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The visual novel fan translation survey (for participants of FTL projects) is live!


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Hey there everyone!

As some of you might know, I'm a PhD student in sociology and for a long time I've been doing projects about fan communities and fan productivity of different kinds. This survey is an element of my current one, focused on the history of visual novel fan translation and the ties between the fan translation scene and the development of the professional VN localization market. It's directed to people that participated in FTL projects in various roles, asking them about general details of their involvement and other kinds of localisation/translation work they might've been involved in. If that's you, please consider filling out the survey – it's mostly simple single-choice or multi-choice questions that'll take you very little time to answer. If not, you can help by spreading the message, especially if you know places connected to the fan translation community that I might not know of or have no access to. The survey will be open at least until Sunday 6th –  it might be prolonged depending on the number of responses.

Here is the link to the survey

The results I get will be shared back with the community within a month and a half after closing the survey (it'll take me some time to process it all, as I have a conference I need the data for in the meantime). If you have any questions, please ask them here or contact me directly at [email protected]. I'll do my best to respond ASAP.

Thank you for your time!

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Just now, Zakamutt said:

just realized


Tl;dr while N1 is not super easy it's definitely still not at native-like level fwiw

Right, changed it to "proficient" as it's apparently the most common-used word for top-level language certificates. I mostly added the explanation so people not familiar with JPLT at least can know in which direction the scale goes without googling it – those are probably not in N1 category anyways. ;p

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Nice to see Visual Novels being addressed to that level. My favourite game of all time is a VN by the name Yu-No: The Girl who Chants Love at the Edge of the world, and it was highly influential for its time--it innovated the use of using a flowchart map that allowed the player to navigate different parallel universes/possibilities on the fly. Many modern VNs took inspiration from it. Though the game does has its flaws: There is a lot of fan service.

The game was made in 1996 and was fan-translated in 2011 by TLWiki. The seemingly inferior 2017 remake was announced in the West this year, that is after it was shown a rushed 2019 anime adaptation of that remake. Many Players outside Japan will be exposed to that new style (which was developed after the original composer and original author passed away almost a decade earlier) before knowing what made the original Yu-No special enough to deserve both a remake and an anime adaptation to begin with.

It has been more difficult for me to recommend the fan-translated version of the original game since then, since the studios who are now in charge of that game now decides how it is presented, and as we all know, fan-translations are often illegal.

Edited by Lexyvil
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Small rant about The JLPT: It is a terrible measure of actual language skill. It requires 0 speaking skill, and it’s not all that hard to guess your way to a good score since it’s multiple choice. (And you can try again as many times as you want.) 

What the JLPT should be used for is for people who feel they are at a certain level to test that theory for themselves. Do you know everything, or at least most of what is on the test without much trouble? If so, you’re on that level. Congrats. But if you barely passed based on guessing right half the time because you honestly didn’t know the answers to half the test then passing it doesn’t make you NX. Therefore having passed, let’s say the N1, does not always mean you are at that level at all, and having the N1 certificate is basically pointless if your skill doesn’t keep up with it. That’s why most companies in the TL industry gives TL tests. They want to see your actual skill level, not a certificate you might just have from pure luck

Another issue the JLPT has is that N1 is basically just a list of outdated and obscure kanji you will never have a use for in daily life. Fluent people won't know this shit. Meanwhile, it skips important things you do need in daily life, which is a must for native speakers. If you absolutely must do a JLPT level, N3 and N2 are the ones with the most helpful info you can actually use. N1 is just obscure and fairly pointless. 

In general I feel like simple choices like: beginner, intermediate, skilled, fluent etc is a lot better. The JLPT is really not a good measure of skill. Being on "N1 level" really doesn't mean anything, as that just implies you know a lot of obscure shit but have no practice speaking Japanese normally? Tl;dr I don't like the JLPT, lol.
(I realize I should have suggested changes to the structure of the survey before it went live, not after, so RIP.) :P

Filled out the survey though!

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I actually have a J-CAT score from this year that put me somewhere between N2 and N1 so I put N2 as my level. I'm guessing most people aren't even going to have taken the JLPT despite using the scale because why would you? It's money for nothing unless you have very specific needs or get the N1.

While it's fair to talk about speaking skills not being tested by the JLPT, it's usually not very relevant when translating, so it might be unusually appropriate for this survey to use a measure that ignores it www

I honestly think the N levels are less vague than the adjectives you provided tbh ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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