CLANNAD: Why?

I’ve had discussion on this topic off and on, and thought I might want to discuss it a little bit.

When I first resurrected the CLANNAD Translation Project, in its infancy stages it was about 20% complete considering the files that had to be translated. That was back in January… now it’s nearly June, and we’ve managed to reach approximately 53% in terms of the translation required in the phase we are at. Though the progress is great, it brings a number of things to my attention…

First off, the initial translation project started in 2005. Approximately two years ago. Exactly how the project was handled and how it went around back then is beyond me. However, it seems that the open translation method may be the only way to actually have this project done, given the two-year delay. The number of routes and subscenarios are complex and have so many variations that, I wouldn’t want to wish this on a single translator to complete all of it (and still maintain consistency). In fact, it would be nearly impossible for even a single translator to maintain consistency across all the routes, let alone multiple translators (as it is right now). For a game like CLANNAD, a main editor (or group of editors) will be required, no matter how good the translator may be. Even if this were a closed project, the amount of editing required would be absolutely insane; try reading through one of the subscenario files that weigh more than 1000 lines and you’ll know what I mean. Now imagine that x 15, and you have one of the main heroines’ routes right there.

The second part is, exactly what is it that makes the open translation so capable of attracting translators? Does it bring ease of use? Or maybe because it’s so open people feel more encouraged to work on it? Or is it because the translated files are right there, and people can see it and make changes and feel like they’re part of a bigger whole?

The last part is, although translation consistency should be maintained as closely as possible, does it matter once the routes start diverging? From what I understand, up until April 25 the routes all mesh together and are somewhat interconnected, but after that, the routes separate and it’s everyone for themselves. It makes me wonder if this was the same with the original writing concept, in that Jun Maeda and the writers in Key all wrote together at one point, then separated when the time came? Should it be like that in the translation as well? Ideally though, consistency should be kept, but who knows?

It’s just something I’d want to keep in mind… should the time come for Tomoyo After or Little Busters! to be translated, would this be the same method of choice again…? It’ll probably depend on the final product of this current endeavor, wouldn’t it?

This entry was posted in Clannad, Fansub and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to CLANNAD: Why?

  1. Amoirsp says:

    Although I have no translation ability and am somewhat obsolete, I personally put inputs to show appreciation. So perhaps for translators, they can put an input, without bearing too much. Split a few sections to a select few people, and you get good production, at a pace that can be random since everyone’s lives are different. Well I say it’s the part of bigger whole thing. Also, you have good tolerance in the sense that you’ll let it be done (or rather you’re well aware of the fact that a translation phase at first will look really weird, and then overhauled via edits aka professional translating/editing). Though from what I’ve seen, there doesn’t appear to be any ridiculous edits, and if something was deleted it’s revertable since you also structured it where you can edit whichever route you want rather than setting deadlines and placing certain portions to certain people. I suppose that increases variability. Also initially direct translating seems to take priority, thus an adjustment made to that usually is done to make it sound more fluent in English, so the edit, if done alright, appears progressive.

    I say if the diverging is extremely independent, such as Kotomi, again, then yes I say it can have its own taste. If you think about it, it’s still Tomoya, with different feelings and occurrences/experiences. I say it can be different upon other routes, but consistent within itself. Also if it uses other characters from other routes, they should at least seem within their normal personality, despite possible additive strangeness.

    Don’t forget that despite the noticeable divergence, there is also very strange convergence. Remember, guides you may find online could be structured to isolate the target character, since rejecting characters to other routes makes it more difficult to accidentally slip into a different route (oh and this is very well possible). This is more obvious with the side characters.

    But hey, if you think the divergence can allow less consistency because it is so independent, then great that makes it less strict and allows a translator’s personal taste.

    Since this is supposedly a translation phase, you want a base that plots out all the text. Ideally it is then you want to focus on consistency.

    Editing-wise, I already burned out to the point that I just pick off typos or find missing punctuation because fixing typos have no level of argument among the edit itself. An editing overhaul functions better when the full story is fully translated with actual gameplay testing because an error becomes much more obvious.

    (you’ve already seen the loops with language reversal when words from other languages are mixed in during dialogue or there’s an English class because it’s a Japanese school and yet that cannot be reversed along with dictionaries). Fortunately, while the game routing is very complex, the absolute basic idea is rather simple (don’t know the name for it where it’s like oh this character is this type, or this route is this type of story … stereotypical? I don’t know).

    In terms of Tomoyo After, you intended on the PS2 version, thus the program end of it would slightly differ. You also don’t branch off as much, under the assumption that it’s a continuation of Tomoyo’s route, so it feels more like one route with lots of different things happening (note that after story doesn’t function that much differently, and yes there is certain replay ability … oh wait this is the all-ages one, then I don’t really know since in the 18+ one unlocks more … CG).

    I won’t say anything about Kanon or Air, just that those were closed projects I heard, and thus despite an anime version for each, didn’t have increased flocking like Haruhi’s case given that open translation wasn’t used. The point of saying that is that Clannad is the only Key game that seems to be so open, though I don’t know if it would have increased interest from an anime airing.

    Well I lost my train of thought. Still, it seems like things have been going as you intended, so that’s good.

  2. Espr says:

    You’ve proven that your method works and works well. Better than how we did Kanon…though the editting was probably more standardized.

  3. AbstractBlueSky says:

    I agree that the open translation is a very efficient working method at the current moment. Assigned translators and such have their own lives, as I had once experienced, and tend to fall off the project as personal issues come up or due to laziness. Leaving it in open translation, via the wiki, lets Clannad fans that can translate or give insight into the translation far easier access to the code.

    For example, I had stumbled onto the wiki pretty recently, and as I am currently obsessed with the game, I have no problem with attempting to help translate. In fact, I’m at work atm and I can say, it has been keeping me busy during our slow periods, haha.

    As for a translation for Tomoyo After and Little Busters (especially Tomoyo After), I would love to see that come to fruition. Every Clannad fan should be able to read and experience eveything Key has to offer in their games. If anything, I’d love to offer my limited knowledge of Japanese to help obtain that goal. Until then, I’ll be lurking the Clannad translation strings, helping to sort things out there.