A fan translation refers to the trend of fans of anime or manga (including Yu-Gi-Oh!, but not limited to it), taking a Japanese episode and translating it into their native language. This can take the form of either completely re-doing the audio with new actors or actresses (known as fandubbing) or keeping the original audio intact and putting subtitles at the bottom of the screen (known as fansubbing). In the case of mangas, it's a translation of the text. Sometimes this term also applies to translations of cards originally released in Japanese language.
The Anime translation can be done for a number of reasons, including:
- The anime in question is only available in Japanese, and the people involved in the translations want to make the series available to other audiences.
- The 'official' translation/dubbing might be seen as poor quality or differing from the source material too much, so the translated/subbed version, although not official, is meant to be a more "accurate" translation.
- Certain content (ranging from scenes to entire episodes) was cut from a particular translation, so viewers who want to see the cut content can do so in their native language.
Both fansubs and fandubs range in quality, depending on how dedicated the fanbase of the particular anime is. However, with the advent of better recording and editing technology, the fansubs and fandubs of today are of much better quality than the same material 20 years ago.
Manga translations are usually done for similar reasons as the anime.
- The manga in question is not available in other languages.
- The manga was censored, in most cases due to extreme violence or nude scenes, which are often common in Japanese manga, but not allowed in other countries.
example use: Entire sets of Yugioh! cards were translated by fans when the first sets of cards were released in the United States by UpperDeck Entertainment due to the difference in available sets at the time in Japan and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the language, many Japanese cards were often mistranslated.
More examples of subbing, particularly that of anime episodes, can be found online by typing in the name of the show/manga, episode number/Title, and the word "subbed" .
In all cases, people usually keep in mind that fan translations may not be as accurate as they should, and sometimes may be completely incorrect. The accuracy of the translation depends heavily on the level of knowledge of the language the translator has, and their particular knowledge of Japanese traditions and daily behavior.
While most of the time correct enough, sometimes, similar pronunciations of different words can cause confusion and lead subbers to give wrong translations (see Engrish).