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View Full Version : New translation project in search of some advice


CountPacula
2008-06-20, 12:18
I've been enjoying the fruits of the VN translation community for a while now, and a few months ago, I decided that it was time to start paying back in the best way I could think of - learning the language and contributing back in kind.

For the past while, I've been quietly working on my first serious attempt at a translation project. I've made enough progress on both the textual and technical aspects of the project that I'm confident that I'll be able to complete it in some form or another. However, there are a couple things that have come up that are making me scratch my head a bit, and I was wondering if I might be able to solicit some advice from more experienced translation teams. I'm not too sure of the idea of asking anything too specific in a public forum, at least not until I've actually announced the project in some way, but I'm not sure of a better alternative.

zalas
2008-06-20, 12:23
What kind of questions did you have in mind? Your second paragraph tells us almost nothing about what you want answered...

Rasqual Twilight
2008-06-20, 15:53
Do not rely on automated translation tools such as Atlas or Babelfish. They'll probably hurt more.

CountPacula
2008-06-21, 05:52
Oookay, sorry about that, I didn't mean to be quite so abstract. Let me try to actually -ask- a few things this time...

I do realize that most of these questions don't have any real "right" answer. What I'm looking for is some input on how other developers have dealt with these issues, as well as other concerns that I had yet to considered.

For starters, I'd like some advice on announcing a project. How far along in development should a project be before making it known publicly? And when that point comes, what would be a good way to go about doing so? Throwing together a small blog-ish development status website for the project doesn't sound like a bad idea offhand, but I don't have any experience running that kind of site, and I don't know how much work the site itself would turn out to be.

Also, I've been considering the idea of trying to contact the original developers, in the hope of obtaining permission from them for what I'm doing. Since one of the main reasons I'm doing this is to -support- the developers, the idea of doing this behind their back seems to be a little unfair to them.

I'm also a little concerned that this project might end up doing nothing but feed the pirates. The game I'm translating is an 'indy' title that is not only reasonably priced, but is readily available in a downloadable edition from an -English- webstore. In other words, the usual excuses of 'out of print', 'won't ship out of Japan', and 'can't buy it without being able to read Japanese' do not apply. While I'm not so naive as to expect that there won't be -some- torrents of the patched game flying around, it would be nice if I was able to generate a noticeable number of extra sales for the developers as well.

Asceai
2008-06-21, 06:05
For starters, I'd like some advice on announcing a project. How far along in development should a project be before making it known publicly?

Entirely a matter of taste. However, I would highly recommend announcing pretty much immediately, just in case someone else decides to start translating said project themselves.

And when that point comes, what would be a good way to go about doing so? Throwing together a small blog-ish development status website for the project doesn't sound like a bad idea offhand, but I don't have any experience running that kind of site, and I don't know how much work the site itself would turn out to be.

You don't need to do that. Hell, I basically just announced my translation on 4chan and posted status updates there. However, something like a blogger account would probably be very straightforward to set up and maintain, so if you want to use something like that I doubt there would be any issues.

Also, I've been considering the idea of trying to contact the original developers, in the hope of obtaining permission from them for what I'm doing. Since one of the main reasons I'm doing this is to -support- the developers, the idea of doing this behind their back seems to be a little unfair to them.

Is this a commercial game you're translating? If so, be prepared for them to say 'no'. You'll also have to make a decision as to what you're going to do when they say 'no'. Cancel the project? Keep going?
That's why you'd be better off asking early, _if at all_.

I'm also a little concerned that this project might end up doing nothing but feed the pirates. The game I'm translating is an 'indy' title that is not only reasonably priced, but is readily available in a downloadable edition from an -English- webstore. In other words, the usual excuses of 'out of print', 'won't ship out of Japan', and 'can't buy it without being able to read Japanese' do not apply. While I'm not so naive as to expect that there won't be -some- torrents of the patched game flying around, it would be nice if I was able to generate a noticeable number of extra sales for the developers as well.

Ah, something like dlsite? I'm pretty sure that a translation of a decent title, if there's interest, will get more sales than if there was no such translation. However, you will feed the pirates. People will pirate the game and apply your translation patch to it. People might use your translation patch on a (pirated) copy of the game to patch it, then distribute the result over the internet. People might even burn the patched thing onto a CD and start selling it on ebay. Unfortunately, these things happen. You'll have to make your own decisions as to how you feel about it.

CountPacula
2008-06-21, 06:12
Do not rely on automated translation tools such as Atlas or Babelfish. They'll probably hurt more.

Thanks for the warning, but I've long since progressed past that point, and the idea of an actual translation based on such tools makes me shudder. My early attempts at 'reading' Japanese using one of these quickly showed the futility of the idea, and directly led to my decision to learn the language. While I'm not yet at the point where I can read the language without -some- help, generally the only thing that I need is a dictionary. I usually only need to use more than that when I come across colloquialisms that I haven't encountered before and can't puzzle the meaning out of on my own.

Asceai
2008-06-21, 06:18
As far as dictionaries go, I typically use a combination of rikaichan and dic.yahoo.co.jp.

Often I also paste things into Google to find out things like common idioms and such. In general, I don't need to use a dictionary that often nowadays (I almost never use one when just reading a visual novel, but translating unfortunately requires you to to understand EVERYTHING, not just most of it :<)

zalas
2008-06-21, 18:40
Entirely a matter of taste. However, I would highly recommend announcing pretty much immediately, just in case someone else decides to start translating said project themselves.
It totally depends on how well known the name is. The only reason one would announce a project before completion is to either make sure no one else is doing it or to get staff. If it's a small not-well-known game and you have enough staff to handle it, there's no real point in announcing a project. All you'll get are people posting and asking for updates, which can drive some people nuts.

Also, I've been considering the idea of trying to contact the original developers, in the hope of obtaining permission from them for what I'm doing. Since one of the main reasons I'm doing this is to -support- the developers, the idea of doing this behind their back seems to be a little unfair to them.
Yeah, like Asceai said, if it's a title that actually generates money from sales, it's not likely the Japanese side will easily let things slide. However, if it indeed is from an English webshop, it might be possible to suggest to them that you'll give them the finished product and then can sell that alongside the Japanese version. Not sure if it'll be possible, but given enough expertise in convincing people using Japanese, you might be able to pull it off. Keep in mind that the downside is that they may expressly forbid you from making a translation, so are you willing to drop the project if that were to be the case?