Adventures in Fan-Translation

Adventures In Fan-Translation – Chapter 1

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (Asterisk War)

I’ve been in the fan translation community for a long time. One of the first times I gave back was as an editor.

It all started when I made a crazy comment on a translation (Gakusen Toshi Asterisk) I enjoyed early on into my ventures into the Light Novel community. Basically it was a super long edit of pretty much all the errors I could find in a chapter. That led to the Translator Setsuna86 to reaching out to me to help edit their work. I accepted and helped out for a couple chapters before realizing how much work it would be to continue, especially since English was clearly not the translator’s first language.

I noticed quickly that not all of my edits made the final cut. Part of it was because I never explained why the edits needed to be made. My edits were not even close to efficiently done either. I was just making an insane amount of work for myself.

My first edits were unmarked and you would have to compare to the original text to understand what I actually had changed. I also had an accompanying document similarly organized to my insanely long comment. So basically I had done the work, then spent another 20-30 minutes copy pasting the original and edited lines just so it was clear what I changed. Over all it took me a couple hours to edit a chapter.

After 2 or 3 chapters (5k-10k words a piece) I was burnt out. While working on that, I was learning Japanese and helped TLC some of the harder to translate sections. At that time I thought a more literal translation meant a better translation (which I now believe to be wrong).

Take-Aways:

  1. Avoid working with non-native english speakers who are translating to English unless you are ready for a lot of work (more on this in later chapter).
  2. Formatting is important, it needs to be efficient, and it needs to communicate why the change is necessary.
  3. Avoid taking on too much, too fast, it will burn you out and you will find it very hard to find any motivation especially since monetary incentives are rare in the fan-translation community.
  4. I used to have shit taste.
Yascobro

Hi, I'm the Light/Web Novel addict, Yascobro (AKA Yascob). I have been learning Japanese for 4-5 years now and finally have started to make the biggest step towards my goal of translating LNs that I like. I'm not perfect at it but I love doing all I can to give back to the community that has given me so much.