Scanlation process

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“As a fellow translator, I just want scanlators khổng lồ really know your own worth.”

Many scanlators và readers we have talked with and interviewed have sầu argued countless times that scanlation occupies a legal và moral “grey zone” for series that have yet to receive sầu an English license. However illegal they may be, scans offer international readers the chance to try new series và become fans, they argue. In this “không tính tiền publicity” và “spread the love” narrative sầu, these scans help build the market for manga aước ao fans that would not otherwise be known. Though this may be true for series that receive an official English localization, Rotoscope, a scanlator working to create a “licensing venture” with an artist’s blessing, brought up a question not often asked by readers or scanlators: “How many companies decide not khổng lồ pick up an artist’s comic because they think people will just read it online?”

For series that vì not receive sầu an official English localization because of scanlators, is scanlation still in the grey zone?

To find answers, we spoke with Beverly Maynor, a professional Japanese to lớn English translator with experience both in scanlation and the manga industry.

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“Impatience is not a publishers fault.”

Manga Planet: Could you please introduce who you are and how you are involved in the industry?

Beverly: Hi there, I’m Beverly Maynor, and I’m a Japanese to English freelance translator. ‘Industry’ wise I’ve been a lot of things, a planner, a director, a salesman, and even worked on multiple ‘startups’ of animation related businesses targeted in bringing otaku culture lớn the English speaking audiences, but above all, I’m just a fangirl.

Manga Planet: Wow, that is amazing. I’m sure a lot of people would want to lớn ask you for career advice.

Beverly: Haha. They’re miễn phí to ask, but I don’t know if I’d give the best advice.

Manga Planet: If you’re allowed khổng lồ talk to us about it, could you tell us about your experience as a manga translator?

Beverly: Yes! I’ve sầu been working with games for a while now but always wanted to make the crossover lớn some manga as well. So in order khổng lồ prepare for that, I actually started with scanlations lớn get some practice. Since the catch-22 of the industry is needing some samples to lớn show your experience but everything you work on being under NDA. Haha! And lucky for me, I have a great tư vấn group of friends who translate, and about half a year after I started scanlating, a friover introduced me to a (honestly— low paying) contract company that handles some manga và actually about 6 months after that I had a short stint at a company trying to make a trang web for official manga releases! While it may not have worked out at the full-time gig, I am still lucky enough to get khổng lồ work on official releases today, but most of my translations are with a company doing the great work of translating some 18+ original doujinshi, Enshovì chưng.

Manga Planet: So you started in scanlation lớn move into manga translation. Would you say scanlating prepared you for professional manga translation? Also, did you mention your scanlation experience to the company?

Beverly: Yes! I think scanlating had a huge impact on getting me hired. Like I said earlier, almost everything you work on in this industry is under something called an NDA—Non-Disclosure Agreement. Depending on the client, some can be really restrictive. Like for the contract manga company I worked with. I can’t say their name, I can’t say what I worked on, I have sầu lớn delete all the files off my personal computer once they’re done, etc. But yes, scanlation experience is a huge plus in not only can you show these files to the client so they can see your skill set— it’s something definitive sầu that really shows you can work with stuff like small bubbles và sfx. You think it’s simple but coming from a truyền thông media và game background, text limitations can be a real struggle. I absolutely cringe to think what it was lượt thích lớn edit me the first time I worked with sfx, too. Haha. It’s a great way to get new skills và not waste a lot of client’s time. They get to lớn skip the step of training you, và as a freelancer, that’s not something you’d get without a pay downgrade.

Manga Planet: Ahh, I see. So scanlation can be incorporated inkhổng lồ your portfolio. Since you worked on the industry side, has your opinion of scanlation changed?

Beverly: I’d say my opinion of scanlation since my teenage years has definitely changed, but when I actually got inkhổng lồ it, I was already of the mindmix that it wasn’t a good thing for the industry. I was really upfront with my group about the fact that I was basically doing it for practice and they were really accepting và just happy lớn have sầu another translator on Điện thoại tư vấn. I’m really happy with the things I worked on with them because it is an artist I love sầu dearly, but it is a double-edged sword because I vì chưng love that artist, & I want them to get an official English release, & I know I’ve hurt that chance for her now.

Manga Planet: What you mean that it “hurt that chance for her now?” Many readers và other scanlators tover to lớn argue that having scanlations could help the artist since it would build an audience for them.

Beverly: It may not be so comtháng knowledge on the other side of the circuit, but when an artist already has well-known scanlations out for some of their work, that can actually become a reason for people not lớn get a license.

Because scanlation is not new lớn the scene, companies are already aware that the hit khổng lồ sales is already there. Since like only 5% of people who read scans actually buy, your target market is people who have heard of the title but haven’t read scans.

It is a big catch-22. If something is already scanlated, then you want if khổng lồ be popular enough for people to lớn know the artist name, unpopular enough that people will actually buy it. There are even some scan groups whose reputations ruin it for the artist.

I won’t name names, but basically, the ones that are known to lớn still release chapters once the official license is announced, or actually hear about the license and purposefully release everything instead of stopping.

It’s actually a lot more comtháng than you think, and licensors know who these groups are. I can say that when I worked at the manga company, we tried to lớn reach out nicely & warn some people we were going lớn license something & get them khổng lồ find a nice stopping place, và people burned us. That sticks with you. Anytime you get the chance lớn release something that you know that group did— you DO double think it. And it’s absolutely awful to think about as a bạn.

Manga Planet: So “double-thinking” leads to lớn series not being picked up?

Beverly: I think it relies heavily on where you are as a company and your corporate outlook though. Like we went through with the (one scanlated series) we did it because it was a very popular title & we expected traffic for it. (Also, the freelancers were jumping at the bit for it.) Had we gotten a license to lớn another work that scanlation group was doing down the line, I probably would have turned it down.

Manga Planet: This is definitely something we have thought about even at Manga Planet-the scanlation status of an artist’s work. So in this regard, you would say that scanlation hurts the industry, specifically artists, more than it helps?

Beverly: I would say so. As a fan, I understvà wanting khổng lồ tóm tắt your favorite artist with people. And not lớn get all grandma up on this interview, but bachồng in my dayyyy (haha), you shared the official print. Even in the digital age, you can share the official digital release. The problem with scanlation is that it’s spoiled us. I actually saw something the other day. Someone was posting a top 30 shojo manga list—và something I worked on was on it. I was over the moon! So I cliông xã to see what the comments are, and there it was. “Ugh, this cost money. Can someone pay and put it up on an illegal website so we can read it for free?” (I’m not kidding—they typed illegal!) Not only does that hurt the artist, the industry, & the people who DO bởi vì this stuff officially’s paykiểm tra, it is the most indescribably serrated knife stab in the bachồng of everyone trying their hardest for this industry. And the problem is, & I know people don’t want to hear it, this is not the minority.

Manga Planet: We have sầu found a lot of readers when confronted with this truth say that it’s the publishers’ fault-và piracy at its core is a service issue. From your perspective, bởi you believe sầu this is a valid point?

Beverly: I find it really hard khổng lồ understvà this argument myself.

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A lot of scanlators say ‘well this will never be licensed anyway so we’re just bringing what would never come lớn English over’ or they’re offering ‘timely English releases.’ And not khổng lồ be harsh but: Who made you the overlord of all licensors? How bởi you know what would or wouldn’t be licensed? Impatience is not a publishers fault.

Let’s think of the original work as an táo Apple. That táo Apple needs time lớn grow. You can inject it with growth hormones khổng lồ try and hurry it along, but it still takes about 100 days for that táo khổng lồ be ready. (Not to mention the six years or so to grow the tree!) If you pichồng the táo off because you want it now, it’s not the táo bị cắn dở the farmer wanted you khổng lồ eat; it’s small, it’s sour. Is it the farmer’s fault you picked the táo khuyết off his tree?

Manga Planet: So in this case, would you say the customer isn’t right?

Beverly: I mean, if we stick with the táo bị cắn analogy, if the farmer wasn’t ready to sell, that would mean the táo bị cắn dở wasn’t at the market. If it was still on his tree, then someone took it off his tree without his permission. So taking an táo khuyết and not paying for it when someone’s livelihood depends on selling those apples… yeah, that’s wrong.

Manga Planet: Another complaint we hear from readers & scanlators is that manga is “too expensive” or “overpriced.” A lot of people don’t understvà what goes inlớn creating manga let alone localizing it và making it ready for an English release. Could you possibly tell us where their money goes lớn when they vì buy an official release?

Beverly: I think that one varies too much depending on the site for me to give sầu a good answer too.

I can only attest to lớn what I know, và I can’t give sầu you exact numbers but, one thing readers seem to lớn forget is that when it comes to lớn an English release, it’s not just paying someone khổng lồ translate và typemix. Step one is getting permission from the publisher, a part of that is agreeing on a publishing fee, và what percentage of sales goes back to the publisher(and a cut of that goes to lớn the artist themselves) Depending on titles, this can be tens of thousands of dollars for AAA titles, maybe even hundreds.

On top of that, you have sầu the staff at the English publishing office, who facilitate freelancers or in-house resources for translation, typemix, & any corrections. This is the part that scanlators vày for không tính tiền. They skip that thousands of dollars up front step.

Now, unfortunately, I don’t typephối so I can only speak khổng lồ what I know, but translation wise– remember this is my bread & butter, I live off this. In an ikhuyến mãi world, everyone is aiming for lượt thích at least $20.00 an hour at their full time, college graduate jobs, yeah? Depending on who you’re working for, this can mean anywhere from 4 pages to đôi mươi pages an hour. (You can see how this range hurts me) And how quickly you go is determined by how much text is on a page, how hard it is, etc. Here’s a sample page from one of the works I bởi vì with Enshovày from a series called Mesmerism.

Now, as you can see, there is quite a bit of text here, & Mesmerism has a hypnotherapy theme. I’ve sầu never had hypnotherapy before, so this did take some research etc.

I mean, I’ll be blunt, this page alone took me probably took me at least 30 minutes. I have never earned anywhere near $20.00 an hour doing manga, và I probably never will. And I doubt this page was any quicker for the typesetter- bless their talented little soul. And Enshovày sells this whole book for only $5.99!

I can’t say how many copies they need khổng lồ sell lớn recoup their cost but, it’s not one copy. Publishing isn’t cheap. Printing isn’t cheap. Staff isn’t cheap. Electrithành phố isn’t không tính tiền. Photoshop isn’t không tính tiền. I mean, there are thousands of dings, here & there, & they all add up.

Thankfully my plethora of jobs has left me with plenty of knowledge haha.

Manga Planet: Thank you for sharing it. Do you find that since scanlators work for không lấy phí, it impacts the rates for professionals in the industry?

Beverly: Definitely. As I mentioned before, that wishful thinking of $20.00 an hour is anywhere from 4 khổng lồ 20 pages an hour. A lot of companies can actually target scanlators specifically because as a company obviously, you’d rather get 20 pages for that $20.00 rather than 4. And as professional who needs khổng lồ eat of their paycheck—It’s really hard to come up with convincing evidence as to why you’re worth the extra money to someone who doesn’t speak the language you translate into. (Not that there aren’t plenty of scanlators & professionals who translate very well for that lower rate. That’s why it makes it so hard lớn prove you’re worth the extra money.)

Manga Planet: In an interview, we did with Ryoko Nicole, a BL scanlator, we talked about “entitled readers,” or readers who expect miễn phí manga & are entitled khổng lồ content. Do you feel like there are “entitled scanlators,” or scanlators that feel lượt thích they have the right to lớn translate something or have sầu ownership over a manga?

Beverly: Oh dear, the hardball questions have sầu come out, haha. I can’t say I know many personally, but I vày feel lượt thích there are some people/groups lượt thích that. Like the notion that if one group is scanlating a book, another group can’t work on it. Or people who keep scanlating after a book’s official release has been announced. They certainly bởi vì exist out there.

Manga Planet: Many people think that fighting piracy và scanlations are a lost cause. Do you nói qua this sentiment or believe sầu there is something readers và fans alike can do?

Beverly: I certainly think something can be done if we work together. These sites exist because a lot of people use them. But I know that it’s a very hard fight to lớn be had. The saddest part is, legitimate sources that are trying lớn break in and give people a legal way of reading manga are being crushed because people are so determined khổng lồ use the piracy sites.

Manga Planet: That is the most depressing part…I feel that quite a bit as well. Do you think publishers can learn anything from scanlators?

Beverly: I certainly bởi vì. A lot of Japanese publishers are really clueless when it comes khổng lồ what it takes to lớn make an English release. Things lượt thích re-drawing, or even typesetting, a lot of them don’t know that the translator doesn’t vị everything! And I certainly think that Japanese publishers aren’t as aware of interacting with fans. Especially in the states, social truyền thông media is a big way of spreading people’s awareness of a brand. I was a kinh doanh major, & I always love giving this little tidbit, so I’ll nói qua my master interview answer with you all.

In the states, it’s called social truyền thông. In Japan, it’s called SNS (social networking system). Do you know why? Because when you’re branding yourself in English, you interact with your followers, you create a conversation. Japanese brands use it more as a board to announce things. Scanlators know how important it is khổng lồ interact with their fans, because they vì chưng all of this work for không lấy phí, for those fans. I feel lượt thích this is a really important hurdle Japanese publishers need to learn how khổng lồ overcome if they really want to lớn successfully release things in English.

Manga Planet: Is there anything else you wish scanlators and understood from the industry perspective?

Beverly: As a fellow translator, I just want scanlators khổng lồ really, know your own worth. You know how much time & effort goes into what you vì. Maybe it’s just a hobby, but don’t accept any pay that’s thrown your way. When I started at the manga company, I actually reached out to lớn my own scanlation group. I let them know we were working with the genre of manga they liked lớn do, but only offered X amount for the total sản phẩm. And you know what? They turned me down. And khổng lồ this day, I find that so inspiring. I wasn’t even offended. The leader very clearly laid out, “You know, what we vì, it takes time and skill, & we’re not going lớn work for anything less than Y.”

I’ll be honest, I have sầu a terrible time turning down any job that comes my way. And it gets me stuck in this low pay high volume loop.

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And I hope it’s because you know your worth khổng lồ the industry, you’ll stop releasing everything for không tính phí. Because, you bởi deserve sầu recognition, and praise for what you bởi. And if you protect the industry, they’ll protect you. We can work together to make publishing better và more viable, instead of all feeding the illegal websites that steal your scans hours after release và profit off it anyway.

Chuyên mục: ĐỊNH NGHĨA