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MH Interviews: Finestela

+ posted by Lingwe in Interviews on Jul 19, 2009 03:17

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.

Have you shown your appreciation today? Click the thanks button or write your appreciation below!

1 members and 0 guests have thanked Lingwe for this news


#1. by mayoi ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Biomedical Engineering major, studying for my PhD (wooot! nice!)

Many many thanks for the raws and translations Finestela!
#2. by Kaiten (Harasho)
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Great interview, Finestela!! Thanks for the raws, and of course, everything you translate off 2CH for us in the Otaku Cafe!
#3. by Snesso ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
This is probably the first interview I managed to read thru the end :P
Well, thanks a lot for all the raws you provide! (I'm currently translating Nekoten using your raws ;) )
#4. by Arhazivory ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Wow...you're kinda awesome aren't you. :D To be working on your PhD, taking care of a family and still read manga...that's cool. :D
#5. by molokidan (Hidden Boss ΣΣ(゚Д゚;)ナヌッ)
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Thanks for all your hard work Finestela.
#6. by Amit ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Nice interview, always glad to see the (wo)man behind the raws~
#7. by Charkan ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Great Finestela-sensei =D
#8. by babel ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Wowww thanks for your work here.

I'm not speak english ^^ and this is my greetings for you.

See you!
#9. by Rena Chan ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
I kind of hate using Share and Perfect Dark. Because of my shared internet, I can't afford to have share programs uploading all day round or the other people will be lagging and stuff =S But continue to give us those raws gal :P

@Lingwe - "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)."
That's because I started off hanging around at MH as a Scanlator and only a Raw Scanner and Scanlator later. I thought why not since I have easy access to buy the common manga magazines and I have a scanner anyway, and some stuff were lacking raws regularly and I'm reading them... Mind you, I'm the only Raw Scanner for my group though. Besides, I prefer the Scanlator title anyway :P Also, it's much faster to scan than to scanlate, that's why more raws than scanlations.
#10. by Meromorphe ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
That was a nice interview. Thank you!
#11. by crazyxell ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Thanks for the raws and translations ^^
#12. by Idol ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Yo Are Greater Finestela!!! thank you for all!!! XD
#13. by hash899 ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
thanks Fin im sure everyone appreciates ur work here ^_^
#14. by kanapox ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Ah, this is by far the interview I was expecting the most. Very good questions and very good answers, I wouldn't mind reading a round of 10 more questions! This interview was very interesting.

So Biomedical Engineering major, studying your PhD, married, a daugther, practicing Aikido, 3 languages... gee, you are really doing great, I'm very glad for you!

Thank you very much for the raws Finestela, I had already thanked you by PM, but I can't thank you enough.
#15. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009

This is one of the reason why I'm sometimes really slow when processing with requests... I just don't have the time ;)


I agree... and uploading raw is even less time consuming, and I can do other stuff at the same time :p
#16. by Verilance ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Your Harry Potter comment seemed familiar I bought Deathly Hallows with my son at midnight and when we got home I read until I was finished it at I think 4am I was bursting not to tell my son anything he wasn't finished his book until that afternoon while we were camping. After that we read it aloud to his grandparents. Good Memories!!!
#17. by Revilenigma ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
This interview is made of win!
#18. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009

Well... Deathly Hallows was a bit different for me... There were digital cam pic of all the pages available a few days before the book was out... and I sort of read it before hand :p

It was a painful few days I must say, wanting to find someone to discuss the story, but can't (because I don't want to spoil it for others).

Ahh... the good old days... I wonder if there would be any more novels that would actually motivate me enough to do that, buying it at midnight.
#19. by Rena Chan ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
If you've read my interview, you'll know that I do other stuff on/by my computer while scanning at the same time ^_^
#20. by Verilance ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
yeah I knew they were the scans existed for DH but didn't want to read them it is much the same as manga for me i really prefer to have a volume in hand unfortunately I would need to have a small (or large) fortune to buy all the ones I want to read ha ha

I know I have thanked you before but thanks again :)
#21. by dosukoi7 ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Good interview! I don't know how you find the time to do everything @_@
#22. by juUnior ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Great review xD

Big THX Finestela-san for all of the things you do for us, manga fans *x*

""the crazy chick that uploads a bunch of raws no one reads"" - I didn't knew that.. now I know! xP

And: "I don't know how you find the time to do everything @_@"
Me too, me too, I don't know how you do it xd

btw. and I can't wait till the time you will do a Naruto English translation of some chapter <half-joke - of course from what you said in the interview it's not possible but oh well, I like the word "hope" xD>
#23. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Yeah... but when you need to do preliminary cleanings for your group... = ="

@dosukoi7 and juUnior
Having a routine in your life helps with managing your time. I've already set aside free time to do the stuff I need to do, so... ;)

Of course, the downside is that when something unexpected comes up, you will fall behind on almost everything. I'm still struggling to make up for the things I've fallen behind due to having a tree smashing the master bedroom of my house last month ;)
#24. by anonym9191 ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Also many thanks from me. Especially, since you also found the time to answer a few questions per PM.


I've fallen behind due to having a tree smashing the master bedroom of my house last month ;)

Oh. I hope no one got hurt?
#25. by igndenok ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
i just wanna say "THANK YOU", thank you for the raws :)
#26. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Yes, no one was hurt. We were having lunch in the kitchen when it happened. Though, had the tree fell a few degrees to the other side, it might've smashed into the kitchen instead of the master bedroom. :(

So I still consider us really lucky.
#27. by Binky ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Great interview, thanks for the RAWs and translations.
#28. by shadow-skill ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
My goodness girl, I must admit you're something kinda amazing! working on your phd, a mother of a 2y/o aikido, and a husband to deal with!? I must say wow, you actually have the time and patience to do all that! And sorry I beat you to Ane-doki (c:
#29. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
lol, it's no problem :p

I couldn't do it right when the raw is out anyway, since ToLoveRu has to take priority first XDDDD

Going to try to catch up on it today or tomorrow though, and hopefully I can squeeze it in on friday nights, after I'm done with TLR ;)
#30. by zidanezaith ()
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
Thanks for translating and uploading To LOVE Ru....^^
#31. by Rejuvenation ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
Very nice interview. I appreciate the Raws you upload and the translations you do for various series. Also can't forget the ToC information you post.

You really do have a lot on your hands but I'm glad you have the ability to manage most of it. :)
#32. by gumin/zx ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
I love your raw ~!
#33. by eyesotope ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
raws, translations, biomedical engineering, aikido, AND A 20M CABLE!!!
your awesomeness is truly beyond words :D
thanks for all your great work ^_^
and much thanks to Lingwe for the nicely done intereview :)
#34. by Siberia ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
Im kinda surprised u learn Chinese by yourself. Ur translations are written in traditional chinese while I thought many people prefer learning simplified chinese which is easier. I think u have done very well!
#35. by jmangeo ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
I'm interested about japanese P2P programs. Is it avalaible in english too? and... thank you so much! your work is amazing and you are the best!
#36. by Finestela ()
Posted on Jul 20, 2009
Well... I learned Chinese via reading novels, and the hardcovers I had belonged to my grandmother, and most of them were written in Traditional Chinese. So I just sort of went with that ;)

Sort of. Perfect Dark has an English UI option, while Share can use localization files to change the UI into English. However, you still need to know what the manga's name is in Japanese to find the files you need ;)
#37. by Spikey2713 ()
Posted on Jul 21, 2009
I represent JS Scans to show my appreciation towards you, Finastela, for providing the raws. Thanks to you, I had keeping Zettai Karen Children on date. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
#38. by kingsenol ()
Posted on Jul 22, 2009
I agree with shadow-skill. You're awesome. Didn't know you were such a busy woman. Thanks for keeping us updated with all the latest raws and what not.

On a side note, do you know if people upload Change123 on share/perfect dark? I would really like to see raws for that as well :)
#39. by Expel ()
Posted on Jul 22, 2009
Just wow! you're great! somehow you still can find time to search for raws and upload on MH and translating too.
#40. by Cipo ()
Posted on Jul 22, 2009
nice interview, keep on doing it ^_^
#41. by Tiesuiya ()
Posted on Jul 22, 2009
I'm from China too.
3Q for your work~
#42. by ryzvonusef ()
Posted on Jul 23, 2009
HEY! You are the guy who uploads the Kekkaishi raws!
Thanks for those, mate!
#43. by blai (Corporate)
Posted on Jul 23, 2009
"Most of you might know me as "the crazy chick that uploads a bunch of raws no one reads""

Oh no no no... We read... Oh we read! :x

Great interview ^_^
#44. by dancingblade ()
Posted on Jul 23, 2009
According to the frontpage, your name is the Finest! (You sneaky little...)
Anyways thanks for the great interview (It was also pretty useful too)
#45. by iqamores ()
Posted on Mar 22, 2010
thanks for you hard work, you are the best here, Y.Y i wanna read the cage of eden raws but they not are online, mangaelpers delete you files *i think*, well only i wrote for say thanks, i thanks for you existence.

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Registered: Sep 23, 2008
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