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MH Interviews: Finestela

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+ posted by Lingwe as news on Jul 22, 2009 06:56 | Go to

-> RTS Page for



(Just catching up with all the interviews that have been posted).

We're having the first of our dedicated Raw Hunter interviews this week with Finestela (technically Rena Chan and Vicissitude both do more raw scanning than english scanlating but they use the scanlator tag on their forum profile rather than the Raw Hunter tag, so yeah).

Finestela goes through the japanese file sharing sites to upload all the manga that don't get scanned by english speaking scanners. It's highly likely that you will have read dozens of chapters that were made available by Finestela, so make sure to show your appreciation to her.

1. Please give an introduction of yourself and your contributions to the manga scanlating community.

Hey Everyone My name (alias of course ) is Finestela, Fin/Finny/Stela for short. Most of you might know me as "the crazy chick that uploads a bunch of raws no one reads"... (lol)

I've been involved with scanlations for about 10 years. I've tried and done everything except for the cleaner job (which I consider the most time-consuming and under-appreciated job... people should give more props to the cleaners). Currently, I'm mainly providing raws and translating.

2. What manga do you translate and what languages do you translate them from and into?

I'm doing all my translations from Japanese to Chinese and English

My primary project is ToLoveRu (Chinese and English). I'm also doing the 3 chapter special of Azumanga Daioh (Chinese), Ubel Blatt (English), Ane-doki (Chinese and English), and DeroDero (Chinese and English). Though currently, DeroDero is on-hold due to real-life circumstances...

3. You can speak 3 different languages very well. Just how difficult is it translating from one second language into another second language? What are the differences in translating Japanese into English and Chinese?

Hmm... To be honest with you, Japanese isn't really my second language. More like 1.5th I'm a third generation Japanese American, and I grew up with the language being spoken by my parents. While it is still lacking in a lot of instances (such as in conversations or pop vocabularies), I'm fairly comfortable with reading Japanese text.

As for translating from Japanese to Chinese? It's actually easier in certain cases compare to Japanese to English. Some of the sentence structure is easier to directly "port" into Chinese, and not that much rewriting/rearranging is required. Also, they have a lot of idioms or proverbs in common, which saves me a lot of time. The biggest problem I have? Limited understanding on my part, as my Chinese is purely self-taught, and many times I had to ask for help on certain phrases from my friends over at JoJoHot

Translating into English, on the other hand, is easier once you're more used to doing it. While I'm still a bit rusty because I haven't done Japanese to English translations in a long time, after some practice, it's getting better now

What I can tell you is the thing I hate the most about Japanese to English... And that is the "foreign names"!!! They just drive me crazy! For Chinese translations, I can just find a few similar sounding words and piece together a name that looks nice for the eyes. However, English... AHHHH! I really hope that when an author comes up with a "foreign name", they would also provide English (or whatever language it's supposedly in) spelling at the same time...

Naruto's Pein/Pain comes into mind...

4. How do you upload so many raws? Do you scan any series yourself or do you only rely upon file sharing sites such as Winny? How do people go about using those sites if they want to try and get the raws themselves?

It's MAGIC!! (Just teasing).

Well, first of all, I'm not scanning any raws currently except internal raws. The raws I'm posting are all from the Japanese P2P programs Share/Perfect Dark. I'm merely making them available to more people, as not everyone knows how to operate the software.

Also, having a fast internet connection (20M Cable) helps a lot as well

As for learning how to use the two programs... A site you might want to visit would be (http://www.uguu.org/share/index.html). It contains the basics of Share.

Perfect Dark, on the other hand, is actually the easier of the two, but requires a lot more hardware and internet firepower.

If I can find the time... I'll try to write a tutorial for both of them, but that's a big IF. Don't get me wrong, the more people using it, the better, and I don't really care for "trade secret" or whatever... It's just a hassle to explain it to first-timers, especially if the user is not familiar with Japanese.

5. What method do you use to decide which raws to upload (to this site)? Do you just chuck up everything you can find, or what you think people would like etc?

To be honest with you, if I have the free time (and hard drive space, obviously), I would try to download everything and share everything with you guys, but I can't.

So what I do now is to upload everything I can find, from the magazine where one or more series I follow regularly. As you might notice, I'm not a huge fan of Champion and its sister magazines, so... I rarely upload anything from those. Otherwise, I just throw everything I can find (and that I enjoy reading) up on the site.

Several people have asked if I prefer a certain demographics when uploading... and I can tell you straight ahead that the answer is no, as I read almost anything I can find (yes, including x-rated stuff, normal or BL alike). Of course, as MH is not for sharing of the too extreme stuff, I'm not about to upload them. However, when you are talking about Shounen/Seinen/Shoujo/Josei, then no, I don't really focus on a certain group when it comes to uploading.

6. Are there any major differences between the English and Chinese scanlation scenes? How do they find releases, e.g. are there a few big central websites like in English, or do people get them through individual websites and irc?

With a few exceptions, Chinese scanlation groups are just like English groups. There are the speed scans and the quality scans. Of the two groups I'm affiliated with, JoJoHot scanlates mostly Shounen series, and is considered a speed scan group (while still trying to maintain a level of quality... I mean we have at least 5~10 cleaners working on the big three each week when the raws are out). The other group, BillWang, focuses on Shoujo series, and they'd like to take the time and be extremely meticulous with every little details (one of the thing we do at BW is to translate ALL SFX... and you can imagine how time-consuming it is for the typesetters).

Chinese scanlation groups almost “never” use irc. I don't know the reason behind it, but they just don't. :P

There have been attempts to do a giant project site like MH or OneManga, but they all failed due to the sheer size of bandwidth consumption from the Chinese internet community.

The main way of distribution is, of course, via the individual forums using free file hosts (like YouSendIt, MegaUpload, etc), but there are also several BitTorrent sites that gathers and posts the latest scanlations from various groups.

7. What are some well known Chinese scanlation groups and what do they scan? Do they do mostly speedscans or high quality scans?

The two groups I'm directly affiliated with are, as mentioned already, JoJoHot and BillWang. They are both pretty well-known in the Chinese scanlation community. As I've already described them, I'll skip these two and go on to others.

Another one, popgo, is a quality group that does both shounen and shoujo series, as well as fan-subbing animations.

Finally, we have Kunlun, a speed scan group that some might consider a rival to JoJoHot... Like JoJoHot, they have at least 20 active series, including the big three.

Overall, the most well known groups are mainly speed scans from what I see. It is hard to sustain the will to continue quality scans in the Chinese scan community, as in most cases, the speed scans would generate hundreds or even thousands times more downloads than the quality scans.

8. What manga are popular in the Chinese manga reading community? Are there lots of groups scanning Naruto/One Piece/Bleach like in English (and all the other languages esp Italian and Spanish)?

Ah, the big three... yes, a lot of groups are doing them and competing with one another, as it is in the English Scanlation community. Though, on balance of Speed/Quality, JoJoHot and Kunlun are still the two biggest groups around.

As for other series... because I'm limited to only two or three forums/groups, I only know their most popular titles (instead of the big hits that everyone likes). Aside from the big three, Beelze is getting a lot of attention as of late at JoJoHot, and Reborn, Gintama, as well as Bakuman also has a pretty loyal followings there.

Over at BillWang, the most popular series is, of course, Vampire Knight. A close second is Skip Beat. Gakuen Alice has its ups and downs, but more down than up as of late.

9. Are there any other hobbies/things you do in your spare time or personal info you want to tell us?

Well, I'm a Biomedical Engineering major, studying for my PhD. I'm 26, married, with a daughter that's turning 2.

Other than manga related stuff, I enjoy reading a lot. Partly because I'm a fast reader, and that I can get the most enjoyment out of a book (or manga) in the shortest amount of time. As a tidbit, I was able to finish each Harry Potter novel after Book four within 6 hours after they came out. :P Ah... how I miss the midnight wait in line at Book-A-Million, waiting for the books...

Also, I play a bit of video games and MMO's. World of Warcraft is the only MMO that I still play, though off and on (maybe 3 months per year).

Finally, I don't know if I should call it a hobby, but I've been practicing Aikido since I was 7. I still go to the dojo at least once a week, and have training sessions lasting 3 hours.

10. How did you find out about Mangahelpers? What parts of the site do you think are the most useful. Anything that you wish would be changed about the site?

How did I find this site... hmm... my memory is a bit foggy on this... (j/k)

I still remember that it was Rena's Fairy Tail raws that brought me here. Back then, FT was one of the few series that I enjoy a lot, but was unable to find Japanese magazine raw for. When I heard from the head of the team that does FT's Chinese scanlation about MangaHelpers having the latest raw, I decided to come and take a look. While I wouldn't say it was love in first sight, it was a nice place to stay.

After the complete upgrade and the ambitious database-like system for raws/translations/scanlations, I have grown to enjoy this place greatly. It's a shame that I no longer have the time to visit the MH IRC, I really enjoy talking to a lot of the guys in there. If I must pick something I find the most useful, this has to be it. At first, I was a bit annoyed by the changes, but after many of the kinks and bumps are worked out, it is probably the most easy to use interface I have used.

As for changes to the site. Currently, I'm fine with the way it is right now. Sure, a few tweaks here and there is nice, but most of the concerns I have are being addressed by njt and ttx. I'm really excited about the localization of the layouts, and hopefully it will bring MH to a while new level.

I do have two little additional suggestions. Firstly, if possible, can the tech team figure out a way to allow more Shout Box customizations? It'd be really nice if they would allow the shout box to inform people of non-English translations/scanlations when they become available. Another thing good to have is to be able to “subscribe” to see if there are new comments to the raw releases a user has posted, sort of like the way the forum and the translation home works.

You can ask more questions of Finestela in her Translator Thread.

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