First off, here’s 318.
Akamatsu’s tweets are generally very insightful, but there’s one particular reply from a “professional translator” to one of Akamatsu’s recent messages that just bugs me.
Now, you can find the Togetter compilation here. Here’s the particular exchange (@KenAkamatsu, @jubeifang):
Illegally scanned manga just casually become “shared property” online. And it’s impossible to withdraw. If only they can slip in an “Evaluation Copy” label or something, at least (since it’s hard to charge for it).
Well, the illegal scans lately are unusually high-quality, and the translation’s even correct (^^;) If the creator loses respect even on the net, then certainly, the official version will lose.
That’s right. Even more, a part of the readers believe that the illegal translations are “the real works”, and request that we fix the translations that we official translators made. That just annoys me.
Whoa, seriously? (^^;)
This is something one of my coworkers encountered, but a part of the readers was illegally reading a certain Jump manga online. Good timing – a new character appears, and the illegal translators decided the name first. And my coworker translates the name of that character in a way different from the illegal translation’s…
After that, readers sent mail to our office, requesting that we “change the translation of the new character’s name to the one translated online”. What a joke.
Oh my. (^^;)
Granted, while I like to think of professional translation as an art form, as translation is not my actual job but rather a hobby, Mr. jubeifang (the translator for the Taiwan publication of Negima, if I recall correctly) having more professional pride in his own work is understandable, and he can certainly give valid reasons as for why he or a coworker wouldn’t comply with a request in this case.
Still, being a professional translator for an already-popular work means you probably should not carelessly disregard, deride or pass judgment on the opinions of its fans, especially if said fans might have been following the series before your own name was attached to it. More importantly, these are the fans who are still buying your products despite their free illegal distribution online, as his messages make very clear.
Yes, your fans used to read (or are still reading) manga illegally online, but – to use that tired old argument – it might entirely be because of those illegal productions that a reader can continue to have an active interest in the work (I’m not endorsing it, but you get the point). A work, I might point out, which gets a release once every three months for anyone without Weekly Shonen deliveries. I don’t remember exactly if Taiwan gets Weekly Shonen translated or not. Anyone confirm or deny that last part?
I don’t “do” a translation just to get paid hourly wages, Internet respects or what have you; I personally know professional translators who chose this line of work for reasons other than a stable income. Your works are being read, enjoyed and scruntinised by people who react to the author’s words as translated by you. Working on a translation without having a connection to or even caring about an existing fanbase which you are supposed to be satisfying just makes very little sense to me.
While a professional translator being indignant in this situation can be considered to be in the right, the fact that he would use words like “annoying” or “what a joke” to refer to fanmail in a publically-viewable comment clearly signed with his own title (when nothing in his own messages had indicated that said fanmail was despicable enough to require such wording) is, whatever his grievances, a poor move to make as a professional.
Sorry for the walls of text (which admittedly is my overreacting to an off-hand comment).
Anyway, my order of 33 still hasn’t arrived yet (I think, I’ll be calling the store tomorrow) so those new bits will have to wait. Which reminds me that I still haven’t finished the questions from 32.
Well. In any case, since the Fate Zero translation is practically finished except for editing, I’ve been wondering what I should translate next… preferably a novel (Index, maybe) since I already have Negima and the Fate Zero manga… hm.
Of course, there’s also Mahoyo which is supposed to be coming out any time now except when it suddenly isn’t anymore. Ah, now I’m all depressed. God damn it, Nasu.