, , , , , , ,

There are a lot of reasons why the average request I get to help translate things is refused.  To put it bluntly, the average manga I am requested to help out with is infantile, for lack of a better word.  Pictures of wide-eyed schoolgirls in a variety of titillating poses don’t much interest me.  That alone eliminates 90% of the requests.  Are you really reading them for the dialogue?  Then you have to take in the fact that frankly, most manga are not very good.  The stories are half-arsed ones, and contain endless variations on the same themes (hapless man falls in love with ultra-competent female with a silly weakness) or just contain material which is not challenging at all.  Remember the great man Theodore Sturgeon’s law: “90% of everything is crap.”  The one’s which do interest me (鍛冶隆介の議)are difficult(for me) and contain a lot of new vocabulary and grammar points which test my Japanese.  It’s not surprising that very few manga translation “teams” tackle this kind of project.
The standard of translation in the scanlation communities is, generally speaking, very poor.  The reasons for this are not complicated: substandard(or non-existent) Japanese ability combined with excessive reliance on Google Translate, mixed with poor English skills.  I must confess that I am mystified by translators who don’t even possess the grammatical chops in their own language to write a grammatically correct sentence.  Professional translators get hired for a reason, and although I have been paid in the past for translation work, I am not a professional translator.  If I was, translating novels would be a much more likely task for intellectual reasons, and scientific or legal documents for financial reasons.
I appreciate that for most it’s a hobby and done without thought of profit, but scanlation is also illegal, and for good reason.  Neither the artist/writer or publishing house are receiving financial compensation for their efforts.  They don’t produce manga for free, they want money.  There are a lot of specious arguments made about limiting the publishing of manga in certain countries, or that it’s taken too long to publish a translation.  By publishing illegal translations, you’ve just taken away the opportunity from a publisher to make money on a given manga, and that by doing so, you’ve eliminated the possibility that there will ever be one.  If you really like a manga, you should give the creators every possibility to profit financially from their own creations.  By all means keep sending me difficult sentences with interesting points of grammar to chew on, they’re great fun.では。