Friday, November 22, 2013

Updates on Utsukushii Koto / Thoughts

This will be my post for my attempts at getting Utsukushii Koto legally licensed and translated.

[updated] tl;dr - I am too impatient and fed up to continue this attempt and have reuploaded the scripts elsewhere.

22 November 2013

I apologize for the extended silence! It has taken me a while to contact Kodansha for reasons I will elaborate on below, but I sent them an e-mail yesterday and this is what I got in reply today:
Thank you for your e-mail.
I am [name] from Kodansha International Rights. Thank you for your inquiry to [the manager] and your expression of passion concerning English translations for Utsukushii Koto.

Unfortunately, we are still doing our best to market the rights for an English version of this title, and at this point, there has been no decision to transfer them to a local English publisher yet. If this title is licensed, the person in charge will share with you information about which publisher it has been licensed to.

However, ultimately we leave it to the publisher who has bought the license to select the translator. Although we cannot guarantee that you will be designated, I would very much encourage you to speak to local publishers with the same passion you have shown us.

I hope you will forgive me for my indefinite answer.

A while later, I got an e-mail from his boss.


I would like to add a few things to what [the previous person] said.

Japanese agents and companies normally do not assign translators when rights are sold. Local publishers often assign translators with whom they work regularly. Even if the Japanese side recommends a translator, it does not mean that the translator will be chosen.

Generally, translators are chosen by the publisher who will be publishing the translated title. If you wish for your translations to be used in a foreign edition for a particular title, you must contact the overseas publisher.

However, in that case, you are faced with another problem of whether the author wishes it. As for "Utsukushii Koto", Kodansha does not own the first rights. Foreign editions are usually marketed to the publisher who has published the first edition. In other cases, translations may be brought in for consideration to translation agents, or the author may market the title on his/her own.
I cannot say what the author's viewpoint is on this process.

The last e-mail may have been a little vague in expression, but the reality is that it is very difficult to propose to translate a specific work to an overseas licenser.

If you wish to be active as a translator in Japan, I think the shortcut would be marketing English-to-Japanese translations to Japanese publishers.

To tell you the truth, I have been quite skeptical about this process from the beginning. But the fact that the manager himself has felt it necessary to drive the point home that it is "very difficult" basically sounds like he is telling me I might as well give up because there is no point. He even seems to imply that I inquired about Utsukushii Koto because I was in it for some kind of business opportunity.

Ever since the idea of publication was suggested to me, I have thought and thought about why I fan-translate. Why do something that is ultimately illegal, disrespects the author and bastardizes her work without permission? Why not have it legally licensed so that the author can get due credit and it can be printed and distributed properly? Because it isn't guaranteed. Because publishers might take a look at it, decide it's not worth publishing, and never pick it up again.

I am not justifying what I do. If I had the guts, the patience, and the righteousness to continue to fight to have more titles legally licensed and translated, I would have. But I have none of those things. I translate, and have always translated, because I want to share with people the kind of works that have left a lasting mark on me. But when it comes to the method of sharing, my passion does not take me very far. I cannot help but choose the quick and dirty way, which is the Internet.

Maybe I will make another attempt at publication. But it will not be with this title.

The translations are back up now, but not on this site. I will only say that they're on Wordpress, and that a bit of Googling will turn them up.

For the many of you who have left kind comments in the last post, this post will probably answer your questions (but I will be responding to unanswered questions individually). For those of you who have e-mailed me, huge apologies. I hope to start responding to everyone tomorrow.

------------------ older updates ------------------

9 November 2013

I apologize for the sudden notice, everyone. As of today, I have suspended the project Utsukushii Koto (Of Beauty).

I hate to do this in the middle of a project, but I am currently looking into the possiblity of having these translations published (legally). I have decided to keep the translations off the Internet while this is going on, as it would probably reflect badly on me if they are found.

There is nothing I can do about cached copies floating on the web, but I figure it's better than doing nothing.

I understand this is frustrating for readers who have followed this blog so far. Again, I can only say I am sorry that I have ended up cutting this project short like this. Thank you for all of your support so far, and I hope to keep you updated on the progress of this endeavour.

As for future projects, since I will continue to translate Utsukushii Koto on my free time (to possibly submit as a manuscript) I will not be able to take on any additional novels at this time.