Translators… all fansubbing is built around them. You can’t do anything without them, yet it seems like you can’t do anything with them, either.
I’ve yet to find a translator fluid in two languages. I always thought that was one of the requirements. It makes sense, right? Why shouldn’t it be? No matter how good your Japanese may be, if your English is poor all that ‘good’ Japanese will go to waste. You will end up with bland sentences or, more often than not, sentences that make no sense at all.
That makes some sense
And there, my friends, is where the problem lies. An editor could fix the bland sentences and punctuation mistakes, as long as they understand the sentence, of course. What they can’t do is transform a nonsensical sentence into a sensical one. They could try, but chances are part of the sentence’s meaning will be lost.
Unlike future posts, here I’m just trying to address something that has been going on for quite some time. Bad translations are dangerous and we should get rid of them. Soon!
I know groups are desperate for translators. Any translator should do. And that, is the first mistake.
Always, always! Make sure the guy you are trying to recruit is fluid in Japanese and in English. You should test him. Make him translate a fairly simple episode. Once he gives you the script, let a good translator see it and tell him to give it an score—1 to 10 works. After the translator checker is done with the script, give it to a good editor and let him rate it as well. He shouldn’t only rate the English of the person being tested, but he should point out how hard it would be for him to edit that script. He shouldn’t score lower than 7 in translation. English could be a 6 or even a 5, as long as the editor says he could fix the script easily and fast.
I’ve seen many groups with a really good, dedicated staff which only problem was a bad translator. That’s enough for any group to get a bad reputation, and it makes me sad.
Another thing groups tend to lack is good editors. But that’s shouldn’t be hard to fix. I hope…