Subs: Literal vs. Liberal

"Too cute your imouto is, young Skywalker!"

gg subs (which I now think should stand for “Gregariously Guffawing” subs) recently released a sub of Hidan no Aria Episode 7. It was a rather original troll sub job. While I find it a bit bizarre just how much some anime fans like the concept of being “trolled”, I have to nonetheless appreciate how gg is taking advantage of such a trolling opportunity to engage in sharply slick satire.


At least, that’s how I perceived their Hidan no Aria Episode 7 sub job.

For there is principally one factor, and one factor alone, that makes it a troll sub: The fact that it is an entirely word-for-word literal translation. It hence is, I think, gg’s attempt to implicitly comment on a literal translation approach to subbing anime vis a vis a more liberal translation approach.

Well, since gg has thrown down a gregariously guffawing gauntlet here, I think it is only apropos that we humor them with a response, and that’s what this blog entry will attempt to do.

In addition to how it occasionally trolls audiences, gg is noted for its preference for a more liberal approach to sub translation. In other words, it is generally more concerned with smooth and familiar dialogue/narration than with word-for-word translation accuracy. It values what you could call “congruency” over what you could call “faithfulness”. This recent troll sub job is, I believe, intended to leave an impression with viewers that the alternative to gg’s subbing approach is entirely without merit and hopelessly unwieldy.

Well, as someone who prefers a more literal approach to sub translations, let me explain why I disagree with gg here, and take issue with their implicit argument demonstrated by their work on Hidan no Aria Episode 7.

First of all, it should be noted that the subs of Hidan no Aria Episode 7 are so painstaking to follow due primarily to one lone issue: The sentence structure feels disjointed, and even somewhat “backwards”. In other words, characters often come off sounding like a certain famous Jedi Master from Star Wars. So, the problem is not with word choice, but rather with word arrangement.

As a proud citizen of officially bi-lingual Canada, I’m well aware of how one language can seem “backwards” to speakers of a different language. French seems “backwards” to English-Canadians like me, just like I’m sure that English seems “backwards” to French-Canadians. But we don’t accommodate for this by employing a much more liberal translation approach in general. Rather, we usually do translate as close to literally as reasonably possible, but while keeping sentence structure and word arrangement in mind. So, we just arrange translated words in a more naturally sounding order, rather than changing the words themselves.

Sub groups that favor a more liberal translation approach often go farther than that though. They sometimes engage in what some anime fans would consider localization. In other words, their translation isn’t concerned simply in having smooth sentence structure, but also in subs seeming culturally familiar to North American readers.

The negative here, though, is that this can result in cultural whitewashing.

What do I mean by cultural whitewashing?

Well, when its taken to the extreme, I mean what this rather (in)famous company does.


"Rice balls? More like sandwiches!"

Now, I’m certainly not saying that the more liberally translating sub groups are as extreme as 4Kids. But if you take the liberal translation approach to its logical extreme, you do get the sort of Americanization of characters and dialogue that 4Kids is known for.

In fairness, when you’re translating foreign entertainment for a more general mainstream audience (as is the case with most official dubs), a certain degree of localization is probably necessary in order to reach that audience. 4Kids typically takes it way too far, but I can understand some slight changes here and there. However, that’s when you’re focusing on a more general mainstream audience that aren’t particularly concerned with (or even aware of) where exactly their animated entertainment comes from.

Let’s be frank here – If you’re downloading subs of anime the very same day as they first aired in Japan, chances are that you’re well-aware of the Japanese cultural context of anime. You’re not as I was back in the 1990s, unable to culturally distinguish Sailor Moon and DBZ from The PowerPuff Girls and The Ripping Friends, but rather as I am now, acutely aware of the culturally nuanced differences between (most) anime shows and (most) North American-made or European-made animated shows.

Furthermore, when people knowingly turn to foreign entertainment it’s often due to a general dissatisfaction with local and domestic entertainment, as local and domestic entertainment is typically easier to acquire than foreign entertainment is. Many non-Japanese anime fans are anime fans precisely because they’re dissatisfied with the entertainment offerings of their respective countries. I myself am an anime fan today in large part due to how other more North American-centric entertainment industries started to lose my interest. I also know one anime fan who told me that the last thing he wants to see is anime become more like Dawson’s Creek, or The OC. 😉

So, really, I don’t particularly want to see Japanese characters sounding like they’re out of an American sitcom, court drama, or reality TV show. I became a pretty hardcore anime fan in large part to get away from that sort of entertainment.

Many of us anime fans are like that. We like the Japanese cultural flavor to anime. We see how that makes anime a more unique entertainment form, drawing distinctive differences between itself and entertainment offerings from other parts of the globe.

Sometimes liberal translating approaches go so far as to undermine that cultural flavor, I fear.

For example, Japan has a certain systematic politeness to its language and everyday discussions amongst the Japanese people, including widely beloved honorifics. That’s not to say that Japanese swear words are entirely non-existent, but they are (from what I’ve heard and read on the subject) rarer than in the English language and also used less commonly. That being said, I respect how a “delinquent” character should sound like an actual delinquent, and for the ears of English-speaking viewers, that may involve some added colorful language.

Still, does this girl look like a delinquent to you?

Well, in the K-On!! subs that I watched, Mio actually shouted “Jesus”, “Christ”, or “Jesus Christ”, at least a couple times throughout the anime, IIRC.

This is doubly problematic. One is that Mio is hardly the sort of girl to use colorful language (and nor is K-On!! a “bad ass” anime show by any stretch of the imagination; you don’t watch K-On!! for how gritty it is 😉 ). Secondly, Japan has a very tiny Christian population relative to its total population. As is generally well-known, the swear words people use are greatly determined by the predominant culture and/or religion of the place in which they live and/or grew up in (this is why Wonder Woman typically shouts “Hera!” when she is in a sate of disturbed shock and awe, and doesn’t shout “Jesus Christ”; I like how this is a nod to and reminder of Wonder Woman’s amazonian background).

Long story short, I very much doubt Mio actually shouted “Jesus Christ” in the original Japanese. And having the subs assign that line to her is hence a case of cultural whitewashing or Americanization, in my view.

Now, admittedly, this is very small in and of itself. But it can add up over time, and even a lone instance of it can be distracting to some viewers.

When watching a sub, I want the subs to convey the meaning and tone behind the words that the character or narrator stated, but I also want the cultural context of the anime to be respected and maintained. In the cases of more “bad ass” characters (like, say, Revy from Black Lagoon) this may indeed call for added colorful language. But that isn’t called for everywhere, and in fact, for most characters, a more or less literal translation would be fine.

As long as, of course, you have good sentence structure and smooth word arrangement.

I hope that’s what we see in the subs for the next episode of Hidan no Aria. 😉

Still, this bog entry is not intended to be critical of subbers themselves. Subbers do an often thankless yet invaluable service to the online anime community, and they probably don’t get appreciated enough for what they do. So merci beaucoup to them, regardless of any disagreements I may have with their chosen translating style.

Nonetheless, I think that good and legitimate discussion can be had over what subbing style is best for the modern online anime community, and it’s my hope that this blog entry can make a good contribution to that discussion.

What do you say, good reader? 🙂

16 Replies to “Subs: Literal vs. Liberal”

  1. Translation is more akin to an art than a science. It should be flexible enough to serve the audience it’s designed to cater to. So concerning fansubs, I am not against loose translations in principle as long as the same meaning comes across. Slang is tricky because if it’s too obscure not everyone will understand, and if it’s too broad it might not carry the same meaning anymore. Of course I don’t endorse changing names, objects, or the whole tone of a show like 4Kids has so infamously done. But the worst thing a subber can do is leave in the Japanese word and post an editor’s note elsewhere explaining its meaning. That to me is the logical extreme of literal “translation”.

    I think skillful subbers can make liberal translations work better than strict styles. For example, if the sub of K-ON above had used “Jeepers!” instead of “Jesus!”, I imagine it would have perfectly fit the tone, character, and context and likely have flowed better than a rigid translation (I don’t have the thing in front of me right now to say for sure). Clever semantics can help convey a character’s personality, clear up ambiguity, etc.

    In the end, the real debate I see is not a about stylistic philosophies but a desire to see specific subbers improve their own craft. We see the same mistakes made over and over and wonder blame it on style instead of the quality of the translation. Most styles can probably work if every translator were skilled enough.

  2. I prefer a good liberal translation that keeps the subtext and emotional content intact. That’s because I like knowing what the characters MEAN, rather than what they say. A more literal translation risks being too rote and losing subtlety and flair, not to mention being tougher to read because it sounds mechanical.

    For instance, a lot of subtext in Spice and Wolf was lost because of over-zealous attempts to be literal. But Spice and Wolf wasn’t set in Japan, so why bother? A more liberal localization was definitely in order there. But the opposite was true for Gag Manga Biyori or Seitokai Yakuindomo, for instance. As such I think it’s important for a sub-group to know where the line is, because not everyone wants a lesson in Japanese, nor is it usually necessary to the story.

    Liberal subs also seem to have an easier time representing character-specific traits, which is often missed in something like, say, Spice and Wolf – Lawrence’s rougher, simpler, clumsier use of words was supposed to contrast with Holo’s exaggeratedly-elegant, but old-school speech patterns. Most viewers have trouble keeping up with excessive subbing and will miss visual gags and important emotional content from the voice actors if they’re being “natural” or subtle.

    But literal subs have some benefits as well. You can more easily match the pace of what the reader is hearing, even without resorting to Yoda-speak. The closer you can match them, the more “natural” and crisp the subs will feel.. or so I’ve been told by a number of people who’ve watched anime with me. You can, of course, do this for liberal subs, but I’ve been told it’s far more difficult.

    I’ve heard literal subs are also beneficial for those who don’t know either language that well.. but I’m not quite sure about it myself. I do think they’re probably a “safer bet” when the translator isn’t sure of the colloquialisms and such, and might risk adding subtext that SHOULDN’T exist, or just use an idiom that’s less common outside of their specific region.

  3. Interesting. Usually GG does a good job of subbing; well at least, I can understand it. And sometimes I feel like criticism is either extremely nitpicky or unnecessary. Sometimes you can argue there’s no reason for something to be left in Japanese. Would leaving onii-chan in Japanese really help anyone that does not regularly watch anime? I understand these things have no precise translation, but regardless it’s better to carry out the idea in English.

    When you reach 4kids– the translation isn’t even liberal any more. It’s just plain WRONG. Not even a kid would see it as a sandwich. It’s not they’re just butchering it, they’re slandering it.

    I think there’s a definite line between liberal interpretation vs things that were outright changed because they were morons and thought people couldn’t handle foreign names or foods.

    The other thing to realize is that ideas will never transfer 1:1 across language and the only way you’re gonna reach some kind of complete understanding is to learn the language yourself. Without understanding the nuances, I think the majority of us should stick to simpler titles.

    Stuff like honorifics, I’m glad they leave out. It’d be odd if you translated something from French and left the la/les in just because it sounds more “authentic”. I mean, are there any professional subtitles from a Japanese movie that have those things? Then again, we often steal words from French to sound smart… so I dunno. 😛

  4. I’d say you haven’t been paying very close attention to ggsubs version of Hidan no Aria because every episode they have done (staring with ep 4) has been some form of trollsub. Granted I haven’t watched 7 yet but the earlier ones were at least understandable but hilarious when they would leave untranslated something and have a note about what it means, sometimes implying its cultural meaning was much deeper in Japan or context dependent.

    As to the actual subbing philosophy. I expect tone from the seiyuu. I don’t need to see the sub have the person use super polite english speech if I can hear it in the voices of the seiyuu. I want my subs to tell me what they are saying as best they can and I’ll figure out the nuances from my ears or eyes.

  5. Yea, I have absolutely no interest in Hidan no Aria.

    Though honestly, the posts on the gg site about those episodes are hilarious.

  6. Well, I thank you all for your comments. 🙂

    Putting aside the broader issue of literal vs. liberal, I think that it’s important for the speaker’s character/personality to be accurately reflected when translating his or her lines. With this in mind, I think that kadian1364 raises some good points.

    Perhaps my issue is less with a liberal translation style in general, but rather with when it’s employed without any sense of balance or restraint whatsoever, or without much respect to characterization or social context issues. In the case of my Mio example, I would have been perfectly fine with “jeepers!”, for instance. I’m inclined to think that would fit the character, even if there is no Japanese equivalent to “jeepers!”

    Basically, though, I don’t think that it’s necessarily good to take the relatively rugged conversational style of modern American English and apply it wholesale to every anime show and all anime characters. In some cases, such an application may be called for. Some anime shows do not even have Japan as a setting, after all, such as the excellent Spice and Wolf example. But as you yourself rightly point out, Kadian1364, some anime shows are simply steeped in Japanese culture (Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is probably a good example here) and hence perhaps do call for a more literal translation.

    On the topic of honorifics in particular…

    I think that certain terms transcend language barriers. “Déjà vu”, for example, is a French term, but I daresay that everybody here knows what it means even if they’re not fluent in French.

    Some Japanese terms, such as “Sensei” (even for general audiences, thanks to movies like “The Karate Kid”) and “Onii-chan” (at least for more hardcore anime fans) have similarly managed to transcend language barriers (and it can sound awkward to English ears to hear a student call someone “teacher”all the time, or to call a sibling “brother” all the time). These terms can take on a dynamic life of their own, and be ones that the fanbase identify with and have fun with.

    That being said, I can see the pros and cons to leaving honorifics in and left untranslated (or only translated via a translator’s note somewhere else on the screen).

    The core point of how translation “…should be flexible enough to serve the audience it’s designed to cater to” actually resonates with me quite a bit, and is ironically why I generally prefer for sub jobs to err on the side of literal translation moreso than on the side of liberal translation. Because my sense from most anime blogs, and pretty much all online anime forums, is that the primary “audience” for fansubs have a pretty good grasp of anime’s Japanese cultural context anyway.

    But I’ll leave it at that. Thanks to kadian1364, Hogart, Archon_Wing, and Taka, for your informative responses, and welcomed contributions to the discussion. As for your point, Taka, I guess that I must have missed or overlooked gg’s translator notes in other Hidan no Aria episodes. I assure you, though, that there’s no way anybody could miss what gg did with Episode 7 of Hidan no Aria, lol. ^_^;;

  7. I view translations like I view any sort of adaptation, in that I’d rather they’d stick closer to the spirit than the letter. When I am reading English, whether in a manga or as subtitles, I like to read, you know, English. Don’t give me an “onii-chan” with a TL note telling me it means “brother.” That might have been off topic.

  8. I have to agree with the others before me, particularly Hogart, for some great points. With regards the literal/liberal debate, at the risk of providing a cop-out answer, I suppose it depends on the show in question, although for the most part I’d choose liberal translations. Even if certain nuances and subtleties are glossed over, it’s still a small price to pay for natural sounding dialogue.

    The subbing for currently airing series Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is a great example of this. At the beginning of the season I checked out both the Mazui and Underwater-Commie to see which sub I preferred. Personally, while I found the Mazui translation to be far more accurate in terms of context and references, it came across as slight clunky and obtuse. The U.C. work, while admittedly somewhat of a dumbing down of the original dialogue, provided a far more enjoyable read by simply recreating the essence of the conversations in a free-flowing manner.

    To that end I personally have no issue with English slang being included to bridge a gap between the source materials. One of my favourite subs of recent times, Nutbladder’s work on Arakawa Under the Bridge, was quite liberal, using lines such as “no shit!” often enough; however, they had a great grasp on the show’s characters and often I’d forget I was reading, rather than hearing the dialogue. The lines were perfectly in tune with the inflection of each seiyuu’s voice and felt completely natural for each character.

    Of course there is the potential to ruin this, with lazy, ill chosen words/phrases for a particular personality (e.g. your Mio example) or with plain old trolling (such as Nordkohl subs use of the word “nigger” as a stand-in insult in their work for Psychic Detective Yakumo; the backlash of which caused them to disappear); still, for the most part I think slang works pretty well.

    Saying that, I do enjoy more literal translations with certain types of shows; dialogue heavy productions, those with historical settings or just heavily rooted in Japanese culture and language. The formal, slightly awkward style of writing often helps provide a better tone, stylistically speaking, for the narrative, as well in terms of the literal accuracy; a similar comparison would be using Ye Olde English in period dramas I suppose.

    Ultimately I feel that those who are passionately invested in the literal translation of Japanese dialogue into its closest English counterpart shouldn’t be reading in the first place; they should have learnt, or be learning to understand the language. I’ve always viewed the argument of textual accuracy from those who have no actual interest in truly understanding the source material as somewhat redundant. If I was really that bothered about it I’d pick up a tutor; instead I’m content to have the words come to me in a manner I can associate with. If that’s laziness or lack of interest from my part then so be it.

  9. Ah balls, just realised that by the time I came back to finish my post Triple_R had already responded, making most of my comments unnecessary. Apologies if it looks like I ignored your response and posted my thoughts anyway. 🙂

  10. Well, in the time it took me to download the episode, watch it, and then laugh at how horribly looking it is (Seriously, they use blurring effects to create an illusion of running) it seems that things already have wrapped up. Still, I want to comment on some other areas of the post.

    Now I don’t actually ”watch” Aria. I usually just see the funniest looking part of the show and then call it a day, so having sat and watched this episode from start to finish for the first time, I focused my attention wholly on the translation rather than the story.

    What I’ve found out that the reason why the episode dialogue feels disjointed, and even somewhat “backwards” is because it is meant to be disjointed and backward. The reason can be attributed to the way sentences are structured in Japanese (knowing French and Arabic, I can understand what you mean when you say about how it feels your talking backwards from language to language) but to be honest, a lot of the time it feels like the grammar ends up getting butchered intentionally for the sake of humor (the Soba line for one, and that at one point they start speaking like they are reciting a Haiku).

    A case was made against how ludicrous was it to maintain the most literal translation on the expense of proper English by Otaking 4 years ago ( While I don’t agree with some points he raised, I fully agree with the one he argues for, making translations that make sense in the language the audience is speaking and most importantly remain coherent.

    Take for example the line with the reason why she isn’t able to go to the firework festival. The way that’s translated makes me scratch my head even though I understood it (the TL Note does make it clear its a joke ”You’ll thank me later”) but if I were a purely English speaking viewer I would have no idea what it means. Nor why am I reading things like Kuso instead of damn.

    Akira of the Nihon Review once made a ”Translation Spectrum” ( which I had identified my self being somewhere closer to the interrupter position in where I would like my translation to look like. It’s not perfect, but I personally value more fluent sentence structure and relaxed dialogue over faithful and IMO rugged translations.

  11. I’ve written at length about this elsewhere so I’ll try to be short before I churn out another 3000 words.

    If you ask me a translation does not have to “whitewash” the original cultural context in order to sound natural in the target language. Perhaps I’m speaking of a different level of alteration than what you’re referring to, but good English and Japanese cultural presence are not mutually exclusive.

    I also consider localization to be, if not necessary, at least vastly preferable to the alternative in many cases. For example, I almost always translate “meeru” as “text (message).” I could write a translator’s note explaining Japan’s e-mail+cell phone system, but if you ask me the distraction of such a random TL note would far outweigh whatever loss of cultural context contained in that tidbit on cell phones. Sure it may be nice to know, but is it really relevant to the story?

    Now, if I were translating Steins;Gate I might leave it as “e-mail,” because the cell-phone microwave and the D-mails actually play a big role in the plot. But if a character is just saying, “I’ll mail you” in passing, the most important information is that they’re sending a message via cell phone, not whether that message is e-mail or SMS. Hence translating that as “I’ll text you” would be less distracting for the viewers and have no impact on the plot whatsoever.

    Broadly speaking I consider translation to have three major considerations: your audience, your material, and your goals. In other words, who are you translating for, what are you translating, and why are you translating it? The first two played into the example above: would the audience really appreciate it, or just find it annoying? And is it relevant to the material? In the case of Steins;Gate, it is; in most other cases, it probably isn’t.

    As for goals: is your goal to convey the hard information contained in each line of dialogue as faithfully as possible, or is your goal to reproduce the “experience” of the original for a foreign audience– in this case, allow English speakers to enjoy the anime as if they understood Japanese? When Japanese speakers enjoy anime, the dialogue sounds natural and full of personality; should the English version not sound the same? Incidentally, those two approaches to translation are respectively known as “formal” and “dynamic” equivalence, terms I prefer to “literal” and “liberal,” because they emphasize that, whatever your philosophy, the goal of a translation is (or should be) equivalence. Unfortunately, a translation can never be “equal” to its source in all categories, so the work of the translator is to figure out what aspects to prioritize. Is equating the character’s personality most important? Their “style” of speech? Or the “literal” meaning?

    When it comes down to it, a language is deeply steeped in its culture, so if you take a broad definition of “cultural context,” then anything that tries to represent a work in a different language MUST lose that cultural nuance. You can’t have the Japanese language without the Japanese culture, so when you move out of the Japanese language, something’s going to be lost. Translation is a complicated art– and most certainly an art and not a science.

    As a side note, my problem with gg is not their “liberal” style (which I actually prefer) or the fact that they localize, but 1) their trolling and 2) I find some of their localizations to be bad choices; localization for localization’s sake, rather than the best English equivalent. For example, “bipolar” for “tsundere.” If you asked me to localize “tsundere” I might use “hot-and-cold” or a contextual translation (e.g. “She’s just tsundere for you” -> “She’s just angry ’cause she likes you”). The problem with “bipolar” is that it’s a diagnosable mental illness. Whatever your opinion on tsunderes, the word itself does not imply that the person needs psychiatric help. There are other instances where I think the localization made the translation more confusing than a brief translator’s note would have, which completely defeats the purpose of localization in the first place.

  12. I guess I’m in the middle on this, in the sense that I could go either way. I have gotten a lot out of reading literal and richly documented translations in the past, but I also have no problems watching a liberal translation that flows. I’m just happy that there are folks out there who take the time to share their talents, as I have no knowledge of Japanese myself. My thanks to fan-subbers the world over. You guys are AWESOME!

  13. lygerzero0zero – Thank you for that well-worded and very informative reply. 🙂

    I intend to respond to it at greater length tomorrow, after I’m more well-rested.

    Right now, though, I just want to raise a couple brief points (including my main issue with what you wrote):

    1. “Best English equivalent” sounds like an awesome general rule of thumb for translation work to me. It’s just that, for me, I would actually call such an approach “literal”, as aiming for “the best” strikes me as a generally strict approach to translation work.

    2. Your tone is very respectful, to your credit, so I don’t doubt that no disrespect is intended on your part. However… don’t you think the vast majority of sub-watching anime fans know what “tsundere” means? Or what “Onii-chan” means? Or what “moe” means?

    There’s a few richly textured terms like that which have simply become part of the lexicon of the online anime community. Do we really need them translated at all? To me, it really is much like translating “Déjà vu”. That’s such a world famous term that loses so much when people try to find English equivalents to it.

    “Tsundere” and “moe” are much the same way, only on a smaller scale – I think that to get a good understanding of the term it’s important to realize all the ideas that they encompass and how they are actually pretty complex terms. I can tell you that when “moe” was translated as “turn ons” during a sub job for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, it had a lasting and major impact on how non-Japanese anime fans view “moe”. And, sadly, I think that view is somewhat inaccurate since “turn ons” itself really doesn’t even come close to capturing the depth and breadth of the term “moe”.

    I would think that a translator note is enough for the rare brand new fan that doesn’t know what these somewhat famous and commonly used terms mean. It would in fact be a good way to introduce that new fan to terms he or she is probably going to have to learn anyway, simply to converse with most other sub-watching anime fans.

    1. With respect to point 2, I’m not saying that such terms should be localized in all cases. I’m all for translators being flexible. It definitely depends on your audience and your material. For example, is the term going to appear frequently? Is the series self-referential, does it contain “meta” elements, or is it about otaku culture? If that’s the case, then leaving it untranslated with a note (or even better, an in-line definition) might be the best option. However, if the subtle nuances of the term aren’t very important, for example a one-time joke, then localizing may be the better option. But there is no one right answer, and you can’t please every viewer.

      As for point 1, that may just be quibbling over terminology. I would like to point out, though, that a lot of what is considered “liberal” is actually intended to be MORE faithful to the original. Sometimes this doesn’t work, and sometimes the translator goes too far, but I’d say a lot of translational choices are meant to better capture a character’s personality, or make the punchline of a joke funnier (what sounds funny in one language often just doesn’t sound as funny in another. It’s not a matter of the translator trying to “add” humor, as a “literal” translation would be LESS funny than the original), or capture some subtlety of tone, such as sarcasm.

  14. The sandwiches instead of riceballs thing was somewhat understandable to me. Many Americans, especially at the time, aren’t and weren’t aware of their existence. Small things can be changed without issue, but it’s when entire plot points or conversations are changed that it starts to get ridiculous.

    But when I think of bad subs, I just look back at Star Wars: Backstroke of the West and think “They could be so much worse.”

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