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New Poll - Scanlators Asking for Donations
The last poll was a very heated debate. Here's the natural follow-up poll. Should scanlators even ask for donations in the first place?

You can submit poll ideas here

Previous Poll Results:
Question: Do you donate money to scanlation groups?
Yes, regularly - votes: 62 (1.3%)
Yes, several times now - votes: 186 (4%)
I've done it once - votes: 290 (6.3%)
No, I don't have money to donate - votes: 2580 (55.8%)
No, I'd rather purchase manga or other merchandise - votes: 842 (18.2%)
No, I just don't want to - votes: 665 (14.4%)
There were 4625 total votes.
The poll ended: September 1st 2017

I've never donated and I've also never paid or been paid for any of the scanlations I've worked on or read
Posted by lambchopsil on September 2nd 7:00am Comments ( 28 )  [ View ]  [ Add ]

» residentgrigo on September 2nd, 2017, 1:41am

Yes, but only to pay for raws and server bandwidth or hosting but i am less sure on the server cost, as you can just cast the scans into the electronic sea. The internet will preserve them on it´s own.


» philip72 on September 3rd, 2017, 10:18am

I agree with you. Raws are okay, maybe, but nobody needs their own server.

The choices in this poll are poorly worded and (deliberately?) leading. I'd add the choice "No, it's totally unethical" If I had my druthers.


» MinatoAce on September 2nd, 2017, 5:20am

Though I choose Yes, but only to pay for raws and server bandwidth or hosting, as it seems kinda balanced. But, I'm more inclined towards No.
First there are many ways to host manga free like blog, cloud drives etc. As well as many sources which can host your images without watermarking and compressing, maybe a option too.
Secondly even if you have to pay for a server, you don't need one with high bandwidth and space, a cheap balanced one should be enough. Bandwidth cost can be adjusted depending on crowd and old releases can be archived and shifted to free shared clouds, so like hosting last 3-5 releases should be enough.

P.S. Depending on popularity and fan base, the leecher/fans may agree to share the burden, then the groups can go big.


» Nielloscape on September 2nd, 2017, 6:23am

Yes, since they work so hard to bring us manga
If the last poll is any indication, most people never bothered to donate anyway. I don't see anything wrong with donating to scanlators. It's like buying them a present as a thank, like cup of coffee. It's voluntary. Saying that someone doesn't deserve even the chance for them to be thank for their effort doesn't seem right. The official translations of many manga I have in my native language are just so poor. I couldn't be more grateful for the scanlations online. that said, I don't support scanlations group that crosses the line.


» GGpX on September 2nd, 2017, 7:27am

As someone who has been scanlating (a lot less of the last year & a half for various reasons) for over a decade, I find it deplorable that some scanlators "need" donations to keep going. If scanlators need donations to keep going, I'm sorry but they should just get a job instead.

Most of those very same scanlators don't spend a nickel for anything. They use a free host like tumblr, they use aggregate manga readers to host (or sites like Mediafire, sendspace, etc.) and they use public raws. They literally have nothing to pay to scanlate.

If I had to guess, and this is purely a guess & nothing more, I'd say maybe 2-3% of scanlators actually buy the books and scan them. That's the bulk of the cost of scanlations, really.

Scanlations, if it needs to be reminded, are illegal. If people felt so inclined to donate, they should figure out a way to purchase the manga to support the original author. They're the ones who need the money as the majority of them have a very hard time living off of the wages made from manga.

As mentioned earlier, I've been scanlating for a very long time. I asked for donations 4-5 times early on because I needed to buy a few books to scan and I was in a hurry to get the books ASAP as my staff was waiting on me. I didn't like the feeling of it and I never asked for donations before or after. Since then, I've literally spent thousands (yes, thousands) on books (shipping), server costs and other tools (PC improvements, 3 scanners) to help scanlate. I never asked for anything from the readers to help me pay for that. I know what all of those things are, I know the $$$ required and I am perfectly fine with biting the bullet to pay for this hobby of mine.


» vigorousjammer on September 7th, 2017, 6:01pm

Quote from GGpX
If people felt so inclined to donate, they should figure out a way to purchase the manga to support the original author.

While I can see what you're saying in concept, you also have to remember that the amount of money people are likely spending on a donation to a scanlation group is much less than they would spend if they bought a series, so the amount of money isn't exactly analogous to what they would be spending on an official release (even an untranslated one).

Sure, in an ideal world, every person would buy everything they wanted to read, and money would go to the creators, the translators, and everybody else involved in the project... but that's not the reality that we live in.

Still, I've heard some people say they not only donate to scanlators but also buy the currently in-print version of a scanlated series that they're reading to support the original creators. These guys are the true MVPs of support, and I truly respect them. However, it's unfortunate, but not all of us have the luxury of having that amount of disposable income.

I suppose in some respects this is turning into a conversation of "do you support piracy or not?", and, well... I guess my opinion is that I appreciate it existing because of my own situation, but I can understand the damaging effects it can have for creators. Still, I blame the structure of capitalism and a dwindling economy for that damage more than I blame piracy... even though both of them cause some amount of damage.


» ForeignerChan on September 9th, 2017, 11:09pm

I agree on everything you said


» SinsI on September 2nd, 2017, 12:45pm

Yes, If they want to, No, if they don't.


» hkanz on September 2nd, 2017, 8:24pm

I don't believe that scanlators are owed payment, but I don't think there's anything wrong with asking - people will either pay or they won't. Definitely it's illogical to pay scanlators for a series that has been licensed in your language, but I doubt people are doing this.


» gwkimmy on September 2nd, 2017, 10:15pm

I've never given a scanlator donations for their work or anything, but I did once give a good chunk of money to a scanlators GoFundMe for their parents declining health. I'm in the genre where free raws are rare or of shit quality so most groups I follow buy and scan their own books. Many also have to do a considerable amount of redrawing to decensor things, so i wouldn't be opposed to giving money. Most groups I follow don't ask, however, or just throw up links.


» darkraiders on September 2nd, 2017, 10:55pm

To be honest i am always conflicted about that.

On one side i think it's wrong asking for donation for doing something that is illegal, but on the other side i do think they deserve some money for all the work they do(when it's done well).


» feral claws on September 3rd, 2017, 12:39am

well, it's an easy one...Do I spend money on scanlations myself?...Yes...
Why do I scanlate : because the people that does scan/translate my favorite series are doing a FUGLY job and I'd like my quality to be top-notch and handled by professionals.

Now It's true...Scanlations are a thankless job and nobody does you favors in exchange of nothing.
so, instead, I made my books exclusive for my private circle. people call me names and such but I don't care.
I know most of the guys around here will not drop a penny but they aren't creators. I for once, wouldn't spend money on the hundreds of thousands of uninteresting titles out there because I don't care.

What we all need to realize though SCANS AREN'T THE ALTERNATIVE FOR THE REAL THING!!
if your title, any title, is licensed in your country, Buy it!! buy manga, buy movies, spend on it not because you've already seen it but because you're the consumer for it.


» Animechic420 on September 3rd, 2017, 10:39am

I probably would if some those scanlators could translate properly. Half the crap their translate makes no sense sometimes. sad


» Afro Thunda on September 5th, 2017, 2:29am

There's nothing wrong with groups asking for donations. But if I'm going to donate to a group, they're going to have to earn it. I'm certainly not the type who would donate to a group only because they're doing my favorite series, yet the job they do on said series are sub-par. I'm not a fan of shoddy work, so if I'm going to put money on a group, they better be doing some relatively quality work so I feel like it's money well donated.

So with that said, none the options in the poll apply to my personal stance.


» ezekiel000 on September 5th, 2017, 3:43am

It's a hobby so I don't think you should ask for donations, if you want to earn money from it then go buy the licence to translate the series and release it legally printed or digital.

The amount of work that goes into it or the cost is irrelevant, if you don't enjoy your hobby without being paid then find a different hobby.


» animalia on September 5th, 2017, 12:41pm

I run a group and I feel VERY uncomfortable asking for donations. This isn't even about paying for raws mind you. I often can't find people willing to translate for free so I have to commission a translation out of my own pocket. I make less than minimum wage (I work at a sheltered workshop.) even so this is SUPPOSED to be a NON-PROFIT hobby so I am reluctant to ask for donations.

I have considered doing it IF and only IF I can create a donation jar that automatically locks up when it reaches the target amount and automatically refunds some of the final donation if said final donation goes over the target amount by any amount. By the way, the target donation would be HALF the translation price as I would only feel comfortable having people meet me halfway. And all this is AFTER I talked to people about the possibility of whether or not they would be open to it.

Even then I am SERIOUSLY considering canceling this now that I have learned how self-righteous some of my fellow thieves can be. My impetus is the hacking of Managtraders. I have always liked these kind of sites for two reasons One personal, one practical. The personal has to do with my OCD and how like to be able to download a whole volume of manga at once. It's also why after I finish releasing a volume of manga or a Light Novel of individual chapters I go back and and release a whole tankoban release or a whole book release.

Far more important is the practical reason that once a scanlator goes down you can NOT download their releases from the hosts anmore and aggregators are THE only way to get releases by old and defunct scanlators. Anyways, I was on the forum for novelupdates, asking about what happened to Mangaupdates, if anybody knew when they might be back, etc. when someone came and said they had hacked them and they were proud of it because they were an affront to REAL scanlators like themselves who do it for the love and well you see where this is going.

Maybe it's me but since we are ALL doing things that are, when you get right down to it, illegal, I feel like none of us really have the right to judge the others. We may disagree with the different polices people use. But do we really have a right to judge?

In all honesty I shouldn't have to pay a fellow fan to translate for me at all, as to my understanding of the fan community's code, it goes against the principle of making money off of properties that are not your own. Despite that since I couldn't find anyone willing to translate for free I decided to knuckle under and take advantage of this resource.
This whole experience has soured my enjoyment of anime and manga and I don't know if I will ever fully recover from it.

P.S. (I can certainly think of someone WORSE for said person to have target, someone who actually Charges people to download last I checked, (it's been awhile, I stopped using them for that reason)despite not owning the properties And they are still up).


» svines85 on September 6th, 2017, 8:39am

Quote from animalia

Of course you.......all of us.......have a "right to judge" in this context, in any context for that matter, you shouldn't ever think that just because you're not perfect it somehow negates your ability to recognize right and wrong.

No, what most people are saying, in this and in the previous poll, is that it's one thing saying "hey, it cost me 50 bucks to get this tank, anyone wanna help/throw a buck or two my way to help out...?" and it's an entirely different one to say "I'll do this work when/if I get two hundred dollars" or "I've done this work, go to my private site and pay to see it first"

Yeah, you're darned right I can judge those very small number of "groups", they're actually, really stealing now, they're openly creating revenue/income that artist/publishers can point to as concrete, verifiable losses, something actual fan scanlations doesn't produce. As you say, none of us are authorized to redistribute any of this stuff, but in effect selling it.....yeah, that changes the equation entirely, sure I can judge.


» PlumJuiceFlashback on September 5th, 2017, 2:51pm

If they're worth donating to, then yeah, they work hard, they're doing a nice deed, it's like giving a tip to a waiter/waitress. Like some of the other posters said, they gotta earn it.

With regards to obtaining raws/server:
- I think it's a cool idea to pool money, as long as the scanlator is trustworthy.
- But personally I feel uncomfortable taking money from others for that. My group took a batch of donations initially because we were caught off-guard, but even before that, we were determined to be able to make it on our own. We're grateful for the support we received, but we feel cool being able to support ourselves.
- Also yeah, I do agree with another post that said that it's unbecoming of a group to say that they're in need of donations. Find a sugar mama/daddy somewhere at least, lol. In our case, we were at a point where we bit off more than we could chew after the first year, so the second year we were like, oh shoot, we don't have enough money, LUL. So yeah, pretty situational, but in general I don't think a scanlation group should expect donations.


» alidan on September 6th, 2017, 11:12am

yes, they can ASK for donations, translators are expensive to hire and they work for essentially free, but demand is where I draw a line because in the end it's still piracy.


» cmertb on September 6th, 2017, 11:51am

Quote from alidan
translators are expensive to hire and they work for essentially free

Are you sure you're not contradicting yourself within the same sentence?


» SinsI on September 7th, 2017, 8:24am

To anyone that answered "NO":
Let's say you absolutely fall in love with a manga - but no one is willing to scanlate it, and you don't know Japanese.
Would you be willing to hire a professional translator to scanlate it?


» cmertb on September 7th, 2017, 12:15pm

The question is about scanlators though, not about leechers.

What's the point of asking me whether I would pay for a scanlation? (I wouldn't, I can read it as is.) The relevant question here is whether I should charge for my translations that I already do as a hobby. If I do, then it's not scanlation as we know it anymore. It's not a hobby, it's a job.

The only way to keep a hobby while getting paid is to accept payments in the form of tips, i.e. gratuity for work already done, not any kind of explicit or implicit contractual obligation to provide work in the future. However, when leechers offer money, that is not their understanding. It's always about "Do more and faster, and I'll pay you five bucks, maybe".


» SinsI on September 8th, 2017, 6:19am

The point is that a major portion is thinking it is only OK to pay for scanlator's expenses like "raw and server bandwidth", and that they shouldn't be compensated for the actual work done at all.
So the question is a kind of "but what if the scanlator had other expenses, like having to hire a pro translator?"

And asking about "leechers" is to make them put themselves into the scanlator's shoes instead of looking at them from their high moral horse.


» shithappen on September 8th, 2017, 10:00am

Quote from SinsI
So the question is a kind of "but what if the scanlator had other expenses, like having to hire a pro translator?"

This is no longer scanlation. Scanlating is essentially a hobby. If you cannot afford it than don't do it.

Also scanlators are voluunteers, if they're missing a core member they should recruit not resort to HIRING.


» cmertb on September 8th, 2017, 12:09pm

The general understanding of "scanlation" has always been "for fans by fans". If you want to hire someone who doesn't care to do the work, don't call it scanlation, call it something else -- for example, "piracy" or "copyright infringement". Then the question becomes "Should pirates ask for donations?", and the obvious answer is "Pirates can do whatever the hell they want."


» SinsI on September 9th, 2017, 1:29am

The one that does the hiring is a fan (and much bigger fan, as he is willing to spend money on it)- he's just not a jack of all trades and don't want to waste his time looking for another volunteer then the same work can be done much faster, easier and with higer quality by a pro. If you have no problem paying for his distribution services - translation shouldn't be any different.

P.S. Hiring a translator to translate a copyrighted text that was obtained legally is not a copyright infringement, so your options are invalid.


» cmertb on September 9th, 2017, 7:58am

It doesn't matter who does the hiring, once "hiring" is involved, it's not scanlation as we know it anymore. Come up with a different name.

Also, it's not the action of translation that would be copyright infringement, but distributing it afterward.


» shithappen on September 8th, 2017, 9:51am

The trend I noticed now is that scanlator use their platform to ask donation for other stuff that is not scanlation related despite some not that active in scanlating i.e 4chps/year or less.

I saw scanlator asking for donation in their scanlation website for pet insurance, pet medical fee, house moving fee, family in need of money, rent, money for new *item* etc.


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