Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

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Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by DragonDuck » Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:29 am

So, I've seen this discussion a few times, so I thought it was time we found an answer. Should we refer to the Japanese version as a "dub"? First off, here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of "dub":

1: to add (sound effects or new dialogue) to a film or to a radio or television production —usually used with in
2: to provide (a motion-picture film) with a new sound track and especially dialogue in a different language
3: to make a new recording of (sound or videotape already recorded); also : to mix (recorded sound or videotape from different sources) into a single recording

Personally, I think that the Japanese version should be referred to as such - the Japanese version, since a "dub" is described as essentially giving a film or television production a new sound track. If the Japanese voices were re-recorded today, I would define that as a "dub". But what do you think?
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:32 am

A newbie with a great thread! Keep it up!

I really dont get why people feel the original Japanese is a "Dub", I think it was ABED who said that they do so, to make other dubs seem more "legitimate". I dont think so, its just a misunderstanding.
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Rockman X » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:04 am

Well technically they're still "dubbing" the voice flaps.. so its still a Dub.

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Ajay » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:20 am

I don't think anyone uses that term with any malicious intentions, or an attempt to legitimise dubbing. As a foreign audience, we tend to refer to every voice over as a "dub"; the "Ocean dub", the "FUNi dub", the "Big Green dub". When your average person talks about the "Japanese dub", they're simply using terms that they're familiar with.

We're technically correct, though. The best kind of correct! I think it's actually fans of the Japanese who resort to pedantry for the sake of legitimising the product. With good reason, of course. It's often a reminder that the Japanese version of the show is the product, and everything else is a version of it. I think that's regularly needed when folks attempt to justify outrageous changes to the scripts. Outside of that, I've never really seen the point in going out of your way to correct someone -- especially when it's clear they know the difference.

If Toei rerecorded the dialogue for Z, I would call it a "revoice". When I refer to the Japanese product, I call it the "Japanese version". I will correct people if it matters in the context of the conversation, but I'm not going to be a pedant when the conversation doesn't call for it. I think that's pretty fair. I mean, would you get uppity over someone from Japan calling the original version of The Simpsons the "English dub". I'd hope not.
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Puto » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:32 am

For whatever it's worth, I (Portuguese dude here) refer to the Portuguese dub of American series (e.g. Batman of the Future/Batman Beyond) "the Portuguese dub" and refer to their English presentations as "the original English version", never "the English dub".
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by TripleRach » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:48 am

For me, one of the big issues is that nobody really calls the original audio for any TV series or movie a "dub." That term is typically only used for foreign language replacement audio. It's especially true for anime, where both the official English companies and the fandom tend to use "dub" to refer to any audio but the original Japanese.

There are similar connotations for "sub." Although the word "subtitle" can be and is used to refer to captions for the hearing impaired, that is typically not what someone is referring to when they say they're "watching subs."
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:06 am

TripleRach wrote:For me, one of the big issues is that nobody really calls the original audio for any TV series or movie a "dub." That term is typically only used for foreign language replacement audio. It's especially true for anime, where both the official English companies and the fandom tend to use "dub" to refer to any audio but the original Japanese.
Agreed. Which leads me to-
Ajay wrote:I don't think anyone uses that term with any malicious intentions
I'm not saying everyone does, but I absolutely 100% see "dub" being used in reference to the original Japanese version of the show in a sarcastic, dismissive way. It's an attempt to legitimize being able to ignore it by fans that feel threatened by it. It comes across as, "Oh, well that's just a dub, too, so whatever."

The only place I think it's relevant with the Japanese version of the show is with Kai, which is another monster in and of itself on approximately 872 different levels.
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:12 am

Rockman X wrote:Well technically they're still "dubbing" the voice flaps.. so its still a Dub.
No it isnt.
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Tzigi » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:39 am

TripleRach wrote:For me, one of the big issues is that nobody really calls the original audio for any TV series or movie a "dub." That term is typically only used for foreign language replacement audio. It's especially true for anime, where both the official English companies and the fandom tend to use "dub" to refer to any audio but the original Japanese.
Just wanted to add that it can actually depend on the original language and culture of the person who is writing. I'm Polish and for me it was a huge surprise to learn that calling the original Japanese audio of an anime (be it Dragon Ball or any other series) a 'dub' can have any subjective connotations rather then simply describing the fact that it was produced via the action of... dubbing i.e. providing distinct voices for cartoon characters. Maybe it's so because in Poland we have three options of adapting something to our language:
1. voiceover i.e. lektor (one person reading all the texts over the original version)
2. subtitles
3. dubbing.
And you get things written like: "Polish voiceover on top of the original Japanese dubbing" and it will be perfectly legitimate. TripleRach wrote that "nobody really calls the original audio for any TV series or movie a "dub."" and that's a half-truth when it comes to Poland - it would depend on whether the TV series/movie has actors in it or is animated/computer-generated/otherwise doesn't feature humans speaking (an actor movie in its original form isn't dubbed, a cartoon, even a Polish cartoon drawn, animated and voiced in Poland is dubbed because that's what the process' name is). Even in one movie you can get both actors and dubbing: Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings is referred to as being dubbed by John Rhys-Davies and yet the English version provided by this actor is the original one.

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Ajay » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:00 am

VegettoEX wrote:
Ajay wrote:I don't think anyone uses that term with any malicious intentions
I'm not saying everyone does, but I absolutely 100% see "dub" being used in reference to the original Japanese version of the show in a sarcastic, dismissive way. It's an attempt to legitimize being able to ignore it by fans that feel threatened by it. It comes across as, "Oh, well that's just a dub, too, so whatever."
Yeah, I should have used "many people" there, since I went on to essentially agree with you. My overall point was that being pedantic over the term outside of conversations where the person is actively doing what you described seems a bit excessive. I feel similarly about people who use "Ocean dub" and "FUNi dub" over "Ocean cast" and "FUNi cast". I almost always know what they mean, but I'm only going to point out the technicality if they're using the terms alongside false information. I guess it depends whether you think it spreads misinformation. There's definitely an argument to be made in that regard.

I do think TripleRach makes a good point, which definitely ties into concerns about misinformation. If the term is in common use within the anime world, but it actively opposes the definition set elsewhere, does that promote a damaging mentality where many don't actively separate the original product and a dub?
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by UltimateHammerBro » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:03 am

I think that the term 'dub' has different connotations in English that in other languages.

The word for 'dubbing' in several other languages (I don't know about English, but it doesn't seem like it) comes from the word 'double', since the actors involved in the process were refered to as 'voice doubles', with similar connotations to body doubles or stunt doubles. Therefore, it sounds kind of weird to apply it to the original version of a product. That said, the first definition DragonDuck has provided seems to fit nicely with anime, given that most of them are actually animated before being given voice acting.

After giving it a bit of thought, I personally don't see any problem with saying "the Japanese dub". I use "Japanese version" so I don't have to switch terms depending on the language, but I wouldn't try to correct anyone who said "Japanese dub", unless he's trying to use the term in a negative way, as VegettoEX pointed out.
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Herms » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:20 am

Does this issue ever come up with anything besides DB? I admit, I'm not hugely involved in anime fandom overall, but I don't think I've ever seen people refer to the "Japanese dub" of an anime, except with DB, and even then only relatively recently. The traditional debate in (English speaking) anime fandom is "dubs vs subs", a phrase obviously based on the idea that the original Japanese version doesn't count as a dub (and that you're going to watch it subtitled).
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by LuckyCat » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:40 am

Let's put it this way, would you call the original English Disney version of Frozen a dub? Would adding the word "dub" add less or more confusion?
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:42 am

LuckyCat wrote:Let's put it this way, would you call the original English Disney version of Frozen a dub? Would adding the word "dub" add less or more confusion?
Precisely, which is why the pedantic conversation about "technically it's a dub 'cuz voices and animation and........" always comes across as dismissive to me. If you don't like the Japanese version of the show, great. Say that. Own it. Use your words.

(And if you want to get REALLY pedantic, a lot of anime gets recorded before the visuals are finished being animated... Dragon Ball included.)
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Tzigi » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:45 pm

LuckyCat wrote:Let's put it this way, would you call the original English Disney version of Frozen a dub? Would adding the word "dub" add less or more confusion?
Well, yes, of course, I would (at least until I read this thread because now I would be at a loss there) and without any malicious intent - simply because there is no other idea for me that expresses the concept of "distinct voices recorded to go with a cartoon and make it seem like the characters on the drawings spoke". Up until today it was quite normal for me to think in words like these: "In the original English dub of The Lion King, Simba says this and that." because, well, The Lion King had an original dubbing - English - and then had other dubbings including Polish. In the same way I think in Polish about "the original Polish dub of Porwanie Baltazara Gąbki" or any other Polish cartoon.
But ok, having read this thread I have learned that you as native speakers of English consider this usage to be wrong. So what should I use instead? How does one describe the original-language version of the voices in a cartoon? Because calling it "the original English/Japanese/Polish version" doesn't convey the meaning "only the voices that the characters are using" as opposed to "a version including voices but also music, censorship or lack thereof, title cards, advertisement breaks etc".

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:53 pm

Tzigi wrote:But ok, having read this thread I have learned that you as native speakers of English consider this usage to be wrong. So what should I use instead? How does one describe the original-language version of the voices in a cartoon? Because calling it "the original English/Japanese/Polish version" doesn't convey the meaning "only the voices that the characters are using" as opposed to "a version including voices but also music, censorship or lack thereof, title cards, advertisement breaks etc".
For me at least, it's just... the show. No further distinction necessary. Of course, I'm coming from a viewpoint and a mission statement of Kanzenshuu where everything's inherently about the original version of the franchise, and so it's only necessary to make a distinction when there's actually one to make (e.g., "in FUNimation's English dub...").
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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by irreality » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:57 pm

Tzigi wrote:
LuckyCat wrote:Let's put it this way, would you call the original English Disney version of Frozen a dub? Would adding the word "dub" add less or more confusion?
Well, yes, of course, I would (at least until I read this thread because now I would be at a loss there) and without any malicious intent - simply because there is no other idea for me that expresses the concept of "distinct voices recorded to go with a cartoon and make it seem like the characters on the drawings spoke". Up until today it was quite normal for me to think in words like these: "In the original English dub of The Lion King, Simba says this and that." because, well, The Lion King had an original dubbing - English - and then had other dubbings including Polish. In the same way I think in Polish about "the original Polish dub of Porwanie Baltazara Gąbki" or any other Polish cartoon.
But ok, having read this thread I have learned that you as native speakers of English consider this usage to be wrong. So what should I use instead? How does one describe the original-language version of the voices in a cartoon? Because calling it "the original English/Japanese/Polish version" doesn't convey the meaning "only the voices that the characters are using" as opposed to "a version including voices but also music, censorship or lack thereof, title cards, advertisement breaks etc".
This is an issue of words serving double purposes in different contexts. In the terms of the original production, the word "dub" is used for the ADR/voice recording process. And in that context, of discussion of post-production of a piece of media, it makes sense to use the term. But when you are referring to the release of an international piece of media, the world "dub" means the process of dub localization and translation. And you can't use the word "dub" to simply mean ADR because it causes equivocation.

"Voice acting" is perfectly suitable for the purposes you want. Or even simply "Performances".

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by Tzigi » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:43 pm

VegettoEX wrote: For me at least, it's just... the show. No further distinction necessary. Of course, I'm coming from a viewpoint and a mission statement of Kanzenshuu where everything's inherently about the original version of the franchise, and so it's only necessary to make a distinction when there's actually one to make (e.g., "in FUNimation's English dub...").
and
irreality wrote: This is an issue of words serving double purposes in different contexts. In the terms of the original production, the word "dub" is used for the ADR/voice recording process. And in that context, of discussion of post-production of a piece of media, it makes sense to use the term. But when you are referring to the release of an international piece of media, the world "dub" means the process of dub localization and translation. And you can't use the word "dub" to simply mean ADR because it causes equivocation.

"Voice acting" is perfectly suitable for the purposes you want. Or even simply "Performances".
Thanks for both answers. I think that irreality has better understood my question - I wasn't talking about the show as a whole (then I would talk instead about the original and the localizations [and those happen via dubbing, changes of music, replacements of title cards and so on]) but only about the voices (cause they are the "dubbing" part). I think "voice acting" captures my point best even though it's not as handy as dub. But it raises an additional point: can it then also refer to the secondary versions? Can I talk not only about "Japanese voice acting" (as I previously referred to "Japanese dubbing") but also about "Ocean or Funi voice acting" (instead of "Ocean/Funi dub")? The term has to be the same for both because I describe the same process: going from a cartoon/cartoon project without voices to a version with distinct voices for characters in a specific language. So is the term "voice acting" ok for both?

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by huzaifa_ahmed » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:59 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
LuckyCat wrote:Let's put it this way, would you call the original English Disney version of Frozen a dub? Would adding the word "dub" add less or more confusion?
Precisely, which is why the pedantic conversation about "technically it's a dub 'cuz voices and animation and........" always comes across as dismissive to me. If you don't like the Japanese version of the show, great. Say that. Own it. Use your words.

(And if you want to get REALLY pedantic, a lot of anime gets recorded before the visuals are finished being animated... Dragon Ball included.)

To add to that, many older foreign-language dubs (Dragon Ball included) are second-hand dubs, and even modern dubs oftentimes don't have approval of the licensors or creators.

That being said, with adaptation shows, it's a similar situation with both foreign-language and home-language recordings- it may simply be one degree further of an adaptation, and only as such if there is creator involvement.

One Piece's main American cast is creator-chosen. Any dub by Aniplex is approved by the Japanese company. Space Dandy's is close to the Japanese dub in legitimacy.

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Re: Refering to the Japanese version as a "dub"

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:33 pm

One of the reasons that the word "dub" has multiple definitions according to the dictionary is because, like many words in the English language (and I'm sure other languages as well), it's one word that can mean several different things, and as such, the proper definition is context-dependent. So I understand if people whose first language is not English are using the term "Japanese dub" out of confusion for what the proper use of the word "dub" is supposed to mean. After all, not every country has a lot of animation going on that they can call their own. For some countries, all the animated projects they get are from other countries, so they have no reason to think of voice acting in animation as anything other than...well, a dub.

Having said that, the only time I use the term "Japanese dub" is if it's referring to something that wasn't originally in Japanese, and the original dialogue has been replaced with Japanese dialogue. For anime shows, like Dragon Ball, I always use terms like "the original version," or "the original Japanese version." If brevity is a concern, there's a term I've occasionally heard in the dubbing business to refer to the original Japanese audio--"the OJ" (as in "the original Japanese"). When voice actors come in to dub something that was originally in Japanese, before they dub each line, they are played a preview clip of what the line originally sounded like in Japanese, and in the booth, you'll sometimes hear phrases from people like the director saying, "OK, first we're gonna pull up the OJ real quick," or an actor saying, "Can I listen to the OJ on that line one more time?"

There are two reasons I don't like to use the term "Japanese dub" for something that was originally Japanese:

1) It's not an accurate use of the term. Not in that particular instance. In North America, recording voices for domestic animation (which the animators will then draw around) is referred to as "prelay recording," and voice acting for something that was originally in another language is referred to as either "dubbing" or "ADR" (Automated Dialogue Replacement). They're two different disciplines, with totally different rates, and totally different contracts (at least if we're referring to the unionized sector of the voice acting industry).

2) As others have already discussed, the term "Japanese dub" can, at times, be used to equalize the show with its other international dubs...and while it is not at all problematic if somebody prefers a dub over the....heh, OJ...it is problematic when trying to analyze the characters and the story. As we're all very familiar with, not every dub is a good dub. In fact, some are quite bad. Not just in terms of acting, but in terms of completely altering dialogue, story, and character motivations. So if we're going to come together as a fan community and analyze certain characters, and certain scenes that they were in, it's always best to refer to the language in which the show was originally produced, because it's the version that the creators were most directly involved with, and therefore, the version that has the most credibility. Putting the original version on the same level as a dub may give that dub a credibility that it doesn't deserve. Here's the example I always use: if somebody were to ask you what the character Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece was like, I don't think anybody would ever respond, "Just watch the English dub done by 4Kids, they do a great job of showing who he is."

Anyway. All that to say....it's totally OK to prefer whichever version you want, but the term "dub" is not accurate in the English language when used to refer to a show's original language, and it has the potential to give bad dubs a credibility that they shouldn't have.
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