Requesting a song – The role of the translator


I would like everyone to read this post, because even though I wrote an entire page about how request works, it doesn’t seem anyone understood any of it.
This post will be locked on my twitter account that I suggest you to follow if you want to contact me more directly: @FGRNDNoises
To request a song is an opportunity I give you to read my translation for a song you’d like to read translated in english.
While I don’t claim to be a wonderful translator, I have my years of study on my back, so I can’t say this is something I do just for fun.
Translating requires time, as well as creating a post and manage a wordpress and its horrid interface.
And I’m doing this for free and for everybody.
I’m not expecting anything from anyone and I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for something they did. I’m not mad to anyone, I just wanted to point some things out.
There are lots of amazing japanese/doujin music translator and I think most of what I’ll write applies to each and everyone of them.

First of all, how to request.
There have been lots of people who requested me a song, and as you read on the previous posts, you should do this under the translation request page (at the bottom of this website) or via twitter or e-mail.
Requesting under another post with a comment is something I don’t like; I found it very disrespectful so avoid doing so.
Being that I’m willing to translate the songs you request me (that means I spend time of my life translating something for you, even though I enjoy doing that) for free and without questioning, I’m not expecting anything if not respect for my rules.
So, you MUST NOT request more than one song per time. I don’t like this. Why? Because the songs won’t run away!
Request me one song and it will be pending with the others, then, after it’s done, you can request me another! Easy, right?
Doing this, you allow more people to request their own song.
And of course this goes without saying, I know who requested me a song before, so of course I give priority to those who never requested anything before!
Being that I don’t have all the spare time I wish I had, I can’t spend much time translating requests, so if there’s only a song it’s pretty doable, but if I have to translate 2 songs in a row because someone requested me a combo of songs… well.
I think I’m going to state this here and now, and take it as a rule (meaning that I’ll say “No” if I have to): You can’t request more than a song per time.

Second, how we (by we I mean us translators) translate.
This is something I’d like to talk about and it’s not refering to anyone in particular.
Translating is something that requires time.
How does it work?
Step one: scans. Scans are .jpg – .png files, and that means we translators CAN’T copy the text and paste it to a .txt file. We have to read it all and figure out every single kanji without mistaking one from another (and it’s something we have to be really careful about, there are tons of similar kanjis like 待持侍詩) and again, we have to write them all down keeping the right spaces, order, kanjis and being careful not to mispell anything.
Step two: romaji. Then, we have to write everything down again in romaji, so any non-japanese speaker will be able to read the kanjis. By these two steps, it means we have to write the whole song’s lyrics TWICE. And sometimes kanjis have special readings that the band / circle / singer / whatever decides by him/her/them/self/selves. Meaning they could write 日 (hi, “Sun”) and making it sound like “太陽” (taiyou, “Sun”). So, it basically means that after we are done with romaji, we have to listen carefully to the song to check out if everything’s all right and goes along with what we just wrote before.
Step three: figuring out. We then translate stanza by stanza the whole song, and that means we first have to figure out what the song’s about contestualizing it. After that, we analyze its grammar structure and try to convery the same meaning with a similar structure in english. If something is unclear or changes dramatically from jp to eng, we have to write it down in the notes, so a reader will find a valid explaination of why we made a certain choice.
Step four: adjustments. Of course translating the whole song at first is something that can also feature a margin of error, of mispell, and an improper use of words instead of others. So, once we’re done translating, we have to make a review of what we just wrote, and that basically means to read everything again and try to fix what doesn’t sound right or what we could make sound better.
Step five: posting. Posting isn’t as rapid as you may think. You know this wordpress and you know I like to give a shape to my posts, always writing something both above my posts or your requests. Than, there are colors, links, credits, pictures. And that means to use html codes, to find the right picture and to connect each attachment to the right link. It sure doesn’t take much time compared to the previous steps, but is still something you don’t do in a bunch of seconds.
Why writing all of this? Because I think that translating is something that people tends to belittle a lot.
And why I think so? Let me explain.

Third, sharing a translation.
I really apreciate when someone uses one of my translations for their music videos on youtube.
I always add them on my playlist as long as they credit me.
But two things, here.
First being the whole “crediting” thing. I’m not asking much, as long as someone in the video description states “translated by Shion” or something like that with a link to my wordpress, I’m totally fine with it.
But once happened that someone used my translation for a touhou lyric video (it was a translation of 私達の真実~The Battlefield Flower) without crediting me, and when I told him/her (note: very politely!) to at least credit my work by simply adding a link to the description, he/she removed the lyrics and the video itself.
That made me feel… I don’t know. Disrespected? He/She could have just added “visit” and keep the video, but he/she didn’t. It was awful.
And here’s another thing I’d like to talk about.
Uploading music.
It’s true that if wasn’t for youtube or sites like this one I wouldn’t had the chance to listen to lots of artists / music, but never forget that uploading music without the author’s approval isn’t something admirable.
I really respect people who adds karaoke subs or lyrics like that, and that sure is something that takes time, but I always get a strange feeling when I see channels getting tons of views / subs / comments and praise for their videos which feature my translations while my work is completely overshadowed.
Uploading a song on youtube is something anyone could do. And I think translating a song isn’t.
And now I sound like a presumptuous prick, but I don’t think there is a translator which haven’t feel like that. And giving that no one reads descriptions… wouldn’t be better if, just for a half second, that “translation by…” thing appear in the video as a subtitle file? No? Mh.
But again, I’m totally fine with it as long as I’m credited, even in the description.
And of course I really apreciate when someone uploads a video featuring my translations, I just don’t understand why the users don’t care about who translated the song instead of who uploaded it.

That’s all I had to say.
I’ll keep on getting requests, don’t worry.
But I already know that in the future I won’t have lots of time for this wordpress, and if I ever have to feel like my works are disrespected or used improperly, then there goes my will to accepting more translations requests.
I’m sorry if this post was more serious than any other posts, but I think it’s necessary to clear up things by now, since it’s been almost a year.
Thank you for reading and don’t feel accused by my words, for all of this is not pointed to anyone in particular.