Monday, March 5, 2012

Scanlation Idiocy

So I thought I'd come back and work on some of the back-logged stuff I intended to host on this blog... only to find a few jackass-comments regarding my Macross: The First translation. I had not intended to speak of the matter, as I found the whole ordeal rather unsavory and embarassing (moreso for the other party than myself). But since he(?) chose to be an immature asshole, I'm forced to explain the matter. Here is the full story, exactly as it happened:

If you're not fond of stories of wankery, stupidity and douchebags, go ahead and ignore this. I'm only going to address this issue once--right here, right now--and then never again. I'm an adult. I don't have the time or patience for this shit.

Last December, I happened across a full volume scan for the first volume of Macross: The First. The quality was ~atrocious," but I could make out about 70% of the kanji, and guess at most of the katakana readings for the kanji I couldn't read. So I thought to myself: I'd like to translate this into English for myself.

So I did.

Some time later, when I was maybe 1/4th of the way through the first chapter, I found that another group was translating the manga. My first though: oh, crap--guess I wasted all that time for nothing. They were translating it into Spanish, however, and had much nicer scans than the ones I was working with--of good enough quality for me to use to make an English scanlation, using my own translation. So I took the scans, without asking for permission. My reasoning in this was that THEY were, in effect, stealing the scans, had no ownership to them, and therefore in the ethically dubious realm of scanlating I was not acting wrongly.

Apparently the group took great offense at this, despite the fact that as soon as I started my scanlation efforts I attempted to contact them, asking if they would be so kind as to share their raws with me, as a clearing image of the Japanese text would make my efforts a LOT easier. I was very polite, and in the first few emails we exchanged things were civil, if a bit terse. At this point, I was willing to attribute any apparent rudeness to the language barrier--I do not speak Spanish at any level (beyond, you know, ordering Burritos and Chipotle) so we conversed (briefly) in English.

This Spanish-language scanlation group told me that they could not share the raws with me because they were paying a third party to translate the manga into English, which they then translated into Spanish. I said "okay, that's cool, good luck" in as many words and parted ways, expecting never to hear from them again. This was their first email.

A week or so later they contacted me again. They informed me that the individual they had contracted to translate The First did not have the time or the inclination to scanlate it, and offered to let me use their raws... IF I also used their script. I (very politely) declined, stating as best I could that a large part of my motivation for scanlating lies with the need for practice--my Japanese is not good (if you know Japanese, compare some of the more complicated dialog to my translations: I'm certain you'll fine a fair bit of inaccuracies). To simply regurgitate someone else's translation would, in effect, be meaningless for me.

So, once again, I wished them luck with their efforts and parted ways, expecting never to hear from them again.

A bit of time passed after that, and I recieved some new emails. Crudely written and filled with profanity, this group accused me of insulting them, stealing their scans, and stealing their script. I replied, apologizing for any perceived offense, stated my case once more, pointed out that our scripts would (obviously) be very similar as we were both translating the same material, and blocked the sender. As I said earlier, I'm an adult: I don't have time for bullshit.

I was perfectly content at this point to forget about the foolish, worthless "fansub DRAMA" and move on. I ran out of raws, purchased some books on my own (which just arrived, actually; though it will take me some time to scan), and moved on.

I got busy with life, came back here today to make fill-in some gaps, so to speak, and what do I find in the comment threads of several posts? That group--that one asshole, blithering his vitriol here. Very immature. And so here we are: my hand is forced. I have acted with courtesy to the best of my ability. In the past 3 months as I have entered the "scanlating community," I have spoken with many scanlators and many fans, all of whom have been very kind and supportive, to my unending appreciation. This experience has been quite unpleasant. I intend to put it behind me.

This kind of bullshit is stupid and pointless, and distracts from the necessity of the scanlation effort: this material needs to be translated. Who does the translating or who gets the credit... is immaterial. The COMMUNITY matters, not the twits with scanners.


  1. Can you believe that the guy from that blog just closed it because according to his words, the people that was posting their critics about his decision of not to fandubbing the manga was "insulting him"? That guy is just a cry baby, if he was intended to do really something for the fandom he just would go on with his work, but he choose just to close the site because "he deserved the credits and you guys were stealing it". How childish...
    From now on, you have my support, I can see that you really care about this hobby and the real spirit of making a fandub work.
    P.M. Sorry for my bad English...

  2. Fuck the drama and the butthurt attention whores, they're no worse than those watermarking greedsclator groups plaguing the scene.

  3. Dude right there, you win my full support. I'm one of the critics of said group. In fact, I am one of the guys who told them they should forget about it and continue to do the work for the community because in the end, the product and the translation is what matters, and not some misguided sense of ownership.

    In the end, everything happens as I thought it would: since they closed the site, everyone is coming here to see YOUR translation.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. I've been on the manga/anime scene for nearly 2 decades. Back when I first came into it, most people were pretty cool. These days, seems like almost everyone is a douchebag.

    "(which just arrived, actually; though it will take me some time to scan)"

    DO NOT underestimate it. At a workable resolution, it'll take you like 1-2 minutes per page... so you're looking at several hours of tedious scanning, and once that's done you have to crop, re-name, and clean the images. "Edit" them, so to speak.

    I'll send an email in a bit: if you need any help editing the images, I have some experience. It's probably the most time-consuming aspect of scanlation.

    1. "I've been on the manga/anime scene for nearly 2 decades. Back when I first came into it, most people were pretty cool. These days, seems like almost everyone is a douchebag."

      Agreed. I got into it about the same time (the late 1980s), but today...some of these "fans" truly piss me off. They are arrogant, rude, snide, and suffer from cultural amnesia. Then again, they remind me of a lot of the "film geeks" I see on some movie forums.

  5. Scanlation drama. Noboody reading manga gives a fuck who is actually translating the stuff nor where it came from. If a group goes bust the readers won't mourn them they'll just search for a new group to pick it up.

  6. all you pieces of shit assholes can't put one and one together to see that this fucker of red shoulders CAN'T ADVANCE MACROSS because THE SPANISH VERSION IS NOT THAT ADVANCED YET.

    all your fucking translations are googled, same as GUNDAM THE ORIGIN, you googled the italian version, so for a fucker that goes around copying and pasting translations you have a lot of nerve

  7. To Anonymous of May 22, 2012: You are the silly person that prompted this post, aren't you? Didn't you bother to read it? He plainly stated he didn't want to use your scripts, only the scans. So why accuse him of stealing scripts? Perhaps your vanity was wounded when he rejected the idea?

    As for copying-and-pasting translations, you are the fellow silly enough to pay a third-party to translate into English, which you then translate into Spanish. Why not do what Red-Shoulders does and translate them directly from Japanese yourself? Better yet, why not just release the English versions you've been paying for? The Spanish versions are a bit of a waste of time.