Dubbing my Novel

This is not a teaser O_O

I’m working on an R&R of Taylor-Made, and yesterday I came to a scene I wanted to pick out and salvage from my previous version.  One of the things I did in the revision was cut out two characters, both of which were used quite a bit in the scene.  One was easily ignored, but the other had a role in the scene that I realized just couldn’t be directly given to another character without some sort of explanation.

And that’s when I was reminded of a paper I once wrote about, of all things, Sailormoon.  The paper analyzed why certain things were okay in children’s programming in Japan that were not okay in children’s programming in the United States.  Namely, LGBT characters and situations.  (The fact that Dean, the needed character that I cut out, is bisexual has no bearing on this comparison, although it is a funny coincidence).  In the paper, I pointed out the great lengths that the U.S. dubbers took to hide all things homosexual or trans.  Lesbians in a committed relationship would become cousins (and the looks between them, therefore, incestuous).  A male tea master who wears a skirt for five seconds–as part of the episode’s joke–is changed to female (making the little girl’s crush on him really awkward to dub around).  And over all that, entire conversations and plots become almost nonsensical to cover, for example, the characters joking that one of the mains is on a date with a girl or that the would-be boyfriend of one of the mains (same one, actually) is jealous that a guy–who the viewers know is really a girl–seems to be, but isn’t, flirting with her.  Because they were struggling so hard to avoid the plot points that were still there in the visuals, some conversations became awkward and convoluted.

Well.  I hope that the scene that I altered to make up for the loss of Dean is not much like the Sailormoon dub.  Unlike dubbing, I was not stuck to following the same track as the original.  In an anime, the visuals are there, and the dub must match them (to some extent, because things do occasionally get cut and in some anime dubs, completely rearranged).  In the revision, I can cut or add as needed.  On the other hand, I am trying to keep my word count down, so I did feel a little limited by what I could expand on.

So what was it I was changing?  In the original, Dean was the guy who drove everyone out of the evil corporation’s headquarters and to a safe haven.  This made sense because he was the only person in the entire book who knew where their safe haven actually was.  Once I cut him out (for word count’s sake), I had to find someone else who could find the safe haven.  That left two characters who could potentially know or receive that information.  Oops, one of them was that other character I cut.  And the second needed to stay behind while someone else drove off.  So how the heck could they find their way to the safe haven when all three characters who could possibly do it were either cut or needed elsewhere?

I did make it work, although I can’t tell you how well until I get to editing my revisions.  It involved creating the ability steer the car by remote (Dean’s still driving, basically, just not in the car) and choosing a remaining character to be the one who hits the brakes and accelerator and swerves to avoid crashing.  I know that I wouldn’t want to drive like that, but whatever.  What really worked out for me, though, is that choosing the driver and explaining how it was going to work gave me a chance to squeeze in one last little moment in this romantic subplot I added to the revision before the two characters involved got separated, so that was nice.

So that was my most recent dubbing experience.

And if you ever want a laugh, watch Sailormoon S dubbed with the subtitles on at the same time.

Or don’t.  Those American voices and dialogue were awful.

Lots of love,
Sage

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