How to Recruit Translator?

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How to Recruit Translator?

Post by flamethrower » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:31 pm

In the context of a fan translation project:
How do we recruit translators? OR
How does one recruit a translator?

A proof of concept might be effective.
Damn, should have put down "Translators Wanted" on the description of my ZnK YouTube video. I feel like a proof-of-concept helps the translator (and the hacker) feel that the hacker is technically competent. Did we get any translators from the ZnK proof of concept video? I think we only got yangxu from it. It was beautifully titled "ZnK Script Test 4" or something like that.

One thing I heard was to directly ask fansub group translators, especially those who translate thematically similar material, for their help directly. Might that be a good strategy?

I feel like SkyeWelse may be able to chime in on this as I feel he is something of an expert in the field of "Netiquette."

This is not a request for TL help. The goal will be to use the advice presented here when conducting recruiting efforts. A lot of our projects aren't more successful because we don't have enough translators on our team.

I googled "how to recruit fan translator" and didn't come up with much, just the advice to hit up fansubbers.

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Re: How to Recruit Translator?

Post by zeromonkey » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:50 pm

It remains a mystery how to get translators. Times have really changed since I got started doing this. I believe there is more translators these days than many years ago because people realized just how screwed they were getting out of games not being localized. I think a proof of concept (and ability) is a huge plus. There are a ton of people that think working on stuff is really easy (and after a while, it does become easy but very time consuming) and so they "start" a translation project. Some people think the way to go is forming this massive team of people is the way to go and from my experience, you can't have a team of people who share the exact same skills. It causes a lot of problems. Thankfully we all compliment each other in this crew and we are growing.

Basically, I usually would post a small proof of concept on places that I know people are working on translations. Depending on the game or whatever media it is, joining a forum where people share the same interest doesn't hurt. If you are a religious person, I suggest praying also. Wishful thinking is another good option. All in all, just let the world know you are working on the project. If people are interested, they will come. I mean look how we snagged Guren in the beginning, yangxu came along after the proof of concept video and now the people who on the Falcom dedicated websites are starting to lend a hand.

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Re: How to Recruit Translator?

Post by flamethrower » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:18 am

On that note: Would you mind if I posted help requests for your projects (on other sites)?

I don't think it's clear whether you're looking for more Zero help right now. It might be the case that you actually are not. Can you clarify that for me? I feel that it's either:
1) We have enough help right now, don't want more, and we'll finish eventually
2) We have enough help right now and could finish faster with even more help
and I'm not sure which.

Edit: I never tried to recruit anybody for anything. Basically I'm looking for permission to do that.

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Re: How to Recruit Translator?

Post by SkyeWelse » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:03 am

I think that even though someone is skilled in something that they do, whether it be programming, translation, hacking or graphics, I think it really comes right down to whether this individual has time, whether their time is going to be respected and the request for their skills is a modest one. I think it also really comes right down to whether that individual is really interested in a specific project's release.

Regarding an example of what I mean by modesty and respect for their time, I should explain a small story regarding my my wife. I believe I mentioned before that she is Japanese and can speak fluent English. We actually met working on a project online at a Genso Suikoden fansite called Suikosource which is still around, but quite dead, like the series and Konami in general... Anyhow, Suikosource was the largest site for Suikoden information and they had roughly 4-5 translators all working together in tandem to try and release hidden content details from Japanese source material for fans that were craving it. (keep in mind that this was many, many years ago when Suikoden III had just come out and the series in general as well as Konami itself was still quite popular) After working on content for awhile she became extremely tired of it, because for as much work as she would put into it, there was always more to do and it seemed that fans became increasingly more ravenous and thankless for the work she and others were putting in and many of which did not understand what a modest request was. "Here translate this!" "Hey can you translate this whole book?" "Hey can you translate the Genso Suikoden Gaiden PS1 game, ooh and the sequel too! KTHXBYE!" and one of her all time favorites: "Hey, I have this cool idea. How about you translate the Genso Suiko Gaiden games!"... @_@

Then some of the fans started actually whining about when certain things would be completed with no tact in their inquiries when checking for progress updates almost as if it was her profession or job to do this service for them. All of that combined with some disputes with some of the other staff there, one of which was also a translator, albeit one that rushed his translations and didn't spend any real time on them to decipher all the details and meanings in the text. If you've ever seen the movie Lost in Translation with the scene where the Japanese director is explaining his complete and total poetic vision about what he wants Bill Murray's character to do and act, and the translator just tells him about 20-30% of what was said with really no real details whatsoever, that's pretty much the situation in a nutshell.

So yeah, she got burned out on that and it started to not become very "fun" for her anymore and ever since she's been rather burned out in general about translating anything for anyone, even me, and I think I rather extinguished that final flame when I asked her for some help with our Nayuta no Kiseki project. She's a very no-nonsense individual and I will never ask her translating anything unless she offers. And so, the real detail comes back to this earlier point: She may only offer if she happens to be somewhat interested in it herself or if it's fun and not a chore.

I think that translators in general as well, at least American translators, who have spent many years studying Japanese to become fluent in the language are in large part interested in practicing that skill so that they can land employment with some type of translation firm or company. Perhaps if they are interested in games and want to work for a localization entity or publisher, they'll want to create some body of portfolio work for themselves so that they can show "Hey I worked on this project!", but I think that most publishers and translation firms in actuality might not see fan-translation work of games to be worthwhile portfolio content because of that legal grey area of busting open someone else's intellectual property and modifying it. And as we all know whether it is true or false, romhacking in general is often thought to be the very same as offering pirated content. My wife's sister is in the localization business for a game company that I won't mention by name, but I don't think that they look at fan-translation as a solid body of work mainly because of this stereotype and grey area.

So all in all when it comes right down to it, I think translators are probably willing to help here and there, but it all depends on the scope of the work required and their interest level in that project.

So what does that all mean exactly? Well...

Like you all stated above, a proposal with a proof of concept, maybe a working demo and not only advertising the project, but "selling it". No, not for actual money, I mean selling the idea of why this game needs to be in English. What makes it so damn cool that someone would invest their time and hours free of charge to do it? Cool screenshots + a brief history about the game + proof of concept + passion. That's what I think sells a project.

I was typing some more stuff about Suikoden and what it meant to me at that time, and the site/community I used to run and the network ring I started working on, but at this point it's all pretty boring to go into. So instead I'll just say that I enjoy reaching out and meeting new people. I'm also a project manager and main client correspondent (and salesman, even though there's no extra money like commissions in that unfortunately) for a webdesign team at the company I work for, I probably am pretty suited to reach out to some new blood or gauge their interest level in helping out with projects. But before we can really get started with that, I think we A) need to finish our website up, including content B) have some proof of concept or landing pages setup to introduce the games we are working on and C) develop a short test of skill to be used in vetting new translation help for certain projects. Something that the other translators and project leads can look at and review to see if they would be a good fit.

Okay I think I've written enough. Time for sleep.


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Re: How to Recruit Translator?

Post by flamethrower » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:40 pm

For (C) - Translation Test:
Can't you just give them 1,000 lines of JA or so from the game they're interested in and say to translate their favorite 100 lines of those 1,000? No need to develop a special "test" I think.
Also, we need to have no anonymous script editing in the future, just so we know who is editing what. You can cheat on any test, right? Hopefully the lesson from the Zero project has been learned. I feel it has been, anyway.
I can't help with A or B. I know nothing about web design. I'm not willing to learn either, sorry. I can probably help with developing the actual proof of concepts to put on those pages, for when we're ready for recruiting.

Let me explain about the Zero project: Zero never asked me to put together the proof of concept, I just thought it was something cool to work on. Our current "Script Test 4" isn't perfect. The first dumper I made missed many lines and those missed lines were inserted, they just hadn't been translated yet when I made it, which is why those lines are still in JA. Those lines have been translated now. Should I prepare a new proof of concept video? The new one still won't look perfect, but it will have every line translated, which our current proof of concept doesn't even have.

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Re: How to Recruit Translator?

Post by Gu4n » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:02 pm

As a translator with a full-time job and working as a freelance writer in the evening hours, I only work on projects that really matter to me. What I work on really depends on my mood. Brandish 2 is great because it will allow people to finally play (one of) the finest PC-98 game(s) in English, which the small text boxes really limit whatever is possible with the translation. Apart from that, I sometimes also translate stuff from the Kiseki series for Endless History of my own Kiseki Wikia, because I'm really passionate about that series and want to share my knowledge with people.

So I'm not really recruitable, unless - like with all freelance work - payment is involved.

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