? I don’t know. But as you can see from my experience, CR is extremely competent. I bet if you asked Xythar, he’d sing a completely different tune. He seems to have the worst luck with simulcasts.

This entry was posted by herkz.

13 thoughts on “Crunchyroll’s translations from an editor’s point of view

  1. I think whether or not a CR release has honorifics included just comes down to the preference of whoever is working on the show. A recent example of one of their scripts not having honorifics is Samurai Bride from last season.

  2. This was an interesting read.

    I’ve seen this #based(something) thing a few times now. Is this some trendy new internet meme i missed out on? I assume with Nisemonogatari’s “koki” you were talking about Koki Yoshizawa? I got that from a Google search anyway. Was this a really impressive release?

    • #based = This
      koki = Kokizzle aka the person that translated Nise for CR.

      Yes, it was pretty damn impressive considering *monogatari is one of the hardest series to translate.

      • Thanks for the info!

        It’s interesting that CR would hire someone who had previously fansubbed. I thought that was generally frowned upon. Maybe they didn’t know at the time and that is the reason he no longer works there anymore? Regardless, definitely a loss if he is as good as you say.

        • Pretty much everyone who works at CR fansubbed previously. How else would they have experience? And yes, losing Koki is a huge loss. He put out 2 of CR’s best translations while he worked there.

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