Should Fully Fan Translated Series be licensed?


  • Premium Member

    @jon-mitchell said in The Familiar of Zero:

    the fan translation (BT) of volume 22 was completed April of this year (I conflated the published/ translated dates in error)

    Why do you need an official translation when you have fan translation of the entire series?


  • Staff

    @zing not everyone reads the Fan TL, but still want to read the story.

    I for one do not read any fan TL, I only support stories that I can legally read


  • Premium Member

    @rahul-balaggan said in The Familiar of Zero:

    @zing not everyone reads the Fan TL, but still want to read the story.
    I for one do not read any fan TL, I only support stories that I can legally read

    I not only want to read the story. I want an enjoyable experience doing so. Fan translations vary widely in quality of translation and editing.

    Also (I know opinions vary on this topic and we've probably beaten it to death) I want to support the industry and author. Purchasing licensed works does this, fan translations/ patreon does not


  • Premium Member

    @jon-mitchell said in The Familiar of Zero:

    I not only want to read the story. I want an enjoyable experience doing so. Fan translations vary widely in quality of translation and editing.

    Also (I know opinions vary on this topic and we've probably beaten it to death) I wast to support the industry and author. Purchasing licensed works does this, fan translations/ patreon does not

    Supporting the industry is far easier than you think or are you all talk?

    Not all fan translations are bad, likewise, not all official translations are all good. Shield Hero volume 14 felt like it was translated by some kind of hipster.
    Not to mention all the mistakes. At the end of the day, if you want to have 100% quality experience, the only choice you have is to bit the bullet and learn Japanese.


  • Premium Member

    @zing

    I’m sorry to hear that Shield Hero 14 was translated poorly, I’ve enjoyed the fist 6 volumes that I’d purchased via the kindle app, I was going to wait to watch the next anime season before reading further. Hopefully the publisher will clean it up by the time I get that far.

    Regarding buying works in Japanese, you are correct. I could read a fan translation and then purchase a copy in Japanese from bookwalker or whatever, but I suspect I’d derive little pleasure from owning a book I cannot read. Snark aside learning a foreign language is a tall ask here.

    If I offended you by voicing my personal preferences, I offer my apologies. I didn’t intend to pass judgment on fan translations as a whole nor those that enjoy reading them. I merely voiced my opinion of what I like/how I want to support the industry. And to bring this thread back on track...JNC licensing Zero, would satisfy both of my stated preferences. JNCs professional translations have been consistently well done, making for an enjoyable reading experience and my membership/purchases yield royalties to the author and support the industry ( a win/win)

    I know that I like this particular series from reading volumes on BT. (And the anime was pretty good too) I never claimed that I won’t read fan translations. I said that I prefer licensed work


  • Premium Member

    @jon-mitchell When a web novel is fully translated, it still makes sense to ask for a light novel translation. When a light novel is fully fan translated, I don't think making official translation will be profitable. An unprofitable series for the sake of fans can be damaging for a company like JNC who is still in the process of building up and establishing itself. Its been also mentioned several times on JNC that series with a lot of fan translation don't normally sell that well until official translation catches up.
    A series with 22 volumes is A LOT OF WORK, you'd have to commit a translator for this for the next 5 years, assuming you can get 4 volumes released a year. A bigger company like YP could probably take this series on for the sake of fans and nostalgia, and just tank the cost because they have a large library.

    Anyhow, you did not offend me in the slightest, we just see things from different view points.


  • Premium Member

    @zing That kinda makes me wonder if that's why the upcoming volumes were suddenly delayed, One Peace Books must have realized the translations were crap and decided to redo them.



  • @zing I think that JNC licensing an unprofitable series to win over a loyal fanbase is actually smarter for them because they are in the process of building up their business. It adds to their unique value proposition, on top of offering translated volumes at half the speed of their competition. These 2 reasons are why I prefer JNC over everyone else!


  • Premium Member

    @godsgoldenpubes That assumes a lot of things, though. Sam has already said there are some unprofitable series in the collection. I already buy two of them, so I'm doing my part. :)

    Also, the "twice as fast" won't be if the load increases without adding additional competent translators and editors.


  • Premium Member

    @godsgoldenpubes How much thought did you actually put into your comment?

    From the way I see it, you are grossly overestimating the fanbase.
    You are grossly overestimating the popularity of this series.
    You are grossly underestimating the amount of marketing effort JNC will require to invest in order to reach out to the fanbase.
    22 volumes, 5 years worth of investment.
    Do you believe that every fan will continue to buy every volume of this series in order to support JNC for the next 5 years?

    At the end of the day, the risk and investment is too large compared to returns.


  • Staff

    @zing

    they were expressing their opinion, everyone is entitled to their own views on anything, whether others agree or disagree is a completely different matter and if you want to disagree by all means you should.

    At the end of the day everything you just said is your opinion as well even though you state it all as if it is a fact. None of us have any concrete data for how well any series will sell or how far the fan base will go for any series.


  • Premium Member

    @zing said in Should Fully Fan Translated Series be licensed?:

    Not all fan translations are bad, likewise, not all official translations are all good. Shield Hero volume 14 felt like it was translated by some kind of hipster.
    Not to mention all the mistakes. At the end of the day, if you want to have 100% quality experience, the only choice you have is to bit the bullet and learn Japanese.

    How have you read the official copy of Volume 14 of Shield Hero? It is supposed to come out on October 15th 2019. Is there some form of early release that One Peace Books does? Or did I misunderstand you when you said not all official translations are all good then used Shield Hero volume 14 as an example.


  • Premium Member

    Should they? Sure, if the publisher thinks it'll work out. Index and Overlord had fairly substantial fan translations at the time they were licensed and they've done fine as far as I'm aware. Manga wrestles with the same issues as well, but it still happens.

    "Will they" is the actual question here. It's a hard sell unless the series is definitively popular. Sometimes it gets prestige treatment (hardcover, extras, etc) to entice fans, sometimes it's a low budget digital only production, there's ways to mitigate risk when doing it.


  • Premium Member

    @malloc Its release got pushed up on Bookwalker and was released there on Tuesday. It's still being released on the 15th of October everywhere else.


  • Premium Member

    @malloc It got released on bookwalker a few days go. I have the physical pre-ordered, but I'm yet to get the shipping notice. I think that they just released the digital early (there was only like 3 days notice) and the physical will probably come out in October.


  • Premium Member

    @zing said in Should Fully Fan Translated Series be licensed?:

    Why do you need an official translation when you have fan translation of the entire series?

    My personal reasons:

    • I prefer a professional translation, in fact I've never read a fan TL
    • I want to support the original author and publisher (but not by buying Japanese editions)
    • I want to support professional translation in general so more of it happens
    • I don't want to be going to shady sites running suspect ad content that might be malware
    • I don't want to support people profiting from IP infringement

    I do wish Yen, etc. had a way to read at least the first half of volume 1's thought, because the Kindle samples from Amazon sometimes only go to the table of contents. I've skipped buying Hero is overpowered but too cautious because it's comedic and the sample is too short for me to tell whether its humor will be my cup of tea.

    (I also wish Slow Press would give up and transfer their titles to JNC since they can't seem to publish more than 1 volume per year.)


  • Premium Member

    I think it vary depending on the serie, for exemple I'm glad that Mushoku Tensei as licensed by Sevens Seas because i can read a better translation, it can reach a wider audience and I can support the author without buying books I can't read.
    Plus looking at the rankings SS is doing quite well even when the FT was completed and there's not much difference between the WN and the LN.

    But for a series like The new Gate it would be pointless, the FT is nearly professional level, they include the images,... It's a case where buying the jap version would be better than have it licensed.


  • Premium Member

    My opinion is simple. If I like a series I buy it.

    Someone already mentioned Overlord. Sky and Nigel did wonderful work with this. But I am still buying the HC and even the digital copies.

    Even as some don't like it but Smartphone brought me over to here. Sure the FT got in the middle sloppy but ti picked up it's quality. But I am still buying it as I like the series.

    Or let's say Demon King Daimaou. This series was completely FT but JNC still picked it up. And I assume Sam does not choose this series because he got sentimental.

    And as someone mentioned. Yes I can buy the original japanese version and I assume the author would get more royalties this way. But assuming I am doing this (and believe me, I like more to buy things I can read) what would it accomplish? Even less series licensed for the west as it seems like there is no interest in it. So I am buying everything I deem interesting.

    Overlord? Already mentioned. Another? Yeah,. also Another S/0 and a second time the german premium edition. Baccano? Yep sure as hell I am getting the HC even though they are (admittely some times bad) fan translated. Durarara? Yep. And this list will just continue on and on.


  • Premium Member

    Licensing a fully fan translated series is a total crap shoot. You might get decent sales, or you might bleed red ink.



  • I treat fan translations like some sort of sampler and if it interests me enough, I would definitely buy the licensed product when released or available. For some reason, I could never finish more than a chapter or two with LN fan translations (manga is another thing though). If I know something is too niche and obscure, I just buy whatever is available in Japan. If an English company eventually picks it up years later, I would buy it as well.

    Of course, I understand the perspective of companies who don't want to license something anymore already available to the public for free, so can't blame them if they don't do it at all.


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