People sure like to romanticise piracy. This was something that occurred to me after I published an article a few days ago called Explaining the English Light Novel Boom with Bookwalker Global, which didn’t mention piracy at all and yet sparked controversy on the subject anyway. As many of the comments argued, fan translations have played a part in popularizing light novels in English translation. Why didn’t I mention their existence?
In truth, I didn’t set out to snub fan translation in that piece. It was simply the case that the people I spoke to at Bookwalker Global did not mention it. The article was not intended as a comprehensive overview of the light novel industry; it was meant to showcase Bookwalker Global’s perspective on the subject. I thought that their views would be interesting because a) They’ve recently jumped onto the English light novel bandwagon with a clear rationale for doing so, and b) They are deeply connected to the Japanese light novel market.
Fan translations were clearly not relevant with Bookwalker Global’s choice of exclusive titles. Neither The Combat Baker nor The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! had English fan translations when these releases were being decided, nor was there much hype for them on English-language social media. However, people still wanted me to talk about fan translation anyway. I suspect that they wanted me to romanticise their place in history.
The Qualidea Code anime started airing today! …leaving audiences around the world very confused. Thus, I have prepared a handy FAQ to explain what the heck is going on and how this series was conceived.
[NOTE: This guide uses Japanese order for names: family name first, given name last.]
The long haul is finally over! After almost a year of research and writing, I’ve finally finished my honours thesis. It’s around 18,000 words in total. (I know!) I still have to format the thesis and get it checked by my supervisor one more time before I submit it, but all the hard work has been done.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I can email the draft to anyone interested. Just let me know via the comments or Twitter. All feedback is welcome!
Here’s the abstract below:
Hey, guys! I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’ve uploaded the entire translation of Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin on the Nano Desu website. Please give it a read if you haven’t already.
Meanwhile, I’ve started work on the next volume in the Qualidea series: Itsuka Sekai wo Sukuu Tame ni by Tachibana Koushi. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite busy lately and I have other translation projects to deal with, so I haven’t progressed very far yet. I can’t tell you when the next Qualidea update will be, but hopefully it won’t take too long before I get back into the swing of things.
In other news, I recently got my English copy of Kizumonogatari. Unfortunately, as soon as I began to read it, I was reminded why I dislike Nisio Isin’s writing. It’s personal taste, but I find the smugness in his writing style off-putting. I do plan to at least finish the book, but I’m not sure if I’ll be buying the rest of the series.
I can’t comment deeply on the word choices in Ko Ransom’s translation yet, but one thing that strikes me is how the translation goes out of its way to preserve the Japanese syntax and punctuation. Here’s an example from the very first paragraph:
ENGLISH: During the spring break between my second and third years as a high school student—I met her. It was a shocking meeting, and it was a catastrophic one. In any case, I must have had terrible luck—of course, in the same way that I was unable to avoid that bad luck, even if I somehow had, I doubt someone else would have met that fate.
Japanese uses punctuation differently from English at times, so this paragraph comes across as unreadable, ungrammatical nonsense in English. This is one of those cases where adapting a novel for an English-speaking audience should extend to more than just translating words. As it stands, Nisio Isin comes across even more gratingly in English than he does in Japanese.
In more positive news, I recently finished all five volumes of Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen. I enjoyed it! I wrote a review/summary of the series a year ago, but I’ve updated the original post so that it addresses my thoughts on the entire series. Since it’s a bother to click an extra link, I’ve copypasted my review below:
Happy New Year, everybody! Here’s to a wonderful 2016 for all of us. I sincerely hope you’re all resting well and taking good care of yourselves.
As always, January 1st is the best day to make a bunch of half-baked resolutions and never follow through on any of them. In lieu of that, here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions!
- Don’t watch Idolm@ster
- Get better taste
- Become a magical girl without having to sign a contract
- Pick up a girl in a dungeon
- Destroy Twitter
I’m kidding, of course (…or am I?!) But seriously, I do have some cool things in store for this blog in 2016, so let me tell you all about it.
“Project Qualidea” Special Roundtable Discussion with Sagara Sou, Tachibana Koushi and Watari Wataru
(Note: This is a translation of the interview featured on the Dash x Bunko website.)
Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin (Kuzu to Kinka no Qualidea, or Kuzukin for short) has created quite a stir after getting a second printing straight after its publication in January. Now that Tachibana Koushi has announced his involvement, this ambitious “shared world” project involving multiple light novel labels will now begin in earnest! Our newcomer Tachibana Koushi-sensei joins in to explain the full details behind his involvement in this mysterious project! Don’t miss this chaotic public roundtable discussion filled with explosive statements (?!)
I have written this post to confirm that, yes, we are taking down all the material from this site, as per Nano Desu policy. The unrelease schedule is as follows:
8/15 – Volume 1 will be taken down, including the ePub/PDF
9/15 – Volumes 2-4 ePubs/PDFs will be taken down
10/15 – Volumes 2-4 text will be taken down
Apologies for the late announcement. We reached out to Yen Press in an attempt to have some input on the terminology/translation conventions in the official release. We were unable to come to any agreement, however. In any case, we at Nano Desu support the Yen Press release, and we sincerely hope that you purchase the light novel when it becomes available.
In any case, it’s been a lot of fun translating Oregairu. I feel that I learned a lot as a translator from working on that series and I don’t regret any of the time I spent on it. In the meantime, I’ve started another translation project: Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin. I sincerely hope you check it out!
P.S. It should go without saying that we do not approve of piracy. Please do not distribute our translations past the removal date. Any comments containing download links will be deleted.
I was recently interviewed by Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses and 4PAnimeCast about my involvement as a light novel fan translator, my thoughts on the industry, etc. Links to the interviews below:
Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses: “Talking About The Future of Light Novels With a LN Translator”
4PAnimeCast: “Frog-kun Interview!”
The second interview is more in-depth, but hopefully you’ll find them both interesting.
Speaking of translation, I finished translating the Aldnoah.Zero novel recently, so check it out if you’re interested. I have also finally started work on Qualidea, but it’s just a casual project for me, so don’t expect it to be published online for some time yet.
As for my next blog post, my suspicion is that it will be about a manga or a visual novel.
That’s all for now. Ciao, my bromodachis!
I will not be translating Oregairu any more.
Despite the date on this post, this is not an April Fool’s joke!
Oregairu volume 4 is complete, just in time for the second season of the anime. You can read the volume here. I mentioned well in advance that I would step down as the Oregairu translator after volume 4, and now here we are. There will be no more updates on the series at Nano Desu. The good news is that you can read the rest of the series at Kyakka.
Final thoughts about the series below: