I just read koda’s post about fansubbing and I couldn’t agree less with it. She claims the same thing she’s claimed already when I showed up on Rizon four years ago: fansubbing is dead as it’s pointless to keep it up with simulcasts all over the place, and people who still stick to it are either delusional in that they can do better than the official, do it for the e-peen and/or simply don’t have a life.
I still call that bullshit.
I come from a minor local fansubbing scene. Download counts meant nothing. A few hundred would be satisfying even after experiencing a thousand times more on the global scene. I don’t even remember my initial reason – maybe just doing something productive that gets appreciated by some (any) people.
Sure, there were the days when I’d pick up shows and be disappointed when some other release got the blue on Nyaa, and it’s always been a small joy when /a/ says something nice about my work. (However rare that happens.) There were review wars too and oh-so-damn-serious fights about who’s right and who’s wrong. Been there, done that.
I wasn’t around in the “glory days” koda talks about, but watching those releases now, all I see is that they aren’t different from those put out today in any way. Their reason for working on shows was that there were no other options. You could wait years for a show to (maybe) get licensed. Even I picked up shows for no other reason than that it’s out there in the open and no one else is doing it.
Not anymore though. When I had the free time during my university years I’d hardly decline if someone I know asked me to do a show with them. I don’t have that kind of free time anymore, but even now, if I really wanted to I could probably roll out a good bunch of shows. Instead I just do what I’m really interested in and I can have fun doing – because of course there’s always the show that’s just awesome, but it’s too much effort.
For me it’s enough that I can do something I really like, and translating for fun is such a thing. If that’s appreciated by people, all the better. Of course, as a translator, the direct “conflict” with simulcasts takes a much different tone than for people focusing on other parts of the process. They have the option to just edit and try to improve a simulcast release. Checking someone else’s translation just isn’t the same.
There were days when I’d say that doing original translations for shows that are simulcast is outright stupid. That’s because the reason for doing it was the satisfaction from (preferably positive) leecher feedback and download counts. Now I pick up shows I like without thinking even if they are simulcast – because translating itself is my reason to do it.
Might be just a difference in personal philosophies, but I can’t look back at my past in such a negative way as koda does. Sure I made mistakes and I argued I’m right even when I realized I was wrong. But I wouldn’t say any of that time was wasted. I was enthusiastic about it and that was enough. Just how there were days I’d spend trying to get out of bronze, just how I’d spend countless hours leveling “just one more” character in Skyrim and just how I’d struggle my way through map after map in KanColle. Those hours weren’t wasted either.
Also, I never really cared about leechers being impatient. “When?” When it’s done. Of course, the faster the better, but I’ve never had sleepless nights because I’d delayed something. Not to mention competing with simulcasts in quality isn’t such an impossible task either. (I hear) nowadays painfully many simulcast subs are just terrible quality, with translation mistakes and derpy English.
Point is: fansubbing isn’t dead, and it won’t be as long as there are people who like doing it. For whatever reason. Even if that reason isn’t something that the burnt-out leader of gg can identify with. (I didn’t write about a few aspects of her post that I’d end up going emotional about.) Of course it might never be the same mainstream phenomenon it may have been once (I wasn’t around to see for myself nor did I look into numbers), but who cares?