Translation & Subtitling (4)

 

 

Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Movie Subtitling with Natsuko Toda

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: What do you think is the future of subtitling?

TODA: There are not so many subtitlers anymore, and recently people have come to prefer dubbed movies. I believe subtitling will survive, but the number of subtitled movies will decline in the future.

TJ: That’s true. But isn’t it also true that the number of minor movies or TV programs to be subtitled has been increasing?

TODA: Yes, but the payment is very low even though it requires the same amount of effort.

戸田奈津子が語る映画字幕

日本で最も著名な字幕翻訳家でありハリウッドスターの通訳も務める 戸田奈津子のインタビュー・シリース
インタビュー:川合美雪

TJ: 字幕は今後どうなっていくと思われます か?

トダ: 最近は字幕より吹替えを好む人が多く なっています。もちろん字幕は残るとは思いま すが、数は減っていくでしょうね。

TJ: 確かにそうですが、マイナーな映画やテレ ビ番組の数は増えていますね。

トダ: でも同じ手間をかけても作業の単価はと ても安いでしょう?

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda

TJ: Do different directors have different requirements for translating the subtitles of their movies? Can you think of any unique requests you’ve had, such as maybe having to sit down with a director and going over the subtitling face-to-face?
Toda: No, they have no time and they don’t care about Japan so much. Of course, Japan is a big market, but they don’t pay attention to subtitling. For “The Color Purple,” Spielberg asked me to reflect African-American English from the South in the subtitles. However, this is impossible. If I use grammatically wrong expressions, the audience thinks it’s a subtitling mistake. Also, it makes no sense and the audience cannot understand the story. I explained this to him and he understood, but it was a rare case. I have never gone over subtitling face- to-face with a director.

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda.

TJ: What is the most common challenge or difficulty that film subtitlers are faced with, and how can this challenge be overcome?
Toda: Practically speaking, having no job is the most difficult situation. Many people want to do subtitling, but job opportunities are limited. Movie companies don’t want to ask someone who has no experience, as they put so much money into the movie. So they usually only ask experienced subtitlers. It’s a vicious circle. You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Getting a job and doing it well is the most important thing. If you fail, you will never be asked again. It’s very hard. I think most people fail because of their lack of Japanese proficiency.

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda.

TJ: Can you tell us about how you got started in your career?
Toda: I saw a lot of movies in my school days, and I absolutely loved them. After graduating from Tsuda College, I visited Japanese subtitling pioneer Shunji Shimizu to ask about working in the field of movie subtitling. He said mastering the skill was difficult and there weren’t many opportunities for work in the field. But, I was not discouraged. I chose a non-film industry related job and began working at Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Company in the Hibiya area of Tokyo. However, I didn’t abandon my passion for movies. Pretty soon I quit Dai-Ichi Life and began working part-time jobs as a translator. I did all kinds of translations including industrial manuals, magazine articles and books. Eventually, I began doing movie-related translations and dictation for Shimizu sensei, and through this relationship, I was offered the opportunity to interpret at a press conference. It was almost 10 years after I graduated from college before I had the opportunity to be offered the job of subtitling for a Francois Truffaut movie and I was fortunate to have Shimizu Sensei provide advice during that time in my career.



Staff Continued

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