(Probably) The End of a Translator's Journey

5 minutes
905 words

Tags: rant

TL;DR: I lost interest in translating. I'm dropping both the manga and web novel of Otome Survival. The manga was picked up by Daddy, Scan me Harder!, releasing on MangaDex, and you can talk to them on their Discord server. The web novel hasn't been picked up by anyone yet, so feel free to pick it up. This website will (probably) go offline in September, since that's when the domain expires.

Where to start. I guess I'll begin with how I came to want to translate. In short, I was annoyed by the low quality fan translations out there and I thought I could do much better. And I was right. I can do much better than most.

Now, the problem is that I hated translating right from the start. Right from the first web novel chapter, I regretted starting translating. Why? The main reason was because I was slow. I didn't want to produce the low quality translations that made me start translating in the first place, so I was spending a lot of time getting it as good as I could. At the time, I wasn't busy with anything (more like procrastinating on my programming projects due to burnout), so it didn't matter that much that it took too long, so I soldiered on.

With practice, I was becoming faster. Learning a lot on the way, too, so I wouldn't say it was wasted effort. It improved my writing skills, at least. But that only made me reaffirm that I'll hate the translation process even if I become the fastest translator alive. I'll just never come to like localisations.

Through the editing process, i.e. the process of making the text sound natural in the target language, I understood just how much is lost in translation. And I'll be the first to admit that I probably just lack the skills to make a natural-sounding translation. But in the end, no matter how I wrote the sentences, to me, the original was still better. Not really because the original was some sort of masterpiece, but mainly because some things that sound cool in Japanese, end up sounding like cringe when translated.

Or maybe it's just my weeb brainwashing glorifying the Japanese language. The reality is probably that Japanese people themselves can feel the cringe in Japanese too. Either way, this problem of perception often gave me trouble while translating, leading to a lot of dissatisfaction.

There's also a constricting feeling when translating because you can't really change it too much. At least I don't think it would be fair to change the text too much into something that the author didn't intend. Abiding by this rule, is frankly, annoying.

I can't count on all my fingers and toes just how many times I wanted to go off on my own to add details and extra story content. It just made me wish I was the one writing this story, instead of just being a lowly translator. I'll probably just write my own books from now on. I do have a lot of ideas and a fair amount of experience from reading a ton of books, so that's enough to make me a world-renown author, right?

...Anyway. The gist of it is that I kinda hate translating. The effort required is just not worth it for me. Especially since right now I have to focus on earning money. Starting from March, my already garbage life turned into hell. I'm not going to elaborate. But to escape this hellhole, I need to become independent, for which I need money. And doing fan translations won't earn me enough even if I consider the most optimistic future possible.

These past few months, instead of translating, I focused on trying to get hired. Sadly, it seems I'm still not good enough to be hired. Or I'm just not finding a fitting position for my skill set. Either way, I'm still unemployed. So I decided to instead focus on writing a program that by itself would be good enough to earn me some money, possibly enough to pay for my monthly expenses and be able to save up. Before, I mostly focused on passion projects that would be used mostly by me, but I don't have any more time. So from now on I'm going to focus all my effort on writing one such program.

The actual reason I'm dropping all work on Otome Survival now is because of the opportune timing of the manga being picked up by another group. Their quality seems good enough, so I don't feel bad about letting them have it. This allowed me to finally let go of the burden that was tormenting me these past few months. I felt quite guilty about not delivering on what I promised, to be honest. I sincerely apologise.

Finally, I wanted to give my thanks to everyone who donated to me. With that money, I was able to pay for domain renewals, server costs, medicine, and most importantly, I was able to replace my phone's swollen battery. As you can see below, I was walking with a ticking time bomb in my pocket for months. So thanks a lot for that. :D

Phone with swollen battery