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What are your thoughts on Sekai and other companies buying up fan translations


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For me it's yes on both counts.

I try to donate my limited resources to groups who need it. If I known they were going to be paid for their work I wouldn't have donated.

It's the same rule I apply to open source though are built-in protection against such a thing happening. I understand this has always happened with VN's but it's sort of becoming an epidemic. I understand there are groups who wish to be paid for their work but there needs to be more transparency when they are asking for the resources of the community whether that be hackers, translators, or donations.

I've been burned three times in the last year I've made donations. No more. I pay enough for Mangagamer and Sekai games I don't need to be donating to them prior to purchasing the game.

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This won't "kill" fan translations so long as Japan keeps releasing games exclusively in Japanese, that's just a fact. Even anime still has fansub groups despite being much more widely available nowadays.

You have to understand most fan translators translate a game because they like it and want to share it with other people. If a company comes along that has the proper channels to make that game legally available in the Western market, there's very little reason not to accept such an offer. 

Complaints are usually from people that have only pirated games before and are salty about having to pay money now.

Of course there are valid criticisms to be made in the actual localization processes for each game, namely the fact a lot of erotic content is being left behind in favor of all ages releases, but the concept of a company buying a fan translation isn't really destroying the world as we know it.

Also fan groups asking for donations are 10 times shadier than ChuSinGura's Kickstarter project.

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2 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

 

This won't "kill" fan translations so long as Japan keeps releasing games exclusively in Japanese, that's just a fact. Even anime still has fansub groups despite being much more widely available nowadays.

You have to understand most fan translators translate a game because they like it and want to share it with other people. If a company comes along that has the proper channels to make that game legally available in the Western market, there's very little reason not to accept such an offer. 

Complaints are usually from people that have only pirated games before and is salty about having to pay money now.

Of course there are valid criticisms to be made in the actual localization processes for each game, namely the fact a lot of erotic content is being left behind in favor of all ages releases, but the concept of a company buying a fan translation isn't really destroying the world as we know it.

Also fan groups asking for donations is 10 times shadier than ChuSinGura's Kickstarter project.

I'm not sure I understand the point you are making. Managamer releases get cracked on a regular basis as do steam releases.

If someone doesn't want to pay for something the option is there whether it's fansubbed or not. With the global marketplace it's not hard to get games shipped here used or new. Whether it be Jlist or even amazon which has started carrying the titles.

And I don't really have a problem with donating to translation groups whether it be anime or otherwise as long as it's original work. I'd never donate to HorribleSubs. I'd rather buy a sub to crunchyroll and hope some of that money reaches the creators.

But there are anime that doesn't get licensed by Crunchy or Hulu or whomever (though the list is getting smaller and smaller every year) I've donated to groups who did the original translation work (usually 5 dollars) and would do so again.

What I have a problem with these VN groups is they are never upfront and honest about their intentions which is fine I guess if you want to go off as a 1man translation team but I kind of think if you are asking for donations like Kohaku Translations did and asking for help inregards to editing, hacking or whatever you should at least be upfront that the plan is to ultimately sell the work.

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Your thread asks what are people's thoughts on companies buying fan translations, and those are my thoughts, not really sure if you wanted something else? The first paragraph of your reply is just corroborating what I said: people just want free stuff.

Regarding donating to fan groups: sure anyone can do what they want with their money, but it's pretty shady to ask for money for something that's technically illegal to begin with.

In the end all you're paying for is the fan groups' work, nothing goes towards the creator of the product, and that's what I have some problem with on an ethical level.

Fan translations, as the name implies, shouldn't be about earning money.

Regarding fangroups not being upfront, I'm not really sure what you mean. There might be a case where they're unable to disclose information due to NDA agreements, for example.

If you're donating to a fan group, ultimately the responsibility falls on you.

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It's a good thing. Having the majority of translation being done officially encourages a standard of quality you won't get with an active fan-translation scene. Not to mention the incentive of money gives people a reason to stick in it longer, translate faster, and translate more stuff. 

1 hour ago, Nosebleed said:

ZEChABQ.jpg

This won't "kill" fan translations so long as Japan keeps releasing games exclusively in Japanese, that's just a fact. Even anime still has fansub groups despite being much more widely available nowadays.

Anime fan-translation has basically died down to where it's only a few groups that still do actual translation, or changing of translation (using the official TL as base). That's basically where VNs are at now, where all the people who used to be in fan-translation now work on official stuff (much like anime translation too). Give a few years for the current non-dead projects to finish or die and you'll probably see the fan-translation scene practically dead. 

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1 hour ago, Nosebleed said:

Your thread asks what are people's thoughts on companies buying fan translations, and those are my thoughts, not really sure if you wanted something else? The first paragraph of your reply is just corroborating what I said: people just want free stuff.

Regarding donating to fan groups: sure anyone can do what they want with their money, but it's pretty shady to ask for money for something that's technically illegal to begin with.

In the end all you're paying for is the fan groups' work, nothing goes towards the creator of the product, and that's what I have some problem with on an ethical level.

Fan translations, as the name implies, shouldn't be about earning money.

Regarding fangroups not being upfront, I'm not really sure what you mean. There might be a case where they're unable to disclose information due to NDA agreements, for example.

If you're donating to a fan group, ultimately the responsibility falls on you.

Well you didn't just give your thoughts you questioned mine so I responded.

As far as to the motivation to donating obviously I'm not purchasing the game. I'm donating to help the group function and pay the bills. Like I said earlier if it's a game I'm interested I buy it if not I don't bother playing it.

I don't have a problem with Mangagamer and Sekai releasing games in English either. It's great not only for the translation quality but the game is often much cheaper here then it is to purchase and ship. The problem I have is the fact people who sell their work make use of paypal donations and the help of the fansubbing community but don't give back what they take.

Just be upfront about it. If people still want to donate their time and/or money they will but what they don't appreciate is being lied to and for bullshit reasons to be made up for why the project has been stalled like they found a girlfriend in RL (inseem). QC problems (Kohaku Translations). I mean I don't even know how long Doki been sitting on the Little Busters work. Years?

 

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2 hours ago, cantspeakjapanese said:

What I have a problem with these VN groups is they are never upfront and honest about their intentions which is fine I guess if you want to go off as a 1man translation team but I kind of think if you are asking for donations like Kohaku Translations did and asking for help inregards to editing, hacking or whatever you should at least be upfront that the plan is to ultimately sell the work.

This entire argument is based on the assumption that this was their plan all along, but who's to say it was? Kohaku has released a free fan patch before. I'm sure when they started Ley Line, they fully intended to release that for free, too. Who knows when they struck a deal with Sekai Project, it probably wasn't until a good time has passed after they began working on it. And once you sign a deal like that, things become a LOT more complicated with regards to what you can and can't say, and when.

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5 hours ago, Chuee said:

It's a good thing. Having the majority of translation being done officially encourages a standard of quality you won't get with an active fan-translation scene. Not to mention the incentive of money gives people a reason to stick in it longer, translate faster, and translate more stuff. 

Anime fan-translation has basically died down to where it's only a few groups that still do actual translation, or changing of translation (using the official TL as base). That's basically where VNs are at now, where all the people who used to be in fan-translation now work on official stuff (much like anime translation too). Give a few years for the current non-dead projects to finish or die and you'll probably see the fan-translation scene practically dead. 

Highly doubt it will completely die out like this, that's a really pessimistic estimate. There's usually some games a company doesn't pick up and fan translation will continue to exist as long as that happens. I do not imagine all 3 major VN companies buying out every single fan translator out there. And there's always anime that's not licensed for subs, that's why fansubs will once again continue to exist until the end of times or until every single anime made in Japan is released internationally, which is unlikely to happen.

For as long as VNs exist, there will be fan translations of some kind.

Regardless, it's better for them to get picked up than the opposite for all the reasons people stated already. The only ones who really lose with this are the people who just like getting free stuff.

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I think it's a good thing.

Without this practice:

-Official localization of already translated games would be a very rare occurrence, and for some people it matters a lot that they can buy VNs they like in English.

-Less incentive for fan translators, since it is love-driven work and having it be officially released (and thus, be approved by the creators themselves) is a pretty hard-to-top level of praise for fan translations, I'd assume.

-Japan would have far less attention from the West about VNs, and (although this is another matter if it's about the community) having more officially localized VNs is not a bad thing.

 

Overall, it boosts the industry's economy in the West, and I do not think that's something to lament.

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17 hours ago, VirginSmasher said:

I think companies buying fan TLs is fine because the translators get paid for their efforts. Even if the project started on their passion for the VN and the want to share it with the community, getting paid for their work is an added bonus.

This actually worries me to some extent. The biggest logical reason to buy up a fan translation (rather than doing your own) is the belief that doing so allows you to acquire the translation for less than what would be a fair market rate (the other, of course, being saved time). What might seem like fair compensation for something you expected to do for free might be a far cry from what you might ask for in a more traditional contract.

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2 minutes ago, dowolf said:

This actually worries me to some extent. The biggest logical reason to buy up a fan translation (rather than doing your own) is the belief that doing so allows you to acquire the translation for less than what would be a fair market rate (the other, of course, being saved time). What might seem like fair compensation for something you expected to do for free might be a far cry from what you might ask for in a more traditional contract.

If my knowledge is correct, I don't think translators get paid much for translating VNs. Still, some form of compensation is better than getting none.

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9 hours ago, OriginalRen said:

Fan translation will die out for certain genres, however it will never die out for moege; companies will never license moege commonly, because Japan will never give the 3 companies in the US their rights.

Hmm, I wonder about this. With games like Kara no Shoujo 2, Gahkthun, and Tokyo Babel (especially Tokyo Babel) heavily underperforming, MangaGamer might start doing a lot more moege. Sekai Project already heavily favors moege. The only company that barely ever touches moe is JAST. But they've announced like one major new title in the last 18 months, so they haven't responded to the market trends by virtue of doing nothing at all.

Looking at SP's upcoming catalogue, they have KARAKARA, Wagamama High Spec, Hoshizora no Memoria (although the story elements are a bit more prominent in that one), Tenshin Ranman, Paca Plus (ugh, and is that even still happening?), Japanese School Life, and Maitetsu. Then they have some titles somewhere in-between like Chrono Clock and and Ley Line. Almost all of their non-doujin releases are moege or close to it, and a lot of their doujin releases are, too.

It seems like the really serious story-heavy stuff, and especially the action stuff, might actually start getting abandoned by the major publishers soon if the current sales trends keep up. So if you want to make a fan translation that will never get picked up, choose some obscure Light title or something.

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4 hours ago, dowolf said:

This actually worries me to some extent. The biggest logical reason to buy up a fan translation (rather than doing your own) is the belief that doing so allows you to acquire the translation for less than what would be a fair market rate (the other, of course, being saved time). What might seem like fair compensation for something you expected to do for free might be a far cry from what you might ask for in a more traditional contract.

I don't think any localization group would be dickish enough to pull something like that,  honestly. The biggest incentive to use a fan-translation over doing it over is that it saves you a whole lot of time. Though, either way, it seems to me like localizers aren't really interested in pursuing titles that are already/currently being fan-translated, unless the people involved ask them to pursue it. 

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I'm not quite sure what to think about this topic. It's good and bad at the same time to sell fantranslations.

 

The good part is a licensed release can get something the free patches can't provide, like uncensored CGs and a simple installer. The quality might increase as well.

 

The bad part is that it makes fan translations more closed. Attracting more people to work on a fan translation requires openness, which mean the secrecy makes it harder to gather a team to work on the same translation project. Perhaps the secrecy is the biggest danger to free translation patches.

On 18/4/2016 at 2:46 AM, cantspeakjapanese said:

Are you less likely to donate your time to new groups knowing the lead may sell your work.

If a new group starts and I translate one file for them, then they can only sell the final patch if:

A: I accept (it doesn't matter if they pay for the acceptance or not)

B: my work is not included

The reason is from a legal point of view, I would have the copyright for the translation of that file since I wrote it. However at the same time there is copyright on the original Japanese text meaning an official commercial release would require permission from both copyright holders. I assume the legal departments of the publishers are aware of this issue. In other words the risk that your work end up in a commercial release against your will would be minimal.

 

The fact that I'm not skilled enough to do a proper translation is besides the point. It could have been fixing script bugs or altering png files (English text or decensored). Precisely what the added content is doesn't matter. What matters is all contributors included in the sold "package" agrees to the sale.

 

To answer the question: no. If a new group needs help with something I might be able to do, the "risk" that they sell the translation is not really on my mind. In fact if I know I will end up spending hours on the task, my main concerns would be "do I like the VN in question?" and "what is the risk that it will be abandoned shortly after I finish?". Obviously other concerns like "Do I have the time required for this task?" would be something I would have to consider.

 

On 18/4/2016 at 2:46 AM, cantspeakjapanese said:

Are you less likely to donate to fansub groups considering their is high chance they will paid for their work anyways.

If people sell their translation, they usually kept it close to themselves. If I can't see what people are doing, I will for sure not give them any money.

 

Do people actually donate to unreleasted translations? Or to fan translations in general? I thought the non-profit approach would be the universally adopted approach unless the translation is sold to a licensed publisher.

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2 hours ago, tymmur said:

Do people actually donate to unreleasted translations? Or to fan translations in general? I thought the non-profit approach would be the universally adopted approach unless the translation is sold to a licensed publisher.

I don't think I've seen a VN translation group have a donation page (besides the LOE group, but that doesn't really count). Some anime fan-translation groups do or have had one, but I want to say some of the tools they use to sub anime cost money or something.

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6 hours ago, Chuee said:

I don't think I've seen a VN translation group have a donation page (besides the LOE group, but that doesn't really count). Some anime fan-translation groups do or have had one, but I want to say some of the tools they use to sub anime cost money or something.

Buying the VN you intend to translate cost money as well, but I wouldn't call that a justified reason for donations. Servers could be a reasonable expense to pay with donations though. There are some free options, but anime fansubbers usually require more from their servers than the free ones can offer. This mean a monthly cost. They usually also have a decent URL, like group-name-translations.com, which is another running cost. Fansubbing used to require expensive hardware, but now it is about making a subtitle track (cleverly named .ass files) and insert it into a video file container, which is something all computers can do. There are free software for this task, though I will not rule out that you can get better results if you pay for some more professional software.

 

Back to the topic of VN translations. I can't think of paid software, which helps enough to justify an expense big enough to open for donations. You can get quite far with free homemade tools (like extractors). Oddly enough I find Notepad++ to be excellent for writing the text itself. It's a decent editor with spellcheck (typo detection), makes it easy to select the correct text encoding (usually shift-jis) and important here: it's free. In fact I can't think of anything but graphical applications, which might justify non-free software.

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On 4/18/2016 at 4:15 PM, dowolf said:

This actually worries me to some extent. The biggest logical reason to buy up a fan translation (rather than doing your own) is the belief that doing so allows you to acquire the translation for less than what would be a fair market rate (the other, of course, being saved time). What might seem like fair compensation for something you expected to do for free might be a far cry from what you might ask for in a more traditional contract.

Well, to be fair, fair market value is pretty subjective. Fair market value is wherever the meeting point between what the people selling are willing to take and the people buying are willing to spend. So work that was intended to be done for free anyway would logically have a lower value that work someone was paid for from the start.

 

That said, the value of fan translations is more complex than simple time invested. Many fan translation projects build up fairly loyal fanbases, and some of those fanbases get quite big. I can't speak for anyone else, but when I heard Sekai Project brought in the fan translator for grisaia no kajitsu, that's what motivated me to buy it; because I already knew the quality would be high and trusted the translator. Each game itself also has a fan base, that can be appealed to or not based on other factors. If you license a game that has a fan translation, DMCA every fan-TL patch of it, and then don't do anything with it for 2 years, that fan base is likely to be somewhat miffed, and probably not likely to give you money. If you get it out quickly, more people are probably going to buy it. So buying an existing TL can greatly reduce the time from license to release. And since you start getting return on investment faster, you have less of your capital tied up for less time overall. Again, look at Sekai Project with Clannad. They raised money for it, with the fan-TLs heavily promoting the official project, and they got it out in a reasonable time frame. I don't know how their sales or doing or what their margin on it is, but I imagine they made a pretty hefty sum on it.

 

On the topic as a whole, I don't much care one way or the other. Fan translations aren't going anywhere; there are just too many VNs for the three major publishers to work with, even if they hired every fan translator in sight. There are also Japanese companies that are never going to license their stuff to the west for whatever reason. But at the same time, I feel that if publishers are buying up big name fan-TL projects, that'll drive TLs to the more well known VNs in hopes of getting bought out, and away from the lesser known games that fewer people are willing to work on already. So it's a somewhat mixed bag.

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