You’ve probably already heard this news, but here it is again: The Oregairu LN has been licensed by Yen Press.
This is not necessarily happy news for everyone, hence the graphic at the top of this post. Not everyone will have access to the official release when it is eventually published in 2016. There are fans who are very upset over this. Just take a visit to Kyakka if you want see evidence of this for yourself.
Here’s the official statement we released on the Nano Desu Oregairu site:
Today, we have some momentous news! Oregairu has been licensed by Yen Press!
Here at Nano Desu, we support the official release one hundred per cent and we recommend that you buy it when it becomes available.
So what does that mean for the fan translation project here? Because the official translation won’t be released until 2016, we have still not worked out what will happen over the next few months. It is also in our interest to keep translations accessible for those who may not have access to official releases, so we are trying our best to work through this matter.
Please stay tuned for further updates in the weeks to come.
If that statement sounds vague, that’s because it’s supposed to sound that way. There’s been a lot of talk behind the scenes at Nano Desu, and not all of us agree about what to do. We’re not taking down the content from the site right away, but in all likelihood we will take down the translations before the first volume is released officially. Whatever happens, I will keep you posted on both blogs.
As for my personal reaction to the licensing? As long as Yen Press’s release is nothing like the abomination that was the No Game No Life translation, I’m all for it. I look forward to purchasing the professional translation and seeing where I can learn from it. I particularly wonder how the cultural references and Hachiman’s “voice” will come across in their version.
(There’s an elephant in the room here, and that elephant is called ETHICS IN LIGHT NOVEL TRANSLATION. There’s an interesting conversation to be had here about Yen Press’s conservative business model and the limitations of intellectual property laws in the digital era. But that’s a post for another day.)
In other news, I have started working on Qualidea seriously, so expect a release very soon!
In other other news, who else is watching Wimbledon?
Out of curiosity, what would you do if hypothetically the translation was as bad as NGNL?
Hmm… I guess I would throw what would amount to an internet tantrum.
I’d tell people that I didn’t like the translation and advise people not to read it if they care about good translation. Heck, I might even send an email to Yen Press pointing out the translation errors and asking them to do better next time.
aaaaahhhhh don’t talk to me about this I’m already getting mad about something that doesn’t even exist yet lolol
I’m still reading the Oregairu light novels and am midway through volume 3 of your translation! I am honestly enjoying your translation, frog-kun. Thank you for the hard work and for teaming up with Nano Desu to make your translations accessible to everyone. It’s been fun reading your updates when I still haven’t read the novels. Haha
Augh, I won’t lie to you, this news kinda pisses me off. In all likelihood, if the series is ever fully localized, it’ll be, what, 5+ years? With no unofficial translation, finding out the finale is going to take forever (assuming Yen Press has the sales to translate the entire series), perhaps after I’m out of the LN scene or interested in OreGairu. Perhaps I’ll just pretend Zoku was the finale…
I realize this is basically fan entitlement to media that’s talking here, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
I hear your concerns. In some ways, I think the traditional publishing format is rather inadequate when it comes to light novels and web novels. Publishing the series only in segments while reducing access to everything else only limits the appeal, you know? Especially these days, when people want information fast and light novel franchises have short life spans.
I think there would be far less complaints from fans if Yen Press hosted translations of later volumes on their website. Perhaps they could make it impossible to copy the text. They could ask for a subscription fee. They could even take down the translations later after they’ve published a print/ebook copy. As long as fans have access to what they want, they’d be willing to pay. You gotta tackle piracy from the root causes.
Do you think switching formats would hasten the rate of translation? Because I haven’t the foggiest whether the period between volume releases are because of the speed at which translation happens, or because of how licensing works.
Why is the traditional publishing format inadequate for Light Novels in English when it works just fine in Japan?
>You gotta tackle piracy from the root causes.
So force the Japanese publisher to enforce their copyrights and strike down fan-translations while they are in their infancy?
There’s a big difference between light novel publishing in English and Japanese. For one thing, light novels are mainstream in Japan, which means that pretty much every book retailer stocks them. That’s not the case overseas, and in some countries (Australia, for instance) only specialist bookstores stock light novels.
In other words, light novels are still a niche market in English-speaking countries. That means a significant portion of readers have problems getting access to published copies. Yes, you can get copies shipped to you online, but this is cumbersome. epublishing is a better alternative and it’s been under-utilised in the LN publishing world so far. In this case, it’s more appropriate to criticise publishers for not catering to their consumers than to blame the consumer.
The other issue with the traditional publishing model is that the English releases lag behind the Japanese ones. Even if the publishing schedule is consistent, it may still mean that English-speaking fans will not have access to the latest material for years. In digital era terms, that’s an astronomical amount of time.
Blocking piracy like this doesn’t tend to work. People pirate when they don’t have access, so even if the Japanese government successfully cracked down on fan translations, it still wouldn’t stop people pirating.
Happily, however, people do pirate less when they can access what they want. There’s a reduction in piracy of TV shows in regions where Netflix is introduced, for instance.
Finally, I should stress that I support official LN releases, which is why I wrote this post earlier in the year: https://fantasticmemes.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/why-you-should-support-the-english-light-novel-industry-and-how-you-can-do-it/
Every book retailer stocks them in Japan because there is no risk for the store to do so due to the “Consignment Sales System”. Source: http://www.jbpa.or.jp/en/pdf/pdf01.pdf
Yes Light Novels is a niche market in English-speaking countries even more so in non-English-speaking countries. Being forced to buy books online when you want anything besides the top sellers in the US. I have had no issues with buying manga and light novels in Sweden from UK(Book Depository, Amazon) and Japan(Honto, Amiami, CDJapan, Amazon, Mandarake) . You could criticize stores as well for not stocking titles in demand by their costumers.
Yen Press have a few LN titles(Danmachi, NGNL and soon Strike the Blood and Durarara!! too) available on the big E-Book platforms(Kindle, iBooks, Google Play). I would be interested in how the sales are for LNs on digital platforms as digital manga sales only makes up a small percentage of all sales (http://sevenseasentertainment.tumblr.com/post/73226675477/would-you-or-other-companies-consider-releasing).
English releases are faster on average than the Japanese releases and certainly faster than most fan translators(latest SAO volume took 9 months, DanMachi volume 5 is still not completed 12 months after translations started, Accel World volume 6 is still not completed after 3 years in translation)
Stopping the source of piracy would stop it, there is very few who are willing to spend their free time translating LNs for free.
Reminds me of some of the problems people have pointed out with legal streaming being limited to North America and the like, leaving other countries to still go with fansubs.
As for intellectual property in the digital era, I highly recommend the essays of Cory Doctorow on the subject.
This whole subject really deserves a proper essay because it affects every part of the anime/manga/LN fandom. Localisation companies are really not responding well to the needs of their consumers, which means piracy is still a huge force in the fandom. Like I wrote in my comment to Garlock above, instead of trying to block access, you have to tackle piracy from the root causes.
And yeah, Cory Doctorow helped me shape my thoughts on this subject. He’s great.
This should be something to celebrate. While I am sure that fan translators will have to take time to erase the content they released for Oregairu. I hope everyone understands that their jobs have been completed. Somehow the release for Oregairu is now going to happen sometime in 2016. And I don’t know about everyone else but while I like digital there is always going to be a preference as a book lover for a light novel to be available in print. Yen Press is doing exactly that with giving this sweet, sweet light novel series a planned publication.
Still thanks for sharing your thoughts as a fan translator, Froggy-kun.
Honestly, it’s great that Oregairu is getting an official release. The only problems arise when people can’t access the official release. If there was a way to keep the translations accessible to everyone while also supporting the industry, that would be great. Like you, I have an instinctive preference for print books, but it’s not an either/or situation. At the very least, I hope that Oregairu gets an eBook release.
I see your point but I feel some of the advantages outweigh the drawbacks even if this will limit some individuals from gaining access to Oregairu. That’s how I see it. Like a sacrifice that is needed. Plus, most countries with anime and manga markets are not exactly jumping on the bandwagon of licensing light novels for localization either way. So I cannot really imagine light novels ever officially reaching the shores of some light novel enthusiasts. Besides North America and Japan most other countries are limited to having an expanded anime and manga market. There are very few expanded or stable anime, manga, and light novel markets. While one could argue that in North America as it is light novels are barely getting off the ground.
Well, think of it this way. You don’t lose anything by making your product more accessible. In fact, you gain. Are the barriers to overseas distribution really so great in a world with online publishing?
The thing is when the online distribution you are talking about is unofficial the creators and possible creator of a series are not exactly getting paid for that light novel circulation. I can see why they would not take an interest in caring if some fans who are probably never going to buy the official release do not continue to get access to a light novel series.
So I guess the answer to your question is no. I see this differently despite knowing the drawbacks. Not that I would not want official digital distribution for fans all over. If possible, sure. Who knows the series and many other light novels could still spread eventually to other countries officially.
I may shoot my foot before the the translation even finishes.(Now if can just find a gun…)
Don’t ask me about guns – I’m an Australian! lol
Now now… I live where guns is not that easy to have… But we always have access to kitchen knives! They come in so many variations!
On a more serious note…
I am certainly conflicted with the licensing…
In a way, I’m happy that I can finally has the books in english. But it will be a pain in the ass to get hold of them. And if they are badly translated, its dead for me.
For some of us (Me), we DO want to support the authors and we DO buy them when they are available. I did bought some licensed manga, even the box sets. But for LNs I have not even a single one. Why?
Because they are not available here . Even the kinokuniya here don’t have them. The only choice is to order them online. And it cost too much. While I dont mind buying the books, even though they ARE quite expensive, the shipment makes it simply TOO expensive.
PS : I hate how they translates so slowly or abandoning them. The only successful licensing I ever seen is spice and wolf.
>the shipment makes it simply TOO expensive.
Book Depository have free delivery worldwide.
>I hate how they translates so slowly or abandoning them. The only successful licensing I ever seen is spice and wolf.
Yen Press is faster than most fan translations and the Japanese release with 1 volume every 4 months and so far they haven’t dropped any series. Haruhi Suzumiya is quite successful too, just to bad the author is on hiatus.
I have a feeling this was going to be licensed when I heard YP has announcement this July……. I just hope they don’t f*ck it up.
The problem is the accessibility of the material..
PS: Are you going to make a review when it comes out next year?
Yep. You can count on it.
It is an interesting gray area, isn’t it? As previously mentioned in other comments there is the issue with the time it will take to go through and release the translations to the market. Especially when you consider they will release volumes at a staggered pace (ala the usual method of publishers and series), it may take quite a while to get to end of the story.
And therein comes the rub: A story addict such as myself will want to consume the entire story as quickly as I can get my obsessed, grubby little paws on it, but then I would not be supporting the author’s livelihood and thereby disincline them toward writing more.
The easiest solution would be to purchase the official volumes as they come out, but some people have problems with purchasing a bunch of materials they may have read years before.
A subscription model (perhaps like Baen does with their SF?) might be the way to go ultimately, but at the moment from all indications that I have seen the English LN market is in its infancy and is at least starting to accelerate.
It’s my hope that, eventually, that by supporting the English LN market that it would make it easier for original English LN works would be published (not treated like current YA stuff, but done in the same treatment as Japanese LN’s).
I’m going to support this market as much as I can and will purchase when I can to encourage it. I just hope that YenPress lives up to its fans expectations.
Have you ever feel sad when you can’t go all the way to the end of a translation project?
A bit curious about Nano Desu: Do you choose your project, or it is handled to you? If it’s the former, then do you have to keep a close eye on the Japanese market?
Anyway, congratulation on the new project!
(I might never read it – Romcom makes me bored to death.)
Well, I’ve never actually translated an entire series from start to finish, so I dunno! Since I was never planning to translate the later volumes of Oregairu anyway, I wasn’t particularly upset about the licensing.
Also, at Nano Desu, the translators choose their own projects. I pick projects according to what English speakers want a translation for.
[…] I mentioned two weeks ago, Yen Press has licensed the Oregairu light novel. I promised to keep you updated on the fan translation project, so here’s the official […]