What makes a translation group? Depending on a medium of story telling, an answer can be different. For an international manga community, the answer to the mentioned question would usually have the followings:
After having joined and collaborated with a myriad of translation groups, I came to notice a certain trend of thoughts among numerous readers—It is that there is no high demand for typesetters and cleaners. However, that’s not the case at all. As minor as their roles might seem to appear, I would even go far to claim that if it weren’t for them, many translation groups would’ve collapsed. Or not even have existed in the first place.
Without people in these two divisions, I reckon the workload’s weight multiplies by about twice or triple(sometimes even quadruple, depending on a series) for the team. For instance, if I had at least one re-drawer bro to collaborate with, my translation work for both Minamoto-Kun and BSM could be weekly; heck, maybe even less than a week. That’s the extent of difference that one re-drawer can make. Same goes for typesetters. If it weren’t for these two types of workers, the sheer amount of workload would have discouraged many translation teams from continuing. Consequently, many mangas wouldn’t have been translated. Imagine how you would feel if you can’t have read new chapters for your favorite works. In spite of how minor their roles might come across, typesetters and cleaners also play pivotal roles in helping you experience that happiness. Dedicating hours of their time and Working For free.
I’ve talked to many readers who believe that cleaning is rather straight-forward and easy. Certainly, for white bubbles, the work is easy. However, that’s not always the case (as shown here). Additionally, the difficulty of a task does not necessarily determine its value. One could argue that being a coder for Apple Inc. is most likely more complex than being a farmer. However, that doesn’t mean that the farmer’s career should be undermined in comparison to that of a coder. Instead, both should be valued.
If translators are the ones working in the shadow of this manga community that is unfortunately dominated by aggregation sites(read my article here for more info), typesetters and cleaners are the ones working at the deepest end of the shadow. Only a tiny number of people in this community express thanks to these people.
*Source: Real Account II Chapter 94
As a translator, I often get thanks messages, and I can’t express how fulfilling that feels; my time and effort dedicated to these fictional works were not meaningless. Such comments/messages have helped me to replenish my motivation bar to its maximum. That’s why I genuinely find it tragic how almost atomic-sized part of the community ever send appreciation message to typesetters and cleaners. That’s why if you ever a person fitting in either of these two categories, it would be really awesome of you to cheer them on or something.
Another thing I came to realize after meeting and chatting with different translation groups is that not many translators bother to try doing all six roles by themselves independently. And that’s what I’ve been doing for 5 projects, so I guess I can take pride in that.
Current list of Glasses-Kun’s Translation Works Since Mid Of June:
–Hajimete No Gal: Currently Ch31-37 done. (6 roles alone done here)
–Real Account II: Ch 61-62, 9 pages of Ch 63one (6 roles alone done here)
–Minamoto-kun Monogatari: Currently Ch210-211 done (6 roles alone done here)
–Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism: Currently Ch31 done (6 roles alone done here)
–Prison Lab: Currently Ch12-15 done (Just Translation for Mangazuki)
–Okusama ga seitokai kaichou: Ch 43 done (6 roles alone done here)
–Perfect Classroom: prologue, chapter 1-2 done (Just Translation for Soda Scan)
-Some occultic nine doujinshi done (Just Translation for Red Lantern District)
In spite of how time-consuming the overall lone wolf experience was, I’m glad that I tried them all. Because thanks to it, I learned to become more appreciative of the under-appreciated typesetters and cleaners in our community. It helped me see the team efforts behind each translated chapter of different mangas more clearly, and I can confidently claim that I came to enjoy this medium more than ever before.
So if being a translator, typesetter or cleaner ever piques your interest, give it a shot. If you feel bored or dull with the way things are now for you, give it a shot. It might be the unexpected stimulus you need.
Depending on your mindset and the translation group, it could lead to an eye-opening experience. It’s also refreshing to have a broader view of this online community’s both virtues and vices. Lastly, the experience helps you become a nicer person who is more appreciative of under-appreciated people out there in the world.
So with that all said, Let’s get back to BSM and
classic tale of Minamoto-Kun Monogatari