Yaoi translation:Good or bad experience?
Thread poster: ovi_ivo

Local time: 08:05
English to Japanese
Nov 19, 2007

Hello all, my first post here so please direct me somewhere else if I'm asking this in the wrong areaicon_smile.gif

I've been studying Japanese at the university level for about 4 years, completed a summer program from Kyoto Koka university, and will be graduating with a BA in History (specifically Canadian and Asian history) next month.

I recently started "volunteer" translating for an online "scanlation" group since I thought it would not only improve my Japanese reading and Japanese>English translation skills, but also because I was hoping it would give me some practice/experience for pursuing a translation job in a few years time. I've also really enjoyed this work so far, it's fun and challenging at the same time.

ONE ISSUE: The group I've been translating for specializes in Japanese Yaoi manga. I was wondering; is this kind of experience something that would work to my benefit or not in the future? Would flaunting this kind of work on a resume or profile help me since it IS quite challenging translation despite the unconventional content, or would it actually hurt me simply because the content of these translations is not mainstream and some might think of it as offensive. This is my main question, should I include this "volunteer" experience on a resume someday, or should I simply keep it private as a means of language/translation practice?

Any comments or suggestions are VERY welcome (and again, first post, so be gentle if I made a mistake posting this here or if something like this has already been posted).


Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:05
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
EN>JP and JP>EN translation Nov 20, 2007

My background is based on science and technology.

I do JP>EN and EN>JP translation for most business documents. Manga is not much paid to earn a living. Yet the langage is fantastic and good.
You have a good approach. I hit with full-time trsnslation job since I started with free translation to a Christian church over 30 years ago.
Payment and your personal domain of interest are likely to lead you to success in the business.

Soonthon L.


michiko tsumura  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:05
Member (2006)
English to Japanese
An experience is an experience Nov 20, 2007

You should definitely put that in your resume. You don't have to explain what kind of manga you've translated.

Thanks for putting the link to the Wikipedia. I actually didn't know what Yaoi manga was. I used to read a lot of manga when I was little but, my, it has come long ways.

Good luck!


tonymacg  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
Member (2006)
Japanese to English
+ ...
OK, but Nov 21, 2007

I doubt that including manga translation of whatever genre will help much, unless you aim to specialize in that area.

In 40 years working from Japanese to English, I've only once been asked to translate manga. That was for an individual enthusuast around 10 years ago, and it earned me the price of a couple of cartons of cigarettes, as I recall.

On the broader question of how users might react to this sort of experience, I can't see any cause for concern. I've never yet had a client show any curiosity about my politics, religion, morals or sexual preferences and so on.


Lidia Nunez
Local time: 22:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
it is not bad! (Spanish case) Mar 12, 2008

I don't really know about the luck of Japanese manga translations into English. But I can show you an example of a Spanish manga translator who doesn't only translate manga, but it has become also anime and has to assist to the Japan Animation Festival (soon in Tokyo, at the end of this month).
He is called Marc Bernabe and he translates together with his girlfriend Veronica Calafell. Fans love them and they have many books published also, including "Japonés en viñetas" or "Japanese in Mangaland".
Yes, they are specialists in manga translation. But again, the Spanish market for japanese-spanish translators is smaller...


Local time: 05:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
The translation experience itself is fine, but... Jun 11, 2008

There is one big caveat in the translation experience you're undertaking. Simply put, your "client" is a copyright-breaching pirate operation, so that may be a bad mark to admit on your work history. It's likely that the most your client group will get is a cease-and-desist order, but I'm not familiar enough with copyright cases to not guarantee you won't be considered liable if there's any criminal prosecution.

For the same work, you're better off doing it for a real publisher.

The illicit nature of "scanlations" sets it worlds apart from any other kind of volunteer translation, and that could be much more problematic than to worry about whether manga translation, yaoi or otherwise, is worth putting on your resume.


Kim Carlson Tadenuma  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
Member (2006)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yaoi is fun, but.... Jul 17, 2008

I think Yaoi translations are fine, BUT, like other people said, you won't make a living off it. If you want to gather experience translating, find a few agencies that will let you take work that will have a paid proofreader or editor for your projects. Then you can receive feedback about your work and if you really want to a lot of work as a translator, consider a field like patents, medical, or software.


Local time: 14:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
The problem with your "volunteering" Aug 17, 2009

The only problem I see with your "volunteering" is that you are translating unlicensed contents and violating the owners copyright. You should avoid to involve yourself in such illicit activities. There's nothing wrong in translating manga of whatever genre, it only becomes something you can be ashame of if it's pirated.


Kroz Wado
Local time: 22:05
Japanese to English
Call it manga Aug 19, 2009

No need to specify what kind of manga it was. It's a bit of obfuscation but I probably wouldn't mention the hobbyist nature either unless asked because it marks you out as a blatant amateur by virtue of not being actual paid working experience. I doubt most companies will be concerned by the technical illegality of scanlation when they see an effectively blank CV.

The key question I would have is "Is what you did that much different to simply reading comics?". Did you have someone checking your work? Without that feedback process you've got no quality guarantee on how good your translation actually is nor can you learn from your mistakes, and you may find yourself out of your depth even sticking to the comics/anime/games field.

That said, (well written) manga is an excellent source for good practice and my Japanese really stepped up when I started on it. I hope you don't speak Japanese like a yaoi comic book character!icon_wink.gif


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