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MangaGamer's Message to Fan-translators


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Someone on ask.fm asked Mangagamer if they had a message for fan-translators in the community. MG responded by saying that they feel fan-translations can impact sales in a negative way citing the replay value of VNs, and correctly stating that most people will not purchase a VN if the VN already has a fan-translation (though Steins;Gate having a solid hard copy release put a dent in this argument). 

Its a very interesting answer MG gives, one that has started a bit of backlash from pro-piracy advocates who claim the answer is condescending. Mangagamer also asks those who translate and do good work to approach them to work something out as the point out most of their guys previously did fan translations. 

Read the whole thing: http://ask.fm/MangaGamerStaff/answer/118067332594

What are your thoughts on their answer? 

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"It’s true that fan-patches for visual novels means that fans might get to play the game in English, but we're now in the age where official licenses are much more common, and quite more likely."

Ugh no, still rare as hell.

That said, if translation teams and MG can work peacefully together, then I see no harm trying.

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Mangagamer is commenting based on Mangagamer's negotiation experiences and Mangagamer's sales data.  Their points are valid when qualified as such.  I would interpret their response as "Hey, if you want to fan translate a title that falls under the umbrella of publishers we work with, talk to us first."  I feel quite certain that JAST has a very different perspective on the impact of fan translations on the market and their ability to negotiate with Japanese publishers.  Mangagamer certainly can't speak for JAST or their business model, which is quite different from Mangagamer's.

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Completely understandable, it's just that there are many other variables that impact whether or not a title gets localized. Although I don't think you can use Steins;Gate as a counter point. It is anomalous in a few ways,with being one of the few visual novels with a decent anime adaptation. If something like Muvluv, Devil on G-string, or Ayakashibito got localized and had the same sells I would be more convinced.

 

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jup i don´t see the comment in a negative way, too. its more like an offering to work officially towards the same goal, amsuming they get the companys approval. and yes guerilla fan-translations do harm any official project going on.

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I agree with MangaGamer. Yeah we still have a long way to go, but let's be honest, we are picking up pace here. We have some big names set to come out this year. Clannad and Grisaia to name a few obvious ones but come on who isn't excited for Ozmafia and Angel Beats (idek that it is actually slated for this year?) and a bunch of other ones in progress. Personally that Steampunk title that MG is TLing looks great.

 

And don't get me started on the Steam releases. How these VNs are starting to pick up traction on a major platform like Steam (even if it is mostly sucky ones atm). There is obviously a market for them in the US and this market seems to be growing. Not only that but this market is starting to pick up a lot of non-nukige titles in different genres that will appeal to a wider range of audiences.

 

I really hope that MG will take in translators who can work part time hours instead of full time because if they do I think that'll be huge. If we can get the people who dedicate their time to fan translating to actually get involved with real companies that'd be great. I know it sounds far fetched but I think MG knows that there is a market and they have the ability to expand their business. If people come to them I think it's not far off to say they can hire more workers and take on more titles because they know they can get the sales on it. Like they said last December they made more money than they had all year. Last December they made more than 2012/2013 combined.

 

I think if MG is welcoming to new workers and VN TLs want to work for them this could be a huge opportunity to bring regular releases to the English language.

 

Imo screw the whole 'pro-piracy' idea of people against it because they want to get it 'faster'. It'd be one thing if they were buying imports or DLs of the game and then adding the patches to it but a lot of people against MGs want to lower Fan Translations are people who just pirate the games. That doesn't help anybody. Yeah it spreads games--but like you're spreading games that are only found in Japan and spreading games that nobody is actually importing so you're not really helping anyone out.

 

Now the people who do buy games and then patch them kudos to you and if you object to MG's desire for less fan translations I understand. To people who just pirate all the games, I don't really see how you're helping the situation. If that makes sense.

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It seems reasonable to say, honestly. They're allowed to have whatever views on it that they want. If that's their take on the situation, that's fine. People can choose to listen to their advice or not.

 

That doesn't mean I think fan-translators should stop, though. But if there is a way to make it happen legally (which there more often then not isn't. I'm probably never going to get a legal English version of Ace Attorney Investigations 2) then by all means, pursue that route first. But keep doing it, even if legal avenues seem closed off to you. There's a whole community of people that loves what you do and can't experience these things without your help.

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Without fan translations, i'm pretty sure we won't had the chance of reading VNs like Sharnoth, Umineko and many many more.

 

This argument works when you talk about "hyped" VNs, but if it's unknown and/or "niche" VNs, how in the hell are you expecting them to be licenced and just close a gate to many ppl.

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Mangagamer is commenting based on Mangagamer's negotiation experiences and Mangagamer's sales data.  Their points are valid when qualified as such.  I would interpret their response as "Hey, if you want to fan translate a title that falls under the umbrella of publishers we work with, talk to us first."  I feel quite certain that JAST has a very different perspective on the impact of fan translations on the market and their ability to negotiate with Japanese publishers.  Mangagamer certainly can't speak for JAST or their business model, which is quite different from Mangagamer's.

 

Definitely second this, if translation companies haven't been lying to us we've been told that companies in Japan are a little uneasy about translations because they feel like the US has a lot more piracy problems and don't feel like it is worth the efforts.

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Definitely second this, if translation companies haven't been lying to us we've been told that companies in Japan are a little uneasy about translations because they feel like the US has a lot more piracy problems and don't feel like it is worth the efforts.

Yes yes.

 

 

But oh wait, what mangagamer is TLing the most this years? nakige? utsuge? VNs with lots of feels? no, Nukige, friggin nukige.

 

I understand that they need money to live and such, its logic for them...but why just limit yourself to nukige, and at the same time, preventing TL groups to TL other VN genres?

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Without fan translations, i'm pretty sure we won't had the chance of reading VNs like Sharnoth, Umineko and many many more.

 

This argument works when you talk about "hyped" VNs, but if it's unknown and/or "niche" VNs, how in the hell are you expecting them to be licenced and just close a gate to many ppl.

 

I think the hope will be that in the future Japan finds English translations to be beneficial and 'niche' or 'unknown' titles might actually come to companies like MG to pursue translations. Their office is actually in Tokyo. Other than that I feel like we can one day reach a point where MG, JAST, and Sekai are working with most of the major companies and can work on releasing titles after they come out without fans needing to assert their desire for the particular titles.

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Definitely second this, if translation companies haven't been lying to us we've been told that companies in Japan are a little uneasy about translations because they feel like the US has a lot more piracy problems and don't feel like it is worth the efforts.

Now where would they get that idea.... looks a favorite bar filled with bookmarked anime streaming sites and manga reading sites...... oh.

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Yes yes.

 

 

But oh wait, what mangagamer is TLing the most this years? nakige? utsuge? VNs with lots of feels? no, Nukige, friggin nukige.

 

I understand that they need money to live and such, its logic for them...but why just limit yourself to nukige, and at the same time, preventing TL groups to TL other VN genres?

It's mainly because it is easier to secure the rights for those titles, with the big titles they have to pay massive fees for music and voice actor rights.

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Yes yes.

 

 

But oh wait, what mangagamer is TLing the most this years? nakige? utsuge? VNs with lots of feels? no, Nukige, friggin nukige.

 

I understand that they need money to live and such, its logic for them...but why just limit yourself to nukige, and at the same time, preventing TL groups to TL other VN genres?

 

Princess Evangile, NTY!!!, Oz Mafia, Kara no Shoujo 2, BokuTen – Why I Became An Angel, Da Capo 3, Higurashi re-translation, Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning, Eden* (did that come out last year?), and Fata morgana no Yakata

 

List of Nukiges in progress:

Forbidden Love with my Wife's Sister, Euphoria, Free Friends, Free Friends 2, that Valkyrie game that came out at the end of last year.

 

Like most of the games 'in progress' are Nukige. Free Friends 2 is even on hold and I'd venture to say that while Euphoria will be Nukige it seems like it'll actually have some decent plot in there too.

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Princess Evangile, NTY!!!, Oz Mafia, Kara no Shoujo 2, BokuTen – Why I Became An Angel, Da Capo 3, Higurashi re-translation, Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning, Eden* (did that come out last year?), and Fata morgana no Yakata

 

List of Nukiges in progress:

Forbidden Love with my Wife's Sister, Euphoria, Free Friends, Free Friends 2, that Valkyrie game that came out at the end of last year.

 

Like most of the games 'in progress' are Nukige. Free Friends 2 is even on hold and I'd venture to say that while Euphoria will be Nukige it seems like it'll actually have some decent plot in there too.

 

Well, the problem is, in another thread, it was stated that most of Mangagamer's best sellers were Nukige, and that they of course edit many nukige.

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And that's why instead of licensing games with fan translations you should focus on games that don't have fan translations.

It's obvious that if a game already has a patch, sales aren't going to be as high. Unless the game is insanely popular (Steins;Gate, Grisaia, etc), you should probably focus on delivering new things to people, not blame fan translators for impacting their sales when they were here first to begin with.

 

That's why I'm hoping to god MG doesn't follow the results for "what game you want to see licensed", because in that top 10 only two don't have a fan translation already.

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And that's why instead of licensing games with fan translations you should focus on games that don't have fan translations.

It's obvious that if a game already has a patch, sales aren't going to be as high. Unless the game is insanely popular (Steins;Gate, Grisaia, etc), you should probably focus on delivering new things to people, not blame fan translators for impacting their sales when they were here first to begin with.

 

That's why I'm hoping to god MG doesn't follow the results for "what game you want to see licesned", because in that top 1 only two don't have a fan translation already.

Or do like Sekai project : asking for the TL of the entire series, even if the first game is fan TLed.

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Or do like Sekai project : asking for the TL of the entire series, even if the first game is fan TLed.

Sekai Project's business model is very different from MG's though.

They crowdfund most of their big titles, meaning that they suffer minimal losses even if the product sells like crap, which it usually doesn't because they usually know how to pick things people will likely want to buy. Grisaia still has 2 untranslated games so it's only natural they chipped in at the opportunity. 

Clannad is like, literally one of the most popular VNs/Anime of all time, it's physically impossible for it to sell bad.

And I'm sure in the future they will try to make sure they pick something people will definitely want, whereas MG is using their own profit to pay for licenses, meaning that their margins are much  lower, meaning that bigger titles are harder to come by, and if they chose to license a big title that has a fan TL that's not insanely popular, it's just a bad decision all around.

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For the most part, I actually want to agree with MangaGamer in a lot of ways, but the issue I have is that while I do agree licensing VNs is important, ridding the world of fan translators is not okay. Japanese companies who create VNs hate the western market. Sure, we have released staple games like Clannad and Grisaia, but do you expect to see moege on the market anytime soon? Sadly most recent VN releases focus on moege; I have experienced it 1st hand with each release of VNs that occur every Friday at the end of a month in Japan. March 27th is another big release day for VNs, and every single game is a moege or nukige (I think there are about 5-6 releases).

 

Even when it's supposed to be about the story, it fails to do so. February 27th saw the release of Hitori Sensou, but even that was riddled with porn while it was being advertised. Asking Clephas about it, it's as if a game that was meant to be about the story failed to deliver on so many levels. I don't think he said the game was bad per se, but in the end, it wasn't the kind of "story" we expected from Looseboy (G-Senjou no Maou, Sharin no Kuni).

 

And it's not just moege that are the problem! Do you expect to see good written stories like Dies irae on shelves anytime soon? Probably not. In the end, it seems that while licensing VNs does help, ridding the world of fan translators as MangaGamer says seems like a bad decision because most fan translators translate moege, a market that a lot of companies don't delve into. Doing something for free requires time and effort, and since a lot of "decent" speaking Japanese people can translate moege, that's the market fan translators utilize; it's quick, it's easy, and even if the TL isn't the best you can easily cover it up with edits, which sadly every English speaker thinks they can do properly. Not only will game releases slow down for non-Japanese readers, but in the end most Japanese companies don't want their games to be licensed.

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Well, the problem is, in another thread, it was stated that most of Mangagamer's best sellers were Nukige, and that they of course edit many nukige.

Most of their best sellers last year were, yes, and they produced a lot more Nukige last year than anything else. They are definitely going to be producing more BL titles in the future and as long as Ozmafia produces the same amount of sales as their other titles Otomes will be seen on MG as well. They came out with 14 games last year 10 of which were Nukige which is why 8 of their best sellers were also Nukige, imo. This year they have a lot more products that aren't Nukige coming out. There's been a lot of hype around both of the female oriented titles this year and they said they would be happy to release products with more translation costs as long as they sold on the same level as Nukige. Really it's all down to where we put our money down this year. They're coming out with enough that isn't nukige that if you just support a few of the titles this year I think it'll solidify that they can come out with a fair mix of both.

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