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How do I access unofficially translated visual novels?


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I've seen some visual novels at VNDB where they are unofficially translated into English. I'm assuming that a fan of that visual novel used MTL to translate the texts into English. But how are they accessible? Is there a particular website I should go to?

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If you click on the vndb.org link where it says unofficial patch it should bring up a page dedicated to information on the patch like this. Hovering over the "Official website" of the patch will sometimes link to the patch itself, the website where to get the patch, or the group's page that published the patch. Sometimes, if the group website is down, then the patch may be available on the internet archive.

The patches themselves are just translations in binary form. Using or even reading the translation usually requires purchasing the official game from steam, dlsite, dmm, or the developer's product page listed on the main page of vndb. Information on how to apply the patch should be included in the patch but is almost always just to copy it to the root directory of the game.

Edited by Entai2965
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1 hour ago, Cryptic_MGTOW said:

I've seen some visual novels at VNDB where they are unofficially translated into English. I'm assuming that a fan of that visual novel used MTL to translate the texts into English. But how are they accessible? Is there a particular website I should go to?

90% of the patches (from 2005-2018) were done entirely through manual translation with mtl only being used for individual words.  This was because it was only recently that some MTL apps/sites/etc could actually translate a complete sentence from Japanese to English coherently.  Even now, they can't handle proverbs, colloquialisms, and slang/local dialects, so they are only used for 'rough' first-day patches, mostly on indie VNs.

Edit: The reason I feel a need to mention this is because these people put a ton of work into something that didn't get them anything but prestige and has mostly been forgotten in the years since.  This is literally hundreds or even thousands of hours of work in some cases, done in people's free time.  While some of these fan patches were later purchased by localization companies and retooled for localization, there are still a number of games where my statement still applies.

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Also worth mentioning: on VNDB if it is machine translated it is marked as such, for example on Aonatsu Line https://vndb.org/v24702 there is a machine translation patch for the trial Switch version of the VN, and a currently in work fan translation for the PC version, the machine translation is very clearly marked. On VNDB you can even set your settings to ignore machine translations, which is how I have mine set as they're almost never edited or looked at in any manner and therefore are incredibly hard to get through. Imagine the worst localization you've read and then double it and you'll get what a MTL is usually like.

 

A lot of times if you can't find the link for the translation patch on VNDB for whatever reason if you ask in the discussions on there, or do some google-fu you'll be able to find it without too much trouble. This is really only applicable to those VN's that were translated by an anon or someone without a group where the google drive / mega / etc. link may be dead.

 

To go into a bit more detail of what Clephas said, the average fan translation takes years, and frankly it's a relatively thankless job they're doing, and I can't say 100% aren't, but the vast majority are completely uncompensated for it. The hours put in are absolutely immense, and the translations are - usually - done by a team of at least 3-5 people who all have other commitments (school, jobs, etc.).

Edited by CgSquall
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Like everyone said, just go the webpage that display the info about the unofficial translation and then click 'Official Website'. Usually it'll display either the webpage of the translation project or the patch to download. There are some example where the patch become vaporware because the group for some reasons decided to delete the link to the patch (Such as Walkure Romanze or Dracu Riot), although if the VN is popular enough it's easy to get the translation patch from somewhere.

As for whether the fans usually use MTL or not, in the past it would be considered bad to use it because back then Google Translate badly translate the word. While nowadays MTL is improved so much that, it still very hard to erase the stigma, especially because the MTL didn't really know the nuance in Japanese words and therefore the translator still need some Japanese knowledge if one want to use MTL, or rather it would be said that it's better to use MTL as one of the tool instead of fully reliant to it (Obviously reveal the usage of MTL would definitely cause the problem). In the end, while I won't deny my involvement in the project that translate Amayui using DeepL, I would say that it's still better to use manual translation if possible. By the way while nowadays it's hard to know if the translator use MTL or not, I would say that as long as they didn't admit it then we can say the translator didn't use MTL.

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