Wahfuu Rant! Romanesque Translation Situation


Check out all the bullshit!

How dare Aroduc try to make money off of fan translating porn novels. Look at that! 2500$?! That’s.. well, not much money at all really. In fact, split amongst the translation group, it’s not even a 4th of what people at McDonald’s would make, as so amusingly explained by Kastel here. That isn’t the point, though. The point is, its money. On the internet. For fan translating! Oh the humanity! Someone had to take the first step, you know. Soon, almost every fan translation will be hosted on kickstarter! Everyone will refuse to translate for free because that one guy Aroducs journey into the rich high-life of fast food and stress just had to go and drag the entire visual novel translation practice into the shit! It’s the end of days, ladies and gents.

Yes, forget about the absurdly obvious and cringe-worthy xenophobia taking place here. Forget about the fact that Aroduc has delivered time and time again and will probably continue to do so. And yes, forget about the fact that the money actually acquired here would barely be enough to fuel gas for a month. We should all raise our arms in unison because of some sort of stupid invisible moral high ground we have placed ourselves on! He’s disrespecting the wishes of that dead company! How dare he. How dare fan translators ask for money for a hobby! Downright scum and evil and reasons and morality and whip wha hoo ha kazah!


That’s enough of that.

(Forgive me for that, please.)

So, this whole post is probably going to wreak of mediocrity. I’m not exactly the best at talking about these sorts of things, but I really want to get my stance on this whole situation out there as part of this ever-so argument filled visual novel community. So, I’ll give a brief description of what this whole situation is about.

Aroduc, everybody. Quite the guy. Him and Seiha Translations have translated quite a number of porn novels for us feeble english-only plebs to enjoy. Recently he became curious as to if a kickstart project could work for the project he had in mind. Apparently, fan translations are in a murky enough area for them to allow a kickstarter! Rejoice. Except.. well, not really. He dropped a line to the original devs of Romanesque a line about what he wanted to do. Seemed reasonable, right? Romanesque is a bit older and this is a market they have very little interest in. On paper, it just seems like free money for no effort. Apparently not though, because Aroduc was promptly given the long nippon shaft of the law.

Aroduc was basically told that they had no interest in a western release because of piracy. And what he was doing encouraged piracy, so if he or anyone else wanted to play their game, they should all fly down to japan. Yes, you probably read that right. They do not want free money from a market they have no interest in because those people will probably pirate it in order to play it. Basically, no sales are not only equal to but they are greater than some sales. If you find that something there seems to be a bit.. off the rail, you would not be alone.

It seems Aroduc has gone with putting on the facemask before the incoming shrapnel, because the kickstarter got started anyways. And I personally thought it was pretty cool, but it seems only a few people feel this way, because the level of stupid moral high-ground laced bullshit being tossed at this project at lethal velocity has been near surreal. People who download gigs of anime every month suddenly really care about the wishes of a dead company. Well, damn. As soon as money gets involved (voluntarily donated money for a project that will start later if not funded!) fan translation becomes really vile. Apparently getting paid for a hobby on the internet is a very bad thing. Yep. Even if you tried to do it the official way  and it got put down because of xenophobic bigotry. You are a bad, bad person.

(Note: I believe I got most notable things. If I missed anything important, feel free to tell me. If you wish to find out yourself, the kickstart is here and Aroducs explanation is here)

So, if I haven’t been obvious enough, I am very for the whole project and I am glad to see that Aroduc got all the money required. Looking forward to playing Romanesque. I was sort of expecting the reaction it got, though, but I wasn’t expecting all the damn ignorance. Everyone seems to assume that Aroduc is trying to do this for some sort of huge financial gain. I apparently missed the part when 2500$ split amongst a few people was a lot of money. Maybe I’m the ignorant one and I’m being to trusting of Aroducs intentions. Maybe he’s raising all that money so he can fly to Japan like the dev told him. Aroduc, you sly prick.

Quite the handsome guy.

Aroduc in his true form.

So, one thing I find a little jarring is the complete lack of discussion about the totally obvious xenophobia that is on total display. It seems everyone cares so much about the ‘moral wrongdoing’ of the kickstarter that everyone’s willing to let it slide underneath the carpet. And don’t say it isn’t xenophobia. It is. ‘Come to Japan to play our game?’ Really? How is this not a problem with people? Did everyone forget that little Minori incident? It makes me wonder what the majority of companies think of fan translations. I confess myself a bit uninformed in this regard.

This isn’t just a simple refusal of a western release. This is outright refusal to work with someone ignoring all benefits. It wouldn’t be that far off to call it outright hostility towards the fan translation. Nobody is this in the dark about what piracy actually is. It’s the only explanation that I can see behind the message. Then again, though, the excuse given is actually so bad that I have to wonder why they even bothered with it at all.

So, then. If the money is purely optional and voluntary, the company hostile and the crime utterly victimless, what is the big shitstorm about? Well, besides your every-day hypocrisy and pure ignorance on the situation, most people are caught up on this invisible high morality pedestal. Apparently Aroduc is being.. immoral by starting up a kickstarter? Suddenly asking for money to shut himself in a room for a few months for thankless, underpaid and stress-filled work is in some deranged way immoral. We have the prime evils of this world, ladies and gentlemen. North Korea, murderers and Aroduc.

And then the whole slippery slope thing people are doing. Apparently this is going to be some sort of catalyst for other fan translation works to open up on kickstarter. Koestl, up-on finishing Grisaia will not release the patch unless he gets 2500$ of donations, or something or other. Look, I love fan translators, especially since my japanese hangs very close to the absurdly shitty end of things, but I’ve always wondered why they do it. The visual novel community are incredibly ungrateful and when they aren’t infighting over intellectual superiority when it comes to taste they look to instead shit on translators for being inaccurate/bad/drama-filled and whatever. There is very little to be gained by doing it. I’m not trying to justify a new kickstarter fan movement or anything, but if they’ve put up with the conditions now, one guy asking for living expenses isn’t going to suddenly turn the visual novel fan-translation community upside down just yet.

I feel like I’m getting too far away from the main point though. I just wanted to point out that the conditions aren’t as great for Aroduc as everyone seems to make out. In essence, nobody is being harmed by Aroducs choice here. Well, the original devs might be a bit miffed at the whole thing. Anyways, everyone needs to chill out. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme by Aroduc and it definitely isn’t freaking immoral no matter how much people want to cry about it. This is a fan needing money to get this out in timely fashion. Nobody forced anybody to donate anything. They weren’t holding the patch at ransom.

Hey, look. I don’t know shit about shit, I’ll confess that, but I just love the medium as a whole. And as the guy who doesn’t know shit about shit and simply loves the porn novel medium as a whole, I think it’s a neat idea. And it doesn’t deserve the anger. It’s far too petty a crime to keep me, you, or anyone else at night and at the end we get another porn novel. And isn’t that what everyone in this community wants in the end?

Well. That’s enough of that for now. I’ll probably keep this updated incase anything radical changes about the project. So, we’ll see. Ciao.

EDIT/UPDATE: Project got DMCA’d. Xenophobic aggressive attitude wins! Can’t say it’s overly surpring but definitely disappointing.


8 thoughts on “Wahfuu Rant! Romanesque Translation Situation”

  1. >Look, I love fan translators, especially since my japanese hangs very close to the absurdly shitty end of things, but I’ve always wondered why they do it. The visual novel community are incredible ungrateful and when they aren’t infighting over intellectual superiority when it comes to taste they look to instead shit on translators for being inaccurate/bad/drama-filled and whatever.

    Because there are a lot more sensible people like you that appreciate what we do than there are lunatics yelling at us. For me, the thing that makes me keep doing this long-term are the download counts. Back when I did MOON I was honestly shocked to see more than a hundred. Now my MLA and Rewrite patches each have over 13000 downloads (just from our site!), and when you look at how those people voted on vndb, it’s obvious that the silent majority is enjoying my work immensely.

    Plus, the vehemently ungrateful people tend to gather in very specific groups/sites/chatrooms which I have learned to avoid like the plague, so the worst of it I just never hear anymore.

  2. Admitedly I think I’ve hung around the more toxic portion of the VN community, which is why I said that in the post. It just seemed like nothing but placing work on a pedestal and throwing as much shit as you possibly can at it until it topples over. It just seemed like Aroduc was signing up for a ton of stress for a small reward. I’m glad to hear that the warm and fuzzies one gets overwrite can actually cancel out all the white noise one gets.

  3. It’s especially obvious because you see a lot of anime-buisness logic being applied as to why this kickstarter is such a bad thing. Although I must say I might be contributing to the proportion explosion with this post. Hrm.

  4. The VN community is mostly toxic. Even the cool places I lurk at are, by definition, horrible areas. Like fansubbing drama, it’s melodramatic and painful to read. And you wish everyone can just shut up.

    But that’s how the world works. It revolves around drama. The existence of sensible people means we are required to be sensible. So at least be sensible about the drama popping up. And tell the drama queens, “God, you guys are really damn annoying. Shut up.”

  5. I’ve kind of stopped lurking around VN-Centric websites/circles and kept to just talking to a few people that seem reasonable. I used to go around /vg/ and other random forums now and again, though. I guess it is mostly toxic, sadly. I’m surprised to hear that the places you hang around are bad too though. I didn’t think the TL-Wiki/Commie circle would be all that dramatic.

    Although looking at the article now, I really just wanted to tell everyone to shut up because Aroduc didn’t deserve it but I kind of ended up arguing for the kickstarter. Might have been a bit silly of me.

  6. Honestly, I’ve heard from one of the TLs at MG that they prefer Nukige over story driven VNs because it churns out 2-3 times more money.

    And Kickstarter now presents a unique opportunity for fundraising.

    Now, let’s see, time consuming work hobby + a need to live (food, rent, recreation, etc etc) + a possibility to raise funds prior to project start… Hmmm, this couldn’t possibly = a business model?

    Sekai Project, anyone?

    I’m all for this “VN Translation-Kickstarter” combo, it makes it possible for translation groups (translators in particular) to actually make a living of doing it.

    Now, let’s see: If translation groups could translate as their work instead of as their hobby, wouldn’t it mean they’d have more time to translate(assuming they would want to work with it)? And if our beloved translators had more time to translate, wouldn’t it mean faster translations? And wouldn’t faster translations mean more releases? And more releases would make fans happy, yes?

    I can only see this as a win-win thing, assuming that translators would like to work with it, of course.

  7. The downside would of course be the fact that since it now includes money, one would have to reach some kind of agreement with everyones beloved STUBBORN Japanese companies wich practically SHUN the western market, for reasons only known to themselves.

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