Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
StrategyMasterz

What does an editor do in fan translation?

Recommended Posts

Hahaha I'm too shy to ask editors but the reason why I made the title fan translation based is because it's the only thing I can do for now. I am under the age of 18 and from what I remembered to be able to do Translations like in a company you need to be 18+ and has a credit card. One of the many reasons why I want to help is because I would like to make it faster so that I can play the VN. I would just like to have an idea what an editor would do and would require, regardless of being an expert or not. Any help from a person that has experience on being an editor on Visual Novels would be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tymmur wrote quite a bit in his post, and it should answer your questions. Did you check out Darbury & Fred's blogs? There's not much more to tell you unless you have questions on something specific.

Also, I agree with what UMW said. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In broad terms, an editor's job is to help the writer better express himself (in English - in our case). This applies to translations where the translator is essentially assuming the role of a writer.
In fan translations, the translator may not be fully fluent in English, often degenerating the editor's job into rewriting the translations in better sounding English.

Editing is different from reading or understanding the purpose of edits. Even if you are capable of telling that there might be a better way to express a sentiment in a line, that does not mean you will know how. Even if you understand how one line reads better than another, that does not mean you will 1)identify the need to change the line 2)be capable of doing so for the better.

 

What, exactly, making something 'read better' or make it 'better expressed' is a bit more complicated and I'd even claim it is subjective on some levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Zander said:

Tymmur wrote quite a bit in his post, and it should answer your questions. Did you check out Darbury & Fred's blogs? There's not much more to tell you unless you have questions on something specific.

Also, I agree with what UMW said. 

Sorry I am really confused with some stuff and I thought I could ask for more information from others.

 

6 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

In broad terms, an editor's job is to help the writer better express himself (in English - in our case). This applies to translations where the translator is essentially assuming the role of a writer.
In fan translations, the translator may not be fully fluent in English, often degenerating the editor's job into rewriting the translations in better sounding English.

Editing is different from reading or understanding the purpose of edits. Even if you are capable of telling that there might be a better way to express a sentiment in a line, that does not mean you will know how. Even if you understand how one line reads better than another, that does not mean you will 1)identify the need to change the line 2)be capable of doing so for the better.

 

What, exactly, making something 'read better' or make it 'better expressed' is a bit more complicated and I'd even claim it is subjective on some levels.

I understand what you mean thanks for the information. Though I'm quite curious, from all the visual novels I've read I haven't really noticed much sentences that are very complicated. They're basically just simple like highschool life sentences. Another question is, if you need to edit all the sentences the translator translates.

 

24 minutes ago, UnlimitedMoeWorks said:

Oh... Uhh, well, if you're underage and don't have any prior experience in the TL field, I'm sorry to say buy, you're kinda jumping the gun here. I really recommend finishing high school first and take some language courses in college, because what you need first is to actually learn how to do TLs, and it's something that you cannot rush unfortunately. TLs take time, and there are no fast or easy work-arounds. Naturally, this applies to fan TLs as well, and most people actually do fan TLs to test out their TL skills they've already learned.

I'm basically doing this for learning experience too. My best subject is English so I would like to test out my skills in helping in a project. I am going to get a file from a certain person so that he can see if I qualify or not to be his editor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, StrategyMasterz said:

I understand what you mean thanks for the information. Though I'm quite curious, from all the visual novels I've read I haven't really noticed much sentences that are very complicated. They're basically just simple like highschool life sentences. Another question is, if you need to edit all the sentences the translator translates.

That will depend.

In fan translation, basically no translators are simultaneously good translators and good writers (the ones who are tend to get hired or make it their career). This means that a competent editor will be changing or rewriting practically every line, for one reason or another.

 

As for the 'simple' sentences. As I said, that depends. People keep pointing you to Fred and Darbury's guides for a reason.

Seemingly 'fine' and 'translated' sentences can always be made 'better' by a competent editor, but not everyone can do so. You can probably read read read and practice practice practice until you're able to, but a lot of people don't do so, naturally.

 

What is editing, you asked?

 

Also, please do not go off-topic.

Any personal conversations can be done via PM.

Edited by Mr Poltroon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So from what I understand from some posts and blogs, if I wanted to be a better editor I would have to mind small details and stuff? So basically what I have to do is nothing too complicated and nothing less than good enough. I am still confused because from what I understood there were some sentences that were changed the best words are saved for last and interesting topic in the beginning of the sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, StrategyMasterz said:

So from what I understand from some posts and blogs, if I wanted to be a better editor I would have to mind small details and stuff? So basically what I have to do is nothing too complicated and nothing less than good enough. I am still confused because from what I understood there were some sentences that were changed the best words are saved for last and interesting topic in the beginning of the sentence.

I cannot teach you to be an editor. In fact, I believe no one can through simply conversing in a forum.
If you decide to spend a couple of afternoons reading articles on editing, you may come to have a better understanding than I. Which still does not mean you would be able to do it. Fred said last time you must have a love of words, and that rings true. You will have to care about the order the words appear in, how many adverbs you've been using, if certain words have been appearing too often, among many other things. You will have to actually care to try and understand if something reads better some other way. If it can be made better and if you can come up with how.

In fan translation, though, it's generally just enough that the sentences can be understood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Off the top of my head, my primary focuses when editing are, in this order:

  • Precision, i.e., making sure that a sentence says exactly what it wants to say. This means you need to know precisely what the words and phrases in the line mean. If you're not sure that you do, you should generally just not use that word or phrase, or if you insist on it, go look up both definitions and other usages of the word or phrase. Google Ngram is a good resource for examining other usages.
  • Naturalness, i.e., making sure that a sentence isn't going to "sound weird" to a native American English speaker for any reason (this is kind of fuzzy, since in some sense there is no such thing as "a native American English speaker", since we all really speak our own idiolect and thus judgments will vary person to person). Classifying all the problems in this area is impossible, and even trying to would take a very long time. What you really need, if you want to do well on this front, is an excellent ear for the English language and a ton of experience reading and speaking.
  • Avoiding unintentional ambiguity, i.e., cases where a single sentence can be interpreted multiple ways (hopefully one of them the correct way).
  • Consistency, at many levels. This goes from the low level of making sure terminology used is the same throughout a game, to the high level of making sure that events in the game make sense together. One important thing people screw up on this front is consistency of narrative tense. The flow of narration should either be in the past or present tense, and it should stay there. Consistency overlaps a fair bit with some of the other things on this list, particularly the next two items.
  • Flow, i.e., making sure that subsequent lines make sense together and form a coherent whole. When two people hold a conversation, they're usually talking to each other. A response tends to be related to the question that elicited it, and so on. Narration tends to be a single train of thought, not a series of disconnected sentences.
  • Tone and character voice, i.e., making sure that the way the line expresses the thought is appropriate to either the narrative tone or the way the speaking character should talk. Character voice mostly comes down to word choice, but also sometimes to syntax. As an example, if your character is a bit childish, they shouldn't use SAT words and they shouldn't speak like the narration of a Dickens book. This objective is particularly fuzzy and difficult to get right. Rarely, people can go overboard on this one and end up flanderizing their characters' speech, or even just make them sound a bit silly. This one is the most forgivable thing to mess up, especially if you underdo it (overdoing it tends to be annoying...), but it's worth doing.
  • Other fuzzier "good writing" things that don't really fit into the above categories. Avoid purple prose, avoid filtering verbs, avoid mixed metaphors, etc. This list is probably exceptionally long, and there's no way I'm going to just think up even a tiny fraction of the things that should be on it.

Editors work almost entirely on instinct (because analyzing everything would take forever), along with a healthy dose of preparation and analysis outside of the time spent actually changing lines. For instance, you often need to sit down and think about common terminology, catchphrases, and other things that will influence word choice across the game. That's necessary because of both the "consistency" consideration and the "character voice" one. And although changes are largely driven by instinct in the moment, any editor worth their salt should be able to explain why they are making any given change, and it will usually boil down to one of these items: "it's more natural this way", "this is the way that person talks", etc.

VN fan translations tend to be bad at all of these things. The same is true of many (most?) official VN translations, and also official and fan translations of anime, manga, LNs, and even of many mainstream video games. Being good at each of these things is hard. Being consistently good at all of these things is extremely difficult, and hence why there are professionals. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the VN-reading community has gotten so used to people being bad at all of these things that they won't notice if you, also, are bad at them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't strive to be better at it.

 

One thing I want to drive home: Japanese VN writers are professional writers. If all of this stuff I wrote sounds nitpicky and you think I'm making this all way more complicated than it should be, then you are disrespecting the original. You can bet your ass the original writers had all of this stuff (and a whole lot more related to writing in a broader sense) in mind at some level while they were writing it. Either that, or they're bad writers and it's probably not worth the time to translate their work anyway...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Considering I've just started my first fan TL project , I can't give you much advice regarding editing for VNs. I have done some other editing, though (a poetry book and some articles/synopses).
Generally you'll want to improve the readability of the writing you're working on. You'll take what's written and polish it up. You'll fix errors, shift words/sentences around if it reads better, check that words mean what they're intended to mean (and change them if they don't), and make sure the writing is consistent (ex. the book I worked on had about three different spellings of 'Claire' to refer to the same person). It's important to keep the author's style and intentions, though- you don't want to just completely rewrite the piece based on how you'd do it.

 

Also, I think you might be a bit young. Hopefully this doesn't sound rude, but I think it's a good idea to finish high school and take some writing/English courses at a post-secondary level in order to make sure your skills are solid. I'm also not really sure how many people would be comfortable working with a minor if the VN has 18+ content (I definitely wouldn't be).

 

It's good to be ambitious, though, so I hope you succeed!  

Edited by Pomelo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The editor's job is to turn the half-assed 'Engrish' a translator inevitably produces (due to difficulties with grammar transferal) into real prose and English dialogue.  Very few translators can write anything decent when translating, regardless of training or experience, and what is demanded of an editor, above all things, is the ability to transfer what the translator was trying to to say into readable English (preferably well-written English).  In addition, in some groups light QC becomes part of the editor's job, and he also ends up asking translators to restore the internal consistency of scenes (when a scene is obviously internally inconsistent). 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Pomelo said:

Also, I think you might be a bit young. Hopefully this doesn't sound rude, but I think it's a good idea to finish high school and take some writing/English courses at a post-secondary level in order to make sure your skills are solid. I'm also not really sure how many people would be comfortable working with a minor if the VN has 18+ content (I definitely wouldn't be).

It's worse than a question about being comfortable with his age. It could end up being a repeat of the story, which killed off Leisure suit Larry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well thanks for all of your help and ideas, it's great knowing all these. For now I got into somewhere where I'm helping and hopefully I can truly be part of their team :) 
 

6 hours ago, Fred the Barber said:

Off the top of my head, my primary focuses when editing are, in this order:

  • Precision, i.e., making sure that a sentence says exactly what it wants to say. This means you need to know precisely what the words and phrases in the line mean. If you're not sure that you do, you should generally just not use that word or phrase, or if you insist on it, go look up both definitions and other usages of the word or phrase. Google Ngram is a good resource for examining other usages.
  • Naturalness, i.e., making sure that a sentence isn't going to "sound weird" to a native American English speaker for any reason (this is kind of fuzzy, since in some sense there is no such thing as "a native American English speaker", since we all really speak our own idiolect and thus judgments will vary person to person). Classifying all the problems in this area is impossible, and even trying to would take a very long time. What you really need, if you want to do well on this front, is an excellent ear for the English language and a ton of experience reading and speaking.
  • Avoiding unintentional ambiguity, i.e., cases where a single sentence can be interpreted multiple ways (hopefully one of them the correct way).
  • Consistency, at many levels. This goes from the low level of making sure terminology used is the same throughout a game, to the high level of making sure that events in the game make sense together. One important thing people screw up on this front is consistency of narrative tense. The flow of narration should either be in the past or present tense, and it should stay there. Consistency overlaps a fair bit with some of the other things on this list, particularly the next two items.
  • Flow, i.e., making sure that subsequent lines make sense together and form a coherent whole. When two people hold a conversation, they're usually talking to each other. A response tends to be related to the question that elicited it, and so on. Narration tends to be a single train of thought, not a series of disconnected sentences.
  • Tone and character voice, i.e., making sure that the way the line expresses the thought is appropriate to either the narrative tone or the way the speaking character should talk. Character voice mostly comes down to word choice, but also sometimes to syntax. As an example, if your character is a bit childish, they shouldn't use SAT words and they shouldn't speak like the narration of a Dickens book. This objective is particularly fuzzy and difficult to get right. Rarely, people can go overboard on this one and end up flanderizing their characters' speech, or even just make them sound a bit silly. This one is the most forgivable thing to mess up, especially if you underdo it (overdoing it tends to be annoying...), but it's worth doing.
  • Other fuzzier "good writing" things that don't really fit into the above categories. Avoid purple prose, avoid filtering verbs, avoid mixed metaphors, etc. This list is probably exceptionally long, and there's no way I'm going to just think up even a tiny fraction of the things that should be on it.

Editors work almost entirely on instinct (because analyzing everything would take forever), along with a healthy dose of preparation and analysis outside of the time spent actually changing lines. For instance, you often need to sit down and think about common terminology, catchphrases, and other things that will influence word choice across the game. That's necessary because of both the "consistency" consideration and the "character voice" one. And although changes are largely driven by instinct in the moment, any editor worth their salt should be able to explain why they are making any given change, and it will usually boil down to one of these items: "it's more natural this way", "this is the way that person talks", etc.

VN fan translations tend to be bad at all of these things. The same is true of many (most?) official VN translations, and also official and fan translations of anime, manga, LNs, and even of many mainstream video games. Being good at each of these things is hard. Being consistently good at all of these things is extremely difficult, and hence why there are professionals. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the VN-reading community has gotten so used to people being bad at all of these things that they won't notice if you, also, are bad at them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't strive to be better at it.

 

One thing I want to drive home: Japanese VN writers are professional writers. If all of this stuff I wrote sounds nitpicky and you think I'm making this all way more complicated than it should be, then you are disrespecting the original. You can bet your ass the original writers had all of this stuff (and a whole lot more related to writing in a broader sense) in mind at some level while they were writing it. Either that, or they're bad writers and it's probably not worth the time to translate their work anyway...

Thanks man, this one is really important too. I've been looking at lines and these things are required I can see why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Pomelo said:

Considering I've just started my first fan TL project , I can't give you much advice regarding editing for VNs. I have done some other editing, though (a poetry book and some articles/synopses).
Generally you'll want to improve the readability of the writing you're working on. You'll take what's written and polish it up. You'll fix errors, shift words/sentences around if it reads better, check that words mean what they're intended to mean (and change them if they don't), and make sure the writing is consistent (ex. the book I worked on had about three different spellings of 'Claire' to refer to the same person). It's important to keep the author's style and intentions, though- you don't want to just completely rewrite the piece based on how you'd do it.

 

Also, I think you might be a bit young. Hopefully this doesn't sound rude, but I think it's a good idea to finish high school and take some writing/English courses at a post-secondary level in order to make sure your skills are solid. I'm also not really sure how many people would be comfortable working with a minor if the VN has 18+ content (I definitely wouldn't be).

 

It's good to be ambitious, though, so I hope you succeed!  

Thanks! Well if I have no choice but to wait 3 years just so I can help with VNs well I've got no choice then :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 27/04/2018 at 7:50 PM, StrategyMasterz said:

Thanks! Well if I have no choice but to wait 3 years just so I can help with VNs well I've got no choice then :lol:

I am a translator and my own editor (not japanese-english, but an editor's role is not bound by language. The job is the same nonetheless).

An editor must be fluent and very knowledgeable of manierisms in said language, in order do be able to put 'feeling' into the translation (which I believe you are, since you are an american native-speaker).

Let's put it this way: The characters MUST look like a real person speaking when they express themselves. Otherwise, the translation won't be adequate.

In my case, that is a pain, since it is hard (close to impossible IMHO) to take both roles simultaneously.

I translate close to 500 lines, make a read-check to correct the most grotesque mistakes, then go to the next 500 lines.

After a day, I go back to the first 500 lines and then act as the editor (since my mind would not be attuned to the not so obvious mistakes I made the first time around).

In your case, you could take the editor role right away, since you would be reading something another person wrote. It is hard to notice your own mistakes, but not the ones from someone else.

All in all, good luck with school, and just do not stop reading. It keeps your mind sharp.

Edited by AstralSword

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, tymmur said:

Darbury wrote about that specific issue.

 

I understand that completely but, if you have the time to wait untill your mind "forgets" what you wrote, that issue can be minimized (not to perfection, of course, but after two passes it is bound to be very close).

My Demonbane translation from english to portuguese is going smoothly in the sense that I actually like the results of the first 2 chapters.

One thing that works to erase the "auto-correct effect" (at least in my head) is to recompile the translated script in the game and proofread it there.
Since I translate the script using Notepad++, reading it in the game is like looking at a totally different beast.

The font is a different size, there are OSTs, there are CGs, so the feeling inside your head is different. It works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...