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Solo Leveling’s ADR Director Reveals The Massive Efforts Required To Dub An Anime Into English

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Sub vs Dub is a debate that will never cease in the anime fandom. While the efforts required to make an anime have more or less become the topic of common discussion of anime fandoms and forums online, there is very little talk going on about what it takes to successfully dub an anime into English.

However, in a recent interview with popular entertainment website Cinemablend, Caitlin Glass, the ADR (Automated dialogue replacement) director for Solo Leveling talked about the massive efforts that go into creating a perfect dub for an anime.

According to Glass, even before she gets started on the work, the translation team takes up the job of translating the anime that is provided by licensors. More often than not, these anime do not come with English Subtitles or translations. So it is the task of the translators to come up with suitable translations for the content.

Once that is done, the adaptive writer, takes up the translations and makes sure that it fits the mouth animation. Meaning, the writer has to modify the translations and scripts if needed to fit it into the same amount of time as the original Japanese speech.

Glass talked about Jessica Sluys, the adaptive writer who is working on Solo Leveling, to explain this in detail.

Our adaptive writer, Jessica Sluys. I’ve worked with her many times on other productions, so she takes the translation and fits it into the mouth animation, and then, when we get it in the booth, if any of that still isn’t fitting. I am at liberty to change those things, and sometimes we’ll even change them just because they don’t feel right.

Sometimes, even voice actors pitch in with their suggestions, suggesting how they feel the character they are voicing might deliver a certain dialogue. In this case, Glass talked to Cinemablend about the inputs that Aleks Le, the English voice actor behind Sung Jin-woo would give during the dubbing process of Solo Leveling.

You know we can, Aleks often says, ‘I don’t feel like that’s how Jin-woo would say it,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, how would he say it?’ And so we’ll change it to that and make sure that it will still fit that animation.

As an ADR director Glass reveals that the most critical aspect of her job is to make sure that all the voices in the anime sync perfectly, even with the changes that are suggested by the team. For those who are failing to grasp it, the process of translating and scripting for dubbed anime is one of the most difficult job in the process.

If audiences feel that the dialogues are off, or if it doesn’t sound natural, Glass claims that it puts the audiences off as it hits them that the anime is not for English-speaking audiences.

Glass also talked about the role of the ADR engineer in the interview.

The other person that is indispensable in this effort is our ADR Engineer for this show. His name is Jamal Roberson, and it’s Jamal’s job to make the gold that that Aleks is giving us with his performance make it fit in in the animation. There’s sometimes where it’s like something is so spontaneous and organic and pure in the performance. And it’s the first take. And we really wanna capture that and maintain it. But it needs to be finessed a little bit. So we can do a lot of things digitally to make the performance fit into the animation that’s there, because we cannot change the animation at all. So Jamal is our hero.

Once all these pieces fall in place, the ADR director makes sure that all the components, including the voices of the characters are synced perfectly. This version of the anime is then sent to another engineer who adds the sounds, effects and other details into the anime.

And finally when everything is added and meshed perfectly, the anime is then streamed for audiences.

Glass’ insight into the whole process shows that making dubs is not easy in any way. The next time we are having a discourse on whether sub or dub is better, it would be best to factor in the efforts the staff put in and then come to a conclusion.

Source: Cinemablend

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