A lot of producers these days seem to change the original Japanese name to English alternatives. Why do they do this? Does this add any value to the name of the anime in other countries or is it just that it is easier to read for people outside of japan/otaku society?

Because some of the cases are really weird and in my opinion not necessary. An example of this would be "Ace of Diamond" also known as "Diamond no Ace".

Is there anything to gain from translating the title? Also, why don't all series do this?

  • 4
    Your question would make a lot more sense if you define "they".
    – ton.yeung
    Oct 8 '13 at 13:53
  • IMO, It might be familiar for different persons especially who aren't very close to japanese and romanji Oct 8 '13 at 14:18
  • 2
    Keeping the Japanese names (usually if they are short) helps with SEO.
    – кяαzєя
    Oct 8 '13 at 15:45
  • 2
    The producers underestimate the intelligence of the typical American viewer. It is not just restricted to the title or translation. Onigiri, for example, is always "replaced" by doughnut, burger, or some such, because there is no way an American would understand rice cake, right?
    – Masked Man
    Oct 9 '13 at 1:51
  • 5
    @Dimitri-mx As a point of clarification: the producers (the production that makes the show) usually have little say in how the licencors (they purchase a license to distribute the show elsewhere). It's the licencor that decide how to localize series (as evidenced by 4Kids butchering of certain popular anime for TV). They don't have much of a marketing budget so they rely the internet, social media, and word of mouth to spread the word. Keeping the Japanese name (or part of it) helps because it helps them piggyback on top of current trends people are currently discussing (or have discussed).
    – кяαzєя
    Oct 10 '13 at 15:29

Since you don't specify who is "they" I would like to give some insight:

"they" the English Comercializator:

  • Promotional/Marketing desition which take into account the public, if the program/title has an extensive fan-base that knows the name by the Japanese title, it would be counter-productive to translating the title and maybe lossing buyers that don't know the "product" by the english title.
  • Attractiveness: some titles are more atractive if they have mixed/full english translation, again a marketing move.

There could be others reasons but most of them will boil down to marketing tactics to sell, through the Japanese trademark holders may like to commercialize under a specific name, or, at petition of the author, use a translation.

"they" the fan:

Fans most of the time are purist, and call series by the original Japanese pronunciation which in some cases is rather painful (any long/big title almost impossible to pronounce out there?). Short names are also used (ex. PapaKiki) but most of them are stablished by the Japanese fans rather than the english-speakers. Through, some fans knows the title both by the translation and original Japanese, when distributing/discussing the most popular name takes precedence over the other possible uses.

other cases:

Some titles are already in English (or attempt of English), so no translation is made and is pronounced with correct english. Example of this, english-speakers may use Death Note instead of Desu Nōto as they would know the correct pronunciation and was what the author tried to convey.

In this cases, english marketers normally just use the correct english spelling when commercializing, and the only exception I know is 'Cardcaptor Sakura' which was commercialized as 'Cardcaptors'.

  • My bad for not specifying They. I mainly ment the comercializator. But this clears up pretty much all the cases. Thanks
    – Dimitri mx
    Oct 8 '13 at 19:16
  • there is a weird example of the translation going in reverse between the US and Australia, NISA in the US has Bunny Drop but Siren Entertainment in Australia has it as Usagi Drop....though i have no idea if the anime itself uses the name change since i only have the NISA copy since they had the premium edition and if given the choice of a premium edition from the states or a standard one locally i would import
    – Memor-X
    Oct 9 '13 at 22:02

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