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My opinion: Pitfalls of a Fantranslator



This is a simple post putting forth my views on what the largest pitfalls are for a fantranslator, both in the immediate sense and the long-term.


1. Making promises: Anyone who starts a translation is bound to do something stupid... such as setting a deadline or predicting how long it will take them to do something.  Even experienced translation groups trip and fall into this particular trap.  Nothing good comes of making promises, primarily because rl exists.

2.  Agreeing to translate/edit/proofread something you aren't interested in: This links to motivation.  To be blunt, no fantl will be able to finish work on a VN if they don't enjoy the original or at least prefer the genre it is in.  Fantls are a labor of love not a workplace with a set salary and a boss telling you to get back to work or he'll dock your pay.  Passion about the subject matter is necessary to get anywhere on a fantl project.

3.  Taking on a job you aren't qualified for: This mostly applies to beginner fantls... to be blunt, don't take on something you can't read easily.  If you can't read and fully comprehend the text of the VN you've agreed to translate, don't even make the attempt.

4.  Machine translations: Don't work.

5.  Looking up your name/reputation/etc: Some people get addicted to looking for positive reactions to their work.  Unfortunately, this also means that they stumble across the negative responses and can damage their confidence in ways that can destroy a project. 


1. The choice to announce  a project or not: Many who translate VNs use community comments to help them build motivation.  However, choosing to involve the community in your project is a two-sided sword... it cuts both ways.  Negative comments, people asking you when it will come out, and complaints about the translation of any partial you put out can obliterate your motivation and cripple the project.

2.  Internal group chemistry and mechanics:  No matter how you look at it, the translator is the origin and star of any given project.  Without the translator it goes nowhere... but translators can't be the ones going around motivating the group to keep working.  It's inefficient and emotionally draining for the person in question, and it is the number one cause of project failure I've seen related to group chemistry, when the translator finally falls apart.  An editor's role only seems minor to a translator.  It is actually a job that can be equally frustrating to that of the raw translation, and a decent translator's secondary job often becomes tlcing and explaining his own work to the editor.  Thus, my advice to any fantranslator is find an editor you can talk to and get along with, or you'll regret it later.  My advice to editors is: Be patient.  Many translators really don't like going back over their own work, so just keep an eye out for potential signs that they are at their limit. 

3.  Burn-out: This can potentially happen to any fantl position.  It is also related to all the things above, since it is a state where all motivation is lost and the individual in question basically just drops out of the project.  Apathy toward the project and ignoring group members are fairly common signs of this.  Whether it is permanent or not depends on the individual, but it can take years to recover mentally and emotionally once you've reached this stage *speaking from personal experience*



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Another thing that I learned here in regard of fan translation scene. Also if I may said the burn out could also affected any people who highly motivated to translated VN at first. Other than that, not much that I could comment here.

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5 hours ago, sherlock1524 said:

moreover, taking translation for VN is more difficult than light novel or manga translation.

Save for a few of the more complex ones, the actual line for line difficulty level is not that much harder.  It's the sheer number of lines there are to translate...

Edited by Clephas
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