Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Adventures in subtitling

Today has been an adventure. I'm not quite sure how adventurous it was, but it seemed kind of like an adventure anyway.

It started when we were making our morning internet rounds and we came to Anime News Network, where they had an article about a translation contest Crunchyroll was having. Some of you may remember that we've been sort of trying to get Crunchyroll to give us the time of day let us work for them. We did, at one point, get a response from them, asking us various important things like how much we charge, how much we can do in a week, etc., but we never heard back since then. We figured this was for one main reason: one of their questions was "Can you do translating, timing, typesetting, and QCing?" Our answer was that we only have experience with translating, but we're willing to learn! Yay! (Only without the yay, because we were trying to sound a little professional.)

Still, that didn't change the fact that the answer was no, we couldn't do timing or typesetting, so we decided our best bet was to teach ourselves how to do that, and then e-mail them back. But we hadn't gotten around to it yet, because we have, y'know, work and stuff. And then there's the video games and the Shugo Chara!, and we are far too easily distracted. But I have been sick these last few days, so I think it's okay.

But now. Now! there's a contest. There's no monetary compensation for this contest, but there are fabulous prizes, including a grand prize of not only being hired to translate the rest of the series (for free, but the ENTIRE WORLD gets to see it, and it will lead to Connections (<--very important)) but also being awarded a prize pack of all kinds of shiny Osamu Tezuka-related awesomeness. We're... actually not huge Tezuka-sensei fans, but those Connections seem very very shiny. Especially because recently someone who translated Tezuka-sensei's manga just got some very very fancy award, and we were all like ii naa... So.

Also, regardless of how well we do in the contest, the instructions for the contest included a recommendation of what software to use for subtitling purposes, so we knew where to start as far as that was concerned (also very important), so even if we don't win, we might be able to get ourselves hired, since we'll be able to answer their questions, hopefully more to their satisfaction.

Fortunately, we were just about finished proofreading the volume of Negima! we were working on, so after we turned it in, we watched the first two episodes of the contest series (Wonder Beat Scramble; episodes provided for context, we suppose), then downloaded this fancy-shmancy software, and we were ready to start learning! Only it was the most confusingest software we've ever dealt with. Well, except for the Gimp. That program is... I'm not witty enough to come up with an appropriate metaphor for how confusing that one is.

And while we were lost in confusion, Celeste randomly showed up to borrow our printer. So we took a little time out, and while she waited for things to load, she tried reading the Japanese text on our wallpaper (it's a promotional wallpaper for the Neo Angelique anime, so it advertises when the show starts), only she only just started learning Chinese, which of course is different than Japanese, and it was pretty interesting. She was sure she knew the characters オ, エ, and ト, despite them being katakana characters that don't really have any meaning. But they did originate from Chinese characters at some point, and they do resemble some kanji we've seen.

After Celeste left, we got back to figuring out this subtitling program, and figured out our problem! We couldn't find the important buttons because our pixelation is set too low. But darn it, we like our old-fashioned 800x600! Nevertheless, this contest is important to us, too, and we switch back and forth to watch stuff on Crunchyroll all the time anyway (I do end up changing it back, because having the pixelation too high makes me feel agoraphobic) so we changed the pixelation to one that would work and bam! we started subtitling! And we decided that while timing is kind of fun, it's also kind of tedious and really hard to do at the same time as translating. Too much switching gears.

So we decided to just translate all the lines in another file and stick them onto the video as subtitles afterwords! Yay! But then we realized our other problem. The contest video is a TV special introducing the series, so instead of dialogue (easy), we get narrations (medium) and explanatory paragraph type things (super hard). It's basically like translating a fanbook. Only surprise! we don't get a script. So that means we're pretty much translating a fanbook, but without text. And the way Japanese works, that's really, really hard. But! that also makes it a fantastic way to test prospective translators, because it's super super difficult. So, in the words of the Astro Boy parody from Freakazoid!, "We must succeed!" ...but I think we're done for the day. The contest rules didn't specify a deadline, so hopefully waiting until tomorrow won't be a problem.

Today I'm thankful for an awesome chance to prove our skills, finally figuring out the subtitling software, figuring out that one really hard sentence, not taking long at all to come up with a cover summary for Negima! (complete with pun in tagline!), and the good timing of this contest showing up right when we're between books.
Tags: crunchyroll, language geekiness, subtitling, translating

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