This is a response mostly to a TAS Novelupdates’ review by justbin (which is now gone), and a few other issues.
First of all, let me give you a little bit of my background, starting from my first translation. I can’t exactly remember when it is, but I think it’s around 2005 or 2006 and did some Chinese to English manga translation.
I continued translating on and off, moving on to visual novel scripts and even Korean-drama (Chinese to English subs). Ultimately I went on to TL Mushoku Tensei (MT).
Words can’t describe how good I felt about that novel when I first started. The more I translated, the more I felt inspired to go back to pursue the dream I wanted to have ever since I was a child. At some point, I stopped translating that JP series and worked a lot more in my previous company to save up money to go back to art school.
I went for the art school’s interview. What you guys might not know is how I actually failed art miserably when I was a teenager, and quite frankly I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, but I was riding on a high from MT.
Rudeus changed himself from a hikkimori to someone considerably better than his previous self, and I kind of feel that change comes from within.
A year later, fast forward to end 2016, I passed the course and got a pretty decent nearly all B in my grades, while keeping my other translated series around. Truth be told, I feel I am more of a balanced Nanahoshi. I don’t quite have the aptitude for art (and quite rightly failed during my teens). Fortunately, I was good enough in analyzing to create a set of rules to make up for the lack of talent, and certain aspects of art don’t require you to be really skilled at it.
Anyways, during the last few months of my course, I had to kind of concentrate on my art and translated less. My final project turned out okay, and I went on to plan several things for my webnovels. I first started translating more chapters during the few months and lazed around during the months after. That art course is a pretty hardcore crash course that drained my energy and mind like crazy.
Fast forward again, and I decided to create a new website so that readers can get the Previous/Next Button they really wanted to have months ago. I had no idea what to do in the default wordpress to make that work, and I ultimately end up going meh, let’s create a brand new website.
It was another draining episode, but I finally did it.
When I was done with that website, it became end April 2017. Holy shit. Time to consider what I’m going to do now. Obviously get a job, right? But what about the readers? I thought for a while and I created a patreon for the biggest series that I have, which is TAS, and gave it a 1 month trial. Outcome? I didn’t meet even my first goal.
And to be honest? I am relieved.
I went to an art school in order to get into that career, and translating is just a hobby. But I am keeping you guys in mind, and I tried setting up a position where I draw as a hobby while I make TAS as a full-time job. One of the readers and even my brother pointed out that I should not be doing this. I think my lecturers will be shaking their heads if they find out what I’m doing.
Anyways, over and done with, the schedule is pretty fixed. I decided to treat my translation as a part-time job, while getting ready to create new artworks to put inside my portfolio and work full-time.
Now I can finally get to the part as to why I’m writing this much.
For those who you who have already read the top stickied post, please feel free to skip what I have written here, otherwise, you can kind of read on to read this full response on a particular NUF review from Justbin (which has now been removed for some reason, but I’m leaving this up just in case another one appears).
There is a particular user in novelupdates called justbin who reviewed on the series. Now, there are quite a number of things that I’m not happy with, but I let it slide and I didn’t intend to respond. However, there’s this particular statement that I’m utterly pissed off at, and thus I need to respond to him properly.
‘The novel is good, I would be happy if someone else took up this project, even if the translation is not upto snuff or have errors in grammar but at least releases in a good schedule.’ – justbin
I’m going to give everyone a few analogies.
Imagine you’re a customer at a restaurant who ordered a medium-rare steak. The waiter serves you your dish.
By justbin’s analogy, your steak is now charred on the outside and raw in the inside. He’s okay with it, are you?
Let’s have another analogy. Imagine you are there to buy a brand new car from a salesman. He introduces you to a Mazda or Ford, for example.
By justbin’s analogy, your car comes now with scratches and dents. He’s okay with it, are you?
This particular bit of insult to both me and the author deserves my proper and full attention and to sticky my response for at least a month.
Dear justbin, do you know what this means? You are encouraging translators to translate for the purpose of money. You want fast releases at the cost of quality so you can satisfy your own greed for reading more than 100 chapters per year? My, my, my.
‘I get it that the translator is an artist and thinks that translating is just a chore, but to pick a novel, get money from people for promising release of the chapters and dropping it when the person has no need of cash anymore.’ – justbin
That notion of ‘Man, this dip$hit translator got like $150 and stops translating full time,’ makes me roll my eyes at the level of scumbag personality that you have, but okay. We translators don’t owe you anything, just FYI. I’m delaying and risking my career in order to bring the readers chapters at a full-time speed with that plan, but since I got a total of $150 worth of patreon supporters, it means that I simply can’t sustain a full time position on it. Maybe some of us needs to have a proper life.
‘translator is obviously mercenary and requests donations for chapters frequently, but doesn’t put in the time to edit work that is being paid for’ + ‘6 chapters/month…. that is $hit tier speed, especially for a novel that has Patreon. The person clearly picks the novel to translate only when in need of some pocket change, has clearly shown with their recent comments that translating is beneath them’. – jink & justbin (who is referring to Jink’s comment)
If I turn on ads, I might probably reach that kind of ‘pocket change’ and pay for the above three things, but that’s an ethics issue isn’t it? I have not been given permission to translate them, and I don’t feel happy to have ads on the website because of said reason. I refused to join groups. I’m asking for genuine support and giving back my thanks by translating a new chapter. And to make up for that Engrish (partially affected because I was studying in art school back then and had less time to edit), I’m now going back to edit old chapters to a proper state.
Let me be clear. My art school’s diploma cost the government (thank you, taxpayers’ money) and me approximately 25000 USD. Every bit of my share, has been paid for with money that I earned with my previous job. I have no debts, I’m qualified to work in the industry, and I should have applied for a job many months ago if not for the consideration for my readers.
That $150-200 per month in the past that I received from donators simply pays for my electric/internet bills, coffee, as well as my light novels/artbooks (thank you, truly). There are 0 ads. That’s it. Believe me when I say I could have gotten way more money by working instead of translating.
I know most of you guys will ask me to ignore them, but I personally think that I need to explain every single point. People don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. At some point, it’s surely going to snowball, and I’m going to get accused of being a money-grubber of $150-200 at some point in time yet again.
And if you are here because you want a faster translator to replace a slower translator so you can read more chapters— I have no words for you.
The Future ahead
So what’s going to happen in the next 1-2 years? I’m going to find a job and get some art XP. By the time I’m done, I might choose to freelance, or still stay on with my job, or concentrate full-time on TAS. There might be more readers a year later for me to consider doing TAS full time, either because I’m good enough with my art to draw new readers in, or the crowd simply becomes bigger.
I’m going to address common issues of localization/translation (yet again). It’s an all-in-1 post that answers everything.
– You shouldn’t westernize/localize TAS.
TL: TAS is a high fantasy set in a medieval (please google ‘Define Middle Ages’) world. It also borrows from Dungeons and Dragons elements, as well as Magic the Gathering. It obviously doesn’t make sense to localize wuxia/xianxia, but does it make sense when a character calls this character ‘Freya Elder Sister Boss’, and not correct it to something else?
– You’re messing the story up with your creative editing.
TL: No plotlines have been changed. I corrected mistakes, removed word padding, and made logical sense out of the characters. Despite what you might think, the Raws are far from perfect and need some editing to make it polished. I left behind the author’s DnD elements and people are criticizing how he has a maths problem because of the damage system he wrote..
– You’re not respecting the author if you don’t leave everything as it is in the Raws.
TL: You know, I’m actually super happy when my art teachers draw over my artwork to show me where I can improve on it. Gaming Devs listen to players’ criticism and change their games accordingly. I don’t see how the author is going to be pleased when people review the series poorly when it needs a little polishing.
– You’re translating 6 chapters per month. Translate faster at the cost of quality, dip$hit.
TL: Go back to your mommy and daddy and ask them to teach you the ways of the world, pilgrim.
One final statement. I have received an education that taught me storyboarding and character design, which makes me at least somewhat reasonably qualified to edit at the level I’m doing. If you ask me whether it’s okay to edit raws like what I’m doing; I can only say that translators should make sure they are qualified on all the necessary aspects, inclusive of real editing, before they do it.