Arashi celebrates their 18th formation anniversary today, and I somehow have to apologize for writing this. But there's no better time to talk about it than now, I suppose, while the issue is still fresh.
A subbing community, Signal # 5
, advertised on a_ra_shi
that they were going to open applications for membership. Normally, announcements of this nature are welcomed with open arms. Despite LiveJournal being a relatively dead platform, people revive their accounts to apply in the hopes that they will be admitted. For this particular community, the response (from what I saw on Twitter, anyway) was overwhelmingly negative, and - at least in my opinion - with good reason.
(Fair warning before proceeding: This post will be long, and will likely not contain any form of summary. Any advice I give are based purely on my own experiences. I have been a long-time consumer of subbed videos, a translator and QC of a subbing group, and currently head moderator of a site that shares raw files of Arashi shows.)
I'm breaking the post down into what I feel are three main reasons for the backlash, and how it may have been avoided. (There is a fourth one, but since I have not yet confirmed if that is how they still do things it would also be unfair to them if I would include it here.) Click on the Read more links to expand further.POST UPDATES( Read more... )Disclaimer:
This is not a call to boycott the group, or to send them threats. If you choose to send them criticisms or suggestions, please be polite.
Although it is essentially up to them how to interpret comments, it is obvious that engaging them in a harsh manner is unacceptable.
Brazenly acknowledging a lack of formal study in the language
To quote part of their extremely lengthy Disclaimer (emphasis is part of the original):
You have been informed about this from the very start, so do not complain: Please be informed that the main subber of this community has no formal Nihongo classes, so please forgive us for some inaccuracies that might come. However, we shall do our best to make our translations as accurate as possible. We don't literally translate everything, so we just surmise it from the context of the situation or what has been previously said in the show.
This is alarming for many reasons (some of which I'll be discussing in the third point). But for this one, I'll delve into the language bit.( Read more... )
Unnecessarily stringent application process
The application process is part and parcel of most, if not all, communities involved in translating content related to artists of Johnny's and Associates (J&A). This is because distribution of such content is illegal and is actually punishable by law, so some communities take that extra step of at least trying to get a profile of those genuinely interested in procuring the videos for personal use. Over the years, communities have gotten creative in screening applicants. Apart from the usual questions such as "Who is your favorite member?" or "What is your favorite song?", some have taken to inserting keywords for applicants to find, or asking them to deliver witty one-liners. It seems ridiculous to an outsider, but the fandom in general likes to err on the side of caution.
Gaining admission to locked communities isn't usually a problem despite numerous questions being hurled at by the communities, For Signal # 5, however, the list of items to answer is so ridiculous. Some have compared it to a college essay, others to a job application. I'm inclined to agree because even as an Arashi fan of 7+ years I find it difficult to answer a favorite drama and movie for each
member. That part alone was already worth 15 lines. However, that wasn't even what made my eyes roll so hard.( Read more... )
Refusal to accept constructive criticism
I would honestly have let the above two points slide if this third point was not evident in the group's Disclaimer, as well as their interaction with potential applicants and other more experienced translators and subbers who tried to extend a helping hand.
To quote a huge part of the Disclaimer (Emphasis theirs, ellipsis indicates partial redaction):
We might not have the proper Nihongo classes, but then, we know what criticisms to follow and not. We take each critique with a grain of salt and as a learning experience to improve the future subs. So if there's an error in our subs and you corrected it, you have to bear the responsibility of explaining it in full detail why it is an error..."
And as such if you are able to explain it well, we will acknowledge it and correct the error, then make it a basis to further make our subs accurate in the coming projects.
Also, can you keep it discreet? If you want something to be corrected, message us instead. We understand the need to give fangirls quality subs, but sometimes, nitpicking is somewhat negative to the ambience of the happy fangirling life, added the fact that this is not an academe or a workplace, but pure leisure where there is a greater room for mistakes to happen.
Constructive criticism is fine as long as you are aiming to correct a person to make him/her better. Also, in the context of subbing communities, if you cannot devote time to reach the right methods and rules for Japanese grammar and linguistic mechanisms because of the lack of time and be fully trusted by those you want to critique, do not even bother to correct. That's how we see it.
It would be a great negativity if it is not truthfully or sincerely aimed for the betterment of the person who has made the mistake.
Incorrect usage of English grammar rules aside, I have numerous issues with this.( Read more... )
The international Arashi fandom is always growing, and everyone knows more subbers will make everyone happy. But we also need to assess if what we are doing will help the fandom or if it will just be a detriment.
As Signal # 5 and its head mod (who still doesn't seem to understand why the criticisms are actually warranted) seem to be back in business, I hope everyone will at least be aware of the quality of the subs they claim to provide before considering joining the group. Also, do not be afraid to point out any mistakes as politely as possible
. It is not wrong to do so, especially if it will be for everyone's benefit - especially theirs. We strive for correctness in this fandom because our boys, even though they are not supposed to see our work, deserve nothing less than for their good reputation to be spread in the most accurate way possible.
I sincerely hope other fans will be aware and will gain something positive from this experience.