I’m writing this post on March 29th. It’s been a hot second since the English release of Cyanotype Daydream, hasn’t it? As was pointed out last night in a polite and helpful manner by a highly valued and respected member of the Reddit VN community, Cyanotype Daydream contains a smattering of typos and areas where one line didn’t flow into the next. I haven’t played it, so I don’t know firsthand, but I do remember the controversy surrounding the game at launch. Even the more recent Café Stella supposedly had an untranslated line at first. What’s going on? Do the localizers just not care about the quality of the work they put out?
Of course they care. They just let some dumb mistakes slip through the cracks, that’s all.
It happens to the best of us, really, even the people who wrote these games in the first place. Many times, I’ve seen incorrect kanji, accidentally duplicated hiragana, accidentally omitted hiragana, and every other kind of typo you can imagine. Even Senmomo has a few typos in the original script. One time, they even got the Empire and the Republic backwards!
I’ve been known to make dumb brain farts in my Senmomo translation, too. For example, I evidently didn’t hit the 0 key enough times, reducing the ranks of Okonogi’s Forbidden Guard from 200,000 to a mere 20,000. I also make the odd typo here and there, though Lonesome maintains the stance that the relative scarcity of such dumb mistakes in my script is praiseworthy.
Lonesome, too, makes these oopsies, despite how good an editor he is—more than I do, in fact. As was likely the case in Cyanotype Daydream, he’ll change one line and forget to alter the next to match it, or he’ll forget to change one of my verb endings to match the new subject he gave it. Maybe he’ll forget to delete one of my words, or maybe he’ll forget to add one of his. None of this means he’s a bad editor; it’s all a normal part of the process.
Of course, the problem is when these mistakes survive long enough to reach the consumer’s eyes. I’m obviously not defending the blunders rampant in Cyanotype Daydream at launch; I was just trying to explain where they came from. No, a good QC job should be eradicating them before the master copy hits the servers of Steam, JAST, Mangagamer, Denpasoft, or wherever.
Granted, that’s easier said than done. These games are long. If you look at JPDB’s page for Senmomo, you’ll find that this game contains nearly fifty thousand lines. That’s a lot of text, and plenty big-name games are even longer. These companies are trying to meet budgets and deadlines. They might not have the time or money for multiple people to read through several-dozen-hour-long games multiple times in search of a forgotten comma. That’s just the unfortunate reality; all we can do is hope the people working on the script are more careful in the first place.
That’s somewhere fan translations have an advantage over official ones: we’re not constrained by time or money. If we wanted to, we could sit on Senmomo for years as we make minute adjustments to the script, even after editing is finished (a maneuver I will henceforth call “pulling a Eustia”). We won’t, of course, but we could. The obvious tradeoff is that fan translation groups are just a collection of randos, while employees of companies went through a hiring process during which they were held to some sort of standard (the actual value of said standard notwithstanding), so fan TL quality is a lot more volatile than official TL quality. Sometimes we’re a lot better, and sometimes we’re a lot worse. Personally, I’d say the Senmomo script gives a lot of official translators a run for their money, but even if you’re skeptical, at the very least, you can expect it to be polished.
Believe me, I get just as annoyed at typos in commercial works as you do. It’s sloppy and unprofessional, and it shouldn’t happen. But at the same time, they’re a fact of life, so while you’re in the right to criticize them, don’t be a dick about it. A lot of these game engines are held together by bubblegum and duct tape, making them hard enough to work with as it is. These translators and editors and what have you are trying their best, so be respectful in your dealings with them.
Also—not that I’m saying any of you would do this—don’t assert that an obvious QC goof is the product of secondary MTL and proceed to unduly attack a translator/editor without evidence. That’s a dick thing to do.
That’s all for this time. I kept a post relatively short for once! Are you proud of me? Let me know in all the usual places. See you next time, when I’ll talk about… I don’t know, actually! Stay tuned.