Hi folks, just a reminder that I’m slowing back down to weekly updates (~Saturdays) now that book one is finished. I’ve given a lot of thought to scheduling issues, and although I could probably maintain a brisker rate… well, I’ll be blunt: I’m not getting paid for this. (Nor should I be — unless you’re hiring me for something you have the rights to. :P) Hence my months-long breaks from this project in the past…
… which I will try to avoid in the future.
That said, I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify my long-term plans just in case I do disappear for a while again (hopefully not). Most importantly: even if I do go on hiatuses, I’m not likely to abandon the project unless it gets licensed for English-speaking regions. Also, I will be translating the books in order (not sure yet when I’ll do the side story, but probably after I finish “part one” of the series) instead of jumping ahead to where the old OVAs left off, because there’s quite a lot of material the OVAs cut, and more than a few characters got shortchanged. Finally, I plan on adding more supplementary info to the Appendix section as we progress further through the books — in particular I’m looking forward to adding Tanaka’s personal commentary on various characters — but my priority will always be the main books and I intend to keep this site as spoiler-free as possible until the relevant material crops up in the translated storyline.
Yes, this is going to take a while (and by a while I mean years), so be prepared for a long wait. No, I’m not interested in forming or joining a translation team (not even for other Tanaka series; LoGH has had quite a few efforts over the years and I’m not masochistic enough to put in the research for that series nope nope NOPE). That said, I don’t care if you start up your own translation project for the series if I’m too slow for you! Definitely feel free to do so!
If you’re curious though, here’s a rundown on my process and the time commitment involved (teal deer ahoy):
As I mention elsewhere, I translate from both Chinese and Japanese copies. This isn’t because I don’t know Japanese — I’m actually at a pretty decent reading level, though my listening comprehension sucks — but because I have far more confidence in my Chinese skills, and Tanaka’s prose is rather dense. (Compared to modern light novels. Mostly in terms of sentence structure — knowing Chinese makes me a terrible judge of the vocabulary level.)
Anyway, that means I do three “drafts” per update.
1. Content draft (a.k.a. the “crutch” draft)
In which I focus on the Chinese text and just jot down the story as I go along, using whatever phrasing immediately comes to mind. This results in a lot of abbreviated fragments and bizarre Yoda grammar sometimes, depending on how fast I’m rushing this phase. If I take my time, I can get relatively clean copy from this draft, but this is usually wasted when I look back at how the Japanese is worded, so I generally don’t bother unless something clicks. (I do start thinking about wording, but don’t commit to anything at this point.)
Time: up to 1 hr.
2. Phrasing draft
This is the phase in which I put away the Chinese and redraft from the Japanese, cleaning up Yoda grammar and researching random things. Technically I could skip phase 1 and jump directly to this step, but phase 1 actually saves me some time working out complex Japanese grammar/unfamiliar terms from scratch. Alternatively, I could skip this step and translate directly from the Chinese, but as I’ve mentioned before, the Chinese occasionally cuts lines and (very rarely) misinterprets phrases; plus, it’s far more interesting to see the dialogue and various stylistic choices in Japanese, and names/terms are much clearer in Japanese, relatively speaking, due to the nature of the language.
Time: 4-8 hrs, depending on the length and complexity of the section and how much time I waste researching random things.
3. Readability draft
And finally, I completely ignore both Chinese and Japanese texts (except to double-check rough patches) and do a quick independent read-through, tweaking for flow in English. On the translator spectrum of “amount of localization”, my own preference leans toward taking as few liberties as possible (in order to preserve the writer’s original style instead of imposing my own), so some stuff probably still ends up sounding a little stilted due to my inability to figure out a good compromise.
Don’t get me wrong though; readability is VERY important to me, so I do take liberties when I feel it necessary. (I always mention it in notes if it’s a significant change.) In fact, I actually do the majority of my “smoothing out” work in the second draft, but I definitely make quite a few changes in this phase too.
Time: eh, about 30 minutes max, usually less, though I’m a chronic tweaker so I often go back even after this phase to change a word or two (the weakness of my method lies in the fact that occasionally I’ll make subtle parsing errors and not realize it because my interpretation is incorrect but not illogical and this type of mistake is hard to catch)
(Finished) word count: I haven’t been keeping close track, but the English word count per section seems to average anywhere in the 1000-3000 range by the time I’m done. Feel free to convert that to your own words-per-hour calculations. 😛
… And so each update represents about 6-10 hrs of work. Not counting the time I spend on the side for research and skimming through other sources to figure out names and get a better grasp on the material Tanaka is working from, which is actually probably the main time suck. Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t a HUGE NERD who enjoys this kind of thing. But when I’ve got other stuff on my plate this project falls way down my priority list!