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Alethea & Athena
And repeat 
11th-May-2017 09:42 pm
Today was completely taken up by work! But it was in a good kind of way, I think. We're in this phase where we just want to get everything done! Part of this comes from the fact that Kodansha recently announced that it will be releasing Robico's new series digitally, and guess who's not translating it! Since our two theories are that either they really are starting to not like us or that we have way too much to do to take on any new titles, we decided to ignore the first theory and try to eliminate the second theory. And since we really do have way too much to do to take on any new titles (although that hasn't stopped us from saying yes to other publishers; we just finished a new book a few minutes ago!), that means we have a lot of items to cross off our to-do list. But we got through one thing today! Hopefully we'll be able to meet tomorrow's goal despite having an orthodontist appointment.

Today I'm thankful for finishing another translation, getting to see the kittens play, getting some new to-be-translated books (Missions of Love and Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty (which we still haven't started on, but soon! Ish!)), getting to go to Joe's tomorrow, and finding something to watch during dinner when Hulu abruptly cut off our Beverly Hillbillies supply.
12th-May-2017 06:10 pm (UTC)
RARRRRRRR!!! re: Robico series. I should probably read the chapter 1 preview again when I'm in a less grumpy mood and can assess it more fairly, but it took me a couple days already to settle into my current attitude of "Fine, give the people what they want: heaps of content with run-of-the-mill translations at low prices!!" But I can't help thinking of what could've been. Your character dialogue is always so much fun to read......

Well. I am happy about the series that you are translating that are also so much fun to read!! Like the one that almost killed me this week. (he wanted the Anons replaced after all.)

Good job finishing a translation today! And yay for playful kittens!
12th-May-2017 09:25 pm (UTC)
That's kind of how we feel about it, too. We try not to think about it. Oh, but man, we were working on a project the other day that required looking at someone else's translations (we seem to be getting a lot of those...), and our egos have been inflating in regard to translation quality, so more and more we're like, "It won't be as good if you get somebody else to do it, but okay..."

Thanks for the compliment!

Oh yes, that series likes to find new and unique ways to crush souls every time. By which I mean to say that we have another time travel series on our hands (and that would be okay, too, except that this whole week we feel like we've been working nonstop and somehow not getting anything done, so our schedule is more than a little daunting). Ah, but we do love our job.

Thanks! Oh my goodness, they're so adorable! Did I mention the neighbors asked us if we wanted to keep one of the little black ones? I brought it inside and introduced it to Page, and after sniffing each other for a while, they both turned their heads and looked very determinedly away from each other. So I tried to push the kitten closer to Page, and she backed away, like, "Ugh, get it out of my face!" But she didn't walk away...

ETA: PS: Congratulations on finishing the lethal series!

Edited at 2017-05-13 12:39 am (UTC)
12th-May-2017 10:55 pm (UTC)
Kitten kitten kitten! You should keep it! If you think it's the right time and right cat and that Page will come around, of course... It's always hard to know that, though.

Oh dear, I'm sorry another of your series has started time traveling!! I guess that breaks up the challenge into smaller chunks? But for efficiency or just mentally preparing yourself for a single isolated task it must be tough. As for this volume, on my first pass I got to the end and was like "What, only 4 translation notes?!" but by the end I felt I understood (it was a relief to me too). Also, I have to confess that for the Anons they offered to either give me more time to do that retouch or have someone else do it, and I chose the second option because I don't have room in my schedule to delay things... so I escaped some of the extra work. But all the other digital text was enough on its own. And when I think that we're probably only half-way through this part of the story (if that)...

It makes me want to work on nothing but shoujo manga. The last one of our shared series I turned in was sooo nice and simple :D Anyway, sorry for rambling about that!! It's been the main thing on my mind all week...! Now I'm celebrating with froyo from down the street! Enjoy your visit to Joe's tomorrow!! (that's the italian ice place, right?)
13th-May-2017 12:20 am (UTC)
We're seriously tempted! I think right now it mostly depends on whether or not the neighbor asks us again, but there may be other factors. We'll just see.

Yeah, I don't know what's going to happen. Based on how our schedule is, we might end up doing the whole thing all together anyway. It's nice that you got a bit of a reprieve. Very rarely I'll think about if we were to do that (give some of our work to somebody else to do), and then I recoil in horror at the idea of someone messing up our beautiful work. ...Snobs? Us? Whatever gave you that idea?

But at least the Anons thing is probably something straightforward enough that anyone could do it. It's much harder to predict when that kind of thing will come up in dialogue... And it would be really weird to ask someone, "So, the translators didn't have time to translate all these faces that say anonymous... Could you type that up for us?"

Aahh, shoujo manga... If we're thinking of the same one, yes, we definitely agree that it would be nice if all of our titles could be like that, at least for a little while. (There's another shoujo series we share that I imagine is much harder, with translucent speech bubbles and whatnot, but maybe it is that one and it turned out to be easier than I thought.)

Of course, now we're working on a much more talkative shoujo manga, so... But we do love us some shoujo-style romance anyway. We hope you enjoyed your froyo! We went to Joe's this afternoon (after the orthodontist), and they had a Cactus Cooler flavor which was delicious (yup, it's the Italian ice place!).
13th-May-2017 12:50 am (UTC)
Hahaha! I can relate to the snobbery... There are definitely some parts of my work I wouldn't trust to anyone else (or only to specific people I knew could do a good job) if I could help it. But in the first place I recognize that lettering isn't as crucial as translation (which is why I didn't bring up the lettering for the new Robico series even though it's kinda clunky). And this seemed more straightforward (I did letter all of them and get them angled correctly and stuff, so it was just a matter of filling in screentone). Also with my current Yen schedule I've had to give a couple books to other letterers or share them with my sister-in-law (lettering apprentice #2) so maybe I'm getting more used to it. I asked to be allowed to review one of those series that I felt more attached to, but sometimes when I weigh how much I care about a book vs how much I care about having time to read/garden/sleep/eat, I find the latter activities take priority...

By the way, at this point I can pretty well figure out which Anons get which variation of namelessness, so if the editor is okay with it I wouldn't care if you take a simplified approach to labeling those in the script.

One nice thing about this publisher is that all my series from them have clean art! (Other than asides and text that's integrated into the artwork, of course...) So none of my shoujo series are too bad to work on, although I suppose one is kind of a lot of work for various other reasons. (your bringing up translucent bubbles reminded me of another series from a different publisher, and I went, "Wait, I'm not lettering that one and they didn't tell me, right?!" but no, it looks like there are already lettered files on the server for that one.)

Oh!! I missed that this post was written yesterday!! Those time zones... Well, I'm glad you got to enjoy your cactus-flavoured Italian ice today! :D That's a nice reward for getting through an orthodontist visit.
13th-May-2017 02:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's our problem; we have a hard time with priorities until it's actually time to do something. So when we're asked to do something, we're like, "Sure!"

Haha, nah, I was just using the anonymous thing as an example--like with lettering, it's easy to look at it and go, "Oh, that won't be too hard; somebody else can do it," but with translating, it's not as obvious, except for weird things like the Anons. But we have been looking at some older English manga and noticing how important good lettering can be. (And wow, you put screen tone in those Anons? I feel like if most letterers worked the same way a lot of translators seem to work, that wouldn't have been a thing. (On the other hand, I don't know how much research the other translators are doing; maybe certain things that seem easy to me don't come so easy to them. This is my reminder not to judge too harshly.))

Haha, yeah, it's partly our fault, because we didn't write that post until just before we went to bed. And I'm about to do another one! Whee!
13th-May-2017 05:28 pm (UTC)
(sorry, i'm a little confused about what you meant regarding most letterers vs translators. i don't think there was any getting around replacing the screentone in these anons...)

I do think that good lettering is a great benefit to series: I get pulled out of the story when I see sloppy work (though I've my doubts that most people pay it much attention), and at worst there are issues like getting the text in the wrong bubbles (this happened regularly in some of the CMX and Tokyopop series, and eventually I started penciling in arrows to remind myself how to read them...) or not using the correct font format and making a thought look like dialogue or something. But when you walk away from a manga and think about it later, you're probably not going to picture how the words were arranged on the page the way you might recall a particular memorable phrase. And there's so much characterization and personality that can come through in a well-written translation. The general manga-reading public can mentally smooth over or ignore flaws in lettering, but a blah translation isn't something we can just imagine improvements into. (probably you can, but that's why you're the translators!)
13th-May-2017 07:10 pm (UTC)
(Haha, what I meant was, sometimes we think translators don't put in all the effort that they could, but I admit I did not go back and look at the Anons to see what you meant by replacing screentone. I imagined that the text itself had screentone, and that someone was going and tone-ifying the letters. I'm guessing that was incorrect.)

I think the general public also tends to smooth over bad dialogue, too, as indicated by the enormous popularity of Star Wars (don't get me wrong; I loved Star Wars in high school, and the story and characters are fun, but on a recent rewatch, after working with dialogue for many years, we realized the dialogue just isn't that good). But I also think that, whether they realize it or not, the way the dialogue is written will affect their perception of something. Like when we retranslated Negima--it was clear that readers weren't comparing our version with the original translation, and at least one person commented with, "The first volumes weren't as annoying as I remembered them." I would be interested to see some studies done on this, but my hypothesis is that people will be attracted to a good premise and an interesting story (or a gimmick), so if they've already decided to like it, they probably will anyway. But if they picked something up because they wanted something new, and they didn't really know much about it, then the writing has to be good to get them to stick with it.
14th-May-2017 03:09 am (UTC)
(ah, thanks for explaining! the original anon heads had a gradient fill with white text, but then there were horizontal white lines running through the gradient too, and those lines all went at various angles depending on the angle of the profile picture or whatever. it's possible the lines wouldn't show up much in print since they're very thin even zoomed way in, but my perfectionism wouldn't allow me to fudge it. I retouched a few heads but there were just so many... If it were text that needed to be toned, I might take the easier route and just make it an equivalent shade of grey rather than cloning in a pattern since there are so many—the individual screentone dots don't show up that much in print either. but I do add screentone to sfx that have tone when I need to match those up. There was a lot of that in the first volume or two, but recently they settled down a bit. Probably because they're too busy with all the chat text.)

I agree with everything in your second paragraph! What I was getting at is not so much about a bad translation (because yeah, if I see the flaws I can "fix" them in my mind) as an adequate translation, where everything's correct and fine but nothing special—it's harder for me to imagine how to make that better, except that I know it could be somehow. I guess complaining that something is just adequate (when it could just as well be not even that) is petty. But it's exactly as you said about subtleties in the dialogue affecting our perception, whether we realize it or not. I've started to realize it more within the last few years, and that leaves me spoiled, wanting every translation to be something special! Only in a perfect world...

Edited at 2017-05-14 06:11 am (UTC)
14th-May-2017 05:58 pm (UTC)
That is a good point about adequate translations; I think our perfectionism is such that adequate is not, to our minds, truly adequate. In some ways, it can be more offensive than bad. But yeah, you're right. It's like when...okay, so back when we were dirty lowlife pirates, we watched The Law of Ueki anime (we bought most of the DVDs when they came out) and we loved it, so when we were at Anime Expo and we got a free sampler of Viz manga, we figured we might as well check out their Law of Ueki translation. Now, this was back when we were still fairly new and nowhere near as amazing as we are now (*coughcough*), but even then we could read them and, while nothing really seemed out of place, we both thought, "I remember this series being funnier..."

So I think that's what you mean by adequate translation, and yeah, if someone's pretty well convinced they like the series anyway, they'll probably be okay with it, but oh my goodness, there's so much fun manga out there that people just aren't going to realize is fun because of "adequate" translations. This is why we were so petrified when we did the first volume of Noragami; we wanted to make sure to get it right.

The sad thing is, we've come across several instances where the translators don't seem to have a sophisticated enough palate to identify all the flavors in the original Japanese. They seem to think it's their job to spice it up...or, if they're a purist, they'll leave it just as bland as when they read it. And that all takes us back to our idea of reviewing translations in an effort to spread awareness...and then we look at our work list and laugh.
14th-May-2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah!! All of that, exactly!! You do such a great job recognizing those original flavours and keeping them intact~~~ (and this is why I keep thinking of Robico and what could've been, with all the flavour I loved about My Little Monster...)
14th-May-2017 07:34 pm (UTC)
All we can do is sigh...and start reviewing manga if we ever had time lol.
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