MH Interviews: js06
Hi and welcome to MangaHelpers 10th Translator Interview Session. I am sodeq (of course that is not my real name) and I am a new interviewer for MangaHelpers. I will be interviewing various scanlation groups, translators, artists and MH staff. At the moment there's no set schedule, but I'll try to get them out on a regular basis. Next week, I'll be interviewing one of the scanlation groups. Who? Well I'll let you guess in the comments below ;).
With that said, I proudly present the first translator in the rejuvenated MH interviewing and that is js06. Js06 has nearly translated one hundred chapters of Bloody Monday. We hope you enjoy the interview.
1. First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Can you please give an introduction of yourself?
I'm js06 and I'm a Japanese -> English translator here on Mangahelpers. I live in Alabama and am self-taught in Japanese.
2. What manga do you translate? Are you a part of any groups or do you just do freelance?
I started out translating Zettai Karen Children as a member of JS Scans, but I have since moved on to doing mostly freelance work. I do a lot of work with JAC. Specifically, Bloody Monday, Black Lagoon, and Kure-nai. I translate Hayate no Gotoku and Kami Sen for free use. I also translate Detective Conan for Endless Youth and Co. and Gamble Fish For OMFGG.
3. How did you first get into translating manga? How did you start learning Japanese and how long have you been studying? What was it like translating manga for the first time?
My very first time translating manga was when a friend of mine wanted to read a series (I can't remember which one) and I could (very badly) render it into English, so I did so for him for something like 4 or 5 chapters. Those were never posted on the internet and have long since been deleted.
I first started translating manga to be posted online near the start of '09 when Kioras agreed to scanlate Zettai Karen Children if someone gave a translation. I knew Japanese well enough to actually translate by that point even if I wasn't that great at it, so I agreed to translate it. That's when JS Scans came into being.
It still amazes me that I started translating Zettai Karen Children at Chapter 10. I mean, last week I translated Chapter 208!
I mentioned in my introduction that I'm self-taught in Japanese. About 2.5 years ago, in the summer of '07 my interest in anime and manga led to an interest in Japanese culture and the Japanese language. I found a few resources online that I could use to teach myself Japanese and over the course of the summer, I did so. Towards the end of the year, I was at the point of being able to read manga with heavy use of a dictionary and some (sometimes a lot of) difficulty.
I mainly just read manga and Japanese web sites until I could read things much more easily as long as I had a dictionary. Translating manga is another thing that has forced me to get a much firmer grasp on the language, and I'm still learning with every chapter I translate.
4. Do you have any favourite manga or manga authors? Is there any manga currently serialized that interests you?
There are quite a few manga I enjoy. Any manga I translate is one I enjoy, but, of those, my favorite
5. You've translated hundreds of chapters now. Is there anything you still have a hard time with while translating? Is there any useful tips you have found while translating that you think could help beginner translators?
There are two main things I run into problems with. One is when I find some turn of phrase that I haven't run across before and I'm not sure what is meant at first. The other is when there's a line I can't think of a good way of putting in English. Specifically, when there doesn't seem to be a way to make a balance between sounding natural in English and getting across what the original line said.
And that segues very nicely into my advice for beginner translators. You need to find a balance between natural English and preserving the original line. I try to make sure the dialogue I put in the characters mouths sounds like something you could hear them say if they were English speakers. (Aside from honorifics and such.) However, I also want to keep what was said as intact as possible. That said, you don't need to phrase everything the same way as the Japanese does. That just makes everything sound awkward. If there is an English phrase or idiom that gets across the concept idea as what the Japanese line is meant to express, it's okay to use it. Doing so will really help make your translation sound more natural. Of course you have to ask yourself if that phrase or idiom sounds like something that character would say. Remember to match how you write a line with the character's personality and the politeness level he or she is speaking with for that line. I'm not perfect at all this, but I'm better than I was and hopefully, in the future, I'll be better than I am now.
6. How do you feel about the amount of fan feedback and thanks that you get for the work you've done? What kind of feeling do you get when you see people read and discussing the manga that you have translated?
As a translator I don't get that much direct feedback from regular fans, but seeing that fans of the series enjoy the final scanlation is just as good IMO. It's always nice to see that people are enjoying something you worked on.
7. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on in your spare time?
Hmm, I guess I would say that reading (of books in English) is my next biggest hobby.
8. How about any translators that you look up to or think "I wish I could be like him or her someday". And while on that topic, are there any scanlation groups that you admire and hope to work with?
Not really. I'm sure there are plenty of translators who are much better than I am, and that there are plenty of great scanlation groups I've never worked with, but I've been reading manga in its raw form for 2 years now. Because of that, I haven't seen very many scanlations that don't use my translations in a while.
9. Thank you very much for the taking time to do this interview! Any final words you'd like to say to the readers of your translations?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
I'll end this by saying thanks to everyone who enjoys my translations, thanks to the scanlators for doing such wonderful jobs, and thanks most of all to the original mangakas for making such enjoyable mangas.
You can ask more questions of js06 in his Translator Thread
You can also find js06s' translation here:
Bloody Monday Season 2 ~Pandora's Box~
Hayate no Gotoku
Out Code - Choujou Hanzai Tokumu Sousakan
Seitokai no Ichizon
Zettai Karen Children
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