I have been watching a particular anime series that is quite long. No one fansubber has subbed everything, so I have seen translations from a number of different groups.
One group had patently horrible subtitles. The English was broken and often made no sense, and pivotal vocabulary was incorrect. Names were wrong or in Chinese–apparently the translator had a Chinese version they used to translate it–and the timing was completely off.
But despite all those problems, this wasn’t the worst fansub job I’ve come across.
I’m into a different fansubber now, and this group bothers me far more than the other. Their English is fine–well written and perfectly comprehensible.
But they don’t write what the characters are actually saying!
Characters in this anime are extremely precise, but this fansubber will leave out entire sections of information. They will also add in dialogue that isn’t there. For example, a character thinking “From the condition of the body, the death is definitely due to poisoning” is subtitled, “Who is the one who committed the murder?” (This line of thought continues, “The most suspicious is that person, and there should be evidence,” but the subtitles say “There’s something about that match, I know something’s wrong.” >_<) You can understand what’s going on with these subtitles, but if you think about it, they’re telling a completely different story. A story in which the main character has hunches instead of deductions! Which is ridiculous. I liked the horribly-broken, poorly-timed subtitles with the occasional mistranslated word of vocabulary better because I could simply glance at them and use them as a reference while I listened to the Japanese. With these “perfect” English subtitles, I have to read them, listen to the Japanese, and filter out which subtitles were wrong or incomplete or added in for no apparent reason. I’m not to a point with my Japanese language comprehension that I can just watch this show raw and understand everything. I depend on the subtitles to guide me through the hairier parts. So these subtitles are driving me crazy.