Disclaimer: At the end of this post I get pretty salty, so be aware of that. This post endorses MY and MY OPINION ONLY. The numbers about the costs of a translation team were researched before putting them here.
Hello guys. Aizen-Sama here with another spicy rant. Although I haven’t been around the forums as long as other users who have spent their time here several years (I have spent around 7 months more or less at the present time being) I have seen that there’s a huge problem that I’ve mostly seen here, in Fuwanovel, more than any other site that congregates VN fans. In fact, I think that this doesn’t happen anywhere but here, but again, what do I know? I don’t really visit Reddit nor 4chan that much, let alone interact there.
Anyways, what I want to address is a problem that has been going on since the beginning stages of this site, and that problem is the Translation Requests, or what I like to call “e-beggars” (yes, I know this term has been invented already).
First and foremost, the majority of people that make these Translation Request posts are usually new users and I’m fully aware of that. But this has been blowing up lately. I know that 4 posts in the last month and a half doesn’t sound like that much, but the proposals are getting so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe sometimes if the guys asking these things are for real or if they’re straight out trolling.
Let’s take this post as a quick example. You’re scrolling through the forums and see this post, and then the thought comes to mind “Another typical Request Post. Sigh. Let’s see what this guy’s asking for…” and then you see this:
These posts show nothing more than ignorance and arrogance, as well as no interest towards these groups they are begging to translate something for them. Do these people even understand what it takes to translate a medium length VN? A medium length, around the 35-40k line mark in my opinion, could easily take a year. And the guy in this post begged for 5 medium and long length VN’s to be translated, one of them being >50 hours long.
But don’t be mistaken, the worst part about that post wasn’t the amount of VN’s he was begging for nor their length. It was the last statement: “Thanks in advance”. Although it sounds stupid, that’s what triggered me the most. A shitty “thanks in advance” is not something that motivates people to do these things. People have to put themselves in a translators’ shoes sometimes. Not only him, but also the people who aren’t translating, but the ones who edit the text, proofread it, the image editors, the quality checkers, etc… Do they think that the task can be easily done if the guy in question knows Japanese? Not even close.
The secret of a translation project.
I know this is hard to believe for the e-beggars, but the translation of a game requires an enormous amount of time, and one year to finish the TRANSLATION, not editing, of a medium length VN is a very decent deadline. And I’m talking about a medium length game, not a long one. Majo Koi has around 47k lines. Supposing it had one sole translator and the translator in question did 100 lines a day, the game would be finished in around 470 days approximately, this taking into account he diligently does 100 lines a day, no skipping, no nothing. Let’s convert that into hours spent in total, since that tends to shock people more; 470 days doing 100 lines a day, if the translator is an experienced one, meaning that he has done this before or is a professional in the field, he could get rid of that task in about an hour. But an amateur translator, basically the bulk of the community in itself when it comes to fan translations, could take around 1,5 or 2 hours to do the exact same number of lines. That could mean than in total, just translating could take from 470 hours for the experienced translator, which means around 20 full days translating something, to 705-940 hours for the amateur translator, which is around 30-40 days translating nonstop. And this would be just translation, I’m purposely taking out the other processes such as editing and QC’ing. Do you e-beggars understand the amount of work is being put in these projects? This is why Translation Request posts should be completely banned off this site and instantly deleted. Then again, where would I put my insulting memes towards the op’s to gain likes for no reason?
Let’s throw in another question now that we’re shifting towards that matter: Is fan-translating Visual Novels even worth it in the first place?
Before I answer (although it’s probably known what I’m going to say, given my tone) let me address this: I by no means think that fan-translation is bad, in fact, it has been the reason why we’re getting official localizations now and I think that no amount of praise of thanks can equate the amount of work the translators of these projects did in order for this genre to be known better in the Western community.
But, as sad as it sounds, fan translating at this moment is not worth it. Why? I’ll put in some of the reasons:
- Although some members of the vocal community throw in the occasional thanks once the patch is out that’s all the team who translated the game gets. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people might say that recognition counts as some sort of reward as well, but personally I don’t think that’s the case.
- No reviews of the translated VN’s are usually made (this is what in my opinion spreads the awareness of these games), only discussion threads are made, which is pretty sad in my opinion.
- I’m going to quote something that Clephas said in one of my posts, that sums up this next point: “Another thing is that most people in the community will never even try to experience fantl from the other side of things... they don't realize how much time it eats up, that emptiness you feel when you realize you've used dozens of hours of your personal time only to put out a patch that people bash left and right for 'errors' and other shit.”
- The work put in to translate the game itself is not worth, meaning that the compensation that the translator/team worked for it is not even close enough to what they should be getting.
Lastly, I want to address the problem that comes with donations, awareness of localization costs/translation costs, and ignorance.
I’ll cut to the chase; for the people that think that with donations alone you can “pay” a translator to do some kind of game, you’re WRONG. Let’s put an example of what could a medium VN translation cost: let’s suppose that the team consists of three persons, to translate a 1.5 million jp character VN (equating to a 45k line count approximately). The translator gets 1 cent per Japanese character, the editor gets 1 cent per English word and the QC gets a quarter of a cent for each English word. In total, the final price equates to 33k dollars JUST FOR THE TEAM TO TRANSLATE A SINGLE VN. And these prices are apparently pretty shitty for a translator, so yeah, there you go. Besides, why donating a random group of guys, who could easily run away with the money and machine translate the game, or not even translate the game at all, when you can just support the official localizers? Contrary to what some people think they are actually releasing more games than ever and the 18+ industry in the scene has never seen so many official releases ever.
Summing up this 3 page-long essay of frustration:
1. Please for the love of god don’t e-beg or Request for translations. Just no, it triggers people off and it only shows how ignorant you are about what happens behind the scenes.
2. Fan Translating in this actual moment is NOT WORTH, only people who are very commited and have a strong resolution will be able to start one, and very few out of those will actually finish the project.
3. Donations are NOT a solution to encourage Fan Translation, it ruins the very concept of it and it’s also ILLEGAL. Don’t support an already illegal activity by paying it.
4. Before posting retarded shit on the forums please look for other posts similar to what you might want to post. Maybe looking at the responses could enlighten you and help the other users not waste their time by reading the same shit over and over again.
5. Before criticizing Translations and patches for “errors” and “typos” and being a little whining bitch how about you try to show interest on how much effort people put on the translation of these games behind the scenes? (This goes solely to the people that haven't experienced working on a fan translation and whine non-stop about "how bad the translation of this is" and blah blah blah.)
Anyways, I think that’s all the rage out. For those of you who haven’t dozed off already have a nice day and all of that stuff.
And if you smash that like button you will get your very own… DIES IRAE MACHINE TRANSLATED PATCH. Yes! This is not a scam at all, your own personal Dies Irae Machine Translated patch. If you leave a like you can choose between a Google, Bing, or a Skype translated patch. I’ve invested so many hours on them, it was totally worth though ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).