Closing another project

September 9th, 2009 11:09 pm

When a fansub project slows down, it’s difficult to regain momentum.  Spice & Wolf is a big exception.  Nodame Paris is a typical example.  The feeling of “another day of delay won’t hurt” drags on and on, along with “even if I don’t do it, someone else will” or “I’m not the only one who’s holding up the project.”  It creates a terrible cycle.  It was a difficult one to finish in that sense, but it’s all done.  For now.

Now I must go finish two more nagging projects.

Lupin vs Conan is another one of those.  About 3 weeks ago, someone in the team (thanks, TheDeath) bought the Blu-Ray for the show.  It’s been ripped, and now we just need to refit the current subtitle to this new clip.  And it’s been stuck at this stage for 3 weeks.

Black Jack has a brighter outlook.  It’s still slow, but at least it has a visible progress overall.  It probably won’t take 3 months before the next release.

Now, let me get back to work…

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September 4th, 2009 10:09 pm

The other day, I was listening to Niacin‘s album (Live! Blood, Sweat & Beers), and quickly got a bit uncomfortable.  And this is my small analysis on it.  And how this relates somewhat to fansubbing.

Back in college, I took 3 semesters of pipe organ lessons.  One of the things my teacher taught me was on phrasing.  Specifically, the organists must construct phrases such that they let the audience breathe.  What does that mean?  If you’re a trumpet, you normally can’t keep blowing without any breaks.  (Forget circular breathing for now.)  And audience expects that slight pause while the trumpet player catches his or her breathe between phrases.  The same goes for singers, obviously. If a player plays for 5 minutes without any breaks, it’s suffocating to the listeners.  Or it is to me.  That’s what Billy Sheehan (Niacin’s bassist) was doing.  His phrases were staggered from one to the other.  It just felt very weird.

It was pretty shocking to me, as I did think about this subject recently on another occasion.  I recently decided to start working on Weber‘s First Piano Sonata, the last movement.  It is a type of piece known as Moto Perpetuo – perpetual motion.  In this particular case, the right hand plays the sixteenth notes throughout the piece.  No breaks.  Nada.  So, in theory, I knew I had to play wisely so I don’t suffocate the listeners.  I still haven’t found the answer.  And the problem seems even bigger, now that I’ve experienced the suffocation with Niacin.  The answer should lie somewhere on putting some kind of mental break between adjacent phrases even while the motion is continuous.

Now, how is this related at all to my fansubbing experience?  For one run-on sentences.  For the other, run-on sentences left on the screen.

This entry was actually entirely inspired by this post called Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing.  Not all points apply to fansub translations.  But “Speak what you write” is a very good practice to follow.  In fact, I often speak out my translation before I type it out.  Sometimes, I even try to match the rhythm of the lines spoken in Japanese with English equivalent version.  I really have no idea how well it’s working, but this is one technique I use.  This becomes difficult when the original lines become insanely long.  Run-on sentences seem to be less of a crime in Japanese than in English.  But when translated, the line always sounds horrible.  It’s much better to break those lines up.  I must make this entry as a reminder to myself to remember this more often.

I have much less involvement with the second point.  Some long lines are unavoidable.  For example, in the soon-to-be-released Nodame Paris ODA, there was one line that explains the piece being performed by the conductor.  It was a fairly lengthy lines, but it fit well within 2 lines on the screen (our usual limit).  But as couple of the quality checkers pointed out, it stayed on the screen for 9 seconds.  That actually is a really long time.  The original timing guide I read about 8 years ago, if I remember correctly, said that any one line should not stay on the screen for more than 5 seconds.  I think most of us lost our focus after seeing one sub for that long.

Either way, the goal is simple – don’t let the viewer suffocate from your sub.

A remotely related sidenote – the strip of musical score used on site design is Paganini‘s Moto Perpetuo, Op. 11, No. 6.  My first exposure to this piece was a rendition by Wynton Marsalis on cornet.  See if it feels suffocating to you.  If it doesn’t this entire entry meant nothing to you.

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Translation log #750

August 31st, 2009 7:08 pm

I just realized that 8th episode of Spice & Wolf II that I translated last week was my #750.  Hooray for me.  That’s including the smallest episodes like Uraon; but not including stuff that’s not a real episodes, like previews for some show.  14 of those are full length movies (60 min or longer); 62 of those are 15 minute half length episodes; 58 are 5 minute mini episodes; the rest are 25-40 minutes full length episodes.  It’ll take another 3 years to reach #1000…

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CD Shattering

August 24th, 2009 10:08 am

A CD shattered yesterday inside a drive.  I had no idea that this could even happen.  But apparently, I’m far from being the first one to experience this.  In fact, I’m more of a lucky one, since all shattered pieces remained inside the drive.

It was kinda scary when it happened.  My daughter was watching old episodes of Friends for the umpteenth time, burned on some cheap-o CD.  Then there was a sudden loud crack, followed by a high-pitched grinding noise.  I thought something exploded inside my PC case.  Of course, this was my newest of 3 drives in work today.

But that’s okay.  Now this gives me a good excuse to buy a Blu-Ray drive.

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Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

August 19th, 2009 12:08 pm

I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the episodes that have been released so far.  Holy crap.  There are so many things that went through my mind as I watched this.

  • So many of the comments on frostii’s site are filled with the argument of how Mirai is annoying or not, or how she’s unrealistic or not…  Forget all that stuff.  All of those arguments seem totally uncalled for with this show.
  • I’m as old as Mari.  Will I be able to act like her, and go such a distance to do nice things for total strangers?  Or will I be one of the people is totally selfish, like those who are screaming “Don’t just stand there” or those who cut in the line, etc?
  • Disasters suck.  The stories I’ve read as a kid from Great Kanto Earthquake is pretty devastating.  The stories I watched during the Kobe Quake after-mess was pretty bad too.  The scenes and stories from Hurricane Katrina is yet more vivid for being so recent, and equally frightening.  Which brings back the images of human created catastrophe, like the scenes from WWII.  We’re still creating wars.  It’s sickening to think that.
  • They’re lucky that the quake hit in the mid-afternoon.  The aforementioned Kanto quake happened minutes before noon, while many people were preparing lunch.  The damage from fire was just as bad as the damage from the shake it self.  In this show, I’m not seeing the fire damage at that magnitude.  But on the other hand, I really do wonder how safe all the sky scrapers really are.  They made Tokyo Tower collapse.  That was scary enough, and that’s standing only at 333m.  Now they’re building Tokyo Sky Tree to support increased demand for the broadcast power.  What if that collapses?  (Apparently, it hasn’t collapsed, and that’s why they can still watch the 1seg TV I mention next.)
  • Just like many other series these days, cell phones are highlighted prominently in the show.  This time, the 1seg TV system is used quite frequently.  That is one service that I haven’t even seen a hint of it in US yet.  The mobile phone technology gap might be widening from this point on.  I wonder if iPhones would add this capability soon, just so it can compete on this front too?

With all that thought going through my head… I can’t wait for the next episode.  But before that, I have 7th episode Spice and Wolf to translate.

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Les Paul (1915-2009)

August 14th, 2009 5:08 pm

I was just strolling through /., and finally came across the news way late that the one of the creators of the solid-body electric guitar (In cluding the model that Yui of K-On! uses) died yesterday. >_<

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Back to regular schedule

August 11th, 2009 8:08 pm

Frostii decided not to pursue the Mouryou no Hako project.  That frees me up to do other projects.  Or help with other struggling projects that Frostii has.  And that’s how it’s turning out.  Spice & Wolf season 2 is off to a slow start (by the time you read this, the second episode should be released), due to some resource problems.  I’ve been called to work, taking over the translation duty of the show.

It was just recently that I marathoned through the first season of the show.  I loved the show, and it’s pretty exciting that I get to help with this.  It does have its own difficulties.  First, the dialogue is somewhat complex.  It makes me think harder than usual.  For shows like Nodame or Mahoraba, I didn’t have to think that hard too often.  Second, I’m taking over a project that someone else started, so I have to go back to older, mostly unfamiliar scripts for reference.  But I’ll survive.  It’s still not a rocket science.

nodame_odaOn the other note, I received this in the mail today – Nodame Cantabile manga volume 22, with an extra ODA (Original DVD Anime) episode.  I shall get to the translation of this tonight.  It has Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture, which was the piece that got my dad into classical music, which in turn got me partially influenced me into classical music.  (My mom was also an influence, but I actually don’t know which piece really got her to like classical music.)  It is a pretty cool piece of music.  If you get a chance, maybe you can check out a copy at your local library.

After I finish this episode, I’ll be getting back to Spice and Wolf.  I finished translation of episode 3 last night – yes, we’re pretty far behind.  But I’m going to try my best to get the group caught up on this series.  Wish us luck.

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009)

August 11th, 2009 9:08 am

I just heard about the news of the death of the founder of Special Olympics. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Special Olympics until last year. Before that, I probably had Special Olympics and Paralympic all confused. Just to clarify – Paralympic is a sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities, and Special Olympics are sporting events for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the launch of a Special Olympics related project at where I work. Without that involvement, I would have never learned what this event was, who were involved, how great of works that the volunteers are doing, etc.

As a side note, I never knew the existence of Deaflympic until today. Shame on me.

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Dvorak layout pain

August 6th, 2009 8:08 pm

Ever since I learned to type twenty years ago, I was always fascinated by the idea of being faster on typing.  Several years ago, I decided to learn Dvorak keyboard layout, which ended in a failure.  About 20 months ago, I decided to pick up Dvorak again, with more dedication.  I did it.  And I loved it.  I was a slow typist for a while, but I was back to normal in about a year.  (Old age really sucks… I probably could switch faster if I were younger.)  I haven’t gained any on speed.  But it does feel easier to type with this layout.

Living with this typing habit does have its downside.

Downside #1  – most everyone else’s computers only have qwerty layout.  When I learned Dvorak, I had to force myself to forget Qwerty layout.  And when I have to work on any computer/keyboard with Qwerty layout, it’s a pain.  I can no longer touch-type in Qwerty.

Downside #2 – Most mobile devices don’t have alternative keyboard layouts like Dvorak.  This includes Blackberry and iPhone.  There is a hack for iPhone, but I’m not ready to unlock my iPhone yet.  I really hope that Apple will some day support Dvorak layout on iPhone/iPod Touch.

Downside #3 – Windows’ Input Method Editor (the language toolbar thing) doesn’t let me use Dvorak layout in Japanese input mode.  This one really bugged the hell out of me when I was learning to type in Dvorak.  There is a hack to get around this limitation, which I’ve used.  But this still is a minor pain, that I have to apply this hack every time I reinstall windows.

Downside #4 – Some keyboard shortcuts feel weird, including the often used cut/copy/paste shortcuts.  Now that I use the tiny Apple keyboard on Windows (which I love), I cannot do cut/copy/paste with one hand.

Downside #5 – My own name became harder to type.  My first name can be typed all with right hand on qwerty.  Now I have to use left hand to do the same task, with somewhat awkward key sequence.  Ouch.

There are some more minor downsides, but these are what bothered me the most so far.  But do I dare switch back to Qwerty?  Not in any foreseeable future.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing another project

August 6th, 2009 12:08 am

It’s another “woo hoo” moment when we close a project.  I don’t know how successful it really was, but the whole Ippo project went without too much trouble.  The biggest slow-down came from me leaving the fansub scene for 3 weeks.  That is a huge improvement for me, as I’ve dealt with months of delays in the past, where I had so little control.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on somewhat of a Gundam binge.  As we closed our Ippo project, people of Zeonic Corps finished their Gundam project.  This is one of the series I watched as a kid, just having fun watching all those robots fight.  As I rewatched the series twenty-some years later, I’m pretty pleasantly shocked how it hasn’t aged much as far as stories go.  It does show its age in the animation artistic technologies.  But it was actually fun watching it again from the beginning to the end, with older sets of eyes.

Also, I started watching Gosenzosama Banbanzai, in preparation to do some translation checking I’ll be doing soon.  Now, that is one weird anime.  Not the weirdest that I’ve seen.  But it sure isn’t my first choice of anime.  Kaiba was weird, but it was also good.  This one… I’m yet to see anything that really draws me in.  It’s going to be a tough one to work on.  We’ll see.

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