Katrina Leonoudakis, who is credited as the translator for Arifureta manga among other works, was ridiculed on social media for claiming that Spy x Family‘s anime adaptation was only famous in the west due to the stellar translations that the anime’s subtitles received.
“Putting it out here that Spy x Family wouldn’t be half as successful as it is in the West without the absolutely stellar translation by Michelle Tymon (@gshock99)! She perfectly captures Anya’s cute speech, humorous moments, and SO much characterization,” she wrote.
While Leonoudakis was quoting ANN’s tweet while making her statement, the article itself notes that the reason why Spy x Family was so hotly anticipated was because its manga was hugely popular.
“Spy×Family has been a beloved manga since it came out, so this anime was hotly anticipated. And by and large, it’s lived up to every expectation and more,” the article reads.
The translator then went out to point that despite the anime being such a huge hit, the translators who worked on the subtitles still got paid the same, something she didn’t seem to agree with.
“Michelle is so talented and she is so passionate. It’s a shame that she’s doesn’t get paid more for the amount of work and skill she’s putting in each week for this huge series and more. (Yes, we get paid the same whether it’s a top series or something very niche!),” she wrote.
However, most of the replies to the tweet disagreed with what Leonoudakis had said, pointing out that if a series is successful, credits were due to the author, the plot, the characters and according to some, even the anime and the voice actors.
“I hate to say it, but its probably thanks to the manga being released earlier to the west thats made it so loved,” a reply read. “Also, I dont think the dub for the english version is good. The preformamces [sic] are very low.”
A user even said that they watched the anime in Spanish subs, and they did not miss the stellar translation that Leonoudakis was talking about.
“I read the manga in Spanish, and watched the anime with Spanish subs, the ‘stellar translation’ had nothing to do with the anime success,” the user said.
The translator also faced backlash for not giving any due credit to the mangaka Tatsuya Endo or the other key staff who worked on the Spy x Family anime.
“So the Og creator, Animators, Editors, Voice Actors, Companies and all other individuals involved with Spy x Family amount to only half of what makes this show popular? With or without your friend this show would still be popular. This comment only shows a lack of humbleness,” another person wrote.
Leonoudakis, who is an advocate of localization when it comes to translating works, was also called for not translating the Japanese phrases properly and refusing to accept criticism when someone pointed it out, with a user saying that localization killed the interest they had in a work.
“You should definitely in the future correctly translate the manga because, as paying customers, we want to get our money’s worth. By you localizing, it turns me off from buying it.”
Other replies stated that Leonoudakis was being arrogant, crediting the success of a work to a single person, rather than the whole team that was behind the anime.
While most of the replies went against Leonoudakis’ opinion, there were some who agreed that the show was more enjoyable because it was translated well.
“Even as an English only watcher, I’ve been noticeably impressed with how fluid and characterized the localization has been. I’ll absolutely agree that it has been key to the experience,” a twitter user said in response to her tweet.
Spy × Family is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. It has been serialized biweekly on Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ application and website since March 2019, with the chapters collected in nine tankōbon volumes as of April 2022.
An anime adaptation by Wit Studio and Cloverworks started airing on April 9, 2022. It became the most streamed anime in Japan in the month of May 2022.
The manga has exceeded over 350 million reads on the Shonen Jump+ digital platform and over 17 million copies of the collected volumes were printed (physically) and sold (digitally) in Japan.
Viz Media has licensed the series for English release in North America.