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Old 2011-04-09, 10:54   Link #1
8thSin
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How to Become a Good Fan Translator - Guide

This post is no longer maintained here. Please check my website for the updated version of this guide.

Last edited by 8thSin; 2012-04-01 at 15:55.
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Old 2011-04-09, 15:33   Link #2
jfs
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Just one comment:
Aegisub is really not designed for entering translations.
The workflow Aegisub is designed for involved viewing the raw video with a regular media player, having a plain text editor (Notepad) next by, and entering translations line by line there, in "character: what he said" format. When done, let it be checked and edited, and then import the text file into Aegisub for timing and styling.
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Old 2011-04-09, 15:47   Link #3
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Very good guide, but I wonder if an audience exists that could benefit from it at this point.

Also, IMO the best online dictionary is www.alc.co.jp in terms of completeness and massive amounts of entires. But it must be used with care since it also has a bunch of weird non-standard stuff in it and it's impossible to know what the most "common" usage is.

I wrote a similar thing a number of years ago which is mirrored here:
http://en.anime-wiki.org/wiki/Basic_Translator_Guide
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Old 2011-04-09, 19:21   Link #4
8thSin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfs View Post
Just one comment:
Aegisub is really not designed for entering translations.
The workflow Aegisub is designed for involved viewing the raw video with a regular media player, having a plain text editor (Notepad) next by, and entering translations line by line there, in "character: what he said" format. When done, let it be checked and edited, and then import the text file into Aegisub for timing and styling.
Is this a common practice today? I know some translator like to work on Notepad, but I dismissed this as the old school (no video playback support) or speedsub (no fine-timing) way.

I usually have access to to rough timing before translation, either by Japanese subs off DVD, CC capture/OCR, or stealing Chinese/Korean subs for timing. When they didn't exist, I either timed as I translated, or requested timer to produce a rough timing.

I know Aegisub has choppy playback sometimes, but working with rough timing prevents confusion for both sides: Translator not knowing the line break, and timer making mistake in placement. Also there's no need to switch windows and type out names for every single line.

Groups I have worked with were always Rough Timing --> Translation --> Fine-Timing (or editing before that, doesn't really matter)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy View Post
Very good guide, but I wonder if an audience exists that could benefit from it at this point.

Also, IMO the best online dictionary is www.alc.co.jp in terms of completeness and massive amounts of entires. But it must be used with care since it also has a bunch of weird non-standard stuff in it and it's impossible to know what the most "common" usage is.

I wrote a similar thing a number of years ago which is mirrored here:
http://en.anime-wiki.org/wiki/Basic_Translator_Guide
Well, a lot of old translators will eventually disappear, and new ones will be needed to replace them. There will always be people dissatisfied with CR rips, and I think higher quality subs will be more important for fan translators because there's no longer need to translate speed subs for most series. TBH, I don't actively practice all these, and kind of wanted to have a checklist for myself too

I didn't know about your guide. It's far more comprehensive than my "getting started" section, but it seems to be more about learning Japanese than in-depth tips to improve for existing translators. I'll add that link for further reference

Yeah, I found alc dictionary to be far too time-consuming to find perfect examples. Weblio has dictionaries categorized by type, so it's easier if you know you're looking for categories like medical, business, or law term etc. I guess it's good for more obscure/difficult translations though. I'll add it to the list.


Thanks for your inputs!
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Old 2011-04-10, 04:03   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfs View Post
Just one comment:
Aegisub is really not designed for entering translations.
The workflow Aegisub is designed for involved viewing the raw video with a regular media player, having a plain text editor (Notepad) next by, and entering translations line by line there, in "character: what he said" format. When done, let it be checked and edited, and then import the text file into Aegisub for timing and styling.
I find it MUCH easier to just time while translating... but that's just me.

Anyway... good guide, hope people listen to it. And maybe I won't see lines like "Take care of me starting Summer" or "Don't say such irresponsible things" anymore.

PS: "Tranlsators" who are unsatified by CRs subs right now... are idiots. Except the OP/ED and honorifics, find me something wrong REALY with any CR susb this season. No, replacing "can't you enter normally" with "Ever heard of a door" is NOT a mistake.
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Old 2011-04-10, 04:20   Link #6
Arm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DmonHiro View Post
I find it MUCH easier to just time while translating... but that's just me.

Anyway... good guide, hope people listen to it. And maybe I won't see lines like "Take care of me starting Summer" or "Don't say such irresponsible things" anymore.

PS: "Tranlsators" who are unsatified by CRs subs right now... are idiots. Except the OP/ED and honorifics, find me something wrong REALY with any CR susb this season. No, replacing "can't you enter normally" with "Ever heard of a door" is NOT a mistake.
Not to turn this into a CR thread, but I'm assuming you're only referring to the translation of CR subs, not the overall quality, right?
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Old 2011-04-10, 04:28   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arm View Post
Not to turn this into a CR thread, but I'm assuming you're only referring to the translation of CR subs, not the overall quality, right?
Of course, I'm only talking about the translation quality. The audio/video is
Timing's a little
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Old 2011-04-10, 04:35   Link #8
Arm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DmonHiro View Post
Of course, I'm only talking about the translation quality. The audio/video is
Timing's a little
Well, I was thinking more on the subject of editing, since you said "find me something wrong REALY with any CR susb this season".

But I think it's best we keep this on topic.
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Old 2011-04-10, 06:24   Link #9
Quarkboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DmonHiro View Post
PS: "Tranlsators" who are unsatified by CRs subs right now... are idiots. Except the OP/ED and honorifics, find me something wrong REALY with any CR susb this season. No, replacing "can't you enter normally" with "Ever heard of a door" is NOT a mistake.
That line was mine, actually, from Sket Dance #1.

That's actually a good example of something that I first put down a literal translation "Can't you enter normally?" and stopped, realized that was stilted and not appropriate to the character or scene, and most importantly not funny. So putting a more cliched "english" version of that tsukkomi "Ain't you ever heard of a door?", it worked better.

Usually I stick to pretty literal, but for tsukommi I take far more liberties, as the purpose of tsukommi is to be funny, and they rarely if ever lead anywhere in the conversation or impart important information.

There was another line in Sket Dance which was far more out there when it came to my translation, and played with language abit... Well, I think it worked pretty well.
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Old 2011-04-14, 03:45   Link #10
Maceart
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Wow, Quarkboy you think your CR translations are literal? Compared to most other groups nowadays it's quite liberal and very well done, in my opinion. The script just flows better when it doesn't read like a stilted dictionary translation.

When I translate, I've always used MPC for the raw and Notepad open on a secondary monitor. Then again, I still time using SubStationAlpha, so I guess I'm really old school.
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Old 2011-04-14, 03:56   Link #11
Quarkboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maceart View Post
Wow, Quarkboy you think your CR translations are literal? Compared to most other groups nowadays it's quite liberal and very well done, in my opinion. The script just flows better when it doesn't read like a stilted dictionary translation.

When I translate, I've always used MPC for the raw and Notepad open on a secondary monitor. Then again, I still time using SubStationAlpha, so I guess I'm really old school.
I use the exact same tools except "++"

MPC-Home Cinema, Notepad++, and Aegisub
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Old 2011-04-14, 16:58   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DmonHiro View Post

PS: "Tranlsators" who are unsatified by CRs subs right now... are idiots. Except the OP/ED and honorifics, find me something wrong REALY with any CR susb this season. No, replacing "can't you enter normally" with "Ever heard of a door" is NOT a mistake.
I've noted elsewhere in this forum that I've been very dissatisfied with the CR translation of a Mitsudomoe episode last season. Not saying all CR subs are bad, but they can be pretty inconsistent.
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Old 2011-08-15, 01:04   Link #13
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This is a very good guide. After 4 years of classes at UC Berkeley have I finally started to wean off using Chinese subtitles as a crutch.

However, that means I only translate children shows now, since all the non-children shows are either 1) Simulcasted and CR'ed, or 2) I don't feel like my abilities are up to translating the show well.

Sooner or later fansubbing is going to come down to those who translate children shows and GG.
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Old 2011-08-15, 05:51   Link #14
Rika-chama
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This is a very good guide, 8thSin.

I think when you use the term "liberal", most people recoil in horror because "HOW DARE YOU CHANGE MY GLORIOUS NIHONGO INTO SOMETHING THAT ISN'T DIRECTLY WHAT IT'S SAYING" (in other words, "HOW DARE YOU JAMA-SURU MY NAKAMA-TACHI"). People need to realise that being "liberal" with the translation doesn't mean "taking liberties to re-write the script", it means retaining meaning while being as accurate as possible with what's being said. CR does a decent job of this with a lot of shows, however the biggest complaint I have against CR is that they need decent editors (no, I'm not pining for a job, CR, but if you wanna hire me, enough of your TL'ers know me to know where I hide -_^ ). There are just too many silly mistakes made. Now granted, CR is streamed continuously, so they can (and have, on occasion) corrected mistakes that are really orz.

A good translation can be made horrible by one single typo. For instance: "Don't leave me alone with hime!" is totally different than "Don't leave me alone with him!". Especially in a show that has a princess or somebody named "Hime". Anyway, (and obviously I'm biased) you need to have at least 2 people to create a REALLY good script: a good translator and a good editor. And yes, editors need to talk to translators before drastically changing their lines b/c sometimes the way a line is translated causes us to interpret it in a way that the character is not meaning to.

And yeah, 8thSin, hopefully, like you, I'd like to think: "Edited by Ichigo69/Rika-chama" actually means something decent to those who watch our stuff. ^__^
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Old 2011-08-15, 09:26   Link #15
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Originally Posted by 8thSin View Post
Proficiency in both languages does not automatically make you a capable translator. There are few things needed to be learned in addition to the Japanese (or other languages for your fansub).

"I just passed JPLT N3, and I want to be a fansubber!": Get the hell out of here and don't come back for 2 years. I know a lot of people who are studying or passed JPLT N2, and I can tell you right now, you are not ready. JPLT is a great way to gauge your progress, but it's garbage for the purpose of determining if you are qualified to be a translator. I just winged their official N1 sample questions for kicks, and got 17/18 right (tl;dr only scanned through couple of long reading comprehension and got 1 wrong), and my Japanese is still not even close at the level I would like it to be.
You want to be able to breeze through listening section of JPLT N1 (borderline passing N1 may be sufficient if you have access to Japanese script) or be able to pass 日本語検定(語検) Level 5 - Middle school equivalent. Ideally, you would want to live in Japanese-speaking environment for at least a year after sufficient class/independent study.
*bows*


Couldn't have written a better guide out there, this needs to be on a website so it can be linked about in fansub cyberspace for trigger-happy newbies.
I'd say the most I realised during my first year of translating anime would be the skill of interpretation needed over linguistic skill.
Especially for two worlds of Japanese and English (US, UK or AUS, etc), it's like oil and water sometimes. Contextually and culturally finding the best expressions to simply convey the correct meaning takes a lot outta a J-E translator.

At least in that area, I find it easier to verbally explain than to translate anime worlds sometimes.
On the literal-liberal scale, I'd say I'm about a 3 ish. Liberal offers the temptation of the other rule you mentioned:

'Translate, do not create'
I've seen some liberal translations that are just far too loose for me, it can lead to sloppy (or lazy) interpretations so I prefer to side on the edge of caution while dabbing a little more with idioms.
Or rather if I can't think of any, I leave that to the editors and explain what I need from them

As for programs, me is notepad + raw video on side + dictionary + notes for other things I noticed, in other words, I usually work with 3-4 windows at once
And yeah it takes about 4hrs (on a good day), we really do do the monkey work of the entire thing. You should have mentioned there's a risk of developing RSI or straining one's fingers for the freaking about of lines we gotta churn out x.x;;

Anyways cookie for your troubles, bookmarking this thread for future reference, many thanks

2011 has been hell over here, but I guess since I'm on summer hols, all the more reason to get back into translating something again ^^;;
PS: I do put this on my CV and let people know, I just don't mention what I translate or for who
A little embellishment never hurt anyone and I do translate as a hobby
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Old 2011-10-02, 22:23   Link #16
larethian
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Interesting guide. Alc is an excellent tool for learning, since it offers many contexts on how the same word is used. Another tool I want to recommend is zokugo-dict.com which gives comprehensive explanations on modern colloquialism which you sometimes can't find even in alc.
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Old 2011-10-04, 10:17   Link #17
8thSin
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Originally Posted by larethian View Post
Interesting guide. Alc is an excellent tool for learning, since it offers many contexts on how the same word is used. Another tool I want to recommend is zokugo-dict.com which gives comprehensive explanations on modern colloquialism which you sometimes can't find even in alc.
Ah, thanks for reminding me. I usually use that website to double-check jargons and slangs. I have to say, this tool has to be used with extreme caution though, because it can lead to serious mistranslations unless the user knows what he's doing.
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Old 2011-11-18, 08:32   Link #19
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Originally Posted by dzemomona12 View Post
Very good tips. What about google translator? I heard it's kinda crap, but has anyone tried it?
If a translator even thinks of using Google Translator, I don't think he's quite qualified to do a decent job.
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Old 2011-11-18, 09:43   Link #20
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If a translator even thinks of using Google Translator, I don't think he's quite qualified to do a decent job.
Sometimes it works as a dictionary if it is to look up words here and there, but you're very often better off finding real dictionaries online.
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