Yes, it was announced several weeks ago--before they even asked us to work on it--so we probably could have talked about it from the very beginning, but it just didn't seem like a good idea for some reason. Then somewhere in the middle of the project, we started thinking, "Y'know, we probably don't have to keep it a secret," but by then it was just more fun or something. Habit.
In fact this is actually the project that had us agonizing about a month ago, because we weren't sure whether or not it would be a good idea to agree to do it. For one thing, they hired us to do it as an adaptation, which means half the pay (because we're "only" adapting and not "translating and adapting"), after already taking a 40% paycut on Negima!. But more importantly, we started to think that if we couldn't recommend something to people at church, maybe we should, like, not work on it. This moral dilemma has come up before, and I even brought up Negima! in temple recommend interviews with both our bishop and stake president. They said they thought it wasn't a problem, but neither of them seem to really understand what manga is, and regardless of how okay or not it is round about volume thirty, the first three to six volumes are kind of the worst as far as fan service and all that stuff.
So we prayed and looked things up in scriptures, and we just couldn't get a strong impression about it one way or the other, until finally we were translating Higurashi and in the afterword, the creator talked about being embarrassed to go to his parents for help, but they were really good about it and a big help, so talk to your parents first! So I called Mom! And I explained that there's this series we're working on... and there's a lot of nudity in it... But it's Barbie-doll nudity! ...but anyway, they want us to retranslate the first three volumes, which are the worst for that, and... And Mom just came right out and said, "I don't have a problem with Barbie-doll nudity." She then added that she's jaded because of blah blah stuff and things, but as long as it's not explicitly sexual it should be fine.
Well, okay, let's do it! Besides, at this point, we probably had our boss freaking out about how in the world they would find anybody else to do this translation. Especially for what they wanted to pay, my goodness. We were talking the other day with a friend who said a different friend didn't like the current CEO of Disney because he (the CEO) is all like, "I'm strictly a business man." And we're like, "Duh, the CEO is a business man. Otherwise, you'd have artists running the place, and artists are terrible with financial planning." Case in point: us.
Anyway. The reason it took us so long to get started was that, since we're doing the "adaptation" of a previously existing translation, we were hoping that our lives could be made easier by the existence of of the original digital scripts, which we could "adapt," instead of typing up new scripts from scratch. Our boss tried really really hard to get them for us, but the scripts for the first two volumes have been lost in the ether, consigned to oblivion, something like that. So scratch it was!
It was kind of an interesting process, because we figured we should at least look at the original translation. So when Athena held the book like normal, she held the first English edition behind it, like in the movies and stuff when a kid has a textbook open, but really they're reading the comic book inside. And since the English editions are bigger, whenever I glanced at the pages, there was the same picture, hovering above it. It was like I was seeing double!
Anyway, it proved to be more efficient to only check the first English edition when we were stuck. In most cases, it didn't help, but it did help occasionally. They paid us to adapt it, but what we really did was translate the whole thing again (with a little help from the first edition). It was fascinating to see exactly how much "adapting" had been done to the first one. For the most part, it looked a lot like what happened to DN Angel--the adapter made stuff up whenever he thought of a joke. And for some reason that meant that there was extra commentary on the nudity and panty shots.
The problem with that is that Ken Akamatsu gets close enough to the line between humor and needing a slap in the face enough without help, so the English version made us even more uncomfortable. In comparison, the Japanese version is almost refreshing. When we did the omnibus, there was a definite feeling of, "It wasn't as bad as I remembered it." (Then we'd look at the English version and be like, "Oh yeah. That's what the problem was.")
What we're really hoping for with our translation is that the characterization is better. There was a lot of stuff in the dialogue that made Negi sound like a ten-year-old kid coming to Japan for the first time... that was just lost in the first English version. We're also hoping to clarify some of the things that didn't come across in the first edition for whatever reason. Like the stuff about vampires.
So basically what it all boils down to is, we put a lot of work into this, so we hope people read it and enjoy it when it comes out!
Today we're thankful for finally finally finally being finished with the omnibus (hopefully we'll have more time for volume two), cats in trees (distracting though they may be), discovering the chocolate truffles we bought and forgot about, being back to 2% milk, and having free time again.