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Fan Translations Are Nearly Dead?

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I'm actually kinda glad the larger corporations are buying out the copyrights to these VNs and doing official translations with a bigger budget. This could only lead to a good thing for untranslated VNs in the future. While it does waste the effort of people who've spent so much time translating those VNs for years, I'm guessing that the companies might pay these fan translators a certain amount of sum to incorporate their already completed translations, or maybe even hire them to do the translations.

My only concern is that those bigger companies are merely buying out the copyright but not bothering to spend a dime translating them because of time-constraint or even budget-constraint. Look at KimiNozo. Still no news of translation whatsoever. Though to be fair, I suppose Muv-Luv Alternative was released not too long ago, so it might still take some time.

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Was debating on bumping this again. Tbh, companies can only do so much. They generally go with what's popular at the time so have a chance at making a profit. Fan translations don't have that restriction, so they can work on whatever they want. Obscure VNs and VNs that's been C&D with no sign of a translation from the company who sent it, such as Chaos Head which is sitting in limbo, and the C&D of Air many years ago.

They're generally looked down on as far as quality goes since people learn from each other. Can't really do much when you got 2-3 people in a group. Ya just gotta rely on yourself to catch your own mistakes I suppose. Easier said than done. After all, books and written resources only go so far. The amount of dropped projects from them don't exactly paint them in a good light either, nor do the "rules" for translating and editing that varies from group to group instead of having unified rules like companies do. Sometimes that's a good thing, though it can be bad depending on how justifiable those rules are.

I genuinely hope that fan translations stick around because they can do things companies can't, regardless on whether or not they want to admit it. I also don't want all the companies disappearing, since they can do things fan translators can't. As long as the fan translators don't TL stuff that the companies are planning to TL in the future, I don't see why there can't be both. Losing either one is a loss for consumers and those who want to read a good (or bad) story. 

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Just to chip in my thoughts on a couple of those points, since some I strongly agree with, and some I disagree with, and I think I have a somewhat balanced view having been on both the fan and pro side of VN loc...

3 hours ago, AdventSign said:

[Companies] generally go with what's popular at the time so have a chance at making a profit.

Strongly agree with this one. You will see companies pick up things simply because of staff enthusiasm at times, but it's the exception that proves the rule. Generally speaking, fan translation is probably the best shot for localizations for much older, "classic" titles.

3 hours ago, AdventSign said:

Can't really do much when you got 2-3 people in a group. Ya just gotta rely on yourself to catch your own mistakes I suppose. Easier said than done.

Official TLs are actually in worse shape here than fan TLs. It's far more common for fan TLs to have someone in a "translation checker"-type capacity than it is for official TLs, since fan TLs have the luxury of time and (oddly enough) resources. There's barely enough money in professional VN loc to pay a (not very good) rate for TL, edit, and QC; unless you're looking at a truly exceptional scenario (Muv Luv and Clannad come to mind as probably having had more resources available than most official loc projects), there's no money at all to pay for extra hands beyond that.

3 hours ago, AdventSign said:

unified rules like companies do

These are generally very light-handed, and ultimately more like guidelines than rules. Except in really superficial, stylistic ways, all the releases even from a single given company will vary wildly in their approach to various localization decisions, due to the influence of the many freelance translators and editors employed by each company.

3 hours ago, AdventSign said:

I genuinely hope that fan translations stick around because they can do things companies can't, regardless on whether or not they want to admit it.

Same. Though I'll caution by adding that, at least in my case, I only feel that way as long as the TL in question is delivered with care and quality, just like I'd want from an official TL. If it's a poorly edited google translate job, then it's worse than nothing, since it puts the nail in the coffin for any chance of a quality translation, and I wouldn't want that for any game I cared about. But that can obviously happen with either a fan TL or an official TL, as the recent Tenkiame release for example shows... Neither fan nor official TL has either a monopoly on or a guarantee of quality.

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23 minutes ago, Fred the Barber said:

Just to chip in my thoughts on a couple of those points, since some I strongly agree with, and some I disagree with, and I think I have a somewhat balanced view having been on both the fan and pro side of VN loc...

Strongly agree with this one. You will see companies pick up things simply because of staff enthusiasm at times, but it's the exception that proves the rule. Generally speaking, fan translation is probably the best shot for localizations for much older, "classic" titles.

Official TLs are actually in worse shape here than fan TLs. It's far more common for fan TLs to have someone in a "translation checker"-type capacity than it is for official TLs, since fan TLs have the luxury of time and (oddly enough) resources. There's barely enough money in professional VN loc to pay a (not very good) rate for TL, edit, and QC; unless you're looking at a truly exceptional scenario (Muv Luv and Clannad come to mind as probably having had more resources available than most official loc projects), there's no money at all to pay for extra hands beyond that.

These are generally very light-handed, and ultimately more like guidelines than rules. Except in really superficial, stylistic ways, all the releases even from a single given company will vary wildly in their approach to various localization decisions, due to the influence of the many freelance translators and editors employed by each company.

Same. Though I'll caution by adding that, at least in my case, I only feel that way as long as the TL in question is delivered with care and quality, just like I'd want from an official TL. If it's a poorly edited google translate job, then it's worse than nothing, since it puts the nail in the coffin for any chance of a quality translation, and I wouldn't want that for any game I cared about. But that can obviously happen with either a fan TL or an official TL, as the recent Tenkiame release for example shows... Neither fan nor official TL has either a monopoly on or a guarantee of quality.

What happened with you, old man?

What a boring answer. You lost that spice.

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2 hours ago, Fred the Barber said:

Just to chip in my thoughts on a couple of those points, since some I strongly agree with, and some I disagree with, and I think I have a somewhat balanced view having been on both the fan and pro side of VN loc...

You will see companies pick up things simply because of staff enthusiasm at times, but it's the exception that proves the rule. Generally speaking, fan translation is probably the best shot for localizations for much older, "classic" titles.

Official TLs are actually in worse shape here than fan TLs. It's far more common for fan TLs to have someone in a "translation checker"-type capacity than it is for official TLs, since fan TLs have the luxury of time and (oddly enough) resources. There's barely enough money in professional VN loc to pay a (not very good) rate for TL, edit, and QC; unless you're looking at a truly exceptional scenario (Muv Luv and Clannad come to mind as probably having had more resources available than most official loc projects), there's no money at all to pay for extra hands beyond that.

These are generally very light-handed, and ultimately more like guidelines than rules. Except in really superficial, stylistic ways, all the releases even from a single given company will vary wildly in their approach to various localization decisions, due to the influence of the many freelance translators and editors employed by each company.

Same. Though I'll caution by adding that, at least in my case, I only feel that way as long as the TL in question is delivered with care and quality, just like I'd want from an official TL. If it's a poorly edited google translate job, then it's worse than nothing, since it puts the nail in the coffin for any chance of a quality translation, and I wouldn't want that for any game I cared about. But that can obviously happen with either a fan TL or an official TL, as the recent Tenkiame release for example shows... Neither fan nor official TL has either a monopoly on or a guarantee of quality.

Hmmmm. I knew there were only a select few that have jobs in the VN industry, though I didn't know you felt short staffed compared to fan translation projects. Guess it reflects the reality that many jobs both online and offline have today.

Never heard of Tenkiame until now. I see your point. There's still this sense of how official work is of higher quality than fan translated work, though I can understand why people feel that way after reading translated VNs like Flyable Heart.

As far as monopolies go, you can't stop people from getting jobs in a company and abandoning fan translating altogether. That is ultimately up for those individuals to decide.

Well said, Fred.

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I think the fact that fan translations are still coming is very interesting, considering there's at least some market for translations to make money from. Tsurezurescans (who I do not really know much about) seem to be an anomaly in my mind in that I don't see many people really complaining about quality of translation, and they are working pretty consistently, when fan translations seem to be on the back burner/disappearing.

I honestly appreciate the effort by anyone putting in proper time to put out fan translations, even if they are poor quality, because I don't think they close any doors because there is no license and if they are poor quality then anyone can make a new one still.

That all said there are obviously merits and and demerits to official translation companies. I think ideally larger visual novel companies would themselves expand out from Japan and hire translators to ensure the quality of their products as I'm sure they care more about it and their brand than third party licencors. But as it is we really benefit from having so many companies translating visual novels for the obvious fact there are lots of them that might not get touched otherwise, or at least not for a long time. Though there's obviously the fact that this means if its a machine translation or a busted translation then we might not ever get a good one unless fans are really skirting on copyright infringement to do their own translations or fix the official one. So yeah, good and bad.

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