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HonorificsSurvey

(8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

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8 hours ago, sanahtlig said:

The poll shows that most respondents were weebs.  The difference is pretty crucial.  A very particular type of fan hangs out in VN communities and responds to polls like this.

Yeah, I was mostly being sarcastic. The main drawback of the polls like that is that it's impossible to estimate how representative the results even are.

Still, 52% voted to always keep the honorifics in non-Japanese settings? I just can't. :amane: Something like Fata Morgana would literally never work if the honorifics were left intact.

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The war of honorifics continues to rage on...

Will an agreement ever be reached? Will the salt from men and women's delicious tears ever stop? Will weebs finally rise up and refuse to be weebs and show the veterans their final form? Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z!

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31 minutes ago, Hetzer123 said:

They claim they do it for etymology reasons. They assume the meaning would be lost if they leave it untranslated (Homura = Fire = Pyra) because the audiences don't speak Japanese. Sometimes it would sound weird if they leave it untranslated. (like some Pokemon name) I see VNs rarely localize their names.

I know why they do this. But this is stupid. Almost all jrpg has names with meaning. But we are talking about real names. It is like trying to translate Aurelia = Gold = Goldy (or any other non-japanese names) because character has golden hair.

24 minutes ago, MayoeruHitori said:

I don't understand, why isn't this poll representative?

Because honorific haters lost yet again. They are just too hard-nosed to accept the truth. Of course they would tell us that this poll doesn't matter.

Edited by ShinRaikdou

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1 hour ago, MayoeruHitori said:

I don't understand, why isn't this poll representative? Where are the VN fans if not in the communities that the pollster here surveyed?

Just off doing their own thing, with their friends or by themselves. Most people will check in at a community or two every now and again, but not actively participate. They get their news by browsing storefronts and maybe occasionally checking company twitters and such. People like these are actually the majority of the VN market (thousands of people buy every new release, with many of them being different each time, yet not anywhere near that many people are active or even lurk these communities), but are incredibly hard to get data on and predict.

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2 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

Yeah, I was mostly being sarcastic. The main drawback of the polls like that is that it's impossible to estimate how representative the results even are.

Still, 52% voted to always keep the honorifics in non-Japanese settings? I just can't. :amane: Something like Fata Morgana would literally never work if the honorifics were left intact.

I agree. Imagine if something like GochiUsa which is set in Europe had honorifics. Wait a minute...

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1 hour ago, ShinRaikdou said:

honorific haters

Well, that's a new title for the collection. I think I'll keep this one for a while. :chaika:

I find it funny about how quickly this topic devolves into some kind of indentity politics/faction war. I'll stand by my take that removing honorifics whenever its possible is much more in line with the principles of proffessional media localization, but I really don't care either way unless it's done poorly and produces the kind of clunky, weeb prose that particularly shitty and Japan-obsessed OELVN writers make. I find how much people care about keeping honorifics bonkers, but they're entitled to their opinions, so I don't see a reason to insult anyone over this issue - it's really not worth this kind of drama.

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9 hours ago, Decay said:

Basically, this survey was utterly meaningless from the start, but I'm sure we all knew that already.

I'm not sure I fully agree with that statement. What I find interesting is actually not the numbers themselves (pro honorifics were predictable), but rather Fuwa vs global. I would have expected Fuwa to stand out more, like more long time readers, higher percentage of Japanese skills etc. While the trend is there, the difference is way less than I expected.

3 hours ago, Hetzer123 said:

They claim they do it for etymology reasons. They assume the meaning would be lost if they leave it untranslated (Homura = Fire = Pyra) because the audiences don't speak Japanese. Sometimes it would sound weird if they leave it untranslated. (like some Pokemon name) I see VNs rarely localize their names.

Translating the names. I never really thought about that, like thinking it's something you don't do. We could call Ichigo for Strawberry in a translation, but would it really make sense? I suspect that it would quickly end up sounding more lame than informative.

In case you are wondering about how bad it can turn out, here is a video with ms money moon moon.

Spoiler

 

 

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10 hours ago, Decay said:

Basically, this survey was utterly meaningless from the start, but I'm sure we all knew that already.

I'd expect the poll sample to be more representative of Kickstarter backers vs. the general VN customer base.  However, what this poll doesn't appear to assess is the importance of honorifics to buying decisions.  I might very well have an opinion on a matter, yet other factors still dominate.  There's also the possibility of unequal prioritization: that honorifics proponents are more likely to buy when their preference isn't met vs. honorifics opponents, or vice versa.

Edited by sanahtlig

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9 hours ago, MayoeruHitori said:

I don't understand, why isn't this poll representative? Where are the VN fans if not in the communities that the pollster here surveyed?

Let me explain it from the purely statistical perspective.

Polls done measure the opinions of the group questioned.  In order to get a good sample, honest pollsters attempt to ask a broad range of people.  Asking the opinions of people in California may do a good job of telling you what Californians think about something, but it does very little to tell you what the French think about something.

In this case, the poll was made available to people on Fuwa, reddit, and a few other VN communities.  Therefore, this poll can be viewed as a decent representation of the opinions of those communities.  However, these communities do not represent the entirety of the population of VN buyers or players.

Second, the poll is a self-selected poll.  That is, rather than randomly selecting people from the available populations, it allowed people to choose to participate.  Self-selected polls are very vulnerable to differences in enthusiasm.  People that feel strongly about something are much more likely to go and participate in these sorts of polls than those people that do not have strong opinions.  This is why there is an entire field of statistics dedicated to polling methods: because careless polls produce inaccurate results.

 

An accurate description of these polling results is that, amongst the populations of the larger VN online communities that chose to answer the poll, there is a bias towards keeping honorifics.

One can attempt to draw conclusions about the larger populations from that sample, but your accuracy goes down the further out you extrapolate.  Extrapolation to all users of the polled VN communities is reasonably likely to be accurate.  Extrapolation to the population of all VN owners is much less likely to be accurate.  Extrapolation to the general English-speaking population is very unlikely to be accurate.

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Would be funny to read a translation where translator has decided to remove honorifics and then the characters start fuzzing about whether to use honorifics or not. Do you rewrite the entire way they refer to each other by using last name and progressing to first name? I mean, there is going from -san to only name and there is going from surname to given name. Worst case scenario if a vn has both those character progressions then 1 of them won't be translatable as far as i can see. 

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1 hour ago, Toranth said:

Second, the poll is a self-selected poll.  That is, rather than randomly selecting people from the available populations, it allowed people to choose to participate.  Self-selected polls are very vulnerable to differences in enthusiasm.  People that feel strongly about something are much more likely to go and participate in these sorts of polls than those people that do not have strong opinions.  This is why there is an entire field of statistics dedicated to polling methods: because careless polls produce inaccurate results.

To put it really simple, say we have a room with 10 people who all bought VNs in the past and we ask those people. We get that 2 wants honorifics, one is strongly against and 7 don't care. In other words that poll gives:

  • 20% for
  • 10% against
  • 70% don't care

Now we ask everybody in the room to answer if they like. 6 of the don't care are like "why bother. I'm happy either way". The result from the now self-selected poll gives:

  • 50% for
  • 25% against
  • 25% don't care

It's the same people and the same question, but the results differs greatly. While the numbers are made up, the poll in this thread is of the latter type and it's important to remember to not treat it as the first type, hence claiming "it's the eternal truth. We did a big test and got this result".

 

I know I didn't add much new information with this reply (if anything). However since the quote is the core essence of how trustworthy the poll results are, I feel like it would be best to try to explain it in a way, which makes it easier to understand. The quote itself is fine, but the choice of words are keywords from statistically analysis and I fear people with no training in statistical analysis whatsoever will have a hard time understanding "academic talk". We have to remember that some users are of university level, some dropped out of school and the majority is somewhere in between. Figuring out how to write to target all those levels at once is tricky to say the least.

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@Toranth Nice post!

Now that you mention it, I've heard about sample bias and selection bias before. It's just that there are always limitations to polls. After all, you mentioned "these communities do not represent the entirety of the population" but the only way to do that perfectly is to literally ask everyone, otherwise your only choice is to do your best to sample as many diverse parts of the population as possible.

So you're right that it isn't representative. In retrospect, what I probably really wanted to ask was closer to, "Is there a reason to believe the results aren't what the overall community believes?" Though it might be unfair to shift the burden of proof like that. The bottom line is that I found the survey results fascinating, and plan to tentatively accept them as fact about public opinion in the VN community, unless I learn that there's been some major oversight in the way the survey was conducted which would have clearly led to a different result if fixed.

@Decay Hmm. It's true that many fans don't participate in fan communities. VNDB is proof enough of that, since it has over 100,000 users who largely lurk. I had assumed that the existing VN communities would be representative of such people.

Edited by MayoeruHitori

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First of all, this poll never claimed it represents the whole VN community. However, it still does represent the places it polled - the core VN community. And this core audience is much more important than some would have you think. The number of registered users on VNDB is not a proof of anything when you don't know how many of these accounts are no longer active, how many are duplicate, how many are vote bots. A much better proof of the size of the VN community as a whole are the sales of an average visual novel, which go from several hundred to several thousand at best (You need to make a distinction between regular VNs and VNs which were largely bought by people outside of the community for various reasons like NekoPara).
Another thing you should consider is that "we" are much more likely to be the ones who check out a large percentage of new releases, know the reputation of the various companies, and care about translation quality as a whole. A person who buys a VN on sale on Steam on random, or simply because it was very cheap to do so and they wanted the achievements from it, is not someone who can be marketed to, aside from putting up a pretty title picture and adding achievements to the game. There are people who happily buy machine translations, people who don't know which company released which VN.
In short, saying that the people who participate (or even lurk) in all the major VN communities are a small minority of the overall market and we don't even matter is a ridiculous notion. The people who would tell you that are acting in a self-deprecating way in order to fool people into thinking that their opinion does not matter. And they do it simply because the disagree with the results.

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10 hours ago, HonorificsSurvey said:

A person who buys a VN on sale on Steam on random, or simply because it was very cheap to do so and they wanted the achievements from it, is not someone who can be marketed to, aside from putting up a pretty title picture and adding achievements to the game.

Marketing should be primarily directed at growing the audience - those very same people that are random VN buyers on Steam are the ones companies should be aiming to attract - as long as they can do it without alienating the existing core audience (VN community members).  If removing honorifics convinces those casual VN players to buy more, then it is the correct decision.

 

10 hours ago, HonorificsSurvey said:

In short, saying that the people who participate (or even lurk) in all the major VN communities are a small minority of the overall market and we don't even matter is a ridiculous notion. The people who would tell you that are acting in a self-deprecating way in order to fool people into thinking that their opinion does not matter. And they do it simply because the disagree with the results.

The poll is not inaccurate - as long as you don't attempt to overstate the results.  The poll represents the enthusiastic folks of the common VN communities, and they like honorifics.  At the same time, a poll of all Steam owners of VNs would likely have different results.  How different, we don't know, but dismissing the very real limitations imposed on the poll by the chosen polling method does not make them go away. 

 

Ideally, it would have been great to work with Steam and send a poll link to a random sample of VN owners... but it's unlikely that Steam would agree to work that closely with someone not associated with a VN publisher.  Or even with, for that matter - privacy is big these days.

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2 hours ago, Toranth said:

Marketing should be primarily directed at growing the audience - those very same people that are random VN buyers on Steam are the ones companies should be aiming to attract - as long as they can do it without alienating the existing core audience (VN community members).  If removing honorifics convinces those casual VN players to buy more, then it is the correct decision.

"without alienating the existing core audience" is the contradiction in your statement. Every single time there is a poll or debate about this, the result is the same. Kicking out honorifics will alienate the core audience. The question is if it's bad enough to make changes to if or what people will buy, but then again I question if honorifics will have an effect on first time buyers at all. I mean it's not like its a big issue for them before they pay and have the VN on their HD and once they paid, it's likely not what makes them quit.

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2 hours ago, Toranth said:

If removing honorifics convinces those casual VN players to buy more, then it is the correct decision.

Oh, but you just said that their preferences are unknown. What we do know, however, is how the newcomers to the VN scene who are at the same time a part of the communities feel like. These are people who are very likely also a part of an existing anime/manga community (or used to be), which is why they also decided to join a VN community upon picking up reading VNs as a hobby. They are the group which is the least opposed to honorifics.

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@HonorificsSurvey I agree with a lot of the sentiment of your post there. I just want to chime in to say that I think it's a mistake to suddenly start talking about markets. IMO, this survey has meaning because it deals with the views of VN fans. It doesn't try to account for anyone who has ever or could ever buy a VN.

Once you selectively focus on people who are into one particular VN for whatever reason (like Ace Attorney fans, or Umineko fans) rather than people who like various VNs, I think you've stopped talking about what VN fans generally care about, and are at best instead conducting market research on how to expand the VN fanbase by finding different ways of appealing to people. The survey questions about honorifics are only relevant to people who play a variety of JP->EN translated VNs.

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Interesting to see that this is such an important topic. I only became aware of it since I started reading this forum. :D Personally I don't think much about the technicalities. I like honorifics because I simply get annoyed when I hear the characters using it and then seeing it missing from the text. When I understand parts of the language and I hear and read different things, that just rubs me the wrong way. That is also why I never play games in my own language, when they are tranlsated and just stay with english. Oh and I also like to listen to english the same way I like to listen to japanese while I play JRPG-s. Maybe I'm just weird :P

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