How Anime Subtitles Can Be Useful

How Anime Subtitles Can Be Useful
by Brian Case

Anime has seen an accompanying rise in demand as its popularity grows unabated throughout the world. It is rare to see each new spring without a number of new anime series making their debuts on television as they seek to fulfill the fans’ craving for more. While this helps to affirm the companies’ passion for the genre, it does not come without problems.

The Japanese anime production companies have been struggling to meet international demand for their products. This is because of the overriding need to translate the series into the English language or another popular language, so that non-Japanese fans can comprehend their content.

Unfortunately, the Japanese are not the best in English translation. The speed at which they can do this can also be rather slow, as they are still focused on local customers. Thus, one of the ways in which they cope with international markets is to license anime series to international companies who can either provide subtitles or English voice dubbing.

Doing so results in three different ways the anime series are packaged for international audiences. The first is to provide subtitles with the video. The second is to dub the series in English or some other language in demand. And the third is a combined package of the two.

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Whatever the form the anime series comes in, there will be fans in favor of one or the other. There is a greater preference for one with subtitles though, and it has clearly shown in it having a greater demand from fans from other countries, leading to increased sales and following.

Japanese is not an easy language to learn nor understand, thus international anime fans are not well acquainted with it. But the genre comes from Japan, so the more natural presentation would be for them to be in the local language itself. This also helps fuels fans’ interest in the language and subtitles would not hinder that.

Anime with subtitles can also assist in learning the Japanese language for fans. Surprisingly, there are people who take up the hobby of watching anime just to improve in the language. It might not be as large a number, but the subtitles can provide a useful learning tool without it becoming too much of a crutch.

Using anime as a cultural and language learning tool can become more widespread with the reliance on subtitles. Voice over dubbing would only hide this benefit from international audiences while providing a sometimes unnatural experience in enjoying this fun medium. Fans and hobbyists will also not lose out in any of this.

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