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Question about visual novel reader

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default Question about visual novel reader

Post by Serin on 29/05/13, 03:31 pm

Hello,
I'm new here and am really curious about how you intend to use the visual novel reader program. From what I understood the visual novel reader is a program that allows one to display subtitles on top of the game screen without the need to hack or change the game files of the game.
Additionally, all the text inserted through this program can be edited by everyone having access to the visual novel reader.
As far as I know, the translation of the "Black Wolves Saga" is intended to be published through this program.
So what I don't understand is, whether the translation will be fully available for editing to everyone after it is released or if there is a way to limit or prohibit access to it.
I'm sorry if I couldn't articulate my question well.
I'm just concerned about the possibility of others butchering up your translation by making it available to everyone ...
I also apologize for, probably, posting in the wrong section, I just didn't know where else to post :oops:

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Aaeru on 29/05/13, 08:29 pm

hey i used visual novel reader for a long time

from my emails with jichi, he uses a self-regulation system similar to ones employed on chinese video sites where im pretty sure, users report on each other for engaging in vandalism. i cant remember exactly how it works he explained it to me once but i lost the email!
anyways, because i havent worked on VNR for such a long time, i think a lot has changed. ill shoot him an email to see what he says


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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Serin on 29/05/13, 09:07 pm

Thank you for replying and I really appreciate you looking further into it.
Lately, there are a few translators who are against creating patches because they don't want to go against the Company’s wishes so I thought that the VNR could be an alternative option for them but, unsurprisingly, the idea of having their translation open for editing to everyone doesn't appeal to most of them. Therefore, I was really surprised then I heard of the "Black Wolves Saga" translation project and thought that maybe they have found a way to make their translation locked to editing from others...

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 01:15 am

Hello!

As a fan translator (in other words, I make no profit from my contributions), I definitely wanted to weigh in on this discussion. I'm currently working on the Black Wolves Saga, Starry Sky ~in Autumn~ and some other projects I'm prohibited from speaking of in detail.

As for whether or not the Black Wolves Saga translation project is "locked" from others- yes and no. Yes, because not just anybody can waltz in willy-nilly and do whatever. No, because anybody can apply, and a proof of aptitude in translating and/or Japanese isn't as strict as some other groups I'm involved in. The BWS group could do with a few more translators, I think. Hence, the advertisement in the site's news banner.

Moving on, I think translator groups and this VN Reader programme should meet halfway: only allow access to those that can prove their above-par understanding of Japanese. Maybe do an aptitudinal test (such as a slice of text out of a random visual novel), and a few "moderators" can check for passes and failures. Make a new test for each application, so that people won't cheat and post answers amongst each other.

I'm not concerned about "prank" translations. My concern are people who pretty much rely on translating programmes and/or lack the skills to make the subtitles less "robotic". The amount of incorrect translations I see on blogs, forums, LPs, etc. is not worryingly high, but let's put it this way- if I were the game's staff, I wouldn't hire them.

Oh, and I'm sure this will make me sound racist in addition to sounding elitist, but I don't like the idea of people with poor English to be able to translate freely, too. Before you try to ship me off to the KKK (they won't accept me, I'm a "race-traitor" mongrel), hear me out. Do we really want Engrish or misspelled subtitles? If you want Engrish, just use that Atlas programme.

While I empathise with the translators that don't want to piss companies off (read: get C&D-ed), the companies that don't want people translating their stuff will get mad regardless of how you do it. I think it'd be worse if anybody can edit their creations.

I know we're all sick of translation projects that dissolve because people just can't be bothered in the end, but I don't think an "anybody can edit" thing is the answer. Great programme for the right translators.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Serin on 30/05/13, 02:28 am

@Laramie Castiel
Thank you for sharing your opinion on this matter.
I really appreciate your thoughts, especially, because you are a translator.
But I'm surprised other translators I have "met" are a lot more possessive about their work so that I never imagined that a program like VNR could find it's footing in this community.

I'm glad to hear about your plan regarding the Black Woves Saga translation.
I thought that making the translation accessible for everyone is too risky but by having a selection process it should be possible to avoid this problem.
Nevertheless, the downside to this is that you will need more people actively
supervising the whole thing but I have trust that you and your team will be able to find some reliable people. From what I gather, how the whole VNR thing's supposed to work in the end has, so far, not been set in stone and I kinda feel guilty about stressing this issue while most of the projects are still in their early stages of translation...

Oh and I can't emphasize enough how much I agree with your stance on Engrish translations. My heart always breaks a bit when I see a translation which may be correct in it's meaning but is so poorly formulated that the whole essence of the game gets destroyed. I know one shouldn't be picky when it comes to dealing with visual novel translations but I really think that it's best to only translate into your native language since I doubt that many of us have the required skills to bring a story to life in a language that is not their own.

But to get back on topic there are some companies that allow their games to be translated but only if you follow their conditions with some of them being, for example, not making a patch and/or youtube translation videos for that game.
Such is the case with the lucky dog translation and while I don't want to involve her in this I always thought that it's such a shame that she's not allowed to use her work to it's full extent.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 03:15 am

No problem, I glad I ended up contributing a viewpoint. I was worried somebody might think I'm up myself and/or racist. It may be worth noting that though I'm part of the Bishounen Gemu Staff, I'm just a simple translator. I'm not manning any projects- I simply translate the text when I can.

More groups have a stricter selection process, like being proving your ability to translate a block of text and so on. Somebody reads it, and lets you know if your knowledge of Japanese is good enough. I suppose they check for your spelling and grammar, too. Especially since I tend to function both as a translator and an editor, my understanding of both languages has to be above par.

Yes, it does sound like VN Reader is still in its early stages, so I'll try and keep an eye on it. I really think it is a great idea, save for the "anybody can translate it" stance.

I enjoyed luckdog1, so I've heard all about that nonsense with the "NO PATCHES" thing. At least Tennenouji let her keep her site up with all the translations. Still, what's the difference between having a site supplying full translations, and having a patch?

Yes, there may be a concern that people try to profit from these patches, but nobody has even attempted to do so, yet. Not to mention that they can C&D anything that even remotely smells of illegality as soon as they want. They can sue the pants off some idiot who tried. Maybe the company could face backlash if their content is controversial and it falls into the hands of activist groups. Again, has this ever been a real problem?

The companies don't have the resources or the gumption to take fiscal risks and release their games in English... Why do the international consumers have to suffer, as a result? It doesn't cost the companies ANYTHING for these patches to be made. Best case scenario, they could ask the fan translators to give them a FREE TRANSLATION. They wouldn't have to pay for translators. If the translator doesn't want to relinquish their work? Easy, the companies would probably C&D.

So you could bring up piracy. People who won't pay for a game won't EVER pay for it. I'm not justifying piracy, of course. I'm sure international otome game consumers are willing to pay for even a download edition. They're much cheaper to manufacture. Physical copies get cracked and hacked just as much as download games, so they can't make the "easier to get pirated" excuse. Hackers will find a way to hack your game.

I'm sure many more international fans will fork out for a copy if they know a patch exists. Provided the consumer bought it from a direct supplier (such as AmiAmi, Animate, Stellaworth, etc.) and not as a used game, the company still makes a profit. Case in point, I know of many non-Japanese fans who own Starry Sky ~in Spring~. Either honeybee doesn't know, or they don't care since they still made a profit in the end.

What's the issue? Am I looking stupid here? Am I missing some really gigantic detail?

/ends long rant. Thanks to those who read this.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by jichi on 30/05/13, 05:38 am

Hey everyone,
This is jichi! スラマッパギ!^^

@Serin sama
Regarding the subtitle protection, currently, the only way to do that is to "lock" the subtitles in "Backlog", this will prevent others from modifying our subs.

I am not sure what would be the best way to protect your efforts, Serin sama. If you have requests on it, just let me know!

Regarding the translation legacy, I think Aaeru sensei's tragedy shows that subs out of patches are still illegal, even in VNR TT

I think the best way to protect fan translation might be always keeping it "低调" (never show it off). I just added nico-like danmku to VNR, and I am trying to hide illegal manual subtitles under the cover of danamku. I reduced the appearance of the word "subtitle" in VNR. I also made my website contents escaped from being indexed by google. I am hoping if this could help hide and protect the fan translation within VNR.

@Laramie Castiel sama
Your posts give me a lot of thoughts, and 本当にありがとうございました,Laramie Castielさま!

I think VNR might need some mechanisms to categorize the users into groups based on their proficiency in Japanese/English. Different groups of users will be granted with different permissions for what they could do to their subs and other's subs. Let me think what would be the best way to make it to work.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 06:04 am

Hello and welcome, jichi!

Wow, the creator himself! =O I'm glad I didn't offend you. =) I just want to stress that I think the VN Reader is a great idea, despite what I said about it.

I think that grouping idea is a good addition. If there is anything I can do to help with VNR, please let me know. It'll probably be able to catch more wind in its sails if other translators support it. I'll be looking forward to the updates!

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Aaeru on 30/05/13, 06:40 am

hey laramie theyre good points that people in my community have been brooding over for a very long time (esp ever since Aroduc's kickstarter project). i pretty much agree with everything you said. Japanese people are very scared of the western world, they are most afraid of compliance with regulations and backlash for non-compliance. They can't shoulder the risk of the legal fees involved in defending against some crazy woman's rights groups. that's why they refuse to work with fan translators. It's sad but they are v. afraid of the law. So the law just makes them unable to do any business with us. (but konosora might change that. we'll see)

This is how i think of patches.
I dont believe patches encourage piracy anymore than a HTML document do. I dont believe they even encourage piracy anymore than a legal release do! So I feel that the moral hatred of patches is unfounded.




Last edited by Aaeru on 30/05/13, 06:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Aaeru on 30/05/13, 06:45 am

About VNR:
The idea I was talking to jichi about before i left is not free translations imo. It is not free translation, because once u get reported a few times, all your changes get reverted, and then you are banned. So it's a peer-review system and you are accountable for your actions.

This means you actually have to have admin people (which most likely includes yourself + other TLers in other groups) who decide if this person was writing in engrish or was engaging in troll-subs. If they fail the test, their changes are reverted, and they must appeal. But if the person proves that they are okay, then they have a blanket license to edit each project's subs.

That's why i was emailing jichi about being able to bring up a list of the latest changes that other people have committed (minus those from those who are already established TLs/editors), and then just going through those changes and pruning out the people ...u dunt like... *ahem*.... i mean the people who dont qualify.



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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 07:07 am

^ I apologise for my previous comments, then. I didn't find information anywhere that this is a peer review system... or I just missed it. X_X

I still think that "grouping/ranking" system that jichi mentioned is a good idea, though.

I'm downloading VNR as we speak, so hopefully I'll get to take a first-hand look at it soon.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Aaeru on 30/05/13, 07:34 am

wait. i think you weren't wrong.

i think the current implementation doesnt have these underlying structures yet. it doesnt have this peer review system but only because jichi hasn't been able to get around to it (he wanted to copy a peer review system from a popular chinese video site).

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 08:03 am

^ Ah, okay. Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to VNR improving.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Serin on 30/05/13, 01:19 pm

@jichi
Thank you very much for contributing to this thread.
It's a honor to have the creator of the VNR program on this board : )

@ Aaeru
I think a peer-review system would be a good idea but I can't imagine that giving everyone who passes the selection process the right to edit everyone else's translation without their consent will end well.
I know there are some translators who conduct themselves professionally but then I think about the whole thing I just can't help imagining an editing war starting between the users. One could argue that the admins will regulate the whole editing process but the work load they would then have to do would be immense...
My suggestion would be to try and make the VNR as self regulating as possible. With, for example, the user who translates one line having to approve of the retranslation or, respectively, the edited translation offered by another user first before the change can be made. Even if that slows down the whole process respectably I think that by having the users communicate this way with each other it would give them a sense of collaboration instead of a belligerent attitude towards whose who always change your translation making your hard work lose it's purpose, replacing it with a feeling of futility instead.
I do realize that not every translator thinks this way but I do think that for a collaboration project to work successfully everyone needs to acknowledge each others work. And isn't it that what the VNR's supposed to be like? A big friendly collaboration between people with about the same level of expertise?
I apologize if I offended anyone with this post.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 02:00 pm

Serin wrote:I think a peer-review system would be a good idea but I can't imagine
that giving everyone who passes the selection process the right to edit
everyone else's translation without their consent will end well.
I
know there are some translators who conduct themselves professionally
but then I think about the whole thing I just can't help imagining an
editing war starting between the users.
Very true. I started thinking about the "editing war" possibility after my last post here. @_@ The Internet is home to some of the most stubborn mules imaginable.

I think self-containment is the best way to go. There wouldn't be nearly enough administrators available that know enough English and Japanese to be an overall "adjudicator".

I initially thought about a system where maybe two people per visual novel are assigned to be the "chief editors/translators" of sorts of each visual novel... but I'm sure that would start a myriad of disagreements. Especially for the more popular series, where more people want a larger influence in. Though that would be easier on the overall creator(s) and moderators of VNR, I can only imagine the petty politics that could arise.

Another problem with the VNR reader is how many people can edit and translate a single character. It will be very hard to maintain that character's speech style. The less experienced translators will translate word-for-word, ignoring idiosyncrasies and adding more "personality" into the character. If the translations aren't factually incorrect, I suspect many won't take kindly to being edited. The routes of popular characters could really suffer.

I admit, I would quickly get frustrated with a user that would constantly challenge my translations because of their personal opinions.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Serin on 30/05/13, 03:52 pm

Laramie Castiel wrote:
I initially thought about a system where maybe two people per visual novel are assigned to be the "chief editors/translators" of sorts of each visual novel...
That's not a bad idea but instead of assigning chef translator and editors to a project wouldn't it be easier to just make the translation, as usual, through a project group and then publish it through VNR? After that other users can comment on the translation and make suggestions on what could be changed to further improve it.
Then, the suggestions and corrections can be easily and much faster be put into practice since one doesn't need to update a patch or something like that.

To be honest I just can't see any way to allow every approved user to translate/ edit everything without drama or a respectable drop in translation quality ensuing.
Thanks Laramie Castiel for pointing out the issue of multiple translators taking on translating a particular character's story/route. I definitely agree with you on this as I also thought about the issue of inconsistent writing/ dialogue increasing the more different translators work on a game. Especially games relying heavily on character development/ interactions will suffer as a result of that.

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 30/05/13, 04:29 pm

That's a very good idea! I don't know why I was only thinking as though a group couldn't translate and then upload their work. I don't take part in any hacking, so I don't know how difficult it is to update patches and so on. However, I really do think that things would be much easier if updates can be made quickly online without having to re-release an entire file all over again.

Yes... there is no way to achieve 100% peace in anything with communal access. Wikipedia is a good example of an excellent communal site that isn't free from drama. I still think the advantages of VNR far outweigh the inevitable pitfalls.

The drop in quality is inevitable. However, if the drop isn't too severe, I don't think this will be a massive issue. In the end, most non-Japanese readers just want to understand what's being said. Of course, that doesn't mean us translators shouldn't strive for the best.

Another problem with the inconsistent character translation probably won't arise from just literal Japanese-to-English alone. It can depend on how a translator interprets a character's phrase or even the character him/herself.

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Post by Aaeru on 30/05/13, 08:07 pm

Well I agree that if you have gathered up a team of motivated people, and you have the momentum to carry it all the way to the end, then the peer-review system is unnecessary. self-containment would just do it.

but the majority of projects I know is just not like that.

Most projects I know is usually a tiny number of people (usually 1 person) desperately trying to gather up more members but unable to do so. The main reason for it, I think, is because translators can't translate even if they wanted to. They can't promise anything, because they've got School work, Uni work, studies, jobs, etc, so they can't commit. But there is massive demand for these games and it is being under-supplied.
So the point of the peer review system, is to remove the fear of formality and remove the fear of commitment. You can translate in your own time, putting in however much you want, whenever you want, and wherever (in the game) you want.

I've spoken to retired fan translators who have told me they are keen on a system like this, because they just can't commit anymore even if they wanted to (thanks to RL). I think there is a huge number of people like this.

It also removes the formality, you don't have to ask for permission. When you've asked for permission, you feel like you are expected something, so they just dont ask.
I think it's psychological. "I can't afford to join the project, but I still want to chip in. but I feel like ill have responsibility i can't live up to, so im afraid of joining."

Yes it won't lead to the same kind of consistency that you would find in a closed-project, but the demand is not asking for perfect consistency. The people who are waiting for translations just want to play something. Anything.

And even within closed projects, the level of collaboration is roughly, one page of translation notes (e.g. use honorifics dont use honorifics. translate this persons speech like this, this location name is translated like this, etc).
So I wanted to speak to jichi about providing a noticeboard of notes that pops up everytime a person logs in, and all the contributors can look through the board and make sure theyre translating/editing consistently.

in fact it would be even better if there is a chat room panel (except that not every1 is logged in at the same time) where u post some question, and then wait for others to reply when they log on.

but i dont disagree that you should be able to close yourself off on VNR (i used to). but the default mode should be peer-review mode, with the possibility of closing yourself off if you want to.

sorry for long post ;A;

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by jichi on 31/05/13, 09:30 pm

@Aeru
That peer reviewing system was called sth meaning "cloud-blocking" in China ><
I have logged down all modification events to other's translation at the server-side, so that it is able to revert them. But there is lacking an interface to revise and revert those changes ><

I am building that framework on the website now, as the current Shared Dictionary GUI in VNR shows that Python+QML+large data => unbearable slow TT
But I am not a good web designer>< I am still learning, and the progress is slow ///

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by mspykez on 03/06/13, 01:51 pm

Laramie Castiel wrote:I'm not concerned about "prank" translations. My concern are people who pretty much rely on translating programmes and/or lack the skills to make the subtitles less "robotic". The amount of incorrect translations I see on blogs, forums, LPs, etc. is not worryingly high, but let's put it this way- if I were the game's staff, I wouldn't hire them.

Oh, and I'm sure this will make me sound racist in addition to sounding elitist, but I don't like the idea of people with poor English to be able to translate freely, too. Before you try to ship me off to the KKK (they won't accept me, I'm a "race-traitor" mongrel), hear me out. Do we really want Engrish or misspelled subtitles? If you want Engrish, just use that Atlas programme.
Tbh this 'less skilled' translations are most of the time better than the 'machine translators' so if ppl can contribute with a better translation even if it is a shameless modified version of a machine translator I will be happy to have it. 90%+ of the games don't get a single word translated so in my eyes even a simple phrase translated by a fan here and there is a positive thing.

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 05/06/13, 04:54 am

^ I agree that in the end, otome gamers would be happy with any kind of translation. However, if you're going to go to the trouble of translating from the beginning, you might as well implement some quality control.

Also, modifying machine translations still can produce a lot of misunderstandings. For example, machine translators do not pick up metaphors or similes, unless they're very common. Even then, more often than not, it's a very unnatural result.

Again, if you're happy with machine translations, use a programme like Atlus. I don't see why VNR has to be an anybody-can-edit version of Atlus.

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Post by Aaeru on 05/06/13, 05:11 am

i dunno y u said that but VNR is not an anybody-can-edit version of Atlus.

nobody is in support of total free translations here. and nobody is in support of machine translations either.

if u want to create closed-translation where only your members edit, you can.

if u want to have ppl jump on board wherever they feel free to (like the toradora project), u can. you would only pick this option if you dont have one or two very dedicated people who have huge amounts of free time. It is not optimal, but it doesn't have to be because otome gamers have nothing to play right now.

but just know that if users want to alter Atlus then pass it off as real translations, it would be quickly picked up by one of the admins and all of her changes would be quickly reverted, and then they are placed on a ban list (until they appeal).

Not saying the system is going to be like that, it's jichi who has the final say, but this would be how i would do it.

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 05/06/13, 05:33 am

^ I'm sure you just misread what I said, but I'll repeat myself: "I don't see why VNR has to be an anybody-can-edit version of Atlus."

I was trying to get the point across that if people don't care about quality control, they should just stick with Atlus. Especially if their only goal is to somewhat understand what is going. mspkyez mentioned that s/he didn't mind blatant machine-to-human translations, and I just wanted to weigh in why I don't agree with that.

If you also agree with that (I'm assuming you do not), what would be the point of VNR's quality control?

Also, we've already discussed how it is possible to tackle the issue of reduced quality through what essentially boils down to "anybody, anytime" translations. Editors can come in patch things up where and when they can.

I still think VNR is a great idea, and I really wish it takes off. At the very least, I wish for it to take off when it's more complete. As the rate of translation project cancellations prove, VNR would be a better system if applied right.

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Post by Aaeru on 05/06/13, 05:56 am

oh i see. my bad

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default Re: Question about visual novel reader

Post by Laramie Castiel on 05/06/13, 05:59 am

That's okay. Like I said a few times now, I can't wait until VNR is more complete. I've installed it and checked it out for myself. If I do get spare time, maybe I'll translate some stuff.

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