JBI Studios' Blog on Voice-Over, Dubbing, and Multimedia Localization.

Seiyuu: the Artists of Japanese Dubbing

Seiyuu or seiyu (声優) is a Japanese term used for Japanese voice actors and actresses. It is a robust industry in Japan that produces a large number of animated series (aka anime) and films that are beloved the world over as the talented seiyuu bring the vast number of characters to life. Each year, the annual Seiyuu Awards are held to honor these hard-working, talented voice performers.

Topics: Voice-over & Audio Dubbing Japanese Japan

Linguistic Differences Between Japanese and English

Japanese localization, whether it's providing subtitles or voice-over/dubbing in Japanese, can be a particularly challenging as well as a rewarding process.

Japan is about the size of California, but with a much denser population of 126.8 million people. Despite being a relatively small island country, it is ranked as the third largest economy by GDP and is a cultural powerhouse with films, music, and pop culture that people around the world enjoy. Japanese people are also avid consumers of international content, making Japanese localization a booming industry.

In this blog, we'll discuss some key linguistic differences between Japanese and English to keep in mind when doing Japanese localization.

[Average read time: 4 minutes]

Topics: localization Japanese Japan English

The Japanese and Korean Languages: Similarities and Differences

With the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo this year, we will be having at least one Japanese themed blog post each month leading up to the games. In this post, we will discuss the similarities and differences between the Japanese and Korean languages.

These are two of the most popular languages we localize in. Despite being mutually unintelligible, there are some strong similarities between the two languages. Let's get into the details of comparing Japanese and Korean.

[Average read time: 4 minutes]

Topics: localization Japanese Korean

Japanese Animation: A Brief History and Tips for Dubbing Anime

Anime, also known as Japanese animation, is a major cultural export from Japan that has had and continues to have a strong international influence. From Astro Boy in the 1960s to the massively successful animated feature Your Name in 2017, Japanese animation is in great demand around the world, therefore so is anime subtitling and dubbing.

In this blog we will focus on anime dubbing by first giving some historical context and then sharing key tips and reminders for dubbing Japanese animation into English.

[Average read time: 4 minutes]

Topics: Japanese animation anime

Localization for the Holidays

The holidays are here! In the U.S. we will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. It's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with loved ones and enjoy good food. The day after is the unofficial shopping holiday of the year, Black Friday, where U.S. residents pack the stores in search of deals. A few days after, on Cyber Monday, Americans hit the internet for online sales.

However, the U.S. is not unique in having a shopping holiday or even Thanksgiving. In this blog, we'll explore how different countries celebrate Thanksgiving and country specific holidays (shopping and otherwise) that businesses should pay attention to.

[Average read time: 3 minutes]

Topics: localization Chinese Japanese

Why Does Japanese Use Chinese Characters (Kanji)?

With the popularity of Japanese anime, manga, and pop culture, there has been a rise in Japanese language learners internationally. For these learners, one of the major difficulties in learning the Japanese language is its writing systems, three of them to be exact: katakana, hiragana, and kanji.

Having three systems can complicate things for language learners and as a localization studio, we have to make sure that the right character set is used.

For native English speakers, the phonetic systems of katakana and hiragana are relatively simple, but then there's kanji. Kanji, Chinese characters used in Japanese, has over 2,000 commonly used characters. A frustrated language learner may ask: why does Japanese, a language completely different from Chinese, use Chinese characters?

In this blog, we will discuss the historical origins of Japanese writing, an overview of the three writing systems, and arguments for and against kanji.

Topics: Translation & Localization multimedia Japanese

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