Il sottotitolaggio dei cartoni animati giapponesi: tra fansub e dubtitles

Scarpa, Raffaella (2005)

Università di Bologna, SSLiMIT Forlì

Questa tesi è stata effettuata nell’ambito del progetto di ricerca Subtitleproject.
This thesis was carried out under the auspices of the Subtitleproject.

The aim of this thesis is to analyse the way in which Japanese cartoons are subtitled in Italy. Watching Japanese cartoons in Japanese, I realized that there were some problems with the Italian subtitles. I thought that not many people could be concerned about the problem of subtitles of Japanese cartoons, but, looking on the Internet, I discovered the world of fansubbers, that is, fans who subtitle Japanese animation and distribute the subtitles to other fans for free. That’s why I decided to analyse two separate worlds: the world of fansubs and the subtitles in the DVDs of Japanese animation available on the Italian market. This thesis is divided into three chapters. The first chapter deals with fansubs. Fansubs are subtitles of Japanese animation made by fans for other fans, and available for free on the Internet. The practice of fansubbing has existed in the US for almost 20 years and, thanks to new technologies, over the last few years it has been spreading all over the world. Although fansubs are not exactly legal, they are tolerated if the Japanese series has not been officially released in the country where fansubs are distributed. In order to analyse subtitled Japanese cartoons available on the market, I will focus on one particular case study: the films by director Hayao Miyazaki. The second chapter deals with Miyazaki’s films that have been released in Italy, namely Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. The subtitles we find in these DVDs are not interlingual subtitles from Japanese. Actually, the English subtitles are dubtitles, that is, a transcription of the English dubbing script, while the Italian subtitles are a translation of those dubtitles. As the American versions of Miyazaki’s films are strongly adapted and different from the original, the dubtitles are not compatible with the Japanese soundtrack. They appear and disappear with hardly any connection with what is being said. The last chapter is an experiment. I subtitled the film Tonari no Totoro in two ways: subtitling directly from Japanese and translating English dubtitles. The differences between the two subtitles lists are there for all to see: not only are there differences in content, but there are also differences in the number of subtitles. In order to make the film less boring, the American version has a lot more dialogue, and therefore there are a many more dubtitles than subtitles from Japanese. Many dubtitles appear where there is silence in the Japanese version. The reason for the use of dubtitles might be that the Italian titles are supposed to be used together with the English dubbed track. Actually, there seems to be a lot of confusion and lack of awareness among the people responsible for the Italian subtitles. Translations of English dubtitles are used simply because those are the subtitles that are sent to Italy from the US, and probably nobody is willing to spend money on subtitles from Japanese, partly because it would not be commercially profitable. The problem, though, is that those dubtitles are presented as subtitles from Japanese. That can be confusing and misleading for those who are interested in watching the original version with subtitles. They believe they are reading a true translation from Japanese, while they are actually reading the transcription of the American version of the film, which has little to do with the original.

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