Appendix talk:Glossary (Production)

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On Terminology, Language, and Animation

So I know this was a discussion on the Discord a while back. I considered adding my two cents to the discussion, as I have a bit of knowledge on animation/animation history/animation terminology/etc., as well as a special interest in language, linguistics, and semantics. I figured that the talk page would be a better place to lay out my thoughts on all of this.

First of all, to get it out of the way, what we refer to as "concept art" is actually called "model/reference sheet". This is a common misconception, so it's no harm no foul. But concept art is basically the art that develops the ideas, and the model/reference sheets lay out the final ideas in a way that helps animators/artists/etc. make consistent animation/art/etc.

But now to my main point, I think that the use of Japanese terminology is... confusing to the average reader. As an example, something like this: "Genga, (Japanese: 原画 lit. "original pictures") is a term used to describe specific key animation drawings used in 2D animation, which take place after the layout phase." From the perspective of someone who doesn't know a lot about the animation process, this wouldn't be helpful at all. It's just translating a term I don't know. What are key animation drawings? What is the layout phase? What are these words? Moreover, it feels inconsistent when the English terms are used elsewhere. In this same paragraph, there's "They are then traced by in-between (Japanese: 動画 douga) artists", rather than "They are then traced by douga (動画 lit. "in-between") artists".

But this confusion is made worse outside of the appendix. For example, on a character page, you might have a line like "Poppy reveals that she's trying to draw a picture of her superior, which is a nod to Geeta's settei." If I'm a average user with no knowledge of the animation/design process, especially no knowledge of a niche part of Japanese vocabulary, this is just confusing. It reminds me of the ProZD video "official subs vs fansubs". As one commenter put it, ""nakama is a word that means your closest friend and there is not an english equivalent" Yes there is, it's "closest friend"".

But that's the interesting thing about animation history. Japanese animation/anime is the only instance of non English (specifically American) animation where the original terminology is preferred over the translated terminology. I mean, we don't cal l it "animatsiya" or "animatie", we call it "Russian animation" or "Dutch animation". But we're not fansubbers, we're a database. Our job should be conveying information as clearly as possible. So, my suggestion is that we default to English terminology, and in the appendix we give the Japanese translations. Example:

"Key frames" (Japanese: Genga 原画 lit. "original pictures") are the drawings in an animation that define the start and end of a motion. The key frames are drawn by the key animator, and are often corrected by those higher up on the production team, such as animation directors, (also referred to as animation supervisors) chief animation directors, or character designers. They are then traced by in-between (Japanese: 動画 douga) artists, who also draw the missing frames following the notes left by the key animator for timing and frame-pacing.

These are just my two cents. I'm also more than happy to answer and questions or clarify any of my points. Welkamo (talk) 22:23, 5 May 2024 (UTC)

The recent changes in policy that were announced in the Message from the Editor in March will be formalized in the manual of style soon, and we will begin the process of updating the site to use the terminology best understood by English speakers in the near future as well. Landfish7 22:30, 5 May 2024 (UTC)