Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?


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    @lighthawk96 And someone else would point out that he wants more Potion instead of Elf as he/she doesn't like the latter one.

    I also find it a pity that some translators work concurrently at 2 series but let's be realistic. What is the harm? Let's take the translator for Tearmoon and Holy Knight. same person, so he works now 8 weeks on Holy Knight and then Tearmoon gets released. Sure I would prefer to read more about Mia but I consider this. It starts again in 8 weeks and not every series get a new book translated in 18 weeks (assuming Tearmoon will be 10 parts). If I compare it to other publishers that are way behind their schedule I would say JNC is not bad at juggling this.

    And as always to just have in the back of the mind. How would anyone suggest JNC finds more translators? Sure there are a ton out there which are provicent at Japanese and English. But this doesn't mean you find those people fit for a professional translator carreer. I can see the argument some will arise now, that then they simply need to license not so much series. But then there are 2 (plus a bonus) points we should look at:

    First: Only with a wide variety of series you get many customers (and JNC has -although many Isekai Novels- a wide range of books).
    And secondly: Translators are usually paid per translated work. So you would find more easily one if you offer them a steady flow of work (and therefore opportunity to earn money) as simply having them work only on one series with the concern that we catch up.

    And as a sidenote. I see enough people just get boomed out after only working on one project. So a lil diversity is not wrong.


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    @Jon-Mitchell I'm sure it is a juggling act and is quite difficult but if the clown you hired for your kids birthday party doesn't perform do you still pay them or performs poorly hire them again for the next birthday?

    All jokes aside, JNC is my favorite english publisher and feel they do pretty much everything better than the others. But I'm not going to just roll over because of that fact when things happen I am dissatisfied with. Even it's as small as stating so on the forums. So I do hold them to a higher standard, and I don't think that is wrong.


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    @Khaos said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    I'm sure it is a juggling act and is quite difficult but if the clown you hired for your kids birthday party doesn't perform do you still pay them or performs poorly hire them again for the next birthday?

    What if hiring a better clown costs way more than you have the budget for? What if the clown is one you have been working with for several years, and just so happens to have an off-day? What if ending your working relationship with that clown over a slight drop in performance leads to the clown complaining to the Clown Association about how no one should accept jobs from you because you fire clowns who aren't performing up to the highest of standards? What if the clown has been known to murder those who complain about them?

    Obviously I'm being as facetious about this as you are but the point is, there's a lot more that goes into the professional working relationship than just "if they're not performing well, then fire them".

    All jokes aside, JNC is my favorite english publisher and feel they do pretty much everything better than the others. But I'm not going to just roll over because of that fact when things happen I am dissatisfied with. Even it's as small as stating so on the forums. So I do hold them to a higher standard, and I don't think that is wrong.

    I mean, you're not "wrong" for holding a company to a higher standard, but by the same token, others aren't "wrong" for pointing out how your standards might be too high and unrealistic for the reality of operating that company.


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    @Khaos Now, now, yes if a clown underperforms or straight up doesn't perform obviously that would call for the termination of the contract, and even a bad review in yelp, but consider this: would you foregone the clown that has been working regularly for you during years for a performance drop? one borne of he going to a party hosted by friends of yours or people you recommended him?

    Would you fire the clown and hire ONE fresh from your local branch of Klown Kollege?


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    I'm sorry but both your comments are mute, as my comment was superimposing JNC as the clown doing the juggling (in response to Jon's post about JNCs difficult juggling act) and consumers (us) as the parent. Not the relationship between JNC and TL.

    I'm not sure expections that TLs are not given nor accept way more than the can deliver is an unrealistic expectation.

    Anyways I'm honestly tired of the debate. 🖖


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    This is quite a tricky issue, and I can completely understand translators who are almost caught up to slightly slow JP release series wanting another for more job security, but it really is punishing to fans of those series.

    I'm sure JNC is doing stuff behind the scenes to make sure this is not happening for series with more content available. Both the current examples are series with relatively few volumes that are or are mostly caught up, and this is mainly just an issue because of recent volume releases.

    However, I really don't think putting them on alternating schedules is the right move, simply due to how irritating it is for fans of those series knowing they have to wait because of another (even if they are also reading that) when they wouldn't have to wait if another translator was doing it. This is also a much bigger issue if translation is going slower than usual (more than 8 parts), like in both of the current examples. If they were being done in 8 parts instead of 10-14 I don't think this would be an issue at all - we'd most likely be caught up to all these series and only have a slight wait for translation to begin. Though once again this is just an issue of the translators capacity...

    Is there a simple solution? Not really - I don't think it's worth changing the translator completely unless one series start getting more consistent releases or the translator wants to lighten their workload. But it would be a lot nicer if they were encouraged to try and catch up faster by releasing the series in a smaller number of parts. If that's not an option I wouldn't mind seeing both series translated concurrently with parts every two weeks instead of one, as long as one series doesn't get too far behind.


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    @Khaos said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    I'm not sure expections that TLs are not given nor accept way more than the can deliver is an unrealistic expectation.

    Again, though, that brings up the question: what if a translator accepts a certain workload that they are initially able to handle, but life circumstances make them unable to work on it as efficiently as they used to? The way you have been talking about this issue (and I'm sorry if this isn't what you meant, but this is how I've interpreted the words you've typed), you seem to suggest that, when this happens, the translator should be relieved of one of their projects and have it given to someone else. Hence, why I thought in your clown analogy, the clown was the translator.

    Also, saying things are at the point of being "more than they can deliver" sounds like blowing things way out of proportion. All we are at is a point where a translator only works on one of two series at a time. The net result is still that both series get released at a fair pace and at a good quality. It might not be quite at the pace of other series, but in the grand scheme of things, it's still debatable how much of an issue that really is.

    Again, though, there's not really a point in debating the existing cases of this, since there's pretty much no chance those situations will change. The question is more whether it would be okay in the future to allow someone who only has time for translating one series at a time to take on another series that they alternate translation work on.


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    I don't particularly mind this arrangement, it doesn't make sense to assign a translator to only a single project unless there's a massive amount of content to tackle (like for example Bookworm) or if that's what the TL themselves wants. It might be less than ideal for the readers, but it can provide a more steady workload for the TL, especially as you catch up to Japanese releases which can have some pretty irregular schedules.


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    What about contractual obligations? I don't pretend to speak for JNC or their business partners in Japan but, I can say from my time doing flooring installation that you sometimes have contracts that say that you have to start/finish a work by 'XX/XX' date or forfeit money.

    I also remember the hell that Sam went through with Amazon and the possibility of JNC getting blocked from selling preorders when the New Life+ debacle happened. I'd rather see some books not get immediate releases than deal with busted deadlines.

    Also, the possibility of translators leaving is a major risk if they have no work. How would people feel if JNC had to retrain a new TL every new volume, cause people gotta eat.


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    Why shouldn't a translator be allowed to work on multiple series? It not only makes perfect sense in terms of maximizing efficiency (no idle time), but also in terms of avoiding delays on any one series (people get sick or just quit).
    This is especially true when you are short on translators as it is.

    This means that individual volumes may take a bit longer, but the sum of all delays will be lower.


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    The alternative to having translators take on more ongoing series than they can manage concurrently (so that they can do something while waiting for the other to release the next issue) isn't having a dedicated translator for every series; it's having a dedicated translator for some series and no translator for the rest.

    There's already plenty of promising works out there that are not being TL'd at all. Instead of having a delay in your favorite series, a rule like this would mean you might never have had a chance to read it in the first place.


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    it seems to me that the only way to avoid TL's on more than one project (then doing one at a time, and instances like Elf5 not coming out as soon as I would like) would be to only (or mostly):

    • translate series that are not currently being updated in Japan (i.e. 'complete')
    • only let TLs work on single series until they are complete
    • be prescient: magically know if/when volumes will be released, how many volumes there will be etc.

    none of those seem tenable to me. There's a whole other thread on why/why not to only license completed series ('current' not already completed series, have LOTS of demand, so that's a non starter). Obviously lots of debate about limiting TLs to single concurrent projects (which I think is a dumb idea) and Sam and company, although great, are not magical.

    I'm going to climb on my soap box for a minute:
    I spend a not-insignificant portion of my free time reading pre-pubs and the forums (and commenting) I feel I get a tremendous return on my $10/month investment in JNC and I have a great deal of admiration/respect for the professional translators whose talent and artistry JNC has managed to procure. The translators are not interchangeable. Just as if a particular actor/actress was cast for a particular movie role, a director might need to adapt to allow them to finish a project they are currently working on...or even delay production in order to make the quality movie they want to make, we are in the situation we are in because these translators are talented artists and craftspeople...not merely contractors doing a gig

    ok I'm done


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    @Jon-Mitchell said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    be prescient: magically know if/when volumes will be released, how many volumes there will be etc.

    Hold on.,... I think you might be on to something


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    @Anpan
    JNC is letting translators work on multiple series at a time. But unfortunately, some translators, while being assigned to multiple series, can only translate one at a time which is causing some of the delays. I.E. the translator for "Potions" and "Elf-san".

    I think this is where the bulk of the frustration is coming from.


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    Just a reminder that Ms. Elf and Potions had a change of translator because the previous one went away and they had to replace them. I haven't seen anyone mention this yet (or I just missed the post about it?) which is what started the whole "translator works on both series at alternate times".


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    @Terabyte
    Glad you caught "it"!😂


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    @Terabyte said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    Just a reminder that Ms. Elf and Potions had a change of translator because the previous one went away and they had to replace them. I haven't seen anyone mention this yet (or I just missed the post about it?) which is what started the whole "translator works on both series at alternate times".

    It's actually only Potions that had a translator change. Both series have gone through editor changes, though.


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    @jampodevral said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    I also remember the hell that Sam went through with Amazon and the possibility of JNC getting blocked from selling preorders when the New Life+ debacle happened. I'd rather see some books not get immediate releases than deal with busted deadlines.

    New Life+ was a whole other debacle. They had not problems with the deadline more like the whole series got put on hold by japanese publisher and JNC wanted to see what comes out of it. The volume was already finished as it all started. But understandable they wanted to wait before anyone could bring a shitstorm towards JNC


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    @lighthawk96 said in Should translators who can only work on one series at a time be allowed to translate more than one ongoing series?:

    @Anpan
    JNC is letting translators work on multiple series at a time. But unfortunately, some translators, while being assigned to multiple series, can only translate one at a time which is causing some of the delays. I.E. the translator for "Potions" and "Elf-san".

    I think this is where the bulk of the frustration is coming from.

    That's exactly how I interpreted is and what my point was about. This absolutely makes sense from an efficiency point of view. And ultimately, that is what, in part, allows the low prices of JNC. You will always have a trade-off here.
    And honestly, this is a very small trade-off. For me anyway.


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    @Anpan And to add to your comment. To be fair JNC is juggling this really good. Their tag with over 450 Volume in 3 years is proof of this. If they continue like this they will overtake Yen Press in released volumes. Who else can claim they released a book every 2.5 days (although to be fair there were cases like Invaders of the six Tatami room).


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