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Sekai Project sets a new low standard

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China has a long history of VN fan translation, and a fairly big market for official releases. In the past two years, there are quite a few Chinese translation companies releasing on steam and achieving good sales figures, so I'm not surprised to see companies like Sekai trying to capture a share of this market. What I am surprised to see is how they actually do it.

Yesterday Sekai released "WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC" Chinese translation. To our surpise, it's 100% identical to fan translated patch, even the mistakes like misspelled words.

It's very well known in Chinese VN community that this translation involves a scandal. The original translation team gave up the project, then picked up by a second translation group. It was planned for release using the name of both groups, but the original team leader stole the translation then released the game using original team name just before the second group released the final version. Basically, he personally didn't translate anything but claiming he did everything... Since it's not a monetised issue, the two version translation is just a joke about how messy fan translations nowdays among Chinese VN community.

What really surpised me is that this guy sold "his" translation to Sekai Project, and Sekai didn't perform any kind of due diligence before buying the translation. Until people buying the game suddenly realised idential translation, then we know what actually happened.

Fan translation is always a grey area. Is this copyright infringement? Probably not, but it is really hurting Chinese VN translation community when a large company like Sekai blindly buying translation and earning money, while the real translators get nothing in return.

Edited by syfjhz22

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26 minutes ago, syfjhz22 said:

What really surpised me is that this guy sold "his" translation to Sekai Project, and Sekai didn't perform any kind of due diligence before buying the translation.

You seem to have too high of an expectation of Sekai Project, they have multiple times shown their inability to actually research things or do any quality check.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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8 minutes ago, bakauchuujin said:

You seem to have too high of an expectation of Sekai Project, they have multiple times shown their inability to actually research things or do any quality check.

In my company, well, at least in real world, no matter before big M&A or smaller contracts, we are always required to perform DD to avoid any potential hidden issues.

I just couldn't understand how the hell Sekai acquired "his" translation while he is clearly not the translator, and three routes are not even translated by the original team... If Sekai bothered to do a Chinese Google search to check what they are buying.

Edited by syfjhz22

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58 minutes ago, syfjhz22 said:

Fan translation is always a grey area. Is this copyright infringement? Probably not, but it is really hurting Chinese VN translation community when a large company like Sekai blindly buying translation and earning money, while the real translators get nothing in return.

 

So, wait, did the "actual" translation team also release their version of the patch? Would Sekai be able to buy the translation from them? Not trying to defend them, but I'm just wondering whether there was some straightforward way to get the "right" people rewarded, or if you simply suggest they should stay away from this translation by principle because the whole situation was toxic?

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4 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

So, wait, did the "actual" translation team also release their version of the patch? Would Sekai be able to buy the translation from them? Not trying to defend them, but I'm just wondering whether there was some straightforward way to get the "right" people rewarded, or if you simply suggest they should stay away from this translation by principle because the whole situation was toxic?

The original team (or only this "project leader" not the group) released the translation using their name "土豆培根汉化组“ 2 days before actual translation group released their version using their name "弥生月汉化组" by stealing texts from later group and repackaging them.

The messy situation was explained in several threads in Chinese easily searchable by Google or Baidu.

If I am Sekai, I would stay away from this translation, but if they really want to go ahead, at the very least they should search this "project leader" credibility and contact the second group which did most translation and editing...

Edited by syfjhz22
Typo

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2 minutes ago, mitchhamilton said:

guessing theyre trying to make a quick buck with this title since fuck all has come from sp lately.

That's what it looks like to me, and seeing as they are the least favorable localization company in the community, I guess trying to reach an audience that knows nothing about them was their intention. 

Man, at this point I'm wondering when they will close down. Losing licenses, not releasing anything for MONTHS, no transparency......(Let's not forget to mention just buying and releasing fan translations)

Edited by Naterocks2000

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39 minutes ago, Zakamutt said:

inb4 nobody at sekai speaks chinese and they made this deal purely in english (note: this is exactly how japan gets bad inhouse translations done too most of the time so...)

I kind of understand, but on second thought, it’s like an Indian restaurant selling salmon sashimi. If the chef can’t even tell the difference between salmon and rainbow trout, why sell it in the first place? It’s not only a disrespect for genuine salmon, the customer will definitely get upset too.

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37 minutes ago, mitchhamilton said:

guessing theyre trying to make a quick buck with this title since fuck all has come from sp lately.

Don't forget they're also an EVN publisher. Not sure how much money it makes them but counting that, 9-nine and Tokyo Chronos, they published 5 games in the last two months. Counting this Wagamama Chinese release and adding a Steam 18+ patch, I'd be surprised if they were actually that starved for cash. Although, their incompetence seem to reach quite far, so anything's possible... 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hi folks,

We’re aware of the community’s concerns and are working to address them. We’re doing a lot of listening and behind-the-scenes work right now, even if not all of that is visible.

Here's a quick explanation of the situation at hand so you know what’s happening:

There are two Sekai Projects operating independently, but in parallel. There’s the US Sekai Project and the Japanese Sekai Project. They are not the same company. This is not to say that we don’t associate with each other or that there’s no business relationship between us, but it is to say that we are separate entities making separate decisions about separate projects.

Sekai Project Japan handled the Chinese release of WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC. We (Sekai Project US) did not participate in any negotiations, we did not participate in the QA process. Our only involvement was to put the release on Steam--just like we’ve done with previous Chinese-language Sekai Project Japan releases. Previously, this process hasn’t caused problems.

We are not here to throw Sekai Project Japan under the bus. This is a sensitive situation and not all details can be made public, including basic information about parties involved. We are not blaming them.

Both Sekai Project Japan and Sekai Project US are currently working to resolve the issue.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We’ll be continuing to work to improve the state of VNs in the West because everybody deserves a good VN!

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Just chiming in on this thread briefly to vouch that the post by @Sena-chan above is from a representative of Sekai Project, since it's a new account and you all might understandably be suspicious of it. They contacted me just to clarify that for them, since they didn't have an established presence here.

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13 minutes ago, Sena-chan said:

Hi folks,

We’re aware of the community’s concerns and are working to address them. We’re doing a lot of listening and behind-the-scenes work right now, even if not all of that is visible.

Here's a quick explanation of the situation at hand so you know what’s happening:

There are two Sekai Projects operating independently, but in parallel. There’s the US Sekai Project and the Japanese Sekai Project. They are not the same company. This is not to say that we don’t associate with each other or that there’s no business relationship between us, but it is to say that we are separate entities making separate decisions about separate projects.

Sekai Project Japan handled the Chinese release of WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC. We (Sekai Project US) did not participate in any negotiations, we did not participate in the QA process. Our only involvement was to put the release on Steam--just like we’ve done with previous Chinese-language Sekai Project Japan releases. Previously, this process hasn’t caused problems.

We are not here to throw Sekai Project Japan under the bus. This is a sensitive situation and not all details can be made public, including basic information about parties involved. We are not blaming them.

Both Sekai Project Japan and Sekai Project US are currently working to resolve the issue.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We’ll be continuing to work to improve the state of VNs in the West because everybody deserves a good VN!

First time I'm hearing there're two Sekai Projects. Guess the folks in Japan made this huge blunder. LMAO.

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2 hours ago, Sena-chan said:

There are two Sekai Projects operating independently, but in parallel. There’s the US Sekai Project and the Japanese Sekai Project. They are not the same company. This is not to say that we don’t associate with each other or that there’s no business relationship between us, but it is to say that we are separate entities making separate decisions about separate projects.

Sekai Project Japan handled the Chinese release of WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC. We (Sekai Project US) did not participate in any negotiations, we did not participate in the QA process. Our only involvement was to put the release on Steam

I suppose it makes sense to handle Chinese negotiations from a Japanese office.  Japan is closer to China, both geographically and linguistically.  It's probably easier to find Chinese-speakers in Japan than in the US.

The downside would be that Japan is notoriously insular and culturally homogeneous.  It wouldn't surprise me at all that a Japan-based group would rush into a business endeavor with little knowledge of the people they're negotiating with or the fanbase they're selling to.  Hiring native speakers, particularly from the target fanbase, often comes with the advantage of some degree of cultural competence.

That said, the Steam page currently says "PUBLISHER: Sekai Project".  One role of publisher is to accept liability and responsibility in situations like this.

Edited by sanahtlig

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That makes sense that there's 2 branches of Sekai Project which help each other out.

I'm also guessing that the Sekai Project in Japan was also the one that translated the text for the box of Wagamama High Spec including its fandisc. I nearly bought that too thinking it was an English translation, lol.

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3 hours ago, vizualfan said:

I thought VN r best enjoyed based on desired Storyline N gameplay affects. What has company to do with it ? Couldn't care less who made it as long as i get, exactly what i paid for~

by that logic than we as a community would have to ignore the numerous allegations against sp such as abuse of its employees and ripping off backers for their kickstarters. why support a company that doesnt give a shit about its employees or its customers so long as they get paid?

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It's good to see an official response.

 

I am not from the translation groups in question, but I heard this particular guy who sold stolen translations to Sekai joined an infamous for-profit fan machine translation team after been expelled from the original translation team. He is invovled in multiple attemps to sell translations to Japanese publisher, including current attempt to translate highly anticipated Sakura no Uta.

I guess it's not really a surprise, money is the root of all evil perhaps.

Edited by syfjhz22

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15 hours ago, mitchhamilton said:

by that logic than we as a community would have to ignore the numerous allegations against sp such as abuse of its employees and ripping off backers for their kickstarters. why support a company that doesnt give a shit about its employees or its customers so long as they get paid?

Not point going that deep 4 some fictitious story. Companies can do what they want. Not like anyone's going to call a strike or start petition against Sekai or whatever project. Just a good, simple story is all i need, to decide what to buy N what not to, munching pop-corns while i'm really at it.

 

15 hours ago, syfjhz22 said:

It's good to see an official response.

 

I am not from the translation groups in question, but I heard this particular guy who sold stolen translations to Sekai joined an infamous for-profit fan machine translation team after been expelled from the original translation team. He is invovled in multiple attemps to sell translations to Japanese publisher, including current attempt to translate highly anticipated Sakura no Uta.

I guess it's not really a surprise, money is the root of all evil perhaps.

And here i thought there was already quite a lot of philosophy and info-dumping, pre-included even in Nukige already(go figure!)

 

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8 hours ago, vizualfan said:

I thought VN r best enjoyed based on desired Storyline N gameplay affects. What has company to do with it ? Couldn't care less who made it as long as i get, exactly what i paid for~

If all you care about is product, and you have no scruples at all about where they come from, then the Internet is your oyster.  People who buy products from reputable sources--especially fans and hobbyists--tend to have certain expectations about quality and legitimacy.

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