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Alethea & Athena
Any day now? 
22nd-Sep-2015 05:42 pm
Well, it turns out tomorrow's Disneyland trip has been shifted to Thursday. This is great for our momentum on Livingstone, which we were hoping to finish today, but progress was so slow that we're thinking that's not going to happen. It might have been possible if we really pushed ourselves, but since I almost had a breakdown earlier, that seemed like maybe not the best of ideas.

We've been feeling a little indignant about how we have so much work and so little perceived sympathy, possibly because the recent trend is that when Gaston calls to say he wants to come to Disneyland, he always asks if we're busy, and we always say yes, and he always says isn't it so great and such a blessing that you've had a constant stream of steady work. And of course it is a blessing; it's fantastic to have job security and to be able to pay the rent, and we are very grateful for that. But when it's framed in the context of, "Isn't it great how you have, like, no time to do all the stuff you want to do? Guess what, now you have less!", it makes us grumpy.

Of course, in all fairness, we could make him go to Disneyland without us. So we're not really going to hold it against anyone, because it really is a good thing, and we theoretically like going to Disneyland. But we have this yearning to convince people that this level of busyness is not one that people can easily maintain for long periods of time (while also maintaining their sanity), and we really do need a vacation soon (a vacation that doesn't require us to use up our introvert batteries).

So we did some math. We counted up all the reviews we wrote this year (=all the physical books we translated), added the Harlequin manga (only two, surprisingly enough), and included the number of tankobons that were released this year for the simulpubs we've done. All in all, excluding the Persona Q chapters that have yet to be put in tankobon form, we've translated approximately 47 books of manga this year. (This does not include any of the video game work we've done, which was by no means insignificant.) Breaking that down, that's about one book every five and a half days this year. We read that another prominent manga translator wrote that he can translate four books a month (about one a week), but that's pushing it.

Granted, there are two of us, which probably raises efficiency some, but since we do the work together, rather than dividing it (except for sometimes when we're working on video games), it's not like we're cutting the work in half. Athena came up with a pretty good analogy for it: it's like doing math homework together. We both have to do all the problems, and we both have to make sure we understand how it works. We can look at each other's work and discuss things, which might help us get to the solution a little faster, but it's probably not going to go twice as quickly.

That being the case, a book every five and a half days might be roughly the other translator's equivalent of doing a book a week. It's doable, but it's pushing it. And we've been averaging that for more than nine months. So we're tired. We love our job, we don't want to give it up, and there's more than one thing floating around out there that if the offer came, we would jump on it. But we are in sore need of some consecutive days off.

Today I'm thankful for steady employment, understanding editors, a schedule shift that at least makes planning our Livingstone schedule easier (but does not excuse us from working on Saturday to get Chaika in on time), getting to translate lots and lots of awesome things, chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate.
22nd-Sep-2015 11:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, another subtle new-title name drop. (you haven't mentioned that one before and I missed it, right?)

47 books this year, sheesh! I wonder... let me go and update my spreadsheet for the book I just finished this evening... and my current count is 46.9 books for 2015 :D Haha. (it's a little fuzzy because I'm counting some individual chapters and a book I turned in incomplete for another letterer to finish as fractions. and it doesn't include the books I review for my brother, which each take about a day of work.)

This is not at all in any way meant to take away from the bigness of YOUR accomplishments, only to say that I TOTALLY understand how you're feeling about so much work. In addition to the book I turned in today, I think I'm ideally hoped to (that is, editors are hoping I will) finish three more this week (one in progress, one almost done, one just started). It really feels like there's no time to have a life, like, a lot of the time. A book-every-5.5-days rate doesn't account for your not working on Sundays (or days you take off to go to Disneyland or other stuff), so you're actually turning books around at an even higher rate. That's mind-boggling.

I've kept track of how many books I lettered every year since I started, and for the last 2-3yrs, by each December I was telling myself "Surely I've hit my peak output and can't work any faster than this next year!" I remember when I thought a book a month was normal, and when I thought turning a volume around in a week was an amazing accomplishment... and then when I thought having a week per book and a book per week was just right... and then when I figured out that I could actually polish off a book (under ideal/desperate circumstances) in more like 3 days... I think there is something that enables me to fit the work that needs to be done into the time available; when I have more time I take longer to do the work. But still there MUST be some actual limit to what can be done by a human being (or two) who needs to eat and sleep and breathe and maybe have fun sometimes. I really do think this year must be the peak for me. Hahaha. No, seriously.

Anyway, you have all my sympathy for having too much work. I told you my story of the friends who were praying a few years ago that I had enough work and then asked me about it and I had to tell them "I have so much it's making me crazy!!" right? Haha. I truly appreciated their care and concern for me, and I don't mean to take it for granted that I'm very well provided for with freelance work and that's wonderful and anything but a guarantee for most people in our line of work. But there really is such a thing as too much. (...okay so how about you stop going after new projects, lys? "but-but-but—!!")

On the subject of Disneyland, I understand that you love to go and don't want to miss out on a chance. I'm sure you're weighing the pros and cons of going vs not going and having that time to do other more relaxing/sanity-restoring things when you make your choices. But still, know that there will always be more opportunities to go back, and under better conditions for you, and it's okay to set limits and say no sometimes (Gaston seems like a good friend who wouldn't take a one-time "no" as a reason to never ask again.) Also I hope this doesn't sound unsympathetic, but possibly the fact that you always say you're busy but then still manage to make time to go to Disneyland is part of why Gaston doesn't entirely get that you really are too busy?

Most of all, please take care of yourselves and get the rest you need!! ♥
23rd-Sep-2015 01:46 am (UTC)
I don't know, maybe we did mention it before? I think we did... But it would have been another brief mention in passing and it would have been months ago, so there you go. Volume one comes out in November! We like it because one of the characters reminds us of Yukine. (And because it's pretty entertaining in its own right.)

46.9! We're about the same! Overworked-manga-professional-high-five! And your week is crazier than ours, too! Oh man, you totally have our sympathy. I think what I might need is a rousing sing-along, so hopefully you can sing along with your work and it will help? I don't know.

That's right, we didn't account for Sundays or Disneyland days. We also usually take Saturday off, but all that time gets eaten up by chores, grocery shopping, and preparing for Primary.

Believe me, we have been considering saying no...but on the other hand, we always consider it. But we're always like, "No, we can do it." I don't know why we feel so compelled, because you're right, it is enabling. I think he does get that we're really busy, though, because when he called to let us know he was on his way tonight, he asked if we had stopped working yet...at about 8:50. I wish I had thought to say something like, "If we were still working, you would have to find somewhere else to sleep tonight, because we wouldn't have the yoyuu to deal with you." Yoyuu is such a great Japanese word that doesn't have a great English equivalent. I think "capacity" works sometimes. Anyway, I think that's why he always has to point out how great it is that we have steady work--to assuage his own guilt at taking up our time. I want to tell him that the best way to address that problem is to never speak of it.

Anyway, it has also been revealed that he's going to be pretty busy for the rest of the year, and will have no more than three opportunities to come back to Disneyland until next year, so we have some hope for the future.

Thanks for the support! ♥
23rd-Sep-2015 11:11 am (UTC)
Hahaha, the exceptional craziness of this week means I probably (definitely) won't get it all done, so I have to figure out which deadlines take highest priority and are most doable. (thankfully after this mess I don't have any other fixed deadlines to feel guilty over rescheduling, just the usual cloud of nebulous ones.) Yes, let's sing-along our troubles away! :D
23rd-Sep-2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
Argh, it's rough when that happens. Good luck! We put in our Durarara!! CD and belted along with Linda Linda, so we're feeling much better. (The change of scenery from having breakfast at Downtown Disney probably helped, too.)
23rd-Sep-2015 11:52 pm (UTC)
Woo, Linda Linda!!!! That's a great idea and I am stealing it right now :D (because I'm still working. Sob!! Almost done with today's task though and I did get away for choir rehearsal tonight and it was really fun.)

I played a few episodes of Yona throughout the day (in a window behind all my lettering, so I was only listening) to boost my happiness, since I'm in another mini-burst of fandom and know it well enough to enjoy as background noise :)
23rd-Sep-2015 11:55 pm (UTC)
Take it, it's yours! (Oh man, I do not envy you your workload! But I do envy you your fun choir rehearsals. Our choir rehearsals are alright sociality-wise, but the pressure of leading...)

Oooh, that sounds nice, too! We were reminded last night that sometimes it helps to take some time out to watch some comedy and laugh and laugh and laugh also.
24th-Sep-2015 12:10 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, laughing and laughing is great!! My Yona-fandom-spree also has me rereading NG Life (author's previous series) and I'd forgotten how silly that gets (because it also gets kind of dramatic later). I was reading it while I walked from the bus stop to rehearsal (also good stress relief activity, given that the weather was delightful) and laughing out loud at the ridiculous shoujo manga antics.
25th-Sep-2015 01:34 am (UTC)
Yay for things that help relieve the stress of constant work!
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