In the meantime, as promises, here's the story of how we got into translating manga professionally. We've actually told the story in bits in our multi-part commemorative series (follow that tag on this entry and you can read all our entries dedicated to each series we translate(d) for TokyoPop; come to think of it, we still have three more to do...), but it ended up backwards. So now I'll tell it forwards.
As has been mentioned before, we got into translating manga because we wanted all our friends to be able to read it. Doing this got us even more obsessed with two serieses in particular, DN Angel and Saiyuki. One day at college, one of our roommates came into the living room and was pleased to announce that TokyoPop was having a survey, asking fans to name three titles they most wanted to see brought to the US, and that all her friends were asking for Saiyuki, DN Angel, or both. Being the possessive fangirls we are, our first thought was, "No! They can't bring those to the US! Our DN Angel!! Our Saiyuki!!"
The selfishness passed in a matter of seconds when we realized that if those titles were so popular, they were going to come to the States regardless of what we thought, so we might as well be involved in the process. Put our stamp on them, I guess. So the question was then, "Is TokyoPop hiring translators?"
We raced upstairs to our room and went to the TokyoPop website to see if they were hiring, and lo and behold, they were looking for interns in the fields of something, something, something, translating, and something. Not actual translators, but at least it was a way to get a foot in the door. We sent an e-mail immediately. We don't usually act that quickly, come to think of it. Anyway, there was a day or two of correspondence to make sure everything would work out. It was a little extra scary in that we couldn't go in for a real interview until we went back to the Los Angeles area for the summer. It would have sucked if we hadn't gotten the job, because we probably would have stayed in Utah, where we had a better social life, if not for the internship.
Fortunately, we passed the interview. It was kind of neat, because to prove we knew Japanese, they had someone from the office come in to ask us a question in Japanese. The question was how do we manage stress, and the answer was by watching anime, reading manga, and playing video games, so that probably helped a lot.
And so we began our lives as production interns at TokyoPop. One day, we found out that they did in fact have the rights to Saiyuki and DN Angel. So we made it a point to say to them, "We've already translated a bunch of that, if you're interested." And one of the senior editors was like, "So you make illegal translations?" And we're like, "No, we just do text translations for our friends. We don't even post it on the internet." "So if we asked you to, you could just reformat your script to match our format and let us use it?" "Yup!"
We didn't hear anything else about it for a few days. We kept doing our intern stuff, which included reading manga and summarizing it (talk about a dream job). One day, we were making copies when Jake Forbes came to us and said, "I'm going to make you an offer I think you'll find it difficult to refuse." We looked at him questioningly. We might have said, "Yes?" "How would you like to be the full-on, paid translators for Fruits Basket?" And we said, "Yeah, we think we'd like that very much." And then he left, and we started bouncing off the walls.
After that, we were assigned four more titles, including Saiyuki and DN Angel (the other two were Ai Yori Aoshi and The Candidate for Goddess (another one we had already translated), for the curious), and the rest is history.
The most interesting thing about the whole process is that we never doubted we'd get into translating. It's just one of those things that we decided we were going to do it, and we did it.
And so we really need to remember that when we're freaked out about trying to get to Japan or get into voice acting or both. Just decide we're going to do it, and do it. But like I said, we have Plans now, and we're actually very excited about them, so as long as we don't let ourselves be distracted by anime and video games for too long, hopefully we'll start making some progress.
Today I'm thankful for encouraging stories, helpful lease advice, having Plans, the lights coming on in the living room (our light fixture thingie has been having issues; I wonder if it's tired), and not having to worry about the lease anymore. And people helping us make Plans. Oh! And Jake offering us a job.