The Dubbing/Scripting Process of Free! -Eternal Summer-



  • Hi,

    So…this is just a curious question. I'm not trying to slander the dub or anything, in fact, I like all the voice actors in the dub personally. However, I do have my certain view points about the dub.

    I was able to preview the first episode of the series in dub recently. I had noticed a lot of people on tumblr and what not criticizing the voices and the script of the dub. So what I want to know is...

    How does one go about the script writing? I mean, do they purposely change things in the dub to make it sound more Americanized? I'm just asking... I mean, I did hear the dub, and they changed the "Give out Iwatobi-chans?" to "Make Bath-toy versions of ourselves?" (in trying to recruit new members).... Another part is where they were trying to gain access to the pool earlier, but Amakata-sensei was saying that it'd be too cold, in the original japanese dialogue, Haru says "I would swim." but in the english dub he said, "Cold never bothered me." I don't know if this is reference to Frozen or not (lol)...

    My sister and I found the dub to be really parody-like, and I don't know if it's because I've been watching 50% parody for a while now.

    Back to the question at hand, how do they go about scriptwriting? Do they go through various processes? Do they get any feedback at all from the Japanese studio that did Free!?

    Though, I am happy to get my copy of the Premium Edition of Free! -Eternal Summer- (Just spent my whole bday money.) I do want to know too about the OVA. I heard that they will release the OVA next year, and if we pre-ordered the PE of Free! we get a discount on the OVA. How much of a discount? Also, are they going to release this as a one episode thing? Or add extras to it? Because I know that a lot of people don't like to buy just an episode DVD...

    Thank You in advance for any replies.



  • I believe they get a translated script for the show and then start adapting into English. Most their script writers don't get very creative and stay close to the Japanese script, making adjustments when needed. Then you have J Michael Tatum. The man is fantastic voice actor, but a terrible script writer. this is just the way to goes about writing, for some strange reason





  • @xKiYoMiNaTiONx:

    Back to the question at hand, how do they go about scriptwriting? Do they go through various processes? Do they get any feedback at all from the Japanese studio that did Free!?

    I'm in the same boat as you, I'm fascinated by script writing for localizations, I think it's an extremely unique and creative form of writing that should be studied

    Generally, the process starts as a direct translation, or the script you see when watching a subbed version. From there, the script is transformed into dialogue that covers three things: getting the intended message across, matching the characters' lip flaps, and localizing it for a Western audience. I know there's input from the Japanese producers on character casting, but I'm not sure if they also have final word on the script writing (I assume they do, but you never know, I guess)

    Lip flaps and getting the message across seem relatively simple since it's mostly comprised of syllable use and applying synonyms to meet the flaps. But localizing is probably the most unique part of it, because you have to factor in what makes sense to a Western audience, what makes them laugh, etc.

    For the examples you mentioned, those are definitely examples of when localizing comes into play. It's naturally difficult to translate what an Iwatobi-chan is, as a proper noun, so in that case, it probably made more sense to identify it as a collectible object rather than a character set

    Your other one is more complicated, and more derivative of J. Michael Tatum's writing style (he's the one that wrote most of the English script for the series, as Getchman mentioned). With most script writers, they don't tend to deviate far from the translation, unless it's a ridiculous comedy, such as Good Luck Girl, or one that suffers from a lot of repetitive jokes that require variance in its localization, such as High School DxD. Tatum likes to take his script liberally and add variance wherever he sees fit. This worked well for something like Steins;Gate, wherein Okabe transitioned from a genuine mad scientist in the sub to more of a sci-fi nerd in the dub, relying more on Doctor Who references than standard mad scientist talk. It was a different take, but it was a unique one that fit a hyperactive character as eccentric as Okabe

    In Free!, the characters aren't really any more eccentric as your standard high school boys. None of them are particularly high energy goons who can't stop talking - in fact, pretty much all of them are generally low-key for anime standards. This is where Tatum's flair for the dramatic works against him, as he adds flamboyancy to a story that isn't particularly wild. This is the case of that reference to Frozen, where he decided to work a pop culture reference into a situation where it didn't require it, since it raises questions like, is Haru a Frozen fan? Is he being tongue-in-cheek? Do high schoolers normally quote Frozen?

    There's also a few issues of the interaction between characters, which is where Tatum's age starts to show. High school boys really don't call each other man, dude, and bro as often as Tatum seems to think they do, or maybe he was having issues filling in the lip flaps. Either way, it comes across as dialogue that high school boys would probably not use these days, which kinda takes the viewer out of the element

    My favorite example of a script change so far is an exchange in episode 2 when Rin brings Momo to Iwatobi SC. In the sub, Momo claims Rin lied to him when he said there were all kinds of girls waiting, to which Rin replied that there WERE a bunch of girls, and showed him all the kids aged five to ten. Obviously this is a joke that doesn't exactly resonate with a Western audience, and even if Rin is a high schooler, it's probably a joke in poor taste no matter his amount of immaturity. In the dub, Momo talks something along the lines of there not being any hotties and wanting to get his moves on, or whatever, to which Rin replies that he needs to cool it with the PG-13 talk because there's kids here. It changes the meaning of the situation, but it still provides a sort of throwaway joke that a Western audience might find amusing

    At any rate, hopefully I answered some of your questions. Feel free to message me if you're interested about anything else with script writing. I don't have any professional knowledge, but I'm always up for discussing language differences between two scripts



  • This forum brings to light a common, yet serious issue with people watching a subbed anime and then the dubbed counterpart. For one if you expect something to translate perfectly when it's being derived from a foreign language all together, then you will find yourself sorely disappointed.
    First let me say I have watched the English and Japanese versions of the show, and I have to say am thoroughly amused with both.
    So what if they aren't 100% accurate? Have you ever heard a Japanese song translated verbatim to English? To be honest It sounds pretty comical and the grammar rarely makes any sense; This is why when you translate a song into English the grammatical setup has to be altered to fit the new language. The structural setup of every language is complety unique and that poses a very tasking job to translators and script writers when making a foreign rendition.
    Not only that but most of the conflicting arguments referring to the script alterations are most often derived from a comparison based on the English subtitles versus English dubbing of the show and not the Japanese vocalized script versus the English counterpart; which I personally find to be highly ironic considering very few people fluent in both languages are complaining about the English script at all.
    So on a parting note I wish everyone upset regarding the English scripting would put aside the acute ideal of a verbatim translation and appreciate the hard work and effort put into the English dub by Funimation and its supporting voice actors.


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