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Report about the status of VNs in Spanish/Spanish language


Okarin
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Hi people! I'm back participating at Fuwa!

Today, I'm gonna give you a rundown about this emerging language in the VN world, Spanish, and the place I'm in, the old metropolis.

Spanish has been known lately for some translations we've had, sometimes before an English TL existed. Such is the case of Sakura no Uta, very coveted in English, that we Spanish readers could have and enjoy (I did). There's Sayonara wo Oshiete too, that later received an English one, but I didn't test it, and I remain unaware if it's indeed MTL; it is marked so at VNDB.

There's no introducing VNs in Spain, and maybe Latin America, because they're already introduced, of sorts. At malls, you can sometimes find niche games, such as the idol game for Neptunia (PS Vita), or some obscure JRPG, but not normally VNs. I live in a small place so things might be different in bigger areas. Still, one of the best sources to procure VNs (for consoles) is Amazon. I've at least ordered Chaos;Child for PS4 from there. The order was like any other product. There were no issues procuring it, and there won't be, as long as it is in stock.

But of course, Chaos;Child is a top-tier VN. What about some more obscure ones? I've run a quick search, and even a "kusoge" like Kotodama - the 7 mysteries of Fujisawa is still for sale for Switch, 3 years after launch, and indeed from first press. But just one copy. Here, it's far easier to find PS4 games of all sorts (including VNs) available long after their launch date. But not with Switch. Switch suffers from short production runs and low stock, leading to steep speculation after they're no longer available.

The best known VN-likes in Spain would be things like Zero Escape, Ace Attorney, maybe Key games, and maybe sci-adv games. Outside of that, it would be classics like Higurashi and Nasuverse. I'd say that the people playing VN in consoles far outnumber the connoisseurs playing in PC, let alone full-blown eroge.  But it all depends what circle of people you move in. After all's said and done, knowing English to an acceptable level is still rare in Spain (less with the newer generations, but still). This means the people who do well at it will have no hurdles getting into this sort of culture, whereas the ones who don't are barred from it.

For example, when I was getting into anime and Japanese media, back at the end of the 90s, the medium used for sharing info wasn't the internet, but specialised magazines. Some people from Barcelona would dedicate a section of the 'zine to the latest trends in Japan, including VNs, of course. I think they talked about things like To Heart, and I kinda recall Kanon, too (the timeline matches, it being like 1999). Sadly I don't still have the 'zines with me. This example illustrates how a small group of people from the big city can follow Japanese trends no problem. But they're a different generation and all, and they were mostly focused in anime and manga, so it would be hard for them to cater to the VN world now.

One example of a person that I know who talks about VNs (non-eroge) at every opportunity they get is the Youtuber "Puerta al sótano", which means "Doorway to the basement". In the video that follows, he talks about Robotics;Notes, no clue if he even got to finish it, but he will try VNs sometimes in his channel:

https://youtu.be/--U8SuS4xBo

Like me, he's a big fan of Steins;Gate.

Even in an established site for all sort of videogame translations, like "Clan DLAN", the majority of users haven't played a single VN. We'll notice the trend that people from South America are far more accustomed to the medium than people from Spain itself. Also, the forum houses some fan TL projects, all from South America, I haven't seen any from Spain:

http://www.clandlan.net/foros/

And yes, I have to say I don't know any fan TLers from Spain, but that fact is also in the process of changing. Spain has an established scene for anime subs, and some of them, among others, are trying to get into VNs and eroges. An example would be this:

https://ko-fi.com/pescaderiasviral?fbclid=IwAR1x0EVitd9xZk4pdla0JoWGBS9FzGe1a8jbWb_z7L09y5z1jyUz7HimI2E

Good people who are trying to get Himanatsu into Spanish, and if they manage to keep around, hopefully some others.

As an example of a fansub doing eroge TLs, we have this one which I just looked up. They did indie things like Sepia Tears or Sweetest Monster, but I read those in English:

https://vndb.org/p7762

There's also this group from Latam, who probably translate from English into Spanish, but when it comes to Japanese they tend to tap into MTL. They were doing Tokyo Necro (also MTL as per VNDB) before JAST announced it this summer. I think I'll be reading it in English.

https://vndb.org/p6908

To boost VN popularity in Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish localisation would be much needed. People from South America tend to know English better than people in Spain, but that varies. Japanese is too much to ask outside of true Japan devotees. It's pretty hard to learn Japanese in Spain, since there's no exposition to it at all outside of Japanese media itself. And in Latam, it would be the same: people would only learn Japanese out of an inclination towards Japanese pop culture, probably aided by the media itself.

So, the majority of the untapped Spanish sphere are EOPs, with a rise of the SOP titles. JOPs are too scarce and would be already dedicated to TL itself.

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Thanks for the detailed runthrough of the visual novel sphere in Spain. I did think so too, that the scene is rather sparce. I only noticed that there even is a spanish fanTL scene when I heard of the Chaos;Gate-TL-people and how they were mostly shunned by the western SciADV community for their translation quality. There is also a lot of talk of that spanish translation group being spearheaded by someone who is not really sane, but I retract that statement if one can prove me otherwise. It was also really refreshing to learn about how VNs started to get sparcely promoted in magazines, something that you only know because you are old as a tree probably.

I really enjoyed this contribution and we should have this made for multiple language markets and then see what happens. Maybe developers who are clueless about what market they want to discover - by means of translating their works into that particular language - can use these articles as cornerstones to eventually understand these foreign language markets a bit better.

Edit; Show one of those mags!

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Before there was anime or manga, there were videogames.

Since in Europe, let alone Spain, we always get the smallest libraries of games... Japanese exclusives that stayed there were always coveted. They were regularly shown with a small commentary in the biggest videogames magazine of the early 90s (it still continues today). But those were things like JRPGs, not VNs. Until anime/manga was adopted, the VN/eroge industry seemed too alien, plus the language barrier for text-based games.

When I talked about anime-based magazines of the late 90s, I meant that they dedicated articles to hot games of that era. But searching through scans, I've also found proof that these same mags promoted eroge of the time through mail distribution. Those tended to be outdated games with several years of age. I know I played Dragon Knight 3 in 1998. This even appeared in pricing lists in regular videogame mags. Done by the infamous Megatech in California, lol.

Those oldie eroges probably sold horribly, unless the news got to some horny people with money to burn. Interestingly, the prices are similar to today's games on Steam. They were cheaper than regular videogames, much more than the old cartridge ones from 16-bit era (but these came in CDs). The games most probably stayed in Japanese, since I can't imagine any kind of localisation. They were the eroge of the time, but focusing on the sexual aspect and marketed with it in mind. Basically people would get some fap material along with a story in a foreign language. What is curious is that the sinopsis was localised, but VNDB also does that today.

About games like Kanon, that most probably got commented in small circles around the year 2000, you really had to tackle them in Japanese, and as we know people really lacked understanding of it. If you wanted to read them in English, you'd have had to wait until mid-2000s or something, when you probably had already forgotten about them. I know that we never got Sakura Taisen (the first games), even when it was a regular console game.

It's interesting that for the few people who knew some degree of Japanese, that were the people who spearheaded the anime and manga culture in Spain, some chain of distribution must have existed (it wasn't rare to get importation Japanese items, albeit at hefty prices. I once got a packet of Evangelion trading cards at my small place. Soundtrack CDs, albeit produced in Korea, I think, were also available). The internet in the late 90s was much more primitive but I believe importing eroge could be a thing. Otherwise, they couldn't say much about them.

All of this applies to mainland Spain, in Latam things probably would be much more artesanal and fan-driven. There should have been some magazines or fanzines of their own there.

Also it's important to keep in mind that wanting is not the same as doing. Some TL circles might want to be showered in popularity and recognition like every one of us do, but their methods are lacking. That means translating without a good grasp of the languages involved, or using the infamous MTL. I can totally see that being the case with some of these fan circles.

Edited by Okarin
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Maybe for Japanese developers Spanish language is at most an afterthought, but for Europeans it is different: The Last Secret will be released end of the month including Spanish language! While there are improvements still ongoing, most parts of the story in Spanish will be polished by then and the rest with subsequent updates (so it's not only machine translation)! The whole project is non-profit, so it's totally free as well.

You can take a look at the game here: https://the-last-secret.mozellosite.com/home/ 

and here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1965580/The_Last_Secret/

Now the question: how to make Spanish players aware of the fact that there is a visual novel available in their native language? I would be super happy if you could hep with this! 🙂

ss_002488651c09ccb666dfdac39d76b5ada9e98

Edited by thelastsecret
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2022 at 9:42 PM, thelastsecret said:

 

Now the question: how to make Spanish players aware of the fact that there is a visual novel available in their native language? I would be super happy if you could hep with this! 🙂

 

You'd have to go to the VN circles themselves, which could be really sparse. I don't even think there's a proper Spanish VN group in Steam, which is why I'm in generic gaming groups and in Fuwa itself. But I checked several years ago, so I might be outdated.

A good way would be contacting Spanish blogs dedicated to VNs, but I don't know how far they will reach. At least, if they get interested in your game, you can sell some copies.

Take this blog from Latin America:

https://thunder503.wordpress.com/

Other related media places, like anime fansubs, could also spread the word.

But it mostly is a matter of word of mouth in the Net. Discord would be good, advertise it at every community you can, English or Spanish speaking.

Edited by Okarin
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It's good to see another person here who speaks Spanish.

About what you say, I understand you. In the last few years there have been some good Spanish translators who have even released translations before the English community like Tsui No Sora or Chaos;Head Noah (My favorite VN, but if it hadn't been for the Spanish translation, I wouldn't have been able to read it a few years ago).

It would be great if the spanish VN community grow, but it's a fact that VN are niche, now imagine how many spanish speaking people are interested in VN? If the distributors already have problems with translating VN into English, imagine translating a VN with +50 hours lenght into Spanish? It would be a waste of money to do so since doing it wouldn't bring in new consumers since most of the hispanic people who read VN prefer and have no problem reading them in English.

Still, Spanish VN readers have their fanbase and I dare say it's bigger than other languages since I've been seeing them since mid 2000s, but most of them are active in English communities, like Reddit (There is also an active discord server only of people who speak spanish).

In the last few years there have been youtubers who made videos about VN in spanish. I know Puerta al sotano, I don't like him very much, but I have seen that he has made videos about VN from Science adventure and NG (I think he also made a video about Aokana). One of those youtubers is HAISHA, his videos are really good and we have talked a few times.

I wanted to contribute to the Spanish community and since a few years ago I do complete VN reviews on steam in Spanish. Recently I decided to take a step forward and open a blog where I will bring not only reviews, but articles, history of developers or sagas etc... in Spanish. My goal has been to bring content in Spanish and help people who are interested, to make more people interested in the VN niche.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/31/2022 at 1:19 PM, Diener said:

It's good to see another person here who speaks Spanish.

About what you say, I understand you. In the last few years there have been some good Spanish translators who have even released translations before the English community like Tsui No Sora or Chaos;Head Noah (My favorite VN, but if it hadn't been for the Spanish translation, I wouldn't have been able to read it a few years ago).

It would be great if the spanish VN community grow, but it's a fact that VN are niche, now imagine how many spanish speaking people are interested in VN? If the distributors already have problems with translating VN into English, imagine translating a VN with +50 hours lenght into Spanish? It would be a waste of money to do so since doing it wouldn't bring in new consumers since most of the hispanic people who read VN prefer and have no problem reading them in English.

Still, Spanish VN readers have their fanbase and I dare say it's bigger than other languages since I've been seeing them since mid 2000s, but most of them are active in English communities, like Reddit (There is also an active discord server only of people who speak spanish).

In the last few years there have been youtubers who made videos about VN in spanish. I know Puerta al sotano, I don't like him very much, but I have seen that he has made videos about VN from Science adventure and NG (I think he also made a video about Aokana). One of those youtubers is HAISHA, his videos are really good and we have talked a few times.

I wanted to contribute to the Spanish community and since a few years ago I do complete VN reviews on steam in Spanish. Recently I decided to take a step forward and open a blog where I will bring not only reviews, but articles, history of developers or sagas etc... in Spanish. My goal has been to bring content in Spanish and help people who are interested, to make more people interested in the VN niche.

Hi, I was looking this thread and felt the need to answer to you regarding this:

Quote

there have been some good Spanish translators who have even released translations before the English community like Tsui No Sora or Chaos;Head Noah

What do you mean with "good translators"? That team is known for releasing garbage speed translations. Even OP and another here comment talk about how infamous they are, and you just need to look up their VNDB to see it (https://vndb.org/p6908) One of the reviews in Facebook has this: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02VoPh1hy3AUjqREafve7neZc3fFAyqGraLDY5H1eXtRyVfaJBUVHrhAjXdKBu5AJ9l&id=100085611147741

Both Tsui no Sora and Chaos;Head Noah are tagged as MTL. OP said too:

Quote

There's also this group from Latam, who probably translate from English into Spanish, but when it comes to Japanese they tend to tap into MTL. They were doing Tokyo Necro (also MTL as per VNDB)

The translator doesn't know japanese (and from what i've seen they have horrendous grammar mistakes) and the only reason they released those "translations" before the English community is because they're either MTL or completely made up. If you liked the games, that's great, since the best stories can survive even a butchered translation. But don't defend Chaos Gate or think their job is worth praising when it was already proven their quality is extremely low (even from people from the team that leaked stuff) From what i've heard their attitude isn't any better as they can't stand criticism and have attacked other translators in the past for petty stuff (CoZ and JAST)

Edited by Sumire Yoshizawa
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On 8/31/2022 at 1:19 PM, Diener said:

It's good to see another person here who speaks Spanish.

About what you say, I understand you. In the last few years there have been some good Spanish translators who have even released translations before the English community like Tsui No Sora or Chaos;Head Noah (My favorite VN, but if it hadn't been for the Spanish translation, I wouldn't have been able to read it a few years ago).

It would be great if the spanish VN community grow, but it's a fact that VN are niche, now imagine how many spanish speaking people are interested in VN? If the distributors already have problems with translating VN into English, imagine translating a VN with +50 hours lenght into Spanish? It would be a waste of money to do so since doing it wouldn't bring in new consumers since most of the hispanic people who read VN prefer and have no problem reading them in English.

Still, Spanish VN readers have their fanbase and I dare say it's bigger than other languages since I've been seeing them since mid 2000s, but most of them are active in English communities, like Reddit (There is also an active discord server only of people who speak spanish).

In the last few years there have been youtubers who made videos about VN in spanish. I know Puerta al sotano, I don't like him very much, but I have seen that he has made videos about VN from Science adventure and NG (I think he also made a video about Aokana). One of those youtubers is HAISHA, his videos are really good and we have talked a few times.

I wanted to contribute to the Spanish community and since a few years ago I do complete VN reviews on steam in Spanish. Recently I decided to take a step forward and open a blog where I will bring not only reviews, but articles, history of developers or sagas etc... in Spanish. My goal has been to bring content in Spanish and help people who are interested, to make more people interested in the VN niche.

Also not related but I entered that Spanish discord server and it seems very dead, or at least that's how it is now. Maybe it was more active when it was created.

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