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An Outline of Localization

Films and dramas consist of the 3 elements of video, voice and language, and of these, translation of the language into the language of the country or region which will enjoy it, and the conversion of the video format into the correct specifications for that region is what is called localization.

There are two methods of language localization; subtitling and dubbing. While dubbing is said to be the mainstream method in the world, in Japan, subtitling also has a deep-rooted popularity. One of the reasons that can be brought up for this is that because the Japanese language can, depending on the situation, omit the subject or object of a sentence, it is extremely well suited to the method of expression known as subtitling. However, the benefit of subtitling is probably that you can hear the actor’s actual voice. Being able to appreciate the work (almost) exactly as the director intended it and hearing the voice just as your favorite actor pronounced it, is a merit only to be found with subtitling.

On the other hand, the merit of dubbing is that because you take in the information contained in the words with your ears, it is easier to enjoy. Rather than when concentrating on the work, it is probably more suited to times when you want to do something else while watching or relaxing while enjoying the work. Also, there is an attraction to dubbing in the higher level of freedom with translation because the original voice cannot be heard. Also, experiments are being made where depending on the translator or producer, this is used to skilfully add nuances or semantic content to the lines that is not present in the original language, turning the work into a more attractive and enjoyable item. That can probably also be said to be something only enjoyable with dubbing.

The situation is no different with localization into a foreign language. While there is no problem if the work can be enjoyed in its native language, when targeting countries or regions where this is not the case, of the three elements that make up a work, it is the words used that raise or lower its value. It is probably not exaggerating to say that words make the work. It is necessary to keep this in mind when translating.

This company has performed localization exclusively and has expanded its business towards specialization in localization. Going forward, we will widen our business area to include sale and purchase of works, developing into a more comprehensive service. However localization has been this company’s core business since its foundation, and while it will continue to evolve, will certainly continue to be at the center of its business.