I’m currently re-watching the Lord of the Rings films on Blu-ray in preparation for the coming Hobbit movie. Like other Tolkien fans in Japan, I’m doki doki (nervous) as to whether or not the first minutes of The Hobbit will feature the name of Toda Natsuko as the Japanese translator. Ms. Toda is a huge name in the movie business, the “Queen of Subtitles” whose personal schedule can influence the release dates of Hollywood films that want to sell well in Japan. Whenever Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt comes to Japan to promote a film she’s on hand to interpret for them and make sure Japanese movie-goers are reminded of her star status. She’s translated everything from E.T. to Titanic to the Harry Potter films and every James Bond movie since 1983. She also translated the three Lord of the Rings films, and drew the ire of fans by screwing the job up, either by crassly translating some of the most memorable lines without referring to the established Japanese translations of the books or getting other lines just plain wrong. Fan outrage was so great that Peter Jackson had to get involved, reassuring fans that errors would be fixed for the DVD releases. So we’ve got our fingers crossed that the subtitles for the Japanese version of The Hobbit won’t be bungled.
Fingers crossed that The Hobbit’s subtitles won’t be screwed up.