Unquestionably, the animation industry in Japan is persistently booming. Since its inception, anime has captivated audiences locally, with streaming seeing a sales revenue of over 90 billion Japanese yen in 2021! And because of anime subtitling, the media has gained immense global popularity over the past few years. However, it has been proven to be tricky as there are some common mistakes that providers of anime subtitling services tend to make.

CCC International loves anime just as much as the rest of you. As a professional anime translation and subtitling service provider, we share the common pitfalls when working on anime with subtitles and some advice on avoiding them!

Key Takeaways:

  • Anime subtitling is the process of translating and adding captions to the visuals of anime production. It’s a pivotal contributor to the global success of Japanese animation.
  • Providing subtitles for Japanese anime is a long process involving spotting, translation, timing, typesetting, editing, and simulation.
  • Common mistakes in anime captioning include poor translation, overloaded subtitles, and illegible texts.

Table of Content:

  • Anime and Subtitling: An Overview
  • Why Is Subtitling Important?
  • The Process of Providing Subtitles For Japanese Anime
  • Most Common Mistakes of Anime Subtitling
  • 5 Tips to Avoid Anime Subtitling Mistakes
  • CCCI – Professional Anime Translation and Subtitling Services

Anime and Subtitling: An Overview

Anime is an animation style popular in Japanese films. It was made for the local audience, reflecting the Japanese culture through its characters, story, and music. In 1956, modern anime began and thrived even more in 1961. It was when Mushi Productions by Osamu Tezuka was established, significantly contributing to the anime aesthetic. Later, Princess Mononoke by Miyazaki Hayao was released in 1997, followed by other successful titles like the Pokémon television series.

In the 21st century, anime finally reached international audiences. For example, Spirited Away by Miyazaki in 2002 won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Eventually, anime streaming became as popular as other major streaming services. The industry saw an overseas sales revenue of over 1.3 trillion Japanese yen in 2021.

How did anime achieve such success? It’s thanks to many things, but one of the major contributors is subtitling. Through translation and subtitling, anime conquered the global market, allowing viewers worldwide to access and understand the content. And because Japan is culturally rich and anime is really creative, entertaining, and educational, the media’s popularity skyrocketed!

Anime Subtitling Mistakes

Why Is Subtitling Important?

Anime subtitling is translating and adding captions or texts to the audio-visual media. It’s popular in anime streaming as it helps viewers understand what they’re watching by reading the captions, regardless of their language.

Another popular option is dubbing, which is rerecording the soundtrack and dialogues in another language. Some believe it’s an easier and more effective way of conveying the content, but others think subtitling is more powerful. Here are some reasons subtitling is important:

Worldwide Accessibility

Anime subtitles allow viewers in different countries and cultures to understand the story, appreciate the content, and relate to it. It’s also beneficial for viewers still learning the language featured in the anime.

Retaining the Original Context and Feel of Anime

Subtitling is a good way of providing viewers with an authentic experience. Through subtitles, viewers can still watch the content in its original context, hearing the original language and accents.

Preserving Cultural Elements

Anime reflects Japan’s culture and society, which is why subtitling helps viewers experience the nuances of the country. Subtitles aren’t simply translations; they also convey Japan’s culture, customs, and colloquialisms.

Note: One downside of subtitling is that viewers must read while watching what’s happening onscreen. Not everyone is a fan of multitasking, making dubbing an ideal alternative. However, nothing beats the experience of hearing the original language while accessing the anime’s cultural elements!

The Process of Providing Subtitles for Japanese Anime

Watching an anime with subtitles can make subtitling seem like an easy job. You just need to translate the content, put a few lines on the screen, and there you go! Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Anime subtitling is an art form of its own and requires much skill! Here’s a breakdown of the process of providing subtitles or captions for anime:

  • Spotting: Pinpoint each line and its timing in an anime.
  • Translation: After spotting, translators must accurately provide a translation that conveys the original context and feeling.
  • Timing: Adjust each line to synchronize with the original audio.
  • Typesetting: Determine font type, size, style, and color for each subtitle.
  • Editing: Edit subtitles for accuracy, clarity, and matching with the original audio.
  • Simulation: Screen the anime with