Oh man, we made a mistake today. After we check email, LJ, Facebook, etc., we like to play a little Kingdom Hearts [chi] before getting to work. On Thursdays it's always a little extra exciting because Wednesday night (actually Thursday afternoon in Japan) is when they do maintenance and add shiny things to the game. But when we got to the game this morning, it was shut down for some emergency maintenance, and it was going to be another half an hour before it was back up again.
We were still determined to get our morning Kingdom Hearts session in, but in the interest of not being total slackers, we thought we'd work on something first. We had just turned in our translation of Say I Love You 7, and what with everything on our schedule, we had several options to choose from as to what to do today. Our next deadline is for My Little Monster 7, with another Say I Love You due soon after that--we've always been pretty close to the wire on Say I Love You, so it might be nice to our editor if we tried to get this one in superfast! (also, it's the only series we have with that editor, and we haven't really been able to show him that we're capable of working superfast!). There was also the option of taking a day off to work on costumes, but that option was blah for many reasons, including the fact that we've taken way too many days off lately already, and we're set to take a bunch more off very soon.
Finally, there's the Manga Translation Battle. We still hadn't decided what we want to translate for that (if anything), and since half an hour wasn't a great amount of time to get much work done anyway, we decided to do a little research. We went to the translation battle's website to see if we could get more information on which series would help us win. We read an interview with one of the past winners that had us all snippy about that person's attitude, which was bad enough, but then we made the mistake of reading the judges' comments on the winning entries from last year.
It's not necessarily that we disagree with the judges--in fact, that's exactly the problem. We read their multiple comments about how vitally important character voice is, and how "this translator really did well with that," and it was hard not to automatically finish those comments with, "Unlike those other loser translators." We know full well that it might have been a very close match, and the runners-up might have done a very good job with character voice, too. They just didn't comment on the runners-up, and we don't know why each entry was chosen over, say, ours.
(As a sidenote, we've always been aware of the possibility that we didn't win last year because we're already in the industry, the winner wasn't, and maybe they wanted to prioritize amateurs over professionals because the professionals don't need the break. The little information we got on other winners seems to corroborate this theory, but in that case, it might be a good idea to say so, because otherwise, you're just adding fuel to the pirates' arguments of, "Scanslators are so much better!")
So then, two things happen. First, we start to get nitpicky about the judges' comments. Second, we start second-guessing everything about our translation choices. Their insistence that character voice is so important would be great, because we agree, but since we didn't win, we're like, "You're right, all our characters sounds the same! Ooooohhhh nooooo!!" And since we thought character voice was one of our strengths in translation, it gets tough. So we maintain our sanity by convincing ourselves that the only reason the other Acchi Kocchi translator beat us is that she used an accent for one of the characters, because at least two of the judges said, "Especially Mayoi," in their praise of her character voice.
And then we say, "Ugh, forget everything," and decide to work on My Little Monster because we just did Say I Love You and we could use a change of scenery. (Normally we would say forget everything and go play Kingdom Hearts, but we already explained the whole "we can't take any more days off" thing.) And I think we're doing okay, because it was probably not even half the time we spent working that we were like, "Ugh, these characters all sound the same. We don't know how to write character voice at all!! Should we try harder to represent Natsume's polite speech? What about Yamaken? He's smart but kind of a punk! What do we do? I don't know! Aaaahhh!!"
Other times we were like, "I don't know what we were so worried about. We're doing totally awesome with these characters." But most of the time, we were like, "We're going to have to change it all when we have the whole context anyway. Whatever."
And it had the added bonus of making us cry! Not because of insecurities, but because the story was kind of tear-jerking. It totally caught me off-guard. This just doesn't seem like the kind of series to do that. I'd go into it more, but of course that would be spoilery.
Today I'm thankful for finally getting to play Kingdom Hearts [chi], making good progress on work today, getting to eat cocoa peanuts, getting to sing along to "You are the HERO!!", and Page totally ignoring the "draw a circle on the floor to catch a cat" trick.