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Sol Press looking for newer/lesser expererienced translators for future "experimental" releases

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Just now, Infernoplex said:

Try explaining this to people who don't believe me. When I say that, everybody looks at me like I said something impossible.

The text is long and presents a lot of unique challenges, the artform is lowbrow, the pay is shitful, the deadlines are punishingly short, and some (not all) of the audience is hypercritical and ungrateful. If you were a half decent translator, of all the translation gigs in the world why would you do it unless you loved VNs? Additionally since the pay is so bad one can only earn a living off it by doing vast chunks of stuff they don't like at all. I know many translators that started out loving VNs and translating them has killed their love of them. Luckily I can afford to just do it for fun and will only work on VNs I find appealing in some way. Not everyone is so lucky.

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2 hours ago, ittaku said:

The text is long and presents a lot of unique challenges, the artform is lowbrow, the pay is shitful, the deadlines are punishingly short, and some (not all) of the audience is hypercritical and ungrateful. If you were a half decent translator, of all the translation gigs in the world why would you do it unless you loved VNs? Additionally since the pay is so bad one can only earn a living off it by doing vast chunks of stuff they don't like at all. I know many translators that started out loving VNs and translating them has killed their love of them. Luckily I can afford to just do it for fun and will only work on VNs I find appealing in some way. Not everyone is so lucky.

I suddenly remembered our chat on Discord.

And yeah, all your points stand true. Knowing all these things that I've come to realize after following this scene for so long, I dare not to publicly speak ill of any VN translation's quality nowadays, whether it be official or fanTL. The situation has really gone for the worse. It saddens me to say that most English-only VN readers will never understand what it looks like to be the one having to work on this stuff. The stuff you said are things only someone who has worked on visual novel translations can truly understand. All the time, I see VN fans complaining about the minorest of shit that they don't like in some translation works out there (from honorifics inclusion to whether there's too much swearing used in the translation and other types of silly shit), not realizing how difficult it really is to fulfill all of their selfish demands.

The people they are looking for to do those "proper translations"... those people don't work on visual novels. I'd really like it if they could stop deluding themselves into expecting amazing translation works done by anyone who's working on VNs nowadays. Only hardcore VN fans and hobbyist type of freelancers work on VNs nowadays. Nobody who has any semblance of self-respect won't come anywhere near VNs. That word you just used in your post... "ungrateful"... that's exactly how I would describe working on VN translations. Ultimately UNGRATEFUL.

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31 minutes ago, Infernoplex said:

I suddenly remembered our chat on Discord.

And yeah, all your points stand true. Knowing all these things that I've come to realize after following this scene for so long, I dare not to publicly speak ill of any VN translation's quality nowadays, whether it be official or fanTL. The situation has really gone for the worse. It saddens me to say that most English-only VN readers will never understand what it looks like to be the one having to work on this stuff. The stuff you said are things only someone who has worked on visual novel translations can truly understand. All the time, I see VN fans complaining about the minorest of shit that they don't like in some translation works out there (from honorifics inclusion to whether there's too much swearing used in the translation and other types of silly shit), not realizing how difficult it really is to fulfill all of their selfish demands.

The people they are looking for to do those "proper translations"... those people don't work on visual novels. I'd really like it if they could stop deluding themselves into expecting amazing translation works done by anyone who's working on VNs nowadays. Only hardcore VN fans and hobbyist type of freelancers work on VNs nowadays. Nobody who has any semblance of self-respect won't come anywhere near VNs. That word you just used in your post... "ungrateful"... that's exactly how I would describe working on VN translations. Ultimately UNGRATEFUL.

 

Don't rewrite a vn to fit your idiotic humour, include shitty 4chan memes or make characters swear like low class american idiots etcetcetc  It's important to know that the consumer base will be a lot larger and more diverse than the circle of fools you mess around with in your free time so obviously and quite logically the best course of action is to make it as widely acceptable as possible (General statement and not directed at you). The inclusion or exclusion of honorifics does not point to a translators skill as it's just a choice of style. I disagree with the removing them, but that doesn't mean i don't like the translation as a whole. A lot of translators talk about prose and keeping stuff in line with the original text, at the very same time as they're rewriting the entire fucking thing. Where is the logic in this? I'll tell you, there isn't any. A translator can be as skillful as he wants, but if his head is completely void of rationality and critical thinking then it's entirely wasted on everyone.

If you find it funny and giigle when making every character swear and talk shit all the time and people at large complain about this, don't stand in your corner crying and making a tantrum like some entitled kid. Fix it and/or don't make the mistake the next time. Accepting mistakes made from faulty judgement and learning from them are not only important in this context, but in life in general.

Ignoring complaints and pissing off customers is not exactly the brightest idea either. But expected of young and proud up and comers, just a shame they don't learn until they've made a shitty mistake which makes people refuse to buy a vn translated by them anymore and rather torrent or skip it.

Edited by Stormwolf

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38 minutes ago, Stormwolf said:

Don't rewrite a vn to fit your idiotic humour, include shitty 4chan memes or make characters swear like low class american idiots etcetcetc  It's important to know that the consumer base will be a lot larger and more diverse than the circle of fools you mess around with in your free time so obviously and quite logically the best course of action is to make it as widely acceptable as possible (General statement and not directed at you).

See, that's exactly what I was talking about. I can already tell that based on what you said here, you definitely aren't gonna be a fan of either Nukitashi or, for that matter, the VN that's coming out in just a couple of days, Sankaku Renai. I can already tell you right now that both of these are gonna be full of "idiotic humour", "shitty 4chan memes", and maybe some "low class american idiots swearing" (not sure about the third one, but with TBAC being the main TL for both Fureraba and Sankaku Renai, it's quite possible he may have used that style of swearing again... that is, if he considered it appropriate for the VN in question). That's just how comedy VNs work. I don't know how else you could properly localize these. They are pretty much dumb in Japanese, and so I don't see any problem with them sounding dumb in English too (and hence one of the major reasons I avoid moege with accent on comedy like a plague - they are a huge pain in the ass to work on, and whatever you do, someone's always bound to consider your comedy writing "idiotic").

Also, that last piece of advice I marked in your comment... Man, do you even realize what "make it as widely acceptable as possible" even means? I hear that all the time and I am really starting to believe you people have no idea how many disagreements among everyone on this there are. "Widely acceptable" implies that whoever's working on VN translations should go out and always measure how many people want translations to be in one or the other style (I've seen some folks trying to measure this by doing surveys) and then act according to the results. Do you realize how unfeasible doing this all the time really is? First of all, even the fans themselves don't really know what they want. I see so many disagreements between people who want honorifics/no honorifics, who want liberal/non-liberal translations, who want dumb memes/no dumb memes, who want masterful prose writing (LOL at this one!)/no masterful prose necessary... etc, etc. How's one to decide on what to do?! Who's able to satisfy all these contradictory demands?! I don't know anyone who has ever seriously tried to measure what the VN fans want, and it's probably for a good reason. Even if they could, there's just no way you would be able to satisfy everyone, or for that matter "as widely acceptable as possible" size of community. "As widely acceptable" is just a myth. You don't know what's really "widely acceptable" as you're often gonna see complaints from a sizeable portion of community no matter what you do. There's just no way to accurately measure this, especially if you consider the new fans who might be coming in and who aren't necessarily gonna be weebs.

And that's one of the major reasons why I believe translators like Arunaru and his ilk do what they do. They don't bother with "as widely as acceptable as possible". There's no such thing to begin with. So... what's a TLer gonna do then? Simple. They judge according to what sounds good to them and how they imagine the VN should read like. This sort of bias in translation... you get it all the fucking time, no matter who's at the helm doing the translation. I can tell you that every TLer out there has his own fucking way of translating something, and that's why no 2 translations are ever the same. No, I don't approve of translators who overlocalize and invent up silly shit just for the sake of novelty (no, I definitely don't approve of random Spanish lines that feel forced and out of the setting at hand), but that's just how things in this industry go. I don't let my "preference on style" cloud my judgement. Otherwise, I'd have to start despising the so-called "rewriting" that so many translators do. In fact, all the translations that we read are in fact nothing more than re-imagining of the Japanese works they are based on. Even the most literal translation you could dig out is still a re-imagining of the original work at hand (just remember that Japanese doesn't really have accurate English equivalents for many of its words and expressions and you'll understand what I mean by this).

1 hour ago, Stormwolf said:

The inclusion or exclusion of honorifics does not point to a translators skill as it's just a choice of style. I disagree with the removing them, but that doesn't mean i don't like the translation as a whole.

So you can recognize the inclusion/exclusion of honorifics as a style choice, but not "idiotic humour", "shitty 4chan memes", and "low class american swearing"?

1 hour ago, Stormwolf said:

A lot of translators talk about prose and keeping stuff in line with the original text, at the very same time as they're rewriting the entire fucking thing. Where is the logic in this? I'll tell you, there isn't any. A translator can be as skillful as he wants, but if his head is completely void of rationality and critical thinking then it's entirely wasted on everyone.

Tell me, have you read anything in pure Japanese so far? And if yes, imagine you were a TL. How would you translate this commonly used simple phrase from Japanese "よろしくおねがいします"? I'll tell you... if you have any sanity as a translator, you won't ever TL it as "Please treat me well.", no matter the context (I've yet to see a crazy-enough TLer who would do that). Basically, what all TLers do here is, they "rewrite" it every time they see it, depending on the scene, character, tone, etc. You people have to understand that translation work is more art than science. What you refer to as "rewriting the entire fucking thing" is exactly how all translations in a nutshell are. They are essentially someone's rewriting (I called it "reimagining" earlier in my post) of the VN at hand. Unless you're reading VNs in Japanese, you are always gonna be reading someone's reimagination of the VN based of its original. And while we can criticize a TLer's accuracy of translation, his creativity to carry over the Japanese lines, etc, etc. I would never go and say that TLers are "void of rationality and critical thinking" for just being liberal with their reimagination of the work at hand. In fact, I think totally opposite here. If they didn't do this type of stuff, then I'd question their sanity and rationality.

1 hour ago, Stormwolf said:

If you find it funny and giigle when making every character swear and talk shit all the time and people at large complain about this, don't stand in your corner crying and making a tantrum like some entitled kid. Fix it and/or don't make the mistake the next time. Accepting mistakes made from faulty judgement and learning from them are not only important in this context, but in life in general.

I am in no way endorsing what NekoNyan did with Fureraba. I didn't even read it myself to judge their work yet. That said... if the biggest complaint one can make about a translation work is "swearing", then I don't really believe that translation was as bad as some are making it out to be. We have far, far bigger problems with translations nowadays. Personally, I am more pissed off about poor grammar, typos, and overall QC issues plaguing so many of official releases coming out nowadays. I consider that to be real shoddy work and that's what I am more worried about than some localization choice. Also... "people at large complain about this" - how many people? Did you measure? I am asking you this because I tend to see a lot of pro and anti-sentiments regarding this. I've seen a lot of praise from some of the more casual VN readers, loving Fureraba's localization. And then there are more weeb-oriented fans who absolutely abhor the localization of Fureraba. So which one is the right way? The casuals? The weebs? How do you satisfy all of these people at once? Is it even doable? No, I definitely don't think so.

 

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"Prose" has become my least favorite word in the VN community because it allows these poser weebs to do their 'holier-than-thou' act of what they think a real translation is (or parroting what people in elitist groups say is a good translation). Especially from those who haven't tried to learn Japanese at all.

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18 hours ago, Infernoplex said:

That said... if the biggest complaint one can make about a translation work is "swearing", then I don't really believe that translation was as bad as some are making it out to be.

Dunno, I didn't read Fureraba either, but if the amount of unnecessary swearing and trash-talk that doesn't correlate with the original text is as big as some people say, it can be just as unreadable as TLs with "poor grammar, typos, and overall QC issues". This is really not the same as the endless honorifics debacle. And I'd say nowadays it's not wise to downplay relatively big issues for superficial reasons. Just as there are some pointlessly hypercritical people, there are even more customers who approve of literally anything and I'm not sure who are the more dangerous ones for the industry as shaky as VNs.

Edited by novurdim

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18 hours ago, Infernoplex said:

not sure about the third one, but with TBAC being the main TL for both Fureraba and Sankaku Renai, it's quite possible he may have used that style of swearing again...

For what it's worth, when I spoke to TBAC, he said the copious swearing in Fureraba at least was the editor's choice. The style guide for solpress at least wouldn't have allowed it btw. Personally I found reading Fureraba quite funny.

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I should also point out that people have been very kind with my To Heart 2 translation as I've received almost no harsh criticism, so in that particular instance I did not find people hypercritical nor ungrateful (contrary to my own comment). It seems fair that audiences are more lenient towards amateur translations as the translators are doing it for absolutely nothing. Certainly very low accuracy translations should be unacceptable at any level (and I don't think we need to revisit what people consider poor accuracy) but complaining about stylistic choices means the translation itself is usually more than acceptable in its accuracy, dude.

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17 minutes ago, ittaku said:

but complaining about stylistic choices means the translation itself is usually more than acceptable in its accuracy, dude.

Just goes to show how questionable stylistic choices can destroy an otherwise acceptably accurate translation for a considerable chunk of the audience. Readers are not robots constantly analyzing the accuracy percent, after all, they just want to enjoy the stuff they read, and original obnoxious "style" of the translator can hamper that enjoyment a lot more than actual mistakes in the translation which they possibly wouldn't even notice without a TLC. Though, at the same time people occasionally complain about the stuff they wouldn't like in the japanese version either and project those dislikes on the translation so what do I know? The line is thin and the end is not in sight.

Any work in a creative field is generally a thankless job so when you obtain the power to implement questionable ideas you personally like, it's easy to forget that you ultimately do this work for the people to enjoy.

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38 minutes ago, NowItsAngeTime said:

I didnt mind the swearing in Fureraba but it was weird at first

Yeah, I could wish that they toned it down just a notch, but ultimately it didn't bother me. OTOH in Chrono Clock... I felt like editor went  totally overboard, and there it annoyed me to hell. (I talk about first version, haven't read newest one yet, so I don't know how it differs).

 

Edited by adamstan

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1 hour ago, novurdim said:

Dunno, I didn't read Fureraba either, but if the amount of unnecessary swearing and trash-talk that doesn't correlate with the original text is as big as some people say, it can be just as unreadable as TLs with "poor grammar, typos, and overall QC issues". This is really not the same as the endless honorifics debacle. And I'd say nowadays it's not wise to downplay relatively big issues for superficial reasons. Just as there are some pointlessly hypercritical people, there are even more customers who approve of literally anything and I'm not sure who are the more dangerous ones for the industry as shaky as VNs.

Fair point. I may be downplaying the issue a bit, but it's generally true that no translation style can ever fulfill everyone's expecations at the same time. For some, the swearing and overlocalizing can indeed make a VN unplayable, depending on the person. On that same note... there are those of us who can read pure garbled messes produced by machine translation too. I'll never understand why they can enjoy reading VNs like that. That type of people falls into the "who approve of literally anything" category, and yes, I'd consider those people dangerous for the industry, especially so if they are even willing to pay for the experience of reading a machine translated work. I am not saying VN translations shouldn't be criticized. That wasn't the point of my post earlier. All I am saying is that some things are allowed when you're localizing a Japanese work. Not everyone has to necessarily like the style someone picked up for the translation of something. There are certain localization choices I despise in localized works too, but I don't let that cloud my judgement of the overall quality of the translation. That's the point I was trying to make earlier. It's perfectly fine, and in fact, very encouraged to criticize translations. On that note... yeah, I agree that some people who work in this industry tend to be rather unwelcoming to criticism. I'll give you that. That's true, and I don't approve of such behaviour. I think every translation work should be judged on its own merits.

1 hour ago, ittaku said:

For what it's worth, when I spoke to TBAC, he said the copious swearing in Fureraba at least was the editor's choice. The style guide for solpress at least wouldn't have allowed it btw. Personally I found reading Fureraba quite funny.

It slipped my mind earlier, but yeah, sometimes it's the editor who changes the style of the script. That's one of the problems I am aware of. Usually, I'd prefer if the TLer checked the changes done by the editor and approved of them, but... in the pro scene, that seems to not be the case. Or at least, not often. Most of the time, the TLer just finishes the translation and moves on to other things, while the editor is left over with the script and does whatever he wants with it. So yeah... that's kind of a blind spot. I am not a fan of that, but it's just how things go in this industry. That said, the stuff I talked about regarding the style of translations still stand. If the editor has the final say, then we just have to trust his judgement on style. Speaking of it... the situation with editors is even worse than with TLs in this industry. Ugh, not really in the mood to talk about that xD But yeah, if the editor decided to go with overswearing in Fureraba, then we can't really blame TBAC for it. Actually, I don't want to assign blame to anyone. I'll still consider that a style choice, made by the editor instead of the TLer. Well, you say you found reading it "quite funny". I guess the editor made the right call in your opinion then? Fureraba is supposed to be funny and dumb from what I know.

1 hour ago, ittaku said:

I should also point out that people have been very kind with my To Heart 2 translation as I've received almost no harsh criticism, so in that particular instance I did not find people hypercritical nor ungrateful (contrary to my own comment). It seems fair that audiences are more lenient towards amateur translations as the translators are doing it for absolutely nothing.

This is not really true. Even on this very forum, I've seen lots of criticism directed toward fantranslations. We even have people discouraging fanTLs here (and I can kinda share that sentiment sometimes, depending on who's doing the fanTL). You may have not experienced it with To Heart 2, but some other translators did get bashed pretty hard (and I approve of criticising translations when it's for good reasons, as I've said earlier in the post). I don't really know about the To Heart 2's case, as I've never read it, but I did hear from some random sources where I hang out that the VN is "boring". Some even attributed it to the translation quality, but as I said, I didn't read it and I don't really have an opinion to share on it. Generally, I'm fine with most things in translations (you may remember what I voted for as my bare minimum in that translation quality poll you made here), as long as it's not pure machine TL. I can tell when a translation is lacking in quality, but I certainly don't have any high standards or requirements. And I steer clear from bashing any work done by anyone, be it a pro or fan. I do criticize translations, but I don't engage in flaming like I've seen some folks who do that.

Edited by Infernoplex

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1 hour ago, Infernoplex said:

Or at least, not often. Most of the time, the TLer just finishes the translation and moves on to other things, while the editor is left over with the script and does whatever he wants with it. So yeah... that's kind of a blind spot. I am not a fan of that, but it's just how things go in this industry. That said, the stuff I talked about regarding the style of translations still stand. If the editor has the final say, then we just have to trust his judgement on style. Speaking of it... the situation with editors is even worse than with TLs in this industry.

My guess is that if the TLer wants to get paid they have to work on whatever the next project is. Industry doesn't have time to wait for a TLer to fight for stylistic choice or risk another VN taking even longer to release and there's a chance a TLer won't get paid or worse get laid off entirely for taking up time fighting for a specific stylistic choice.

Edited by NowItsAngeTime

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2 hours ago, Infernoplex said:

This is not really true. Even on this very forum, I've seen lots of criticism directed toward fantranslations. We even have people discouraging fanTLs here (and I can kinda share that sentiment sometimes, depending on who's doing the fanTL). You may have not experienced it with To Heart 2, but some other translators did get bashed pretty hard (and I approve of criticising translations when it's for good reasons, as I've said earlier in the post).

That's true, and I find the posts difficult to read and cringe when I see them. Sure if a translation is an edited MTL or doesn't remotely resemble the original text then even for free you shouldn't be happy to get that, but outside of that... the debate shall continue forever on that front. Even the best pros make mistakes is all I can say (and I don't consider myself one of the best pros.) I understand how the armchair experts that have excellent Japanese skills feel when they see a bad translation, but just remember who it was that put the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of their own time in for free for many people to enjoy some rendition of the original art form. The pool is very shallow to draw upon so you're not going to get translators that translate Murakami's works translating 2D porn for either free, or a few thousand measly sales at best.

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36 minutes ago, ittaku said:

The pool is very shallow to draw upon so you're not going to get translators that translate Murakami's works translating 2D porn for either free, or a few thousand measly sales at best.

Yeah, just the other day I was saying the same thing to someone in private chat. You won't get Jay Rubin to work on 2D porn waifu games, LOL xD

1 hour ago, NowItsAngeTime said:

My guess is that if the TLer wants to get paid they have to work on whatever the next project is. Industry doesn't have time to wait for a TLer to fight for stylistic choice or risk another VN taking even longer to release and there's a chance a TLer won't get paid or worse get laid off entirely for taking up time fighting for a specific stylistic choice.

That's true. That's why I said that we are forced to trust localization companies' choices for editors. I am not expecting TLers to fight with editors regarding stylistic choices. In fan-translations - yeah, we can fight all we want amongst ourselves. But in pro scene, it's just not gonna happen. Actually, I think in many of these professional localizations, editor and TLer never get to meet each other xD

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12 hours ago, Kiriririri said:

Just listen to what majority of fans want and you have a ttanslation where half of the words are in romaji

Well, when selling products you better humble yourself accordingly. When you buy a game and you think it's shit, you don't buy another game from the same developer when they have made no intentions of improving upon said shit. When watching a movie which is shit, you don't watch the sequel of said shit. When purchasing a visual novel and the translator/editor whatever has made a mess of the script because he thinks it's funny, yes, you don't buy another vn from the same person. If you have principles and standards that is. I can't speak for everybody, but i don't give one sightest fuck about the work an editor has put into his work if he's done a terrible job and has received payment for it. When people are spending their hard earned money on something then you have a responsibility to make sure the customers are satisfied. Making a crowd-pleaser for your circle of friends is not the way to do it.

Edited by Stormwolf

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I love how last column (4kids) has even mirrored images :wahaha:

On a more serious note, actually, on this image there's no TL-style that I'd fully like.

  • First one is the closest to what we're most used to, I think, but currently to me it sounds a little bit stiff and "overly literal" - but it's still the best of all the options presented, and when translated release is at this level, I certainly won't complain.
  • Second one is ridiculous, it definitely crosses the line for "overly literal" and goes right into "half-translated" territory :P I don't think I've seen such a thing in VN translations (except some odd instances of leaving "Itadakimasu" untranslated - I think it happened in Kanon).
  • Third one is what I really dislike - it goes absolutely overboard with its "creativity". I think that's what most people are afraid of when they're ranting against "liberal translations" (although in this case, it's not only "liberal", it's just bad :P Also, I absolutely hate the "Rubadubdubthanksforthegrub" expression - for reasons unknown... I think it was the only thing that actually annoyed me in Fureraba's translation)
  • fourth and fifth are absolute gibberish, and the last one is, well, definitely "overlocalized"

So, going by this image alone (I know that it's a joke...), we're stuck with "Learn Japanese" :P If it accurately portrays the situation in anime subs, then I have to say that we have it better with VNs, as there are numerous translated releases that somehow manage to find a good balance IMO ;)

 

BTW There's a typo in first panel of "What you want" :P

Edited by adamstan

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1 hour ago, adamstan said:

Also, I absolutely hate the "Rubadubdubthanksforthegrub" expression - for reasons unknown... I think it was the only thing that actually annoyed me in Fureraba's translation

Oh, God... oh GOD!!!

They... oh my... now that's indeed something that would make me go WTF if I see it in a translation. I definitely need to check out Fureraba when I get the time.

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1 hour ago, Infernoplex said:

Oh, God... oh GOD!!!

They... oh my... now that's indeed something that would make me go WTF if I see it in a translation. I definitely need to check out Fureraba when I get the time.

The German subtitles on Crunchyroll are like that way too often. With Mob Psycho it was so annoying I switched to the English ones.

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36 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

The German subtitles on Crunchyroll are like that way too often. With Mob Psycho it was so annoying I switched to the English ones.

Oh, I did hear that anime localizations in other languages are sometimes so bad, most fans just switch to English only.

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