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Thread: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

  1. #1
    Scanlator 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner rebmastu's Avatar
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    Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    I have a question for all you scanlator groups out there! About a year and a half ago, I started my own scanlation group under the name "Turtle Paradise". Calling it a "group" would be a bit of a misnomer, since the majority of the work (typesetting, editing, translating, and scanning) was done by myself alone, while I had a friend QC for me. Recently I've been unsatisfied with my release rate and feeling a bit burnt-out doing, so I tried recruiting a few new members, but... the release rate isn't going up. On the contrary, it's taking my group upwards of a week to release just one chapter! And I wanted to work on a few different titles at once, too. =(

    At this point I'm starting to wonder what exactly it is that I'm doing wrong... Are there any scanlation groups out there that can give me a few pointers on how to run a smooth-but-still-quick operation? I'm also not sure how to split up duties for that matter... =\

    Any help would be massively appreciated! I'm totally lost, and soooo close to dropping back to a solo operation. D=

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    Scanlator 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member wade69's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Recruit people that actually will get the work done...

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    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner jojodacrow's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    I was going to ramble about a few things but all in all this is the best advise I can give you:

    Always keep the people willing to work busy. They finished cleaning a chapter? Give em another while they wait on translation. Have to many translators and not enough editors? Get your translators to translate like crazy. That way you have a stock pile of translations because I promise you... at some point you are going to have more editors than translators and when that time comes you will have translations left over from people who may have gotten bored or disappeared (which happens A LOT). Most groups have that problem... they will have to much of one position. You just have to learn that even if that chapter isn't going to be released tomorrow, having someone who is willing to work on it now is important so stockpile on as much as you can.

    Not sure if that is the problem you are having but it is always a wise thing to do.

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    Translator 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member tradedaemon's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Don't you have like five projects already, and you want to do more? Love slayers btw.

    Since you know all the positions, offer to train editors and cleaners. I ended up translating, precleaning the pages(level, crop, rotate), getting a typer and then I just have a few staff for cleaning text off pages. Steamlines it a bit. But you will still have to deal with staff burn out (cleaning text sucks for sure) so if you want to keep the pace, you're just going to have to pick up the slack or wait till they get non-burned. It also helps to find people who like the series obviously, but I can see how that's hard considering your projects.

    Since you have a lot of the jp non-bubble text removed from what I see, if you really want to increase speed, you're going to have to sacrifice quality and not have people do as many redraws, unless you do them. If you don't already, quick way to deal with redraws is do the typesetting and then clean around any non-bubble text, instead of cleaning then typing. Saves on the amount of stuff to clean off. I give my cleaners high-res pages, and give my typer resized 1200h pages, and since I've already done the preclean stuff, I just resize the finished cleaned page and replace it with the one in the psd the typer gives me. Let's people work on things at the same time without a conflict.

    You could ignore sfx translations all together too. That takes a lot of time to find the right font, and usually it's pretty obvious from context without it.

    You could also use one of the programs like GMAO (http://fugutabetai.com/software/GMAO/) or one I wrote where you do the translations and typesetting at the same time. You set certain font styles and then just apply to the bubbles. But the rendering isn't as good as photoshop, so again on certain things you're going to lose quality if you want to go the speedy route.

    But from my experience, you either go by people's schedule's and whims so you don't have to do the tedious stuff, or you just push through the shear, mind-numbing annoyances and just do everything like you were.

    Edit: Stmated wrote a translating program that he plans to expand into typesetting using photoshop, but it sounds like it's gonna be a while for that. http://scanlationshop.n-u-l-l.net/phpbb/
    Last edited by tradedaemon; May 28, 2009 at 12:29 AM.

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    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner dosetsu's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    You think releasing once a week is bad? Uh, do you want to be one of those groups doing a bunch of mediocre daily releases? Hell, releasing once a month is pretty fair.

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    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member fxu's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Don't force people on things they don't want to because they'll end up leaving or making excuses for being away. (meaning don't make people work on series they don't like)

    Don't throw a shitload of work on people, do it by batches of 2-3 pages, that way the work seems less. Let them duke it out and claim their own pages. Don't put deadlines that are pretty much impossible. Don't "overwork" your cleaners.

    For some, cleaning manga is a hobby. You don't wanna make it look like a chore cus otherwise they lose interest/get bored.

    You do need to set standards and guidelines (page sizes, border size, ways of cleaning, file naming, file saving, fonts/typesetting). Also, detailed tutorials for your members so they can go back and get a reference on how to do this and that.

    Also, have that "one day" of the week where you would like most work to be done. For example in Binktopia, everybody knows Friday/Saturday is pretty much when we clean (because of WSJ raws), so most people will be on during that time.
    Last edited by fxu; May 30, 2009 at 03:09 AM.
    B I N K T O P I A

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    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Oh, project management issues. Since I don't have any experience in scanlation, but a real one in that domain, my advice will be centered on it.

    Have you analyzed what slows down your activities? You need to do it to take the right actions afterwards. Even for something of this nature, you shall prepare the ramp-up of your scanlations. There are some risks like how the people are trained, etc. that seem to have made the increase of your releases fail.

    Quote Originally Posted by rebmastu
    I'm also not sure how to split up duties for that matter... =\
    If it can help you, describe the process, the associated tasks, constraints, supporting methodologies and roles, before instantiating that in the mangas you work on. Members shall be aware of all that stuff as well.

    In terms of planning you shall find an adequation between the tasks and deadlines you assign, and the workload your members can take (it requires the right information from them).

    For the day-to-day work it is important to share information (status, issues, incoming risks) regularly, but also agree on it and make sure everyone has understood. Congratulating your members on their work is good thing to do.

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    Scanlator 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner rebmastu's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojodacrow View Post
    Always keep the people willing to work busy. They finished cleaning a chapter?
    Thanks. I have one Editor who's absolutely DYING for work, and my scanner's been working days on end trying to match his speed, ahahaha. xP

    Quote Originally Posted by tradedaemon View Post
    Don't you have like five projects already, and you want to do more? Love slayers btw.
    Lol, cool! Glad to see someone does. xP
    Thanks for the link to that program, by the way - I've started playing with it a bit and, uh, have no idea what I'm doing. Guess I'll see where it takes me. =P

    Quote Originally Posted by dosetsu View Post
    You think releasing once a week is bad? Uh, do you want to be one of those groups doing a bunch of mediocre daily releases? Hell, releasing once a month is pretty fair.
    I don't think a release once a month would keep any reader satisfied, lol. I'm not expecting to go up to a release a day - Gawd, no - but I'd like to do at least two releases a week, since that's what I was able to do when I was solo. (And in pretty darn good quality, if I say so myself!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fxu View Post
    ALL OF IT
    I've already started running into the issue with people not wanting to work on projects. =P (Wish I could recruit more people to make the process a bit softer on everyone, though) >< I really appreciate the idea of deadlines - I have no idea why I didn't think of that earlier! In any case, thank you so much for all of the information. I feel enlightened. x3

    Quote Originally Posted by Meromorphe View Post
    Have you analyzed what slows down your activities? You need to do it to take the right actions afterwards. Even for something of this nature, you shall prepare the ramp-up of your scanlations. There are some risks like how the people are trained, etc. that seem to have made the increase of your releases fail.
    It seems simple, but I don't think I ever stepped back to look at it like that. I'll re-evaluate our activities based on that and hopefully we'll be able to speed up! x3


    Thank you all for the help! I feel like I know what I should be doing now.

  13. #9
    Scanlator 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Name-Undecided's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for a soloist-turned-group leader?

    Speaking as an ex-group member turned soloist, I'd advise you to call a "staff meeting" on IRC or private forum and lay these issues on the line with everyone. The problem with groups is that 1. people have differing expectations and desires that they don't communicate very clearly, which leads to all kinds of friction. 2. People feel they have no say and no control over what happens in the group = dissatisfaction. Call regular meetings and make everyone feel involved in the group effort and you should start seeing some real results soon.

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