I’m drinking a bottle of Asahi Beer Super Dry as I’m writing this. Normally I don’t drink any form of alcoholic drinks because I get drunk easily (you don’t want to see me drunk), but I made an exception this time because, as you can see, I’m obsessed with anything Japanese. The beer is rather light on the alcohol content and it’s sometimes flavorless. Not drunk.
I’m not gonna tell you everything about my fansubbing life since I already made one a year ago. What I’m going to talk about is my current state as fansubber and talk about other things as well.
The core of a fansubbing group is the translator, and over the years, a lot of translators joined my group and thanks to them, we managed to fansub quite a lot of shows. It feels great to have someone do the things I like and conversely it sucks when they leave the group and I can no longer do the things I like.
I’m primarily the group’s encoder, timer, and typesetter, so you can pretty much tell the group is screwed without a translator. I could follow other groups’ method of keeping afloat without a translator by ripping CrunchyRoll subs and slap the edited subs to better raws, but it will completely ruin the point of what fansubbing is. Plus I want our translations to be one of a kind and it’s fun constructing the scripts based on your preferences.
My only option is to study Japanese and carry my group. I’ve been self-learning Japanese and all I can say is my methods are inefficient. I read a grammar guide, and the rest are through scanlations. And instead of going through a list of kanji from anki decks or whatever, I learn kanji as I see them as I translate my Aikatsu! doujinshi collection. I gotta say I memorized a good amount of kanji after translating for more than a year.
As for grammar, I’m around at basic to slight intermediate, and sadly this level of proficiency is not enough to solo a doujinshi. I managed to solo translate a few fan art and short books, but I sometimes ask the current head TL to double check my work. And judging at my current pace and at how inefficient my methods are, this will take me years. I’m not saying I’m gonna continue using these methods, so I will definitely try out other options and improve my learning.
Quite frankly, I’m a has-been fansubber who is completely helpless, and ever since I severed ties with a community and so-called friends from that same community, and stopped fansubbing TV shows, I’ve been trying to claw my way back up. Doujinshi translation is a learning experience, but the crowd of people it attracts, especially Aikatsu! yuri doujinshi, are very few.
We lost a lot of followers after a couple of transitions (changed group name and stopped doing anime shows) and we’re back to square one. Ever since it’s been a struggle trying to get back that recognition we once had. Just to be clear, I’m not just doing this for fame, but the benefit of being popular increases the chances of people showing and/or lending support.
Things aren’t improving. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get support from the community. I’ve been tossing around help wanted ads on my website, /u/ and Dynasty but no one wants to help. I suppose it’s understandable because we’re not a popular group and we translate the very niche-est of things.
I lost two cleaners in one night, and no donations to buy a better scanner (thinking of a Canon LiDE 210 an or Epson V370 scanner) to improve our art book scans, Uichan the current translator is showing signs of retiring, and still no new support and help? Man, things are crumbling apart.
WHAT TO DO?
All I can do is work harder, continue learning Japanese and then learn the art of cleaning scans. If I want things done, I should do it myself. But is this really the right thing?
I talked about this to a close friend who isn’t into fansubbing and scanlation, and I was glad I asked because he probably gave me the best piece of advice ever: “Don’t try too hard. There are people out there who will help you achieve the things you want. You gotta earn them first, though.”
As I mentioned before I severed all ties I had, so in order to get back up again, I need to start over and create new friendships and new relationships. I’ll start small by lending a hand to other groups, and build a good relationship from there. If I keep this up, I may finally get the support I so desperately need.
Actually I’m helping a certain image board with the TLC and typesetting and I think this is a good start for me.
ANIME & FANSUBBING: MY ONLINE LIFE
I emailed a friend-former-fansubber who is currently living in Japan to TLC my translations. Unsurprisingly enough he graciously declined. I wasn’t disappointed or anything, but what he said why he declined made me realize why I’m like this.
My friend isn’t getting younger, he’s nearing his 40s and have no interest in getting married. He told me he’s avoiding certain things like anime and otaku culture, and he is looking for something that will keep him happy and avoid loneliness for the rest of his life. He’d rather spend whatever time he gets to this something he loves.
He still hasn’t found it yet, but I did find the thing that will keep me happy and avoid loneliness for the rest of my life: Anime and the act of translating. This explains why I am like this. I feel so bummed out when experienced people leave my side because I am getting deprived of the things that keeps me happy. This is a part of me now.
My internet life literally began through anime and fansubbing. When I had access to my very own internet, the first thing I did was download every anime I could find via bittorrent, and this led me to follow fansub groups, and eventually getting inspired to try out fansubbing. I’ve devoted my online life to anime and fansubbing since 2007 and I don’t know what will happen to me if I ever abandon this hobby. I hope I will never see the day come.
— SHiN @ Lazy Lily Fansubs