I apologize for taking the thread off topic again . . . is the "other" topic being continued in a different thread?
I’d like to underscore a complication concerning the relation between “localization” and “understanding.” Just as an example, if the following (literacy) statistics are credible, namely, that “about 70% of high school students need some form of remediation
,” it’s clear that being a native speaker of the language does not guarantee good command of the language. As such, these people may need “dubs” or “localizations” for something written in their native tongue (e.g. SparkNotes). In a way, then, it is dubious to assume that the “original” language is necessarily offers a more accurate rendition of artistic intention since it always already depends on audience that is suitably primed to decipher the message (even then, there is likely to be varying interpretation among a competent audience).
We can take a related example to further illuminate the issue: A few years ago The Washington Post
had violinist, Joshua Bell (The Red Violin
), participate in an experiment where he would play as a street performer in the L'Enfant Plaza metro station in Washington, D.C. He got a mere $32.17 for 43 minutes of playing--a performer who is worth tens of thousands more
($1000 a minute, to be specific, according to The Washington Post
article). It stands to reason that Bell’s (usual) ability to command such high prices has as much to do with raw as it does with systemic factors that cultivate a receptive and cooperative (even if potentially nonetheless ignorant) audience. Without diminishing Bell’s accomplishments in any way, we might say that the various institutional and market forces function precisely as a kind of “dub” or “localization” that translates (for the insufficiently initiated audience, including many of those who would pay full price for an “official” concert) the otherwise unintelligible performative brilliance into something more tangible (e.g. cultural capital).
My point is there is no question that Bell is the authentic real deal, or, in other words, the “original,” but even such undisputed genius often requires a “translation” of sorts. Does this “slaughter” or otherwise distort his performance? Insofar as one might not be able to properly understand the performance without such assistance, it could be said the at least some of the audience is getting a distorted or manipulated experience, but on the other hand, without this institutional curation, the same audience might lose all access to such world-class performances--unless we are prepared to insist that the prerequisite to attending a concert of such high caliber is to first undertake years of training to acquire the discernment necessary to identify the talent beneath the veneer of marketing. In this context, it seems that there is at least prima facie legitimacy for the localization of anime, and the more crucial question is rather how to maintain a reasonable degree of refinement and sophistication in the process so that it is not reduced to a crude flourish.