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New Poll - Licensed
This week's poll was suggested by Afiaki, but I removed a lot of the nuance of the original proposed options.

You can submit poll ideas here

Previous Poll Results:
Question: When applying for a job, does the reputation of the company matter to you?
Yes - votes: 1728 (56.2%)
Just a little - votes: 932 (30.3%)
Not really - votes: 284 (9.2%)
Nope - votes: 132 (4.3%)
There were 3076 total votes.
The poll ended: July 23rd, 2022 11:28am PDT

But if you really need the job to make a living...
Posted by lambchopsil on 
July 23rd 11:32am
Comments ( 18 )  
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Comments (limited to first 100 replies)

» residentgrigo on July 23rd, 2022, 11:42am

Wait and see where the licensing deal does is the unlisted way to go. Partially finished US translations help no one.


» makhan on July 23rd, 2022, 12:34pm

I couldn't give a damn about US licensing, the vast majority of these will never be available in my country anyway. Unless publishers make their releases available online internationally, it doesn't change anything for fans outside of the US.

Now, MANGAPlus is actually available globally, so if the title becomes available there, it's another story. I'd say keep scanlating until official releases catch up and stop when/if they do. Oshi no Ko is in this situation right now. Japanese raws are out up to chapter 88 and Ai's fanclub is doing a fantastic job with the scanlations, but MANGAPlus has been hard at work trying to catch up, releasing 3-4 chapters per week. I think the scanlators are planning to stop when they finally do and I believe that's the right choice.

The point of scanlations (at least for fan scanlators, I'm sure some of them are in it for profit) is to bring the work you love to as many people as possible. If official releases already reach global audience, that goal has been achieved. But the reality of things is that very few manga titles get released trully globally.


» kaloo on July 23rd, 2022, 12:41pm

Just continue. I do understand not bothering when official releases are caught up to the raw though.

The legality of creating fan translations doesn't change whether it's licensed or not.


» YuriM on July 23rd, 2022, 12:50pm

One should ask ADV Manga this.
PS: I'd wish someone will finish Rune Soldier, Those Who Hunt Elves and it's other titles...


» deadphoenix on July 23rd, 2022, 1:10pm

It would be better to add the condition to the poll.
I agree that the scanlationgroup should stop with the scanlation after a series gets licensed, but on several conditions:
The licensor is not to far behind the latest chapter.
The licensor gives easy acces and proper availability.
The licensor doesn't make it to expensive. (No crazy prices please.)
The licensor needs to have proper speed. (I don't want to wait ages for a new volume.)
The licensor needs to give proper quality (proper translation and a good final product.)

It also depends on the releases of the license holder. I really like to read my favorites on paper. For example the paper version of Solo Leveling looks great, while Viz media is lately the worst in quality, but yeah they are the cheapest (the outlining and cutting is not well done by Viz. Sometimes the text inside is cut off.)

Their is also a major difference from the stuff from South Korea and Japan. Japan gives more priority to the profit, while SK gives more priority to amount of readers. (Webtoons is some good proof.)

Another thing is the speed of the releases, with manga it's not that much difference. But with light novels it's like a different world. If a 'scan' lationgroup releases a chapter we're happy ones a week. But license holders like Wuxiaworld going at full speed with a daily release of a chapter every day for most series. (Then off course it's better for the group to drop it, except if they don't to sleep at night.)


» Contently on July 23rd, 2022, 3:47pm

Unless they're at imminent risk of being DMCA'd I would prefer the group to continue. I haven't experienced this with manga but light novels become a huge issue. Reading 15 volumes of an ongoing series only to have it licensed is annoying. The licensing company starts over from volume 1 and often has many concurrent projects and this leads to me waiting years for them to catch up to unofficial translations.


» Afiaki on July 23rd, 2022, 4:25pm

The nuance was actually quite important with this one... but still, the results are pretty interesting.
Thanks for polling this suggestion lambchopsil.

For anyone wondering about the nuanced options:

> Straight yes
> Straight no
> Only if the licensed release is slow and/or too far behind
> Only if the licensed release is not easily available to read or accessible to everyone
> Only if the scanlator posts lower quality images (so there is reason to buy the official release)


» Jessica_desu29 on July 23rd, 2022, 8:28pm

I personally use fan translations to not only read leisurely but also to see what to buy. It's extremely helpful to my wallet to not just "blind buy" a manga - I need to know if it's good enough to read again and again. Blind buying is utterly foolish. I've both saved and spent a lot money doing this because a lot of English publishers' entire catalogue (I read BL) existed as fan translations first, so I could read completely beforehand. So I'd say keep scanlating until the official version comes out, or at least don't stop after only one chapter. I need to know if the story is worth my money.

But it depends on the type of comic, though, i.e., webtoon vs manga. Many good webtoons are very quickly licensed in English and the official translations are just superior to fan translations, from my experience (except Netcomics, their quality is baseline mediocre and sometimes complete crap). It takes forever for a manga to get licensed in English, and it's only a tiny fraction of what's out there that do get licensed.

Also, manhwa are very rarely made into print, so the primary income of the creator is based on the use of official online platforms. At least manga creators can rely on print sales as well as digital. So having a dual fan translation of a manhwa is kind of wrong, unless the official English version is (1) many months behind the raws, or (2) a censored "all ages" version while the ongoing scanlation is the uncensored mature version (this is common practice on Manta; they will edit an R19 webtoon just so it can be on their platform, much to no one's amusementđŸ™„). All bets are off if any official release -- webtoon or manga or LN -- is censoring/altering content, sorry not sorry.

(Quite frankly, the biggest issue with a licensed webtoon isn't a continuing fan scanlation, it's the aggregators having the official version on there for free.)

Digital-only licensed manga gives me mixed feelings. Idk if it's the Japanese publishers' decision or not, but only doing a digital-only English release when most people want print books is going to make me want the fan translation to continue. I want to support official releases, but why pay for what is essentially a scanlation marked up 1000% and sometimes it's not even better quality than the fan one? I'd rather just read a DRM-free quality fan translation and just buy the Japanese book if I love it.

tl;dr: it depends.


» Xunu on July 23rd, 2022, 9:58pm

They can stop. If I already have the option to read officially, so be it. Some people have concerns but it doesn't affect me that much. I only take advantage of the free chapters when curiosity kills me but that also doesn't happen often. I distract myself by watching more accessible contents like K-drama and others. Do that and time flies, I have a lot of material to binge.


» Riyuri on July 24th, 2022, 4:17pm

Most mangas will not be available in my country even if they're licensed in English speaking countries. And some mangas are licensed in my country but not in english speaking countries. That's why also the license tag on Baka Updates doesn't mean much to me.
If I have the possibility to go to a bookshop and buy the manga, then I don't need a scanlation. But as I said, that's often not the case. Sometimes a manga is available in my country several YEARS after I read the scanlation. But if I liked it, I'm willing to buy a copy of it.


» Shellshock on July 25th, 2022, 6:37am

I say stop because it doesn't matter anymore and I don't believe for one second people don't know how to pirate here.


» alidan on July 25th, 2022, 7:40am

I will come at this from my point of view, the moment that a translation group stops a manga because its licensed, its effectively dead to me, i'm not waiting years being pissed off every time I check the manga if it caught up or if a new place decided to pick it up passed the first month, i'm just at a point where I consider it 100% dead.

I honestly hate the western industry, and I will never pay the grossly inflated prices per volume for their work, given even large projects have translation errors that scanlators don't have, or if a scanlator does, they go back and fix it.

if you gave me a good netflix like service that gave me access to everything and it paid out according to my attention span and gave me 0 limits, I would think of it, but at the same time, if that service existed I would have 0 issue with piracy as its likely more convenient.

I mean ill give an example, back when I actually bought manga, I saw the scan version and it had 320 yen for the book price, and what I had to pay was 20$, I don't remember the exact manga, but it was that kind of price difference that made me stop even looking at it. i'm going to end up buying all the berserk manga due to the hardcover version of it, I got a copy for 30$ and that's WELL worth it but for nearly everything else, you ain't getting me on it.


» Jessica_desu29 on July 25th, 2022, 10:56am

I hope you at least buy the raws (print or digital) if you like something, even if the official English is not good (enough). It's true some licensed stuff isn't any better than a fan translation (or worse) and it can be expensive, but I mean, these artists aren't working for free. Scanlation tends to make people forget that blood, sweat and tears go into making comics, so in a way it's good they drop a series. I've seen a lot of people who seem to think they can be animanga fans, constantly consuming a lot of content, but never paying for anything.


» YuriM on July 25th, 2022, 5:53pm

For something like this ^, it would be nice to have centralized service for all mangaka's, like patreon.
Or maybe, someday, on mangaupdates basis...


» blackluna on July 27th, 2022, 6:33am

It really depends on the translation's quality, completeness, and availability.

I've seen enough poor translations, which, while I'd really like to support the author, are honestly not worth paying for. I want to support the author/s, yes; not shoddy (at best) translations. I've read works where the official translation is inconsistent or confusing and works where basic usage is ignored and trampled to death. Not to mention stupid and pointless localizations, since many Western companies still assume that all comics, graphic novels, and related media are aimed at children and that they will be the primary audience regardless of the realities of the series' intended audience and actual fan-base. I can also point to the bizarre preference for modifying or even changing the text over periodic translator's notes. And that's just the quality.

More often than not, only the main story is translated, while any other material, whether integral or accessory to the work, is left untranslated (in part, because the licensing covers the entire series). E.g. Renta! does this as a rule, even when it's obvious that the omitted material is integral to the work. Then there's the electronic-only translations, which are often only available for a limited time since readers are paying for access to the company's copy, rather than for their own copy, and hosting that costs money. (At least with printed material, if the company stops publishing it, your money has not gone down the drain and new readers can still potentially access the work.)

Unfortunately, I can think of a number of good works where at least one of these factors is lacking. If I were to list examples, this post would much, much longer. I don't want to support exports that not worth a brass farthing, a blivet (10℔ of excrement in a 5℔ bag)… you get the picture. Especially since contributing money like that leaves the company assuming that they're doing a good job (if only competition were allowed in some way where the author would still get payed). So I try to support the author in other ways, e.g. buying an art book. Alas, that option is not always available, especially outside of East Asia.

So let me repeat: quality, completeness, availability.


» Jessica_desu29 on July 27th, 2022, 11:19am

Quote from blackluna
Then there's the electronic-only translations, which are often only available for a limited time since readers are paying for access to the company's copy, rather than for their own copy, and hosting that costs money. (At least with printed material, if the company stops publishing it, your money has not gone down the drain and new readers can still potentially access the work.)

Although policies may vary, for the most part from what I've experienced, once you pay to access chapters of webtoons (for example) you will always be able to read them, even if the online platform's license expires. This is definitely true for Tapas, Tappytoon, and Lezhin US, and I suspect most others as well (like Coolmic, Netcomics, etc). I think they did it like this because the pay-per-chapter model wouldn't hold up long term. Once people figure out the actual money used to buy all those not-at-all-cheap digital tokens was completely wasted, it would be a PR nightmare. So I suspect this is sort of their way of giving their content a feeling of permanence one gets from printed books.

The only bad thing is if you somehow lose access to your account, if the website dies, or the company goes out of business, you're screwed with respect to all the content you paid for.


» gomichandesu on July 27th, 2022, 10:53pm

I've always kinda been in the mindset of "if you can easily access a legal version of a work you probably should give them the money" (and especially if they're giving it out for free anyway then you should definitely be reading on their site.)

But I don't really care what scanslators do and do prefer having the option since often time the official release is dog shit lol. However, even if the official release is dog shit I still like to buy at least 1 volume of it officially just to toss them some money while still reading the superior fan release. (I usually buy the inferior volumes and just donate them to the local library). I think even if you can't afford to buy every volume or every chapter, you should at least pay for it a little bit if they give you a reasonable option to. I also think if scanslators are going to continue a series once it's licensed they should make readers aware of that and give links to the official source.

As a scanslator myself though, I try to stay away from stuff with a US license for legal reasons. I know it's unlikely they'd ever come for me but it is significantly more likely than the Japanese IP holder coming for me lol. I just don't wanna risk it personally. I have family members who work in the legal world that deals with this exact kinda stuff so I think I'd be a bad look for them if I got busted on it lol.


» Alwerien on July 29th, 2022, 9:48am

Hmmmm. I think it depends on the license. If it's just an announcement that might not go through and even if it does it will take them years to catch up to the point where scanlation is, I'd say continue. If it's a good translation and the fan scanlations are not far ahead enough, I'd say stop and/or even slowly remove access to the old chapters that are available through official means. And it's always better to avoid legal issues than end up getting taken down completely.

What makes me the saddest however is when the good scanlations stop because of license...and then the quality of the licensed translation is basically hot garbage. I do want to support the author but I really don't want to support low effort quick cash grabs calling themselves official translation.