Some Long Overdue Remarks on Translation Work

July 26th, 2017


Or a lack thereof.

I have no good news to share about any kind of translation work, official or otherwise, but especially in regards to Baldr Sky. Even leaving aside the appalling ways Sekai Project treated us for months, to suggest that no deal could be reached for any reason beside their terms being unreasonable and untenable is a lie. Full stop. No serious translator would accept them, or perhaps even could afford to. Furthermore, the inspiration in part must have been Catch-22; its terms couldn't be completed without simultaneously violating them. I had to deliver a very profanity-laden diatribe to some people on the importance of actually reading contracts, and taking the words therein literally, not naively expecting that the obligations required, demands stated, and threats promised are mere suggestions that don't actually mean anything.

Here's a couple bits of free advice that I wouldn't think need to be said. For God's sake, read and understand legal documents before signing them, and do not agree to anything you are not willing or able to do. And if you are ever asked to concede everything, and then you'll get a share of the Nigerian prince's riches a fair and equitable agreement can be discussed later, run like hell.

I will say that the attitudes of numerous prominent members of the translation community toward what happened with us, within my team and without, have been unpleasantly enlightening. I'm particularly disappointed in those who are happy to help Sekai Project, handing over perhaps not my core translation work, but using my knowledge about the game's inner workings, references, background, issues, translation and technical, and how to address them. Given Sekai's demonstrated lack of effort in so many their translations, they would never have had any idea many things existed, let alone what to do about them, and even less incentive to fix them, if they even have any now. It's not copying my essay, but it's certainly cribbing my notes, and it's inexplicable after being gaslighted for months. Not everyone I worked with, but enough.

Like I've said previously, it sucks for the game, a lot, but it's out of my hands. Sekai Project does not have permission to use my work, and I will not hesitate to take legal action if I need to in order to ensure that they do not in any form. On the other hand, if you've got an in with Giga, and want to release the game in English somewhere Sekai Project doesn't have it licensed, I know a guy. Real clever. Hard worker. Quick and cheap. Already mostly done. Probably even willing to hand it off and walk if you can demonstrate integrity and sufficient talent. Drop me a line.


Translation has been something I've enjoyed, but every time I think about resuming it, the stress of every problem with Baldr Sky, even before Sekai Project blew it up that come to mind, stress shared by Bunny Black 2 and quintuple that for Prism Ark. My motivation issues are entirely on me, but I certainly won't deny that I feel disillusioned about something I used to enjoy. I've made basically no time for translating for a year now, and the little I have has all been rife with the same problems as before, if not worse. I do look back over my past notes on some things, particularly the more passion projects like Duel Savior and Twilight Insanity/Refrain and feel nostalgic, but there's simply not a lot out there anymore that I'm passionate about. I've talked off and on with at least a person or two about looking into other translation work, but there's probably as much chance I translate anything major in the next year as there is I turn my scattered design notes into a comedy-drama RPG homage to 70s rock and the Stainless Steel Rat.


That's basically the long and short of it. There's nothing on my plate, nothing in the wings, and I'm not sure where I go from here with translating, if anywhere. I dislike saying anything with finality, but life's too short to spend it dealing with people who do not respect you, your time, or your work, official or otherwise. Go pet a dog instead. It's less likely to bite you.

Posted in Unimportant Crap | 19 Comments »

19 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Opulent Rag says:

    Jeez dude, sorry to hear that. I know you hear that or expect hearing it but still, at least you have some fans of your work so far here, to put a hand on a shoulder. I hope more doors open up for you.

  • Chrono says:

    I’m sorry for what you went through. I wonder what Sekai has to say in their defense.

    I want to echo the comment that there are people who appreciate the work you have done in the past. Whatever decision you make in the future, I hope you keep in mind that even if we aren’t actively voicing the sentiment, we are incredibly grateful.

    It seems you’ve also gone above and beyond putting out a respectable translation, e.g. in Kamidori, in dealing with all the repeated names or descriptions, and making the game more palatable. I’m not sure how many people recognize this.

    What’s very sad is that the work you’ve released to us for free exceeds the quality of paid translation work. Partly that’s an acknowledgment of what you’ve done, but it’s also an indictment of the lack of ability and absence of motivation from the paid translators.

    If you do, understandably, completely walk away from all translation work, I think we’ll be missing more than some games to play. We’ll be losing one of the few translators who cares about doing a proper and respectful job.

    • Aroduc says:

      I would assume they have to say the same as before; harumphing and tut-tutting of how unprofessional commenting in public is, with a side of pompous self-justification on how they were right about me all along… due to their own self-sabotage.

  • Anon says:

    As someone with an actual job I don’t really have the time to follow 4chan/ircs to keep track of everything that’s happening so thanks for the post which allowed me to find what happened.

    I’ve been pretty skeptical of anything SP since after some of their first projects so this won’t really change much for me. But for what it’s worth, the terms that SP seems to have tried giving in the contract and the events that lead up to it really do seem bizarre and you pretty much had no other sane choice. Really unfortunate that this fuckup was what you got for all your previous effort on the game.

  • Gaynigger from Outer Space says:

    But Aroduc, don’t you feel sorry for poor dovac? He needs money to cure his AIDS or whatever it is he’s constantly bleeding from orifices as a result of.

    Seriously though, you should’ve just released your own translation, Sekai has never not been a disaster.

  • Mint Best Girl says:

    You were too good for this world.

    • Aroduc says:

      A better person would’ve sucked it up and moved on, not let jerks unexpectedly doing jackass things get to them, and I do feel some guilt about it because I know that was stupid of me. It’s certainly not the way I wanted or expected to end translating, if indeed I have.

  • Anonymous says:

    The unluckiest translator.

  • the dude who awoke from a 1-year comma says:

    That’s sad to hear man.
    But I really admire you for being who you are and not bending your knees to them.

  • Anon says:

    Even though your taste in anime is garbage, I’m sad you had to go through this. Sekai Project have always been an awful company with nothing but contempt for their audience and their employees.

  • Mike says:

    I respect you for telling it how it is. Hopefully this will make translators think twice about signing on with sekai and consumers will vote with their wallet and never buy from sekai.

    I think I’ve read nearly all of your translated novels. It’s a shame I won’t read another but nothing gold can stay.

    You can close this chapter in your life and move on. You did good bro, even if it hurts now I know you’ll look back on this later and know that you did the right thing. If more people stood up for themselves the world would be a much better place.

  • Blue says:

    It’s a damn shame to see so many people side with Sekai in random corners of the internet after this whole debacle. Just wanted to thank you for all the hard work and effort you’ve done throughout the years for the VN scene. You’ve brought me many hours of enjoyment. Wish you luck in your future endeavors whatever they may be.

  • Anonymous says:

    There must be something on the backlog you like.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good on you for standing up for yourself. While I’d love for you to continue translating in the end for something like this dignity is important.

  • Elevator says:

    It is important to find a company to work for that doesn’t treat you like garbage. Sekai is interested in making as much money as possible and nothing else which is why they license everything they can as cheaply as they can. Honestly it may be worth it to just translate things you like and not worry about the business side if you have a day job and translation is just a side project.

  • HighPriest says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ll always be grateful you translated Big Bang Age. Definitely a quality job, for a game that really deserved English translation but would never get it otherwise.

    So even if you never translate anything else again, please know that there are people out there who appreciate the hard work you put in on some great projects.

  • reminder says:

    If you do not translate anything anymore, best of luck to you in future endeavors. If you do, hopefully a better company appears to properly evaluate your efforts.

    In any case, thanks a lot for all you’ve done. You’ve completed huge projects that others were afraid to even start and I’m really grateful for that. Whatever happens, happens, but you have already left a significant mark in the translation scene and I hope it becomes a tangible benefit somehow in the long run for you.

  • Absalom says:

    Sorry to hear that. You are one of the good ones. Even more, a stainless steel rat reference? I see you are a man of taste as well.