I ran out of post title ideas
I was going to post this morning before I go to work but I woke up later than I thought and didn’t have enough time. This week, I’m posting the continuation of ‘I bought a Crown Prince’ and ‘Strong-willed Marchioness.’ In the end, the chapter for “Strong-willed Marchioness” wasn’t edited. I was kind of annoyed. Is it too much if I rant here lol
I have been suffering from anxiety-i suffer from social anxiety or SAD for short and OCPD for quite some years now, and for those that don’t really know what OCPD is, it stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and it’s a very different thing from OCD, which is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It’s the main reason why I’d been a solo translator for so long because I struggled to let other people do my things. Even when I did manage to relegate, I have to really convince myself that I’m inadequate. Grammar has always been a thorn in my side since I begin translating, and while I’ve tried hard to avoid making as many errors as possible, I still make them and a lot of times I don’t realise it. I think because it’s the mother language and you feel natural in it, which makes it harder to realised I was making mistakes. Then when I was gradually begin to pick up more languages, everything just became a blur. Which is why I convinced myself I needed an editor. And it’s frustrating when people fail you on simple tasks. I think being responsible, even in a situation like this, where it’s just a voluntary position is the “atari-mae” thing to do. What’s so hard with saying “oh sorry, I can’t do it”? Especially when I greatly stressed that I’m okay with you not able to do it. For me, it’s more important whatever I’m doing keeps moving, mostly because of OCPD, I want to stick to routines and schedules no matter how minute it seems to another person. When I’m there waiting for the person to reply to me, even if you can’t do it, I appreciate it if you tell me, rather than keep me hanging. We could be at another chapter right now, but it got delayed for nothing. That got me salty cause I was annoyed my schedule was disrupted rather than they didn’t do the editing. Please understand me a little.
In a manga translation team (it’s obviously simpler in a novel translation team), there is the translator, the editor (sometimes this role is split into two: – cleaner and redrawer), the proofreader, the typesetter, and finally the quality checker. Among these roles, the proofreader has the lowest entry skillset. It’s the position most people interested in joining a team applies for. Many think that as long as they can read English, they can be a proofreader. It’s not that easy. Also, most of the time, they just do a sloppy job, when I check the script they returned, there are still errors. Most just applied so they can “read it first”. A proficient/highly-skilled proofreader is a bit of a unicorn in our scene, and most of those proficient ones doesn’t have time to do a lot. A skilled translator too, is a rare thing in the fan translation scene. Language proficiency does not equate good translation skills. I had a friend of mine (with native Japanese level proficiency) translate something before for funsies. He couldn’t. He thought it’d be easy, but it was harder than he thought. I understood that really well. There’s plenty of know-how to a translation that as a translator, sometimes, it’s something we naturally have talent/foresight for and sometimes, it’s through experiences gained to know when we should be liberal/creative or when we should be literal. A purely literal translation work makes for terrible reading. It wouldn’t be much different from reading a machine translation. Too liberal, and you might lose sight of the essence, true meaning or nuances of what the author was trying to represent. Cultural knowledge and understanding are also really important, especially for languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. So, a translator should make the effort to understand the culture of the language they’re translating from to be able to make a proper judgment because Japanese for example, really have way too much euphemism and nuances. It’s a language where plenty is left unsaid rather than said. What is straightforwardness? Japanese can’t relate (´艸`) Yes, tatemae, I mean you.
Sadly, this scene these days (both manga and novel) are made worse thanks to the proliferation, or should I say, the plague of machine translators, and the enablers that pay those people through ko-fi, Patreon, etc to keep this farce going. Machine translation doesn’t keep consistent tones or styles, and honestly, when you pay a machine translator, you’re paying for a low-quality product. For me, as a human translator, I don’t monetise my site or my translation because I’m doing this to humour myself and refine what I see as a craft. I was offered professional work on several occasions but turned it down because I don’t think I was ready. It’s also morally wrong in my opinion to monetise when I’m essentially doing this without the original author’s permission. But that’s just me.
When I decided to switch to translating novels, I think the few repeating themes and plotlines from webnovel sites like narou, kakuyomu, and alphapolis blindsided (distracted) me to the kind of stuff I’d always like to translate. I mentioned previously that I prefer novels that are hard/harder to translate, where there are technical languages/jargon, ie:- medical, cooking, etc… It’s not that I think my language level is amazing, but I need something to challenge myself because in general, the vocab in light novels is common and at my level, (N2-I FAILED N1 LAST YEAR, can’t be arsed to retake the test for awhile lol) for me to learn more, I need something harder when doing this. But it’s easier said than done to find really niche light novels. Maybe for novels, yes, but we take baby steps since I still consider myself new to novel translation.
I also sorta have reader fatigue when browsing through Japanese web and light novels. It gets old after awhile, everything seems to be about reincarnation, villainess, cheat, harem, office romance, high school slow romance, etc… you get the idea… After reading a few, you start to lose track of what you’ve read and what you’ve not. The plots are the same, the themes are similar, and even the names are similar! Did you noticed? The amount of Claudia, Agnes, Louis, Charlotte, Sigfried, Kazuya, Yuki, Akane, etc… WHO IS WHO?! WHO IS FROM WHERE?!
As a sort of back to my ‘roots’, I found this enchanting light novel. As a manga translator, I’ve established myself as someone who mostly translates whimsical SOL so this is right up my alley. This prologue (I’m posting it in two parts) will serve as an appetiser chapter for now. Regular updates and completion will begin when I finish translating it.
I dedicate this to everyone having a hard time, maybe feeling lost. Turn the CC on for the English translation of the lyrics. Eill is one of my fav Japanese singer. If you’ve never heard of her before, please give her a listen.