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Senpai Ken

New guy interested in translating

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Hello!

My name is Ken, but on the internet i've been Senpai Ken for quite a while now, so I think I'll stick with that name. :)

When it comes to VNs I've gone through different stages, I feel. First I discovered that "Visual Novels" were a thing by watching playthroughs on YouTube (we're talking about 5 years ago, I believe). Shorty after, I started playing them myself. You could say this was one of the reasons why I got interested in Japanese (I'm thinking of Sakura games, Malus Code, Nekopara, Princess Evangile, ...).

Fast forward 3 years of learning Japanese later and I've gone through another 2 phases again. First I started reading VNs that had no official translation (Watashi no Real wa Juujitsu Shisugiteiru, Dekinai Watashi ga Kurikaesu, Dracu-riot!, Koishiki Manual,...). Now, however, I feel like I want to do more than just read and comprehend them. I want to translate them to practise my translation skills and hopefully become a visual novel translator one day. Maybe it sounds like an impossible dream or a stupid one, but I'd like to pursue it. 

I looked around and was also introduced to Fan Translations for the first time today! I was wondering... Do people still do that? How does one become part of such a group? What is it all about? And what about noobies like me? Are they allowed to join?

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First and foremost welcome to Fuwanovel, we’re glad to have you.

All of us go through phases when it comes to VNs, I had no idea how to even locate them when I first started as there was not a lot of official projects going on back then. Discovering Fuwanovel was my breakthrough as we hosted torrents back then and the rest is history.

Fan translating is definitely not as common as it once was due to the huge bloom in official projects over the last few years but it does still happen. If you are interested in being involved in a project we’re definitely a good place to start. What kind of titles are you interested in working on? And then what kind of time do you have to devote to translating? It’s best not to overwhelm yourself because as a translator people rely on you, not a lot else can be done in terms of editing or proofreading without first having translations it just goes without saying. These projects sometimes go on for years so you can just work at a pace that’s comfortable for you. 
 

I was once involved in organizing teams and did some editing work so I would consider joining in on a fun laidback project. Might be able to revive the old website I had... That is if I can get back into it :vinty:

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1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

And what about noobies like me? Are they allowed to join?

Why wouldn't they be? As long as you're doing something for fun, nobody can stop you. However, if you want to do it for epeen, then don't bother. It's not worth it these days xD

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

What is it all about?

Depends on the person. For some, it's about perfecting their skills. For others, it's about trying to make a title they like more popular by making it accessible to those who can't read it for whatever reason. Some do it because they want to sell themselves to a localization company. For some, it's a mixture of all reasons already mentioned. Etc. There are numerous reasons for starting a fanTL.

The best reason for doing a fanTL, however, is to meet new people and have some fun. This is my personal favorite for starting a fanTL.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

I was wondering... Do people still do that?

Yes, there are some fanTLers who are still alive and kicking. Despite common belief that fanTLs are kinda dead... we're not really dead just yet. Every now and then, a random fanTL pops out. It's true that official companies have more and better output, but fanTLs are still there and they have their place in this day and age.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

I want to translate them to practise my translation skills and hopefully become a visual novel translator one day. Maybe it sounds like an impossible dream or a stupid one, but I'd like to pursue it. 

It's not as hard as you think. Btw, why would you want to become a VN TLer? It's not really a career worth pursuing. This is an industry driven solely by passion. There's not much money to be made. Although I have to admit, some TLers have managed to make a living out of it.

By the way, you didn't tell us what kind of projects and titles interest you.

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9 hours ago, Heizei_koukousei said:

First and foremost welcome to Fuwanovel, we’re glad to have you.

All of us go through phases when it comes to VNs, I had no idea how to even locate them when I first started as there was not a lot of official projects going on back then. Discovering Fuwanovel was my breakthrough as we hosted torrents back then and the rest is history.

Fan translating is definitely not as common as it once was due to the huge bloom in official projects over the last few years but it does still happen. If you are interested in being involved in a project we’re definitely a good place to start. What kind of titles are you interested in working on? And then what kind of time do you have to devote to translating? It’s best not to overwhelm yourself because as a translator people rely on you, not a lot else can be done in terms of editing or proofreading without first having translations it just goes without saying. These projects sometimes go on for years so you can just work at a pace that’s comfortable for you. 
 

I was once involved in organizing teams and did some editing work so I would consider joining in on a fun laidback project. Might be able to revive the old website I had... That is if I can get back into it :vinty:

Thank you :) 

Yes I would love to start translating a visual novel. It'll be a challenge for me and I've always wanted to devote myself to some kind of project, so it just seems like a good place to start. I love challenges. As I'm still a uni student, the time I can put in of course varies from time to time. On a normal weekday at university? Maybe 1-2 hours a day? But then the hours are different on weekends or during the summer holiday for example. But the schedule aside, I think I'll be able to at least work on it almost daily. 

As for projects? I'm not sure myself yet. I'm not an expert when it comes to visual novels, but I'm very much into the Romance category, with some action on the side. Add in Fantasy or science-fiction, even better. Maybe I should have a look around first before deciding on a project.

Yeah that's exactly what I'm looking for: a laidback project. We're doing it on our own pace, (almost) daily and most of all, we're here to learn and have fun. 

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11 hours ago, Senpai Ken said:

 And what about noobies like me? Are they allowed to join?

Fan projects, by their very nature, do not ask permission.  They simply do what they want.

If you want to join a specific fan translation project, you should talk to the people running it.  Getting their attention might be hard; a place like this is a good place to try to get in touch.  If you have a specific game you want translated badly enough to do it yourself, and it doesn't have a project already, this is also a good place to come looking for a group to start one.

But you don't need anyone's permission to post here.  There is no licensing board of amateur translators you need to worry about either.  Just do it.

There is one catch.  (There's always a catch.)  If you want to start a new project to translate game X, but no one else wants to work on it, you'll have a problem - in that you need a programmer who can create tools to extract and re-insert the scripts.  If you aren't that programmer, you'll have a hard time getting started.  It is, in fact, possible to have a would-be project fail because you can't find anyone.  The project forum is full of abandoned and incomplete projects, most of which floundered for exactly that reason.

Fan TL projects have three key skills:  Tech, to get the scripts out of, and back into, the game.  Translation, to produce intelligible scripts.  Editing, to make those scripts fun to read.  You have one of those key skills.  You should be good.

Edited by Nandemonai

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9 hours ago, Infernoplex said:

Why wouldn't they be? As long as you're doing something for fun, nobody can stop you. However, if you want to do it for epeen, then don't bother. It's not worth it these days xD

Depends on the person. For some, it's about perfecting their skills. For others, it's about trying to make a title they like more popular by making it accessible to those who can't read it for whatever reason. Some do it because they want to sell themselves to a localization company. For some, it's a mixture of all reasons already mentioned. Etc. There are numerous reasons for starting a fanTL.

The best reason for doing a fanTL, however, is to meet new people and have some fun. This is my personal favorite for starting a fanTL.

Yes, there are some fanTLers who are still alive and kicking. Despite common belief that fanTLs are kinda dead... we're not really dead just yet. Every now and then, a random fanTL pops out. It's true that official companies have more and better output, but fanTLs are still there and they have their place in this day and age.

It's not as hard as you think. Btw, why would you want to become a VN TLer? It's not really a career worth pursuing. This is an industry driven solely by passion. There's not much money to be made. Although I have to admit, some TLers have managed to make a living out of it.

By the way, you didn't tell us what kind of projects and titles interest you.

Nice! that's what I'm looking for. I wanna improve, but most importantly, I want to have fun. No I don't want to boost my epeen xD (I had to google that)

That's good to hear, that there's still hope! Of course they're better, but you gotta start somewhere you know? 

Why become a translator of VNs? It just seems more interesting to translate games or visual novels instead of books for example. But that vision could change over the years. I've heard the same about literary translations too though... That people also have trouble making a living out of it.

I'm gonna be honest. I don't have a list ready with titles I want to translate. I'm very much into Romance VNs. Combined with a bit of Fantasy, or Science-fiction and I'm sold. I seem to drift towards Yuzusoft games, as well as Moonstone, Nekoworks (ofc), SMEE, ...

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1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

Nice! that's what I'm looking for. I wanna improve, but most importantly, I want to have fun.

Sounds good to me :) We're the same in this regard.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

No I don't want to boost my epeen xD (I had to google that)

Sorry, sometimes I forget it's not a word everyone knows. I myself only discovered it by spending a lot of time on the net. And yeah, good to hear you're not into it for epeen. It used to be a popular reason for starting fanTLs back in the day. People wanted to get famous and popular. I guess it's a reason valid as any other, but personally... I'm not a fan of people who want fame like that.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

That's good to hear, that there's still hope! Of course they're better, but you gotta start somewhere you know? 

Yeah, I know. I myself started from fanTLs :D

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

Why become a translator of VNs? It just seems more interesting to translate games or visual novels instead of books for example.

I agree on the part about VNs being more fun to work on than other mediums. However... they're also harder to work on, take more time, and at the end of the day - also paid way less than, say, working on LNs. In a nutshell, you work on VNs only because you're really passionate about them. Other reasons are all against working on them.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

I've heard the same about literary translations too though... That people also have trouble making a living out of it.

True, they say that about literary translations too. There are different tiers of pay rates when it comes to translation jobs. Depending on what you're translating and for who, you can earn less or more money. Some manage to make a living out of it, while others do not. VNs... are really hard to make a living out of xD But, there are numerous factors here too. For example, what if the TLer lives in some random 3rd world country? For him, the low pay rate may actually seem higher because of his country's weak economy. So yeah... there are things like this to consider too.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

I seem to drift towards Yuzusoft games, as well as Moonstone, Nekoworks (ofc), SMEE, ...

When you want to pick up a fanproject, you should aim at those that are least likely to get picked up for official localization (unless you're aiming to sell your work to an official company in the first place, of course). Like, all of those companies you mentioned... they have official localization companies who are working with them. So, I'd advise steering clear off risky projects like VNs from Yuzusoft and SMEE. Or... if it's a very old VN, that's okay too. For example, Yuzusoft has some super old VNs that are very unlikely to get picked up. In fact, this goes for all VNs. Older VNs are super safe from perspective of getting officially picked up. Localization companies can't make money on them, so they want to avoid localizing really old titles.

1 hour ago, Senpai Ken said:

I'm very much into Romance VNs. Combined with a bit of Fantasy, or Science-fiction and I'm sold.

I think I have a few ideas that could work out for you. But I'd need a bit more imput from you on those :)

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2 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

Fan projects, by their very nature, do not ask permission.  They simply do what they want.

If you want to join a specific fan translation project, you should talk to the people running it.  Getting their attention might be hard; a place like this is a good place to try to get in touch.  If you have a specific game you want translated badly enough to do it yourself, and it doesn't have a project already, this is also a good place to come looking for a group to start one.

But you don't need anyone's permission to post here.  There is no licensing board of amateur translators you need to worry about either.  Just do it.

There is one catch.  (There's always a catch.)  If you want to start a new project to translate game X, but no one else wants to work on it, you'll have a problem - in that you need a programmer who can create tools to extract and re-insert the scripts.  If you aren't that programmer, you'll have a hard time getting started.  It is, in fact, possible to have a would-be project fail because you can't find anyone.  The project forum is full of abandoned and incomplete projects, most of which floundered for exactly that reason.

Fan TL projects have three key skills:  Tech, to get the scripts out of, and back into, the game.  Translation, to produce intelligible scripts.  Editing, to make those scripts fun to read.  You have one of those key skills.  You should be good.

Thanks for letting me know :)

I went ahead and looked around for some projects. I've already posted on a person's project as well, so hope all goes well!

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15 minutes ago, kokoro said:

You only read 4 vns in Japanese? You should read at least a dozen imo.

Yes. I have only read about 4 vns in Japanese. I only recently got into it. That's because right now I feel like I'm on a decent enough level to comprehend texts well enough. I've tried in my first and second year but I had to look up words way too frequently...

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6 minutes ago, Senpai Ken said:

Yes. I have only read about 4 vns in Japanese. I only recently got into it. That's because right now I feel like I'm on a decent enough level to comprehend texts well enough. I've tried in my first and second year but I had to look up words way too frequently...

That's not good enough.

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10 minutes ago, Infernoplex said:

Sounds good to me :) We're the same in this regard.

Sorry, sometimes I forget it's not a word everyone knows. I myself only discovered it by spending a lot of time on the net. And yeah, good to hear you're not into it for epeen. It used to be a popular reason for starting fanTLs back in the day. People wanted to get famous and popular. I guess it's a reason valid as any other, but personally... I'm not a fan of people who want fame like that.

Yeah, I know. I myself started from fanTLs :D

I agree on the part about VNs being more fun to work on than other mediums. However... they're also harder to work on, take more time, and at the end of the day - also paid way less than, say, working on LNs. In a nutshell, you work on VNs only because you're really passionate about them. Other reasons are all against working on them.

True, they say that about literary translations too. There are different tiers of pay rates when it comes to translation jobs. Depending on what you're translating and for who, you can earn less or more money. Some manage to make a living out of it, while others do not. VNs... are really hard to make a living out of xD But, there are numerous factors here too. For example, what if the TLer lives in some random 3rd world country? For him, the low pay rate may actually seem higher because of his country's weak economy. So yeah... there are things like this to consider too.

When you want to pick up a fanproject, you should aim at those that are least likely to get picked up for official localization (unless you're aiming to sell your work to an official company in the first place, of course). Like, all of those companies you mentioned... they have official localization companies who are working with them. So, I'd advise steering clear off risky projects like VNs from Yuzusoft and SMEE. Or... if it's a very old VN, that's okay too. For example, Yuzusoft has some super old VNs that are very unlikely to get picked up. In fact, this goes for all VNs. Older VNs are super safe from perspective of getting officially picked up. Localization companies can't make money on them, so they want to avoid localizing really old titles.

I think I have a few ideas that could work out for you. But I'd need a bit more imput from you on those :)

Oh cool, maybe I'll also be able to rise up to a decent level one day!

Yeah, I don't care about fame. I would just do it for the fun and the learning experience.

The only thing that's certain for me is to become a translator or interpreter. Personally, I prefer translating over interpreting. What exactly I'll end up translating, I don't know yet. For now I think this should be a good place to start. :)

Okay, don't look too much at newer and popular novels as they are too risky. Go for older games or less popular ones. Got it. I went ahead and looked around a bit and even offered my services to someone. :D

Hmm more input huh? I guess I could list a few more novels i've read? I've already given you all my Japanese reads that i've finished. I'm pretty new to it all and most of them are those "new and popular ones". I'm hoping to get introduced to more older ones or less popular ones while browsing through projects. I can give some more examples of English vns I've read, however.

Japanese : Atashi no Real wa Juujitsu Shisugiteiru, Dekinai Watashi ga Kurikaesu, Dracu-riot!, Koishiki Manual

English: Chrono Clock (that's also why I chose to play through Dekinai, as they both have time travel), Wagamama, MML, If my Heart had wings, Koi ga saku koro, Hapymaher, Fureraba, Ponkotsu Akuma, Noraneko, ...

I recently got into the Grisaia series and Marco & Galaxy dragon (which I'm both reading in Japanese).

 

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40 minutes ago, Senpai Ken said:

The only thing that's certain for me is to become a translator or interpreter. Personally, I prefer translating over interpreting. What exactly I'll end up translating, I don't know yet. For now I think this should be a good place to start. :)

Yeah, being a translator should be way easier than being an interpreter. You'd have to be really, really good to be able to translate in real-time xD Yeah, I agree with you - better focus on being a TLer than an interpreter.

42 minutes ago, Senpai Ken said:

Okay, don't look too much at newer and popular novels as they are too risky. Go for older games or less popular ones. Got it.

Hmm... well, while I did say that older VNs are safer, there are some newer, more modern VNs that should also be safe from getting picked up for official localization. I meant that older VNs are safer in general compared to newer VNs. It's not necessarily so that there aren't some newer VNs that should be safe for picking too. There are factors you look in when you judge whether a given title is safe for picking or not. But more about that later.

47 minutes ago, Senpai Ken said:

I went ahead and looked around a bit and even offered my services to someone. :D

Yeah, I saw. Saimin Yuugi is pretty safe-looking. You can go for that one. Hopefully you'll get a response from the lead of the project soon :)

50 minutes ago, Senpai Ken said:

Hmm more input huh? I guess I could list a few more novels i've read?

I checked what you listed here again. Based on this, I may have a few ideas that I could recommend you. Even from technical perspective of getting the script and starting work on it wouldn't be difficult. However, ask me about those ideas if Saimin Yuugi doesn't work out for you :)

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9 minutes ago, Infernoplex said:

Yeah, being a translator should be way easier than being an interpreter. You'd have to be really, really good to be able to translate in real-time xD Yeah, I agree with you - better focus on being a TLer than an interpreter.

Hmm... well, while I did say that older VNs are safer, there are some newer, more modern VNs that should also be safe from getting picked up for official localization. I meant that older VNs are safer in general compared to newer VNs. It's not necessarily so that there aren't some newer VNs that should be safe for picking too. There are factors you look in when you judge whether a given title is safe for picking or not. But more about that later.

Yeah, I saw. Saimin Yuugi is pretty safe-looking. You can go for that one. Hopefully you'll get a response from the lead of the project soon :)

I checked what you listed here again. Based on this, I may have a few ideas that I could recommend you. Even from technical perspective of getting the script and starting work on it wouldn't be difficult. However, ask me about those ideas if Saimin Yuugi doesn't work out for you :)

Alright! Thanks you very much for the talk and for helping me out. It means a lot :)

I'll definitely stay in touch

Edited by Senpai Ken

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Welcome aboard. Fan translation is not for the faint  hearted as it requires many many many hours of dedication to what is entirely a volunteer project for sometimes harsh ungrateful audiences. If you want to try it out, you can see about joining our project which needs another dedicated translator, but you'd have to take the translation test first. That should also tell you if you're up for the task. Here's a link to our project:

 

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7 minutes ago, ittaku said:

Welcome aboard. Fan translation is not for the faint  hearted as it requires many many many hours of dedication to what is entirely a volunteer project for sometimes harsh ungrateful audiences. If you want to try it out, you can see about joining our project which needs another dedicated translator, but you'd have to take the translation test first. That should also tell you if you're up for the task. Here's a link to our project:

 

Oh wow thank you for giving me this opportunity!

I'd love to give it a try! Should I post on there as well that I'm interested?

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On 6/11/2020 at 5:56 AM, Senpai Ken said:

Yes. I have only read about 4 vns in Japanese. I only recently got into it. That's because right now I feel like I'm on a decent enough level to comprehend texts well enough. I've tried in my first and second year but I had to look up words way too frequently...

4 VN's isn't good (You really want like 10-12). But I know many people who tried getting into translating after about that much (myself included).

Edited by Chronopolis

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2 hours ago, Chronopolis said:

4 VN's isn't good (You really want like 10-12). But I know many people who tried getting into translating after about that much (myself included).

Really? How did it turn out? For you and the others

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I started translating VNs having read 0 in Japanese.  (My first project is Nocturnal Illusion, whose official loc was so bad I still did a better job.)  My editor found dozens of questionable-looking lines that, upon going back and rechecking, were pretty amateurish and awful errors.  (I mean, I am an amateur.)  On my next VN - SKM - I've noticed a big improvement from when I started versus now.

Like anything you'll get better with practice.  I often spend significant lengths of time struggling to figure out a mere several lines of fairly complicated Japanese.  Sometimes it's 'what does this mean?' and Googling idioms I don't recognize and whatnot, and sometimes it's 'I know what it means, how do I express this thought in English in a coherent way that reads well?'.

Expect it to take a lot longer than you thought it would (even if you were already thinking it would take a long time).

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It's very hard to quantify how many VNs' worth of stuff I read before I was a decent translator because I have partially read then stalled innumerable works, but I'm pretty sure it'd be below 10. I would definitely advise trying to find someone to check your work, though it might be hard these days.

One thing I would really advise is starting small, though this is partly because I'm personally so bad at doing things consistently. There are plenty of good VNs hovering around 2 to 3 thousand lines that represent something you can actually complete in a reasonable amount of time while paying attention to quality (warning: opinions ahead - https://disearnestlydisearnest.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/how-good-should-your-translation-be-before-editing/). Being a short work will also make people much more willing to invest time into helping you, as they're not signing up for something huge.

Start looking for an image editor early. If there is a lot of work do be done for that, it can be a massive bottleneck.

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10 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

I started translating VNs having read 0 in Japanese.  (My first project is Nocturnal Illusion, whose official loc was so bad I still did a better job.)  My editor found dozens of questionable-looking lines that, upon going back and rechecking, were pretty amateurish and awful errors.  (I mean, I am an amateur.)  On my next VN - SKM - I've noticed a big improvement from when I started versus now.

Like anything you'll get better with practice.  I often spend significant lengths of time struggling to figure out a mere several lines of fairly complicated Japanese.  Sometimes it's 'what does this mean?' and Googling idioms I don't recognize and whatnot, and sometimes it's 'I know what it means, how do I express this thought in English in a coherent way that reads well?'.

Expect it to take a lot longer than you thought it would (even if you were already thinking it would take a long time).

Wow the positive comments just keep coming and coming... thanks a lot! :)

This gives me motivation to continue trying. I will expect to take even double the amount of time I thought it would at first.

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7 hours ago, Zakamutt said:

It's very hard to quantify how many VNs' worth of stuff I read before I was a decent translator because I have partially read then stalled innumerable works, but I'm pretty sure it'd be below 10. I would definitely advise trying to find someone to check your work, though it might be hard these days.

One thing I would really advise is starting small, though this is partly because I'm personally so bad at doing things consistently. There are plenty of good VNs hovering around 2 to 3 thousand lines that represent something you can actually complete in a reasonable amount of time while paying attention to quality (warning: opinions ahead - https://disearnestlydisearnest.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/how-good-should-your-translation-be-before-editing/). Being a short work will also make people much more willing to invest time into helping you, as they're not signing up for something huge.

Start looking for an image editor early. If there is a lot of work do be done for that, it can be a massive bottleneck.

I've thought about it a lot. But I wouldn't know where to find such a person really. I have a good friend who also studies Japanese and I would argue he's better than me at it, but I wouldn't say he's the best of the best of course. 

I've also thought about starting out with a small project, but I would assume that makes me the project leader and I have 0 experience with that. I don't know what I'd need to do as group leader and do I just need a tech guy and an editor as nandemonai said (for a small project that is)?

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