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General Voice Actor Discussion General discussion about the actual people behind the voices should go here.

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Old 09-26-2017   #1
martyyahar's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Washington DC, United States
Age: 25
Posts: 435
Default You Don't Know Seiyuu [RANT]

Whenever the sub vs. dub discussion or even a dub discussion at all comes up i hear a phrase that just pisses me off:

"I'd watch the dub if the English acting was as good as the Japanese."

One problem: this almost always comes from people who don't know any Japanese yet still think they can tell when somebody is giving a convincing performance in the language.

I understand finding somebody's voice appealing even if you don't get what they're saying without help and not liking the results of English dubs. But don't tell me you understand the cadences like prosody, volume, tone, accent, stress, context, speech patterns and diction of a language filtered to you thru subtitles (which have to be changed around from absolutely literal translations even in fansubs to make any sense). I speak as a not just "some guy on the internet", but as a linguist and actor, and also somebody who knows linguists and actors with far more skill than i.

After all, he reason the original Resident Evil game and many other Japan-based English dubs sucked is because they had Japanese-speaking directors who knew B-Grade English. What's more is Japanese voice acting is typically (but not always) a lot more cartoony/ stylized than one would think, they just have different standards for "kid's media" and thus much of the goofiness is lost by the time subs are out.

I'm not going to demand everyone and anyone watch dubs or anything like that. But just admit that the reason you find subs and occasionally raws so appealing is that you can largely illude to yourself that no matter what the acting is good. Maybe if it's really flat and sarcastic you can tell it's bad, there are some universals in speech, but not enough to make everyone an instant voice director once they've mastered one language's speech.

tl;dr- Unless you know the full vocal and vocabulary intricacies of Japanese or whatever language you're subbing from, do not tell me you prefer the original language for its acting rather than the fact the English version sucks.
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