Western Localizers Attack Fans Looking To AI For More Accurate Handling Of Japanese Media: “You Clearly Can’t Appreciate The Work Of Humans”
While Bushiroad Works’ announcement that Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride would be receiving in-house simulpubs via a combo of AI technology and human editors was a source of Christmas cheer for audiences exhausted with the West’s inundation with sociopolitical-motivated and meme-riddled Japanese-to-English localization work, the news was met with a nuclear level of ‘bah-humbugging’ from the very same Scrooges whose butchering of anime, manga, and video games inspired such open-acceptance of a machine translated future in the first place.
As detailed by the publisher on December 12thm beginning with the series’ 96th chapter, Bushiroad Works would employ both Mantra Co.‘s eponymous manga & webtoon-specific Mantra AI translation engine and the contextual oversight of human editors to produce their own English-language simulpubs for The Ancient Magus’ Bride.
And though this move was made by the publisher in a specific effort to cut down on piracy by reducing demand for fan translators by providing them with a superior service, many found themselves admitting that though it was less-than-ideal to replace an actual human job with a machine, in light of the Western localization industry’s noted history of intentionally butchering a given piece of Japanese media in order to serve their own pet ideologies, the potential for such AI-human hybrid combos to provide more accurate translations made the entire concept more appealing than it normally would be.
Cue said localizers, who rather than taking even a moment to reflect on how their work has contributed to their industry’s in-the-toilet reputation, responded to fans’ openness towards AI with outright hostility and insults.
“Fine,” declared Boyish2 localizer Ayumi Shinozaki. “People who insist they would get better quality from AI translation are not allowed to read translations made by humans then.”
Overlord and The Saga of Tanya the Evil localizer Emily Balistrieri tweeted “If you are a ‘fan’ who thinks AI translation is good enough for the creators you supposedly support, you’re mistaken and possibly a bad person. Educate yourself and reevaulate or read AI-authored media because you clearly can’t appreciate the work of humans.
“Another is that if it’s really the case that the translation is THAT bad, then the ones who can replace the translator (because that’s what you want, right?) are at the publisher,” they add.
The letterer for Viz Media’s English localization of Taizen 5’s The Ichinose Family’s Deadly Sins, @LettererBrendo, escalated the rhetoric by claiming that he “deserve[d] a Nobel Peace Prize for how many idiotic anti-localizer people I refrained from saying ‘kys’ to today.”
The House in Fata Morgana and Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris localizer @yukinogatari described “the discourse around professional translation is already fucking miserable with the prevalence of weirdos who have no idea what they’re talking about parading about a fictitious ‘malicious’ localizer boogieman so I’d appreciate it if corpos didn’t take a big shit in the water.”
“[just saw the stupidest fucking post on this website voice] it’s always fucking fre ebl*m with these anti-loc dunkasses too, as if making a robot spit out incoherent garbage somehow removes the overarching corporate structures that result in content changes in the first place,” they added.
“Sometimes I see all the manga ‘fans’ celebrating ‘AI translations’ and get so pissed off, not about us celebrating us losing our jobs (we won’t), but it’s that I get pissed off at them celebrating an obviously worse product,” Smith declared. “You fools are celebrating paying for shit.”
In response @Deve_Dy’s tired comparison that the current reckoning against poor localizations “is just gamergate again”, Smith entertained this pearl-clutching by recalling, “I’ve had to work through both gamergate and whatever the f–k we’re in now with manga ‘fans’ and I keep seeing it elsewhere too. People want us so badly to be in a culture war when in reality they’re scared and anxious and taking that out on others. Moral panic after moral panic.”
TokuNet editor and translator @DraikenTalkos continued the assault on fans by taking aim at user @BeaatricceM’s personal refusal to let Western localizers gaslight their customers.
Responding to both his and My Life as Inukai-Sai’s Dog localizer Katrina Leonoudakis’ ongoing denial regarding their industry’s shoddy work habits, @BeaatricceM countered, “This has been an issue for decades and it’s only gotten worse. There were even several cases authors had to reach out to Overseas because they were enraged by their changes. What you should do is simply buzz off because you don’t know what you are talking about.”
In turn, @DraikenTalkos disingenuously dismissed @BeaatricceM’s entire claim by declaring, “‘Decades’? ‘Only gotten worse’?, Out of the hundreds of titles that get made/published? From an account that self-proclaims to be toxic? AND you expect to me to take you seriously at face-value? Please.”
“A common point I see is that the outraged ones never really ask ‘why,'” he continued his tangent. “It’s always ‘localizers can’t do their job right / have an agenda.’ It’s never ‘Maybe there’s an issue with the JP line so it couldn’t be kept’ because that would mean admitting the original is ‘flawed.'”
Taken aback by @DraikenTalkos’ condescension, fellow Twitter user @waifujustu pushed back, “Why would you consider taking a long from the work you’re trying to translate a problem? If it’s there, it’s because the writer wants it to be there. Who are you to decide what is to stay [in] the story? If the writer wants it, I want to read it. Write your own censored stories.”
Still refusing to look past his own nose, @DraikenTalkos further scoffed, “Fun fact: translators don’t decide.”
“That gets decided for us because what’s fine in one country isn’t necessarily fine in another,” he said. “Legal issues n’at. Learn Japanese if you want a zero-outside-bias experience. But that’s not what you want to hear, is it?”