What's the line between accepting money for translations and charging for translations?


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    @guspaz said in The New Gate:

    There do appear to be more than one translator internally, so it may or may not be a candidate for a similar situation as Rokujouma and Isekai Mahou.

    They monetize early access, it's unlikely.


  • Premium Member

    @myskaros said in The New Gate:

    @guspaz said in The New Gate:

    There do appear to be more than one translator internally, so it may or may not be a candidate for a similar situation as Rokujouma and Isekai Mahou.

    They monetize early access, it's unlikely.

    Does that get translators blacklisted straight away, or if they are shown the error of their ways and repent could they still become official?

    I mean yeah, the early access thing is dodgy as, (edit to add) so anyone doing it is unlikely to listen (end edit), but if they've seen others do it and don't know why it is wrong it is possible they don't realise. I'm talking hypothetically, not for this specific series or anything.


  • Premium Member

    Insert "if your friends all jumped off a bridge" argument here.

    I don't buy the "we didn't know it was wrong" excuse, especially nowadays since the topic comes up extremely often. It's also just a shoddy argument in the first place - they are giving people a product in exchange for money. I don't see anywhere any notice that they have permission from the author, so it's a copyright infringement. You don't get to drive over the speed limit then tell the cops "I didn't know what the speed limit was!"


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    I'm not defending them per se, just thinking it is totally possible there's some bilingual kid that is smart enough (brightness, etc) to translate but dumb enough (not worldly) to not get that it is wrong.

    But whatever, flame the shit out of me even though I'm on your side in this thing, that'll win friends & influence people.



  • @smashman42 the thing is, not knowing it's illegal doesn't make it fine, you'd still get tried for it, your punishment might be attenuated but the ruling would still be guilty. There's a reason why law differentiates between intentional and culpable crimes. The only way you could get acquitted is if you were actually mentally impaired.


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    I'm not flaming you, I was just stating my views on the topic. If my manner of speech felt offensive to you, I apologize. I read a lot of comments on the issue on various fan TL blogs that are just blatantly entitled about the issue, so when I have a platform to voice my thoughts, I might get a bit overzealous :X


  • Premium Member

    I mustn't be communicating my thoughts clearly enough.

    There's plenty of legit translators that were fan translating; there's the two series here that were converted, Sam used to fansub, Frog-kun was in the team that did Oregairu etc.

    They were still breaking copyright laws doing that though, but they've gone legit now.

    Is it hypothetically possible for a patreon paywaller to go straight as it were & end up legit, or would them having profited from it in the past prevent them from being able to go legit - as in, would no-one hire them because of it?

    Or is it assumed they would simply never want to go legit in the first place?

    I mean there's two series here that got converted from illegal to legal, did those translators actually get in any trouble at all? Not profiting might change the gravity of the crime, but it was still a crime, right?

    The moral line seems to be getting paid for it when legally the line is way back at publishing/distributing it, yet the community seems to ignore that.

    Still not sure if my thoughts are any clearer here or not.


  • Premium Member

    For me, the line can most easily be defined from intent.

    I agree that the act in and of itself breaks copyright laws, which is a completely separate can of worms, so let's put that aspect aside.

    What is the intent behind, knowingly or unwittingly, unofficially translating a foreign work? Let's say a web novel.

    1. To read the work for yourself.
    2. To practice translating.
    3. To increase exposure to a specific work.
    4. To make money.

    One of these is not like the others. Since we're talking about free web novels, this exacerbates the difference further, because the first 3 intentions do not require money to be in the equation at all (i.e. no discrete costs involved in acquiring the original work). Whether you're reading for yourself, practicing translating for yourself, or wanting to increase exposure to a title, there's no valid reason to get paid for it. It's entirely viable to do them all without spending a cent of your own money.

    So, when a fan TLer requires money in exchange for translations, that is intent to profit from services rendered. That, to me, is the line. In this case, the line drawn at intent also happens to also be the line of morality. Providing a donation link is fine, you are not tying "translations of a work" to "the act of money changing hands." But Patreon-paywalls that specifically say "pay X dollars, gain access to Y" are clearly in it for profit.

    I would not want to hire a former Patreon TLer for moral reasons. In a capitalist society, I think it's inevitable that it might happen anyway, not to mention it's probably pretty easy to hide the link between your online fan TLs and your personal resume, but, in the scenario of "localization company reaches out to fan translator," that would be a reason not to reach out, to me.


  • Premium Member

    I don't see how "early access to unedited chapters or the release buffer" for patreons is any different than "bonus releases based on donation totals" or even just "donate to support the translator with no benefit". They're all exactly the same, a fan translator is accepting money for translations. Getting access to stuff a bit sooner is inconsequential compared to that. None of those things are paywalls, a paywall is where you require payment to access the content at all, which is not what we're talking about here. I do think that that crosses a different line, that of "charging money for pirated content".

    As to if a fan translator accepting any money at all is morally acceptable, I don't really have a problem with it. I do have a problem with charging money for fan translations, but I don't see early access as doing so.


  • Premium Member

    It's simply the distinction of "I get something when I pay money." I would include "bonus releases based on donations" in the same category. When there's a cause and effect relationship between "paying money" and "getting translations," that means you're getting profit. Random fan knows that by paying money, a reward can be obtained.

    Assuming the translator keeps putting out content without any respect to the donations they get, it's just the plain definition of business being "exchanging of products and/or services." If they keep translating when they get no donations, then it's really hard to claim that they're translating for money.


  • Premium Member

    @guspaz said in The New Gate:

    I don't see how "early access to unedited chapters or the release buffer" for patreons is any different than "bonus releases based on donation totals" or even just "donate to support the translator with no benefit". They're all exactly the same, a fan translator is accepting money for translations. Getting access to stuff a bit sooner is inconsequential compared to that. None of those things are paywalls, a paywall is where you require payment to access the content at all, which is not what we're talking about here. I do think that that crosses a different line, that of "charging money for pirated content".

    As to if a fan translator accepting any money at all is morally acceptable, I don't really have a problem with it. I do have a problem with charging money for fan translations, but I don't see early access as doing so.

    I am going to argue each point.

    I don't see how "early access to unedited chapters or the release buffer" for patreons is any different than "bonus releases based on donation totals" or even just "donate to support the translator with no benefit".

    so you pay money to access something that people who do not pay can not, You say this is no different than everyone getting a chapter based on a donation total or donation with no benefit. do you see something wrong here? you say when you paying money to get an exclusive benefit is no different than paying money to get an inclusive benefit or no benefit. these are three different things here.

    They're all exactly the same, a fan translator is accepting money for translations.

    I see you clearly stated the difference in the last sentence yet you still say there are the same. Do you know what it means to "Attack the Strawman?" it pretty much means to dumb down or misrepresent an oppositions argument.

    Getting access to stuff a bit sooner is inconsequential compared to that.

    yet they are making a profit out of stolen work. so this has consequences.

    None of those things are paywalls, a paywall is where you require payment to access the content at all, which is not what we're talking about here.

    A Paywall is an arrangement whereby access is restricted to users who have paid to subscribe to the site. Again your earlier statement about "getting access to stuff a bit sooner" contradicts this.

    I do think that that crosses a different line, that of "charging money for pirated content".

    So what is the original line then? if the original line is not "charging money for Stolen content" then what was it? BTW this is not that relevant but there are some words I do not like to use when I am making a point because words can be twisted so I like to use words that have a clear well-defined meaning like Stolen instead of Pirated.

    As to if a fan translator accepting any money at all is morally acceptable, I don't really have a problem with it.

    There is nothing to say here, this is merely an opinion so I will say my opinion: I do not have problems for Fan-Translations that doing it because they just want to and they care about the community. What I have problems with is people who try to take advantage of the fans and charge money and steal from the Author (these people also tend to have crappy Machine translation too).

    I do have a problem with charging money for fan translations, but I don't see early access as doing so.

    You again contradict yourself since you said "getting access to stuff a bit sooner is inconsequential" so is it early access or not. I have problems when people change what they say or "believe" when it is convenient for them, mainly when it comes to politics though and do not get confused this debate about Fan-Translations is Political.

    I just noticed something, read these two sentences carefully I have highlighted some stuff here.

    As to if a fan translator accepting any money at all is morally acceptable, I don't really have a problem with it.

    I do have a problem with charging money for fan translations, but I don't see early access as doing so.

    I see what he did here, the Translator accepting money sounds a lot nicer than the Translator Charging money but here is the thing, the Translator gets the money because they made possible for the reader to pay them with a patreon or a donation.


  • Premium Member

    Maybe we should split this into its own thread - it's a valid convo but probably not the best place for it. Sorry for dragging a series pitch so far off topic!!

    Who is a mod with the ability to cut the bottom half of the thread off? Other than Sam I don't know who could do it (I don't think translators or editors have mod access & the users tab up the top is all stats based rather than having a mod/admin list)


  • Translators

    @smashman42 Done.


  • Premium Member

    It sounds like this argument is based on a timed delay paywall:
    We won't charge for it, but if you want it before we put it public, access it here for a fee. This is a model used many creators, and it seems to work well.

    The complaint here is with copyrighted works. At the end of the day, taking any unlicensed translated work is copyright theft, regardless of how it was done (free, true donation only, pay early or pay outright). That is the bottom line of the law.

    The question is, who is the thief? If I buy a book, and translate it myself for myself. That is not theft. What if I lend the book? Or the translation? Still not theft, as they are both mine. If someone then copies either the book or the translation? It is the fault of the copier. Guess what, when you view something online, your computer makes a copy for rendering, making you the viewer the copier and also the thief. Not the translator.

    However, the issue here is really because most people here are... morally flexible and don't actually care about translation legality if it is available for free, even though it is outright theft, because the argument is that "it wouldn't be available otherwise"... which really isn't a valid argument legally, all it points to is a potential business model which is what this site was based on.

    The uproar here is because there is an unlicensed translator doing this who is asking for money!

    Sorry, but if you have a problem for people asking for money, but you agree with consuming the work you have not paid the author for (that is known as theft), I'd say you need to re-examine your moral compass: theft is theft, regardless of price barrier.


  • Premium Member

    Ok. Maybe I'm just playing with the wording, but when you use the word "donation" I've got a certain image in my mind. To me a donation is me giving you money expecting nothing in return beyond your being able to continue doing what you are doing. When you start receiving gifts or some kind of special treatment, like early access, then it drifts out of the donation description and into another arena. Call it membership. Call it patronage. Just don't call it a donation.

    Accepting donations for doing a fan translation is generally acceptable. Wikipedia operates on donations. That's cool. Giving something in return for those donations is not cool. Now you're selling something that doesn't belong to you. Mentioning who has supported you doesn't count.


  • Premium Member

    @myskaros Splitting hairs, 1 and 2 are not copyright violations. Private consumption by a single person with a license or possession of a physical copy is fair use. I actually do get professional translations done for some of the articles or submissions I need to read or edit (and for the journals that are reprinting in English a translation from another language, that is fair use even in the commercial context as this is an assignable right to the publisher). 3 is actually not that different than 4 as public showing is treated as the same violation as profiting (although a moral case can be stated which 4 is worse).

    There's two that I remember being an issue. There was an isekai where the protagonist ends up a servant and the translation got kiboshed when the author was angry about it (I married a villainess), and one ongoing where it is questionable considering the translator is an egomaniac (Son-Con).

    I don't know, if there is an avenue to pay, I will, but if not, I will steal. That's the artist's credo at some level.


  • Premium Member

    @alocervancouver You are correct, I should have specified that this was all in the context of "posting the translations for public consumption." As far as 3 vs. 4, the distinction is important insofar as JNC choosing to solicit the translator for work, I believe.


  • Premium Member

    @alocervancouver for Son-Con the translator has the permission of the authors of all works he is currently translating. He even offers them money to help the authors out when it sounds like they are having hard times. Because he has the permission of the copyright holders he is not violating copyright law.

    He does have an ego but that has no bearing on whether or not what he is doing is questionable. Unless I am misunderstanding you on what you mean by saying it is questionable. I am only considering the legality of them distributing or even charging for early access.


  • Premium Member

    @alocervancouver Unless of course the Son-Con translator is lying and is fabricating his chat logs with the original authors, however he does not come across as a person who would do that as he appears to have a lot of integrity (he does what he says he will do).


  • Premium Member

    For me whenever I see a "Donation" or Pareon for a Fantranslation I get alarms ringing in my head. if you notice for many of these "Donations" there is a goal and reward for achieving that goal, the Reward is usually a new chapter. Another thing I look for is the frequency of translation, is a part/chapter translated every week, bi-weekly or monthly? if there is a schedule that is rarely broken this give positive vibes. Sporadic and slow translations give warning signals, though slow translations are not bad on its own, only when mixed with other negative stuff. Another thing to look for is the quality of the translation, I do not expect a perfect translation (just look at the official stuff we have in English) but I do expect an adequate translation. An Obvious Machine Translation just screams "We don't care" and I find these type of translations almost always has a "Donation" or a Patreon for it.