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New Poll - Bad Spelling/Grammar
This here is an interesting poll about scanlations from our member MiY4Gi. You ever notice those spelling/grammar mistakes? How do you feel about them? As a former proofreader and QCer, I get very annoyed at those low quality groups...

You can submit poll ideas here (and try to keep them manga/anime-related). We also welcome holiday-related poll ideas!

Previous Poll Results:
Question: Relatively how expensive is it to buy manga, manhwa, or manhua where you live?
Quite expensive - votes: 5554 (46.6%)
About average - votes: 3671 (30.8%)
Pretty cheap - votes: 372 (3.1%)
I have no clue what the price is right now - votes: 2313 (19.4%)
There were 11910 total votes.
The poll ended: December 8th 2012

Inflation... sigh...
Posted by lambchopsil on December 8th 9:27am Comments ( 81 )  [ View ]  [ Add ]

» darkraiders on December 8th, 2012, 2:59am

Most of the time i'm ok with it, it can be a bit distracting when a manga have a lot of mistake.
Some manga though were so bad that i ended up quitting them.


» calstine on December 8th, 2012, 2:59am

As a proofreader, I often take notice of SPAG errors, and I'm always annoyed by them. Especially flawed grammar, which sometimes makes it nigh impossible to grasp the correct meaning behind the dialogue.

I actually don't mind it when the scan quality is MQ (LQ is terrible, obviously, but MQ cleaning/typesetting doesn't get on my nerves as much as it seems to do other people's), but grammar is a different thing entirely. I mean, the language they use in most manga is so basic! There's no reason why people should be making mistakes with such simplistic dialogue.


» uzumakiwalid on December 8th, 2012, 3:02am

I tend to ignore the mistake(s) by mistake (pun intended). Just to the point of the lowest, being at least readable(scan quality, spelling and grammar). I don't really see the point of being perfectionist(though i do notice error that blatantly showing) through free scanlations. Plus, the scanlators group(s) dedicated their time to bring those "free" and "quality(some of them, not all)" manga, manhwa, etc. scans. So you either appreciate them or go f*ck off


» Damnedman on December 9th, 2012, 2:27pm

It's ironic how your comment also has grammatical errors and horrendous flow. I don't see why we shouldn't hold scanlations to the same degree of quality as fansubs. Scanlations are pretty much a joke in the fansub community due the all the engrish and grammar errors in many groups' releases. I realize many groups don't have the manpower to get a separate proofreader/QC, but the editor (if there's no editor, god help that group) should at least make sure the releases are readable.


» uzumakiwalid on December 9th, 2012, 2:48pm

Well, sorry for the grammar and flow cry . I'm not a native english speaker. I learn english by self-taught so yeah, you can imagine what my english level is....


» Damnedman on December 9th, 2012, 3:04pm

Then you probably haven't noticed many of the mistakes that scanlators make and shouldn't insult people that do notice and have a problem with these errors. English is my second language, but I am still extremely bothered when some scanlators (not all) make easily avoidable mistakes over and over. It's like they don't proofread their work at all.


» uzumakiwalid on December 9th, 2012, 3:17pm

Okay then, if you say so. But no, i don't insult people that notice these errors, i just pointing there are difference between people that insult the scanlators because the error, and people that comment the error so the group may improve on next releases.
On a side note, i saw the link you put. One word, "wow". Yes, just "wow"


» Kirjava on December 9th, 2012, 5:38pm

Ahaha, that blog is the best. We need something like this in the scanlation community. So much butthurt and hilarity would ensue, and I would enjoy every single minute of it.


» cmertb on December 9th, 2012, 6:22pm

Scanlation is a joke, but fansubs are naturally serious biz.


» fridge on December 9th, 2012, 6:51pm

"[...] he fansub community due the all the engrish [...]"
You know, that post would be so much less embarrassing if you had actually bothered to proofread it beforehand. Amateurs, geez. You're a joke. Your argument is so completely and utterly flawed, it's pitiful. What are you trying to say? That all scanlators are a joke? That all fansubbers are the creme de la creme? Are you a scanlator? To what do you owe your intricate understanding of the scanlation community? How did you know about our lack of manpower and inability to find a proofreader/QC?
I get 10 guys like you every month applying to be proofreaders. And they're all the greatest, naturally, and they've seen dozens of mistakes in our releases. Know what happens next? First they provide a shitty script that they ran through in less than 30 minutes, and that I basically have to proofread from scratch. Then they disappear after a week because their life suddenly got busier... Please. I bet you're also one of those guys who come nagging for faster releases when the last release was less than a week ago.


» Damnedman on December 10th, 2012, 5:48am

Yeah I could have proofread better but then this is a forum post and I'm studying for finals.

I never said every group was lacking in manpower and neither did I say all scanlation groups are bad. There are definitely groups that do lack manpower (i.e. the one-man or duo scanlators) and awful groups that release works with grammatical/spelling errors consistently (rather not say their names lest another Internet White Knight like you comes along). There are great scanlation groups as well and they have my complete respect, but that doesn't change the fact that there are shoddy groups releasing unreadable/barely-readable products out there.

As for fansubs, there are definitely some awful ones out there (Hadena for one, but that's a given). But I do find most of the best groups' releases to be easy to read and error-free or maybe with a v2's when they do make a serious mistake. That said, one of the biggest problems I noticed with scanlators is that whenever someone criticizes scanlations, there's always one of you who take it personally. I know that you're proud of your work, and I respect the fact that you're willing to spend your own free time making what you love accessible to the general public. But that doesn't mean you should jump at the throats of everyone that say you can do better, since there's always room for improvement.

Lastly, for your personal insults at me, I have never asked any group for a faster release even when the group is a few months behind. I might have even thanked you a few times for your work because I know that people are busy with their lives and free time is a luxury. I am, however, entitled to my opinions, and you being in denial and butthurt because I'm not kissing your ass isn't helping anybody.

inb4 fridge is PROzess on a throwaway.


» cmertb on December 10th, 2012, 3:09pm

inb4 fridge is PROzess on a throwaway.

You miss.

Your problem is that you turned this discussion into fansubbers vs scanlators. There are sucky fansubbers and there are sucky scanlators. If you have a problem, then name people/groups you disapprove of specifically. If you attack the community in general, it just means that you're telling me that I suck, and that you're telling fridge that he sucks. And that's personal. You don't need PROzess to tell you that.


» Damnedman on December 10th, 2012, 5:29pm

Quote from cmertb
You miss.

Your problem is that you turned this discussion into fansubbers vs scanlators. There are sucky fansubbers and there are sucky scanlators. If you have a problem, then name people/groups you disapprove of specifically. If you attack the community in general, it just means that you're te ...

Didn't think he was, but it would've been funny.

First of all, I made it clear that there are bad scanlators and bad fansubbers as well as good ones and the ones I am criticizing are the former groups. I didn't actually intend for this to be scanlators vs fansubbers, but you know what? It would be interesting to do a comparison of the two communities. After all, the translation processes are fairly similar even if the rest is different. What I can say for certain is that speedsubs (even ignoring the CR edits) do have a lower %error compared to speed scanlations, Maybe it's because there are more scanlation groups. Maybe it's bad luck on my part. But speed scanlations are very error prone. There's also a lot more complaining about fansub quality than scanlation quality. It seems like the fansubbers have grown used to it while scanlators seem to get a lot more butthurt over such a trifle. If you're doing a good job but is still so insecure that you believe I am hurling personal insults at you. Fine. I am not obligated to convince you otherwise. However, if you are doing a bad job, then you should probably look over your past work and see how you can improve (kudos to Red Hawk Scans for improving their old releases, although I know there are others who have done the same).

TL;DR Take criticisms in stride and don't bitch and moan about it. Even if you do, it's not like that improves your work.


» deadphoenix on December 8th, 2012, 3:11am

It depends on the gravity of the Bad Spelling/Grammar, sometimes the whole story can get a different meaning, I've had this ones with One Piece their was a verb wrongly translated (only one letter difference, so the whole chapter gets a different meaning. wink


» That3rdGuy on December 8th, 2012, 3:18am

I hate it when people mess up by using or not using proper punctuation. It seems nobody knows how to use commas, semicolons, and dashes. It's especially bad with commas, since many proofreaders and typesetters can't seem to grasp proper English and abide by it's rules. Typos are one thing, but punctuation should rarely have mistakes.
Sometimes I'll post the corrections on the scanlator's web page. I'm sure it pisses some of them off, but I can't help it. I don't make those posts to humiliate, but to help. So if any of you scanlators ever get a long post pointing out each mistake, try to take it as a few free tips. eyes
Unfortunately, I don't have time to be a proofer myself, although some scanlators could really use one like myself with a decent understanding of English.
I do wonder why the choice "I don't read scanlations" is up there. What's the point of coming to a scanlator release site if you're not going to read the scanlations? Coming here just to chat seems odd. confused


» tactics on December 8th, 2012, 3:59am

Yeah it's annoying if the mistakes are really noticeable, like a badly spelt word. Groups need a Proofreader or a QC because people make mistakes and things do slip past them. It's natural. Just gotta make sure someone notices before it's released XD


» Mamsmilk on December 8th, 2012, 4:00am

Deafening-nightly annoyed by it.
Learn your goddamn language, even a foreigner like me whose
native language has nothing in common with English can see
the errors.


» yarn on December 8th, 2012, 5:35am

It's distracting, because I usually notice bad grammar/spelling wherever it is. But I don't complain about it; after all, it's not like the translators or proofreaders are being paid to do it. That's what official translations are for.

Though I have to say, Tokyopop had a TON of really blatant errors in their translations. They almost always wrote "your" when it was supposed to be "you're", and vice versa. But hey, they're not around anymore...

(Here's one example of their shame:


» sarasusa on December 9th, 2012, 10:11am

That's what really gets to me--that the manga I'm purchasing has not been properly proofread--often the scanlation I read previously did a better job than the paid staff! (But still I buy it, because it's important to do so.)


» Sakuya on December 8th, 2012, 5:37am

I'm fine with the occasional spelling mistake or grammar, but when it's appears on most of the scans, it gets hard to ignore it.


» pandasamurai on December 8th, 2012, 8:35am

Bad spelling is very annoying, but in most cases it is reasonably tolerable. When sentences don't make sense anymore, I (regrettably) ask "Why was this released?" confused But, I didn't put the effort into helping them, so bad sentences is an effect of my laziness. roll eyes

I personally don't like when scans spell practice and organize as practise and organise. Whenever I read them, I subconciously think they are spelling the words wrong. However, it's just a regional preferred spelling(North Amerca vs. UK) that just shows that scanlators do live worldwide. biggrin


» Hanen on December 8th, 2012, 10:01am

You should add another vote, "Do you find it hilarious?"
I chuckle at the mispelled words and poor sentence structures.
Most of the scanlators i believe aren't "native" english speakers. In fact, in the US, more students fail english in High School than you can imagine. All those shakespeare and Canterbury tales, ... I need the translations!


» Here_And_Now on December 8th, 2012, 10:50am

At first it really bothered me, but lately I've been automatically correcting mistakes in my mind and not even noticing most. I do wish some groups would take time to read over their translations. I find myself stopping and rewording sentences or wishing I had time to correct the worst mistakes for them. Like some else said, they're not getting paid for it so they can put out whatever they want. It's our choice to read it or not.


» crazyboutcute on December 8th, 2012, 11:07am

Well, I'm a creative writing major, so any sort of grammar or spelling mistake annoys me a little. (It's a pet peeve, lol. dead) Usually, though, it doesn't bother me because I get that not everyone is an English or creative writing major. If the mistakes are distracting, though, or just plain unreadable, I'm more inclined to drop the series, unfortunately. As a typesetter myself, I'm always very careful with things like this. eyes Buuuuut what seriously annoys me is that there are so many people in my own major who CONSTANTLY use incorrect grammar, even after I repeatedly correct them! I spend most of my energy raging about that than scanlations! laugh


» silvermoon8573 on December 8th, 2012, 11:13am

It depends on how bad the grammar is. Most of the time I just deal with it if it's one or two minor things in a chapter. If the sentence structure still flows and I don't have to pause in my head, I'm fine. However, if the sentence feels disjointed and I have to re-read sentences because it sounds like a 5 year-old is talking, then I give up. In the past, I stopped reading certain manga as well as avoided certain scanlators because I felt their grammar and sentence structure were atrocious.

I know people say that they are doing it for free and in their own time. If I don't like it, then I don't have to read it (which is what ends up happening when the grammar is that bad). However, if they take pride in their work, shouldn't scanlators ensure that at least one person is competent in English if they're going to release it in that language? Maybe speed wins over quality these days...


» otaku_mel on December 8th, 2012, 11:53am

Well, as a QCer, I'm one of those people in charge of checking the English in scanlations.

It's a lot of work and we do our best, but we make mistakes, too.

If the spelling and grammar bother you that much, how about helping some of the scanlators out? Haha, sorry. bigrazz


» NightSwan on December 8th, 2012, 12:04pm

Can't stand it.
I hate bad grammar. I just hate it.
Sure, a random overlooked error in an otherwise flawless scanlation is nothing if not forgivable.
But there's no excuse for screw ups a la "suicided". *shudder*

Living in a country where the main language is foreign to me, I encounter this phenomenon all the time.
If English is your first language, there's no reason for you to make such dreadful mistakes,
or for a proofreader not to correct them.

My English grammar isn't perfect either, but I try.
And like another member here said, the dialogue isn't even that complex in shoujo and yaoi where bad grammar is quite common. But I guess it's part of the problem.

Speaking as a scanlator, the piles and piles of wrong have nothing to do with lack of help but with inexperienced or otherwise lacking people.


» Madzai on December 8th, 2012, 12:06pm

You should add another vote, "English isn't my native language, so it's hard to find bad grammer\spelling"
I think where are a lot of ppl around the world who prefer to read english translantions\scanlations. In countires where anime\manga community is small homemade scanlations and official translations are just appaling. And some use english scanlations and not raws for translation anyway.


» evilcleo on December 8th, 2012, 1:01pm

I do think it's distracting but I overlook it unless it's so bad, it makes the scanlation useless. I mean, it's great that they're scanlating it but if it's not legible or you can't make sense of it, they're just wasting their time.


» nowyat on December 8th, 2012, 1:32pm

I am just REALLY, REALLY grateful to be able to read manga at all. Hugs everyone responsible for providing it to me and gives them a dog lick. I was looking at some raws of a manga the other day to figure out what would happen in Volume Three, but it was two people sitting in a car and chatting and chatting. Unusually huge talk bubbles. It might never be translated because I guess English takes a lot more space. Too bad I'm too dumb to learn a foreign language. Thank you smart people. *dog romps around you happily and barks like 'let's play!'*

(Oh yeah, I have read a few mangas of which I totally couldn't grasp what was going on, but at least the bad translations gave me a spring board for some confused conjecture. Bad is better than nothing at all, plus they are doubtless improving their skills by the very act.)

P.S. I am more obsessed with the text size. Can't read the stupid, friggin' tiny text bits...


» cmertb on December 8th, 2012, 1:35pm

Leechers are to blame. An average scanlator has higher quality standards than an average leecher. So the reason scanlations are as good as they are is because scanlators resist leecher demands for "more and faster" and try to produce something palatable (yes, with all the bugs, but still). If scanlation were leecher driven, spelling, grammar, and everything else would be even worse. But if it were up to scanlators alone, releases would take longer and have fewer mistakes.

Also, there are too many proofreader applicants and too few of them are actually capable of doing the job.


» Badkarma on December 8th, 2012, 1:58pm

Unless it changes and/or makes me second guess the meaning of the sentence, I don't care. Well, not enough to act like a 'holier-than-thou' whine-bag, anyway.

Honestly, what bothers me more than anything is bad typesetting. You know, like using lowercase letters with a serifed typeface... and then not centering it. (Sorry, it's not on batato.)


See? Now that's just WRONG. If your English blows, that's one thing, but English proficiency be damned, ANY clown should at least be able to SENSE how terrible that looks in comparison to other scanlations.

-extremely late edit-

as a sidenote i love topics about grammer and speling because it really brings out the pretensious asshole in everyone - like OMG you complained about spelling but you cant even spell!! and then the next reply says the same thing untilll eventually youre looking through the
Quote from badkarma
Quote from badkarma
Quote from badkarma
Quote from badkarma
Quote from badkarma
Quote from badkarma
trying to 1up the last guy w/uberleet grammer skillz like a buncha little kids tying to win an argument as if doing so will validate your intelligence

Quote from NightSwan
My English grammar isn't perfect either, but I try.


This is the type of attitude that I appreciate the most in a grammar topic: an understanding of your own proficiency before criticizing others. That's really the key to NOT looking like a grammar snob. Sorta like, "Hey, I'm not perfect, but I expect at least THIS level of proficiency."


» otaku_mel on December 8th, 2012, 3:53pm

@NightSwan I see where you're coming from. It was just me trying to shamelessly encourage others to help out, haha. My English is far from perfect, but I am fairly confident in my abilities. It's my belief that people should only apply if they know that they are capable.


» Dionaea on December 8th, 2012, 3:58pm

Blatant errors annoy the hell out of me. But I don't complain. I'm happy the stuff I like gets scanlated, so I'm not extremely picky. If the grammar and spelling are truly unbearable I will drop a manga though...


» neonkitty on December 8th, 2012, 4:13pm

As long as the spelling and grammar are not horrific, then I only become slightly distracted by the errors. I try not to let mistakes bother me too much but it becomes annoying when mistakes are made in every panel. What bugs me the most is actually sentence structure.. none


» kujika on December 8th, 2012, 4:27pm

Very annoyed. Well, only in the worst case though. The worst case would be syntax! I've read a few translations that I understood as well as its Japanese/Korean/Chinese counterpart, seriously. The syntax was so bad that I got a serious headache from reading it and I could not make head or tail of what's going on (well the pictures helped a bit).

I know translating is a quite difficult job, because it's not only about knowing the languages and translating the words but it's primarily about conveying the correct meaning into the other language. To bring the message over so that it is as close as possible (almost 1:1) to the original text, but at the same time also makes sense in the other language. Even one of the most famous literature known to our world is not without its translation errors (maybe you'll guess which one I mean). Translators might have a difficult time, especially if the languages are as far apart as Asian and European ones.

I don't mind some bad spelling or stuff like the wrong use of tenses though.

P.S. if you see this text as ironic my german roots just shone through bigrazz


» whitespade on December 8th, 2012, 5:45pm

i get annoyed if its really bad and drop the manga if it became unbearable. the occasional misses is okay though. the quality need to be really bad since i am not an English speaker so i don't notice much, so the ones that get dropped are really atrocious.


» Keilis on December 8th, 2012, 7:30pm

Hate them with a passion. Why release half-assed work? Where's your spell-check? If you're translating it into English, you should have a firm grasp of the language. We don't want to read nonsensical gibberish. Those who claim that they can submit whatever they want 'cause it's volunteer work are just plain selfish and immature. If you're doing it for yourself, then don't submit it online. =_= If you're contributing to the community, then please do submit it online. And if you are, then you should put some effort in proofreading it. Simple as that.

It's sad that people suck-up to these guys regardless.


» kyashi39 on December 8th, 2012, 10:22pm

i can deal with bad grammar / spelling

as long as i can still understand the "thought" or what the character/s are trying to say
it's much better if all the conversation are still "understandable"
despite the bad grammar / spelling.

what i can't tolerate is when the bad grammar / spelling is no longer understandable
or it makes the whole conversation confusing @ A @;;;;;;;



» holanio on December 8th, 2012, 10:43pm

Bad grammar, yeah I get annoyed by it sometimes lol. 'Cause bad grammar is bad grammar, but slang is cool with me.
But sometimes the translations you're working with... it's hard to try and fix them. I mean, you can get into weird situations...

Besides, there's a bunch of people trying to get it out for the fans as fast as they can. I don't believe they're supposed to be perfect scanlations, that defeats the point of having them. So that's why I like the imperfections of scanlation because it's just another reminder to the reader to go buy the official version or learn Japanese and read the original themselves bigrazz

(It does not matter if they're English natives or not. Mistakes happen and they will continue to happen whether anyone likes it or not. People will miss things and if you know what those errors are and what they were supposed to be originally, then there's no harm done.)


» wafflestatus on December 8th, 2012, 11:09pm

I voted "Definitely annoyed!" because "bad" implies repeated mistakes, which gets pretty annoying. The occasional mistake is easy to overlook, it's only irritating when it becomes a consistent thing.

I'm incredibly grateful for what scanlators do so I'll usually overlook something small, but if it gets to the point where it starts sounding like the characters have a speech disorder, I have to drop it.

Case in point:

This kind of thing is unacceptable. You have no business translating into English if you find this acceptable to release.


» Hanen on December 9th, 2012, 1:23am

Quote from wafflestatus
I voted "Definitely annoyed!" because "bad" implies repeated mistakes, which gets pretty annoying. The occasional mistake is easy to overlook, it's only irritating when it becomes a consistent thing.

I'm incredibly grateful for what scanlators do so I'll usually overlook something s ...

@wafflestatus Lol i lolled at that link. Obviously they used google translate. There really should be another vote if we find it funny or not.


» silvermoon8573 on December 9th, 2012, 5:08pm

Quote from wafflestatus

That's the perfect example (in case people were wondering, the image comes from Namida Usagi - Seifuku no Kataomoi). In fact, I know that scanlation group. It's actually the scanlation group that I was thinking about when I wrote about avoiding certain groups in my earlier post. I try to avoid picking up any new series scanlated by them unless I really, really want to read it.


» achyif on December 9th, 2012, 1:23am

if it's bad enough, then definitely annoyed.
The quality of grammar/text can change the entire motif/tone of the scanlation. A poor translation can make a serious scene lack the effect that it should.
I'm pretty sure I've unconsciously thought some series were horrible when actually the grammar in the translation was bad.


» Sapphiresky on December 9th, 2012, 1:17pm

I don't sweat the small stuff but it does bug me. Sometimes it's obvious that the translator is not a native speaker and there are just errors EVERYWHERE. When this happens i might give a little more leniency, but sometimes it's just unforgivable. Once, I was reading a manga, I think it was Raiders where instead of "drank" they kept saying "drinked" and it was important to the story so it was used many times. Drove me up the wall. (Then again that series drove me up the wall.)


» Cherelle Ashlee on December 9th, 2012, 2:27pm

Nah, I don't mind actually, everyone makes mistakes especially when it not your native language. As long as I can interpret what they're saying, then I'm fine. However if its a continuous occurrence in every chapter then it can get a bit disturbing. Now the only thing that completely annoy the hell out of is stupidly and annoyingly placed watermarks argg.


» Smertnik on December 9th, 2012, 3:07pm

I know beggars can't be choosers and I don't mind a few small mistakes here and there (even though it does bug me when I see some). But if the text is so horribly translated that Google translate would have done a better job and you literally have no idea what anyone is saying then the manga could have just as well been left untranslated, I feel.
Like, if you decide to go through all the trouble, do it right. What's the point otherwise?


» Kirjava on December 9th, 2012, 5:21pm

Bad grammar and spelling is a deal breaker for me. People who don't have a good grasp of the English language have no business translating, EVER. Unfortunately, 90% of the "translators" in this community fall under this category, so we're pretty much screwed.

I think a bigger problem in scanlation is how bland the translations are in general. A good proofreader (lol as if) can catch simple punctuation or grammar mistakes, but there are no easy fixes for stilted dialogue or a lack of variety in terms of phrasing and vocabulary. I'm so tired of seeing the same generic translations for all the stock phrases in manga. Like, "Even if you say that...!" or "At this rate...!" or "As expected of [insert character name]!" (that last one always makes me want to stick a fork in my eye)


» cmertb on December 9th, 2012, 6:40pm

This is a rather bizarre critique of fan translators. If exactly the same Japanese cliche is used in the same circumstances all the time, why would you want to translate it in different ways? "Even if you say that...!" = そう言われても "At this rate...!" = このまま "As expected of" = さすが Any translator knows these cliches. Why would you bother to invent new ways of saying the same thing over and over when Japanese themselves don't bother with that?

Also, are you saying that 90% of scanlations shouldn't be done at all? I'm afraid you're in the vast minority on that as far as other leechers are concerned (not that I personally disagree).


» Kirjava on December 10th, 2012, 12:46am

Translation is not a one-to-one mapping. There are many ways of saying all of the phrases I mentioned depending on (1) context and (2) the personality of the character saying the line. Just because manga authors can't be arsed to come up with varied dialogue, doesn't mean translators should follow their example. Seeing the same sentences over and over again makes the reading experience stale and boring. A great script can make even the most clichéd manga interesting and fun to read.

And I never said that people shouldn't scanlate. They can certainly try. I just can't stand it when translators--aspiring and current--don't bother to improve themselves or can't take constructive criticism in stride. A lot of translators have a misguided approach to translating: they think that they can just find "equivalent" words in the target language and call it a day. Translation is a helluva lot more than that. There would be a drastic improvement in the script quality of scanlations if more people understood that.

Anyway, I suppose this is more on the topic of localisation rather than grammar and spelling, so I'll get off my soapbox now.


» cmertb on December 10th, 2012, 2:49pm

Quote from Kirjava
Just because manga authors can't be arsed to come up with varied dialogue, doesn't mean translators should follow their example.

This is where I have to disagree strongly. It's not the translator's job to embellish the original. Any translator who does that becomes a co-author, and to me it's not acceptable. I don't want to read such translations, and I refuse to produce them. I suspect that many readers (maybe even majority) would agree with you, but then, I'm not a pro and I cater to my own taste first and foremost.

As for localization, I, together with the vast majority of leechers, strongly reject it. You mistakenly attribute this to lack of desire to improve, when it's in fact a conscious choice for most fan translators. If I read a translated literary work, I want it to be a gateway to another culture. Localization simply narrows that gateway, if it doesn't shut it down entirely. I've read many translated works in my life, but it was only the utterly unlocalized fan translations from Japanese, with all their accompanying translator notes, that made me fall in love with the language and start learning it.


» Kirjava on December 11th, 2012, 12:41am

Quote from cmertb
It's not the translator's job to embellish the original. Any translator who does that becomes a co-author, and to me it's not acceptable.

If the translated line is able to convey the same intent as the original despite being reworded, then what's the problem?

(I think the whole "translation as art" discussion is an interesting one, though. These professional translators assert that translators are writers, and I think they make a strong case for this argument.)

Quote from cmertb
If I read a translated literary work, I want it to be a gateway to another culture. Localization simply narrows that gateway, if it doesn't shut it down entirely. I've read many translated works in my life, but it was only the utterly unlocalized fan translations from Japanese, with all their accompanying translator notes, that made me fall in love with the language and start learning it.

You're reading translations for all the wrong reasons then. I mean, it's cool that you picked up Japanese to be able to understand cultural references and stuff. Not everyone has the time or inclination to do this, though. This is why translations exist in the first place. They're supposed to provide a seamless experience for readers who are not familiar with the original language and culture. The goal is to strive to give the target audience the same experience the native readers had when they first read the story.

That's not to say that we foreigners shouldn't learn about Japanese culture from Japanese fiction. But a literary translation isn't meant to be didactic. If the translator can subtly integrate cultural information directly into the dialogue without sacrificing good flow, that's fine. If they have to add long-winded footnotes that are unnecessary to the progress of the story, then they've failed to do their job properly. Of course, there are things that probably can't be fully translated because of (irreconcilable?) cultural differences, but those are exceptions, not the rule.

Note that when I say "target audience" I mean people who aren't necessarily familiar with honorifics and other aspects of Japanese culture. By refusing to translate certain things, you're alienating potential readers and making the text less accessible to a broader audience. I can't for the life of me figure out why any translator would want to do that.


» sophie0 on December 11th, 2012, 2:03pm

I would argue there is a difference between fan translation and official ones, though. Not necessarily in quality, but as they are done for fans by fans, there are a lot of things you can pretty much assume about your readers and what they know, something the translator of an official translation can't.

For example, I'd argue most readers of online scanlations know the (basic) difference between -kun, -san, -sama and so on. A lot probably also know what a senpai and what a kouhai is. Depending on which genre you can probably assume other things are a given. So a fan translator can probably keep closer to the Japanese original than an "official" translator can.

And as for the honorifics - in my opinion they convey a lot of information about the relationships that's REALLY difficult to capture otherwise. In some of the official translations they're left as is and there is just a tiny note in the beginning of the book explaining their basic meaning, which is in my opinion the best solution. After all, in almost all German translations of English or American novels they leave the "Mr." or "Mrs." as is. (Now that I think about it, they don't do that in the translations of Japanese novels. But I still think it wouldn't hurt keeping them.)

I suppose it's a matter of "translation philosophy". I think that a translator should take care not to stray too far from the original. And when it comes to using the same phrases - I for one love the formulaic aspect of those, but I guess it's a matter of taste. What I think is important though is to translate idioms properly - I always wince a bit when I see the phrase "I saw a dream", but then again - I'm really nitpicky when it comes to official translations but when it comes to fan translations I'm pretty forgiving, especially since I started doing translations myself.

I'm not a trained translator, though, and few fan translators are. I agree it's important to take as much care with your translation as possible, but in the end it's really all done for fun and love.


» Horn on December 18th, 2012, 3:04pm

And as for the honorifics - in my opinion they convey a lot of information about the relationships that's REALLY difficult to capture otherwise.

"A lot of" feels exaggerated. I agree that it adds some flavor to the text, but I honestly don't think it's as much as many fan translators want to give the impression of.


» cmertb on December 11th, 2012, 3:36pm

Your erroneous substitution of terminology is leading your argument astray. When I say a translator isn't a co-author, it doesn't mean that a translator isn't a writer. You still write. But you *don't make up stuff that's not in the source*. If you're fine as long as the intent is conveyed, then why read the translated work in its entirety anyway? You might as well read the Cliffs notes version of it, it'll give you the gist just as well. Worded differently, but you'll still find out the plot and the story.

The right reason for reading translated works is always the same -- enjoyment. And like I mentioned, I enjoy the aspect of getting a glimpse of another culture the most. You're also completely misunderstanding what I wrote about learning Japanese. Nowhere did I say that you need Japanese in order to understand cultural references in fan translations. What I said is that those cultural and linguistic references left intact by fan translators made me fall in love with Japanese and gave me the desire to learn it. No professional translator has ever accomplished anything remotely similar. Considering how difficult it is to learn a foreign language, especially Japanese (more difficult than quantum mechanics smile ), the impact of a good fan translation is simply tremendous.

On the topic of target audience, once again, you're confusing fan translators with pro translators. First of all, our target audience is special. In the previous post, I provided a link that demonstrates that the vast majority of scanlation readers disagree with your view on localization. But even if that weren't the case, fan translators can afford to not be driven by the demands of their audience. Pro translators are different in that they know where their bread is buttered, and all their talk of "seamless experience" constitutes post-factum rationalization of the need to cater to the lowest common denominator in their audience. If they didn't have to face this pressure, they'd wouldn't localize nearly as much. Let the readers use their brains more intensively so that the translator doesn't have to sacrifice any shade of meaning he sees in the source (and that sacrifice is often quite painful). You can see the same phenomenon at work in Hollywood remakes of foreign masterpieces that results in production of nauseating garbage (well, I'll admit "The Ring" was good, but then the original wasn't much of a masterpiece). I think the reason this happens in commercial space is competition. People typically don't want to use their brains too much when trying to entertain themselves. So if there's a choice between a heavily localized translation and something with long-winded footnotes, or a choice between "Jersey Shore" and a documentary on class relations in fin de siecle Germany, they'll choose the former, and those who serve the latter options will go out of business. But if the former options weren't available at all, would people really moan about how they want less intellectually taxing entertainment? Nah, they'd be too embarrassed.

So, this isn't a defense of poorly worded translations and stilted dialogue where it doesn't have to be, but I hope you can understand why fan translators (i.e. translators who have freedom) don't like localization, why most of their readers don't like it, and why this situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.


» MasamiAkane on December 9th, 2012, 8:50pm

Wow. So many bitter readers of scanlation here. I've seen my fair share of horrendous fansubs. I don't think they're exempted from criticism.

On topic, I generally don't mind. If it's really bad then I just stop reading it.


» hollabaloo on December 10th, 2012, 3:07am

It annoys the hell out of me. I would prefer it if the scanlation group just held on to the release for a few days longer instead of reading a release with bad spelling and grammar in it.


» RattixEmpire on December 10th, 2012, 5:45am

I often find it quite funny, it can be a little confusing, but I either ignore it or am amused by it, I don't see why people should get upset by something so petty, and the English language is so moronic that it is no wonder people make a few mistakes. Even if there are some completely untranslated bits, most manga are so predictable that you don't even need it to be in a language you understand to know what is going on. Kind of like Adam Sandler movies.


» Horn on December 10th, 2012, 3:21pm

An occasional error is fine; noticeable, but fine. Everybody makes mistakes. I consider myself somewhat anal when it comes to QCing, at least spelling-wise, but I've let some really embarrassing mistakes slip. Consistently, though, I'd really prefer if the spelling and grammar hold good standards. Particularly the grammar - translating the words isn't enough, you gotta make it flow in English too, make it sound natural, and translate -everything- instead of producing some strange half-japanese-half-english hybrid. The point of a translation should surely be to let people who can't read the original language enjoy it just like the natives.

I can be a bit extreme though, I guess. Were it up to me, I could very much do without even the name suffixes (-chan and -kun and whatever the like; I just don't feel that they add as much as people seem to think, and only serve to take up space), but I realize that's not the standard opinion.


» deadhoney on December 10th, 2012, 3:46pm

I think the importance of those suffixes depends on the story. In some ( well, rather rare ) cases it displays the social standard pretty well or is necessary for jokes. But yeah, in most cases it just takes up space, especially then the "-chan" needs it own row.


» Jeli on December 10th, 2012, 5:18pm

Although the suffixes wouldn't alter the story entirely if omitted, it shows the level of how familiar characters are between each other, and sometimes even a progression. Like going from a -san suffix to -kun, -chan, or even no suffix at all. That shows that the characters feel closer and would be lost in translation if it was omitted from the getgo.


» deadhoney on December 10th, 2012, 3:42pm

It really depends, if the scanlation is nearly perfect in every other aspect I get a bit distracted by grammar or spelling mistakes because I don't expect them. And english is not my mother tongue so I start to wonder if I got it wrong, or them. v_v

But if the scanlation looks well.... like something you need to get used to first anyway, then I don't really bother as long as the given pieces make sense.


» killjoy890 on December 10th, 2012, 4:54pm

to me depends on how bad the grammar mistake is lol.I am a proofreader so i can easily re-word things and ignore them unlike some other people, but some things i get annoyed by (even my own proofs at time) till a point where i am just re-reading the line over and over till it sounds right.


» Furan on December 10th, 2012, 8:21pm

For me it's just a little distracting. English is not my native language so I guess that lots of mistakes go unnoticed for me, though I admit I would get pretty annoyed if it was my native language. After all, the reason I read manga in english and not spanish is precisely because spanish translations tend to be very poor at grammar and spelling. I think english translations have better quality, but maybe it's just that since spanish is my mother language for me it's easier to identify mistakes in spanish than in english.

Anyway, when I notice some mistake in english it's usually something not so bad so it's just a little distracting. I have seen a few cases in which the translation was so bad that I didn't have any idea of what was going on, but it's so rare for me that I don't even get to be annoyed.


» myrt on December 10th, 2012, 9:46pm

I think it's a little distracting too, but I don't care overall.

As a translator, I know that my English isn't good enough to catch all my grammatical mistakes and spelling errors, but I know for sure that my proofreaders aren't that good either. No offense.

For example: "...and its Church" (got changed to) "...and it's Church"

Use of "you're" and "your" drive me crazy too. Are people meant to say "your wrong?" or "if your hungry..."? Some of my proofreaders never pick that up.

I changed it back when I QCed that, but then the proofreader commented on it...and she also complained how I used "anyway" not "anyways". Most people where I live (and so does my dictionary) say "anyway", not "anyways", so I'm not technically wrong here...right? My opinion, words like that should just be left alone.

Like I said before, it's a little distracting but I reckon the English language is very localised and so it's hard to say exactly what's right and what's wrong. My opinion though.


» Alaena Night on December 10th, 2012, 11:19pm

I picked "Definitely annoyed!" for reasons I can't quite understand—probably because many, many moons ago, I used to get terribly disappointed at the use of bad grammar because grammar is wonderful and lovely to me. (Yes, I am an incorrigible dork and I will die alone in a house filled with cats.)

A few years past my rage-stage of grammar-Nazism, I find that bad grammar or an overall disregard for the English language does sometimes tear at my heartstrings (Why, God? Why?!) but rarely annoys me. If it's bad enough (or paired with lacking or garbled translations), I do sometimes get annoyed, but heck, I'm not the one scanlating whatever series it is, so I can't get too huffy about it. (Though I do not-so-secretly scanlate in my free time because it makes me happy and keeps my bumbling translation skills as polished as I can ever expect them to be.)

Seriously, though. Spending almost three full years working in a college writing center where students routinely forget what nouns are, I have grown a tough outer skin to to protect myself from complete grammar-blindness. I've gotten to the point where I can skim past most minor errors.

I have to admit, though: CHAT SPEAK in scanlations makes my soul cry blood.


» Hinokai on December 11th, 2012, 2:53am

If you riddle your release with typos, grammar mistakes, or worst of all, incomprehensible sentences, then you probably shouldn't be scanlating in the first place.

Everyone makes mistakes, so sure, I'm not saying that an error here and there isn't acceptable (though any spelling mistakes should be caught with a spellchecker, it's easy), but some groups seem like they don't even look over the text. You don't need to be a proofer with an amazing grasp of English to catch things like your/you're or there/their/they're errors, but they're incredibly common.

The poll doesn't really mention it, but more than just spelling and grammar mistakes, I think the biggest issue is that sometimes the translation just doesn't make sense in English. The words might be spelled right, the grammar might work, but you'll read it and think 'What exactly are these people saying?'. Some people might dismiss it, but I don't get why you would read a manga if what you're reading is just incomprehensible garbage bearing only a faint similarity to what it should say.

And really, at the end of the day the point of scanlating is to translate a manga, not to slap your watermark all over everything and inflate your ego, not to slap ads on everything and whore donations, not to pick up a bajillion projects at the same time so you can be supah populah, it's simply to translate a manga. So really, releases should be a decent piece of readable English.


» ink junkie on December 12th, 2012, 9:31am

It's distracting because I have to correct it in my head. This also applies to the wording.


» Human on December 12th, 2012, 9:43am

For me it's just a little distracting. English is not my native language


» strixflash on December 13th, 2012, 9:43pm

For me it's just a little distracting. English is not my native language.



» mu2020 on December 12th, 2012, 9:50am

my own english is not that good... so why get annoyed with someone else's. it's not like i pay for their work...


» gwkimmy on December 12th, 2012, 12:22pm

i'm an english major and have a bit of OCD so seeing grammar and spelling errors in translations is like small rocks being thrown consistently at my head. i'm not going to throw a fit about it, but it does reduce my enjoyment of the series. i'll forgive the occasional typo or common grammar goof, but otherwise it does grate on me some ;(

on a positive note, some scanlators exceed my expectations with their translations and provide dialogue that is not only error-free, but contains believable "errors" found quite common in normal english speech patterns and gives more personality to the dialogue and sometimes even the character that is speaking. i don't know if this is intentional or just an attempt at conveying a similar speech pattern in the original japanese, but i know it's probably difficult to do, so kudos to those teams. <3


» Jooles on December 13th, 2012, 7:36am

While I do prefer that font that most "pro"-groups use and the QC at an extreme high, I guess I'm only "definately annoyed" when the sentences are troublesome to understand. One manga that comes to mind is the early Captain Tsubasa, with terms like "heading shoot" and whatnot, but there have been countless others with -grammatical- errors and those are worse.

(I have no idea if this post is littered with the same grammar errors that I complain about, and as a heads-up, I don't care and it really doesn't make my or anyone else's [with this problem] opinion less valid - there's a difference between being a fluent "reader" and a fluent "speaker", and they don't always come hand in hand. Hell, I wouldn't even consider myself a fluent "speaker" in my native tongue.)


» ylna00m on December 13th, 2012, 9:25am

I'm usually pretty picky when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I believe I have no right to complain when it comes to scanlations. If I were a scanlator, I would find it tedious and time consuming. I'm thankful that there are people willing to do these things for free, simply for the reading pleasure of others. Bless you, scanlators!

But if the spelling and grammar are so bad that I can't understand what's being said...well, then that's a problem. Also, I can't stand when they use headache-inducing fonts. no


» mortilla on December 13th, 2012, 8:01pm

AFAIK about half of all english manga translators are not natives in english. So they really do their best and work for free with only reason to bring manga for english-speaking audience (which again don't limit to people who are english-native).
To all whose 36% who are so annoyed by bad grammar - you're always welcome to join translators and improve it. Feel free to check any group for QC/proofreader position. Oh, ofcourse that would mean what you will be asked to bear those terrible people's grammar even more often. But soon you will get accustomed to it and will make corrections on-the-fly.
Speaking of which. I'm not translating manga on english (eah, too bad... or good... whatever), but i do some times make descriptions on manga's info pages here. Feel free to correct those too. You only need to ask moderators for access.


» xyz85 on December 14th, 2012, 8:14am

I think there's a slight difference between bad spelling and grammar errors. As a non-native speaker, I can say the former ones are a lot easier to catch. That's because, for example, if you read a lot you end up "storing" the right way to write a word. That makes you able to spot bad spelling easily. On the contrary, if you didn't get a proper education in english, sometimes you wouldn't be able to grasp the correct grammar structures behind a sentence, thus you miss.

Coming back on topic, I hate when I find mistakes in scanlations, both translation and editing-wise. Whenever I miss a mistake, I hate myself too. I try to improve after each QC, I accept criticisms if they are meant to make me improve. Though in this world, I rarely see the same attitude, people just want downloads and nothing more. It's kind of sad, actually.


» KaoriNite on December 14th, 2012, 12:46pm

I do get really pissed off when there's bad grammar and spelling in scanlations. I'm not talking about the occasional error, because everyone makes mistakes. I'm talking about the people who really don't have a good grasp of the English language. Where almost every sentence in the manga has a mistake. I shouldn't have to re-translate everything in my head to understand what's going on in a series. I feel like these people don't really have a purpose being involved in translating. I also wonder why there isn't someone around to ask to proofread. Even if the person can't do the translating from Japanese to English, why can't you ask someone who knows English well if your scanlation makes sense when you know you are really bad at English?


» cmertb on December 14th, 2012, 10:16pm

Most leechers are perfectly fine with mangled English. Also, your idea that it's so easy to get someone to proofread (and do a good job of it) is very naive. Put those two factors together, and you get what you get.


» averyk on December 14th, 2012, 10:58pm

I have to say that it irritates me very much, but... I can deal with it if I am really wanting to read something. On the other hand if a better group is doing the series I will immediately switch.


» Hainuwele on December 14th, 2012, 11:27pm

I find minor grammar and spelling errors, for instance incorrect word order, tolerable and sometimes amusing. I can chalk it up to being pressed for time and the errors slipped by. What bugs me the most ,and this is strange, is the mixing of Western and British English verbs together in a character's script. For the people that had no idea that there was more than one variety of English look up, learn. More specifically, learnt. The spell-checker here picks learnt up as being misspelled, however, it is actually correct. Learnt is the British English past participle of learn. The Western English version is learned. So, both are correct. However, when I see a mixing I imagine the character suddenly and for no reason slipping into an accent and it completely ruins the scene for me.


» BlackOrion on December 20th, 2012, 12:45am

I'm fine as long as the manga wasn't translated with Google and pasted with out even checking to try and give it coherence.

If i can understand it i don't really care.


» Unknown on January 4th, 2013, 8:27pm

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