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Trying to Start a Doujinshi Scanlation Team

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Post #594992
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Alois~ Olé!

6:23 pm, Apr 14 2013
Posts: 287

I was thinking of starting a Scanlation team for Doujinshi translation. I think it would be a fairly simple to do... Compared to manga translating. Plus there's many doujin that's not Scanlated anyway. Does this sound like a good idea?

Post #595115

6:54 pm, Apr 15 2013
Posts: 32

Is this actually a recruitment post or are you just asking for advice?

Plenty of groups and freelancers work exclusively with doujinshi. Unless you're planning to do unpopular pairings and lesser known series, you can expect to run into a lot of conflict with those groups when you start your own. Doujinshi scanlators are, in my opinion, even more territorial than manga scanlators. They try to lay claim to entire fandoms rather than a single artist. That's not hundreds of books, it's thousands. It doesn't matter that no group could possibly scanlate that many projects. If you do something within their fandom they can get nasty and hostile, especially if your scanlation is better than theirs. If your scanlations are crap, they'll ignore you as an eyesore, but so will the fans of that fandom. The only good things about doing doujinshi as opposed to original manga are that cease and desist orders are rare and you have a strong chance of buying books no one else in the scanlation business has a copy of.

As for doujinshi being easier to scanlate, that depends on the sort of books you do. The biggest difference between djs and manga is that doujinshi scanlators redraw the sound effects while manga scanlators often don't even bother to translate them. You're also very likely to run into hand-written books that are a pain to read even for experienced translators. If you stick with prony pwp books that are typed, and you ignore the sfx altogether, then you can do a lot of easy projects pretty quickly. But if you're planning to do a variety you'll find some djs are more over-written than manga, and just cleaning them can be more time consuming thanks to the complicated sfx. It's also hard to find quality raws since there are a limited number of each book and the odds of one being bought and scanned at high quality aren't good. Unless you're buying your own djs you'll find there are only a few scanners worth working with and they tend to already have arrangements with the existing groups. Using other people's raws without permission might be common with manga, but it's really frowned upon with doujinshi. You'll alienate your own readers if you go around "stealing" their raws and then expecting them to thank you for it.

My advice is to find your own raws first. Either buy a collection of djs you never expect to see scanlated if you don't do them yourself, or locate some raw providers who have nice raws that existing groups have already turned down. That way you'll start out filling a void instead of stepping on toes. You'll quickly draw the attention of other scanners who have collections big groups refuse to touch. If you get a reputation for actually scanlating the projects you accept, even those who have already promised their raws to the big groups will start sending some your way. That's because they know their books have a better chance of being scanlated by you than they would sitting on someone's "future projects" page for another five years.

Avoid jumping on the popular projects just because you can do it faster. Doujinshi are one-shots, so there isn't much call for quick crappy scanlations to "tide people over" while they wait for a good version to come out. If you do it right the first time then no one else will bother to scanlate that book, and groups will watch to make sure you aren't working on a particular dj before doing it themselves. If you get known for crap then other groups won't even notice what you're working, content in the knowledge that even if they scanlate the same books theirs will be better and readers will see that and stick with them over you. Few people want to work on a doujinshi knowing it'll be redone by someone else later, with quality that makes their own efforts look embarrassing. Unless you're doing it all yourself, and you don't consider duplicate scanlations a waste of time, you'll have trouble keeping a team interested in doing projects that will just be redone again later.

I'd recommend starting as a collaborator rather than creating a new group from scratch. If you're a translator or a raw provider, then offer your services to a group you respect with the promise that you can host a copy of the finished scanlation on your site. Once you have a nice little collection to show for yourself, then you can find people to fill in the roles you can't do. You may even pull in people who have worked with the same groups you have, which means you'll be starting with an experienced team. And readers who saw your name on the big group's site will link you to quality work. Most dj scanlation groups flop before they even get off the ground because they get a bad reputation (thanks to contempt from big groups and/or shoddy work). By being on good terms with the popular groups you can level the playing field and draw in both readers and helpers. Then even if you lose interest a year from now, you'll have enough dedicated members on the team to continue it without you. Even if the whole group falls apart when you lose interest, at least your name will be remembered and missed once you disappear. That's more than most flash-in-the-pan groups can say for themselves. It's all a matter of how you begin, as an intruder or a fresh face eager to pick up the slack for others.

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