Saturday, July 20, 2013

What is SymphoSubs?

Seeing as how I've seen this question floating around lately I thought I would address it here.

As many of you know, Commie is the only fansub group doing Symphogear G this season. While I greatly appreciate their time and efforts put into make it available in English, their translations are sometimes lacking or incorrect. In an effort to improve upon their script, I've been working with a friend from Twitter to release modified versions of their subs for the fans. That's what "SymphoSubs" group is and what you can expect from our releases.

So what does this mean, exactly? Well in our script:
  • Honorifics have been added
  • Proper terminology has been added and names have been fixed (i.e. Swan Song to Superb Song, Heavenrend to Ame no Habakiri).
  • The translation of various lines have been adjusted for higher accuracy (examples below)
  • Lines that were translated out of proper context have been fixed
  • References to other series (i.e. Wild Arms) have been kept

Now look, I've seen people going around claiming that all we did was add honorifics and change some names. It's simply not true. The debate over honorifics aside, I can assure you that SymphoSubs is a higher quality translation that offers a better viewing experience. There are a lot of things that Commie misses or screws up in their subs and that's simply due to the fact that they don't read the supplemental material like I do. I know more about the show and can interpret lines and information better than they can. I can give you a few prime examples to demonstrate the fact that SymphoSubs and Commie are two entirely different experiences.

Episode 1- During the scene where Hibiki explains her idea to Chris, citing Genjuurou's "combat" manual.

Commie dialog: Chris - "Is that manual for real?" 
SymphoSubs dialog: Chris - "That combat 'manual' is just a bunch of action movies isn't it?" 

Episode 2 - Vice Minister Shibata explaining what occurred at a US research facility.

Commie dialog: Shibata - "They lost most of the research data they collected, including the biological specimens they kept in the lab."
SymphoSubs dialog: Shibata -  Almost all of the data they had analyzed up until that point just went kaput. Not only that, but all the relics they kept have gone missing too."

Episode 3 - Nastassja talking to Dr. Ver in regards to their plans.

Commie dialog: Nastassja - "The Frontier is a key element in the execution of our plan. It is necessary to keep a close eye on it to ensure operations begin smoothly."
SymphoSubs dialog: Nastassja - "Yes, the "Frontier" is another key factor to the success of our plan. We can't afford to skip over an inspection after it was activated recently, however... "

There are plenty of other examples I could give, but really I think it's just best if people watch both and decide which they prefer for themselves. Honestly, I don't claim to be flawless with my TL work, I just want to provide a better experience for those that care. With a show that's so heavy in plot and details like Symphogear is, I think interpreting the dialog accurately and keeping the terminology consistent is very important. That way you have something reliable to refer to when making theories about future episodes, or when a plot twist occurs and you go back to look for the foreshadowing.


  1. They tend to change things when the BDs come out, so you could do a further revision when they redo the subs. Also, any chance of doing an "ultimate" version of season 1 using a combination of Commie and Funi, choosing the best lines and adding your fixes?

    1. I would love to do a complete version of season 1, but that would require a lot of work. I don't think I've even been through Commie's BD subs for season 1. I will definitely add it to my list of things to do, but I can't make any promises!

    2. "I don't think I've even been through Commie's BD subs for season 1."
      Wait until you see Ryoko saying she want's to "pop her [Hibiki's] cherry".

      Thank you for releasing these!

    3. Well, you have my support, at my state now, i just want to translate gekkou no ken, stuck in the middle though, but it's easier than zettou ame no habakiri -_-

  2. Hi!
    It was really a nice surprise to find out that you were behind symphosubs!
    To translate Symphogear, at first I used the BD version by Commie...
    A couple of hours later I deleted everything and started again from zero XD
    Just reading their lyric of "Zettou Ame no Habakiri" was... painful -.-

    Thank you for all your work and for the info you share!