Friday, May 9, 2014

Patlabor TV

This is an thing I did on a certain image board sometime last year IIRC, just copypasting stuff over.

The US Manga Corps DVD release, translation done by one "Studio Nemo". I'd say that the subtitles on this are atrocious, but "atrocious" is hardly sufficient to convey how bad they are; In fact I doubt that there even is a word, or combination of words in the English language capable of properly expressing how bad they are.

But anyway, I was rewatching Patlabor TV and for a short time during that period I posted the particularly bad translations along with explanations of why they were terrible. This list is of course by no means comprehensive because this show is 47 episodes long and pretty much every single line is messed up in some way.

I should like to add, though, that before watching the TV series I rewatched the first OVA (Early Days) as well, and the translation in there was astonishingly good aside from a couple of questionable superficial decisions (like converting the currency).

Anyway, here we go. The explanations are copied from the archived thread, slightly edited for clarity.

(Captions are explanations for Japanese readers)
So, news report on the Griffon's "crash".
  Shinshi: 「これじゃあまるで自滅ですよ」 "It's like it might as well have destroyed itself."
Self-destruct in Japanese is "jibaku" and usually carries the nuance that it's being done on purpose. "Jimetsu", which is what Shinshi used, however, carries the clear connotation that it is NOT of the person's own accord. They're talking about how there's no way a labour could fly, and that the Griffon must have crashed and burned, so saying it self-destructed makes no sense at all.


The line is 「内海は先週から土浦に出張中」: "Utsumi has been on a business trip to Tsuchiura since last week". Last week, this week, not much of a difference, right? Except the Griffon incident happened last week, so this would've given him a fucking alibi. 

That and the fact that the translator in charge can't tell the difference between this and last week obviously isn't a good sign.

眠気覚まし is "translated" to insomnia. Nemukezamashi is the act of trying to keep yourself awake. Actively trying to keep yourself awake. That's the exact fucking opposite of insomnia.

Noa does her nemukezamashi by having a couple of judo matches with Ota. It's apparent that the translator understood the later lines about how she couldn't sleep the previous night, but couldn't figure out nemukezamashi and so we get "she had insomnia so she's doing some kung fu with Ota!".

Just... think that over for a bit.


Forget language, how the hell could someone look at this line and think it worked logically?

Utsumi's goons follow a pretty simple naming scheme: They're Akashi ("Red Rock"), Midorikawa ("Green River"),  and Kurosaki ("Black Peninsula"). But you know what? They're just real, regular names. Why the fuck would you translate them? Why don't you call Asuma Playing Horse or something then? And if you're translating Akashi and Midorikawa's names then why is Kurosaki's left as it is? I just can't understand the thought process going on here at all.

「俯いた肩を抱きしめたけれど 寂しさ胸につもった」が
Song lyrics are always a source of confusion for people trying to translate them, but this is just inexcusably bad. The translator in this case obviously can't figure out the subject of the lines because the subject's not in the lines! THERE IS NO SUBJECT! THIS LOVE SONG IS ABOUT GHOSTS!

Oh wait the entire fucking song goes on talking to "you". The fucking name of the song is Sono Mama no Kimi de ite ("Stay the Way You Are"). The language throughout the entire song is clear-cut.


I'm not even going to bother with commentary anymore.

"I have to get back to Tokyo" is translated to "they barred me from Tokyo".

やるしかない→やらねばならない ニュアンスが違う
 "We have to" suggests he's doing it out of his own accord, possibly from obligation, but in the dialogue he uses しかない which means he has no choice which is the exact fucking opposite.

Mayyyyyyyyyyyybe it's just a typo but 晴海 could be read as Haru-umi by someone who sucks really bad at Japanese. But it's just plain fucking Harumi.

This isn't even a translation. Subtitles are completely different from the dialogue, which has Gotou saying "They tried putting the remains (of the Griffon) back together, like is standard with airplane crashes, but..."

Asuma's actual reply: "They couldn't?" (Suggesting that the Griffon didn't actually blow up and the debris was just random junk scattered around to look like a crash site).

Subtitles of Asuma's reply: "That would require advance preparation."

 Since this is just totally different from the original dialogue it might just be a localisation thing, but then that gives us another question: Why?

"Get orders from (the headquarters in) Tokyo" is translated to "get me the Tokyo maps". 

Immediately after this line SSS calls up Shaft, and the next scene is the Shaft people in Tokyo discussing what to do next after being contacted by SSS asking for orders.

"You don't think he's planning on smuggling the Griffon overseas?"
 (Load? What the fuck?)

Kurosaki is talking about Bud here (HE looks like he's enjoying it) but the idiot translator redirects the dialogue to Utsumi due to a complete lack of understanding of Japanese grammar.

"Try not to cause any accidents"
("Be extra careful of the construction"? What the fuck?) 

 Oh, looks like "Haruumi" wasn't a typo. The translator can't figure out REAL place names, and is too deaf to hear how they're spoken.

These guards work for the same parent company as SSS.

Dialogue: "They're security under the same parent company as us. It seems the communications didn't reach them." (i.e. Someone higher up in the chain of command is supposed to have ordered them away)

Subtitles: "They're Babylon Project guards. They don't even have regular check-ins."


Well these SSS guys aren't so bad after all are they?

Original dialogue: "Shall I cause an 'accident' somewhere close by to draw them away?"

 Oh there we go, they're supposed to be a bunch of ruthless mercenaries who don't give a shit about arson and whatever.

OMG!! This pucntuation is so profesional?????


Utsumi to his boss: "I'd like to come in to the office today, so would you please do something about SSS?"

Reminder: Utsumi betrayed Shaft and SSS is out GUNNING FOR HIM. Why the FUCK would he be ordering them around?

Maybe this is a localisation thing, it'll surely make sense in context...
 ...oh wait, immediately after SSS gets orders to stand down.


Okay, this sort of explains "Haruumi"- This lady's name is Hisayo, but the name could also be read as Naoyo. Apparently the translator was working off raw text (which makes all the other translation errors even more inexcusable since they can look at the fucking text and not just try to listen to it).

「より任務に忠実に 安全第一」に (てか保険関係なくね?)

The insurance company's ad reads "Because we can have peace of mind (thanks to our insurance), we can concentrate on our duties".


Does that even make any fucking sense on a fucking insurance fucking company's fucking ad?
Yet another example of the subtitles saying the exact fucking opposite of the dialogue. Shige says that he WASN'T able to get a map on such short notice.

"Because it was so sudden I couldn't find a map."


Gotou's talking about a fucking HOBO living in the SEWERS here. "Living like a king" indeed.

I'm guessing that the translator managed to pick up the "yume" (dream) and ran with that but what is ACTUALLY being said is that the guy got all his stuff from Yumenoshima. A landfill.

So yeah not only is this translator incompetent they also lack common fucking sense. A hobo in the sewers living like a king.

Nagumo: "After all, they say there's nothing you can't find in a landfill".

"Our orders are to watch over the coast"
 (No fucking mention of the coast guard anywhere and why would the fucking SV2 which is under the security department take orders from the goddamned coast guard god damn it common fucking sense)

So yeah, this translator can't understand basic grammar and just plain makes shit up which frequently makes no sense at all and sometimes is in fact the fucking opposite of what is being said.

Good job.


  1. Out of curiosity do you know if these were fixed the Maiden Japan Blu-ray release?

  2. Can you translate the 1st opening? I really love it! :)