- <Aaerul> how did you get hooked into hakuoki? when did you decide to start translation?
<Nimue> It’s something I have addressed, but… It’s an interesting story so I kinda don’t mind telling it. Well, not so much as interesting as… Unexpected.
<Nimue> Basically, I was browsing this DS game site, looking at the newest Japanese DS games like I like to do. I had wanted to be a game translator for awhile and like… I had been a member of a couple teams that never really got off the ground.
<Nimue> Anwyay, someone posted that this was, apparently, the largest DS game ever made.
<Nimue> So I immediately said “THIS is what I’m going to translate. If I can translate this, I will basically get that native reading level I’ve been working on.”
<Nimue> Once I looked more into it though, I found out it was an otome game.
<Nimue> I… Really like otome games
<Nimue> And it was about the Shinsengumi.
<Nimue> Which is another topic I *ADORE*
<Nimue> So it almost seems a match made in heaven.
<Aaerul> have you played otome games before this one?
<Nimue> Umm, yeah I couple random ones.
<Nimue> I mean, the harvest moon games sort of count.
<Nimue> And I know I’ve played others, I just… Names escape me, really.<Nimue> Hrm…<Nimue> None of them were really very good.
<Nimue> I enjoyed them because I like that style of storytelling though.
<Nimue> And I knew that most of the REALLY good ones were Japanese.
<Aaerul> do you work with anyone on the project?
<Nimue> Well, I translate solo. I ask some real life friends for double checking the more iffy colloquialisms, but that’s rare and other than that I really do that part solo. However, I do have a wonderful hacker by the name of melete, who has just been fantastic. He broke the pointer… Code… Thingy (not a techie x.x) that no one at GBATemp seemed to be able to.
<Aaerul> and would you like to get more helpers right now? or are you happy the way things are
<Nimue> Before he came along I was using this… Crystal Tile program thingy to put stuff in. It was REALLY complicated and messy.
<Nimue> And I had to adhear to certain line lengths.
<Nimue> Umm, I am pretty happy with the way things are since this is a personal project for me.
<Nimue> However, for my next project (and I do intend to keep translating and make this a full on translation team thingy), I will be bringing in help.
<Nimue> PARTICULARLY if it’s another otome game.
<Nimue> But the thing is, finding people for otome is hard.
<Nimue> Well, it’s partially because we’re basically all women. There are, unfortunately, less CS majors in that category. So I mean the translation isn’t the tough part – it’s the hacking.
<Aaerul> have you ever considered moving shop to somewhere like TL Wiki?
<Aaerul> you can get tons of free hacking help if you live there
<Aaerul> but I suppose you are pretty set for hacking atm
<Nimue> Well, Hakuouki still needs graphic work done.
<Nimue> I don’t know how to get images out and in.
<Nimue> The leader of the Polish group does, but… Her computer is kinda dead.
<Nimue> That’s something I wish more people did, you know?
<Nimue> Translate to multiple languages.
<Nimue> I mean, many people can speak English, so why not share the program and your translation so they can take that and move it to, say, German or Spanish (both groups of which have already made releases btw <3)
<Nimue> And in terms of TLWiki, I’ve thought about it.
<Nimue> But see, I used to work with Aeon Genesis a little. I didn’t like that I didn’t have direct control of the project.
<Nimue> That bothered me.
<Aaerul> so did you translate video games before this?
<Nimue> I never made a release with them (Aeon Genesis). Kinda got burnout when I realized I wasn’t like… Getting any attention for it. I mean, that sounds awful doesn’t it? But really, I love getting praise and I love listening to my amazing fans and interacting with them. I like feeling appreciated, that’s part of the reason I’m doing it.
<Nimue> Well, I’ve worked on a couple projects that failed.
<Nimue> Hakuouki is the first I’ve worked on where I was the leader.<Nimue> I worked with my friend floofy on ED6 a little (actually helped organize that translation project’s beginning), I worked on Dicenics for Aeon Genesis, and… I also had a run at Cross Hermit with a guy named chrrox (I think) YEARS ago that never really got off the ground.
<Nimue> I contacted him recently, actually, because I’d love to pick that project back up again.
<Nimue> Haven’t heard anything back yet though.
<Nimue> I think more girls need to get into translation, honestly.
<Aaerul> yes that is something I wanted to ask you about
<Nimue> That’d help the translation scene a lot.
<Nimue> Oh okay. What’s your question?
<Aaerul> what do you think we can do to get more girls to help with translating otome games
<Nimue> Well, like I said, I’m a unique case. For me, Japanese is my passion, so I eat anything up that can help me. Most of the other girls my age? Not so much lol.
<Nimue> But there’s a stigma there. Even I feel it, really.
<Nimue> Particularly with otome.
<Aaerul> what about your friends
<Aaerul> do any of your friends play these kinds of games?
<Aaerul> I would imagine the stigma is smaller than for guys
<Nimue> Lots of people assume that if you like otome games, you’re either a pervert or some super-ugly troll or something ridiculous. Neither of which are true.
<Nimue> Now, if you’re a guy – being a pervert is more ‘okay.’ I mean, the stigma with guys is that, and I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “They only have their mind on one thing.”
<Nimue> This isn’t true either of course.
<Aaerul> well that is the first time ive heard something quite like that
<Nimue> But it is more socially acceptable for guys to be labeled that way than for girls,, I think.
<Aaerul> so its harder for girls you think
<Nimue> This is just my theory.
<Nimue> Of course none of that is true. I’m not a sexual person at all. I mean, I won’t lie, I kinda gush at the bishie Shinsengumi, but… Yeah. Also, lots of people who play aren’t fat or ugly or bad looking at all. My second-in-command Noodles is really adorable – I’ve seen her post on facebook and stuff.
<Nimue> I’m not sure.
<Nimue> See, that stigma is there for BOTH sexes.
<Aaerul> and how many otome games have been commercially translated? count it on one hand
<Nimue> Which is why the other side hasn’t done well either.
<Nimue> It is one hand, so maybe you’re right.
<Nimue> But the ones that have been brought here, haven’t done well. It could just be advertising, but I’m not sure.
<Nimue> There has been a lot more work done in bringing guy’s side games over.
<Nimue> Honestly, I’ve even played a couple of them because I like the “Visual Novel” format a lot. None that were ero of course, but just some for the story.
<Nimue> Like Ever17 or I’m REALLY looking forward to the new 999 game coming out here in November.
<Aaerul> there is about 6 girl translators I know on TLWiki where I come from
<Nimue> Oh that’s fantastic <3.
<Aaerul> (I am sure there is more. not everyone identifies themselves as girls)
<Nimue> See, that’s also a problem.
<Nimue> You shouldn’t have to pretend to be a guy.
<Aaerul> but my point is, 5 of the 6 are working on eroge games that are for boys not ones for girls.
<Nimue> Oh really?
<Nimue> That’s interesting.
<Aaerul> I would like to encourage more of them to work on otome games
<Nimue> See, I couldn’t see myself translating a guy’s side ero game. I think I could do a guy-love game or whatever.
<Nimue> Well, with otome games you get a lot of hit and miss.
<Nimue> Just like in the guy’s side.
<Nimue> But the difference is, there’s a lot less of them out there to translate.
<Nimue> So there’s effectively a smaller pot to translate from in the first place, if that makes sense.
<Nimue> There are some GEMS out there though.
<Nimue> Like Hakuouki or Arabians Lost.
<Nimue> Or the Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side games which are… <3.
<Nimue> But what I’d say, to bring the topic back, is to advertise within the proper circles more.<Nimue> The translator is a rare breed, just like the hacker is. The translator must have the drive to, well, translate a medium (and therefore must have some interest in it) AND be able to speak or at least function in Japanese. The hacker must have coding knowledge to make the program as well as all that… Technical stuff on how to take apart the game.
<Nimue> That’s why, I think, they’re both more rare than we’d like.
<Nimue> So the question isnt “Why don’t girls speak Japanese?” because lots do.
<Nimue> It goes back, I think, to the girl gaming thing. How there’s less girl gamers than guy gamers.
<Aaerul> you mentioned proper circles
<Aaerul> what are those?
<Nimue> I’d advertise for games in places where girls speak Japanese. I’m not sure where that’d be. Potentially Japanese learning and speaking forums. There’s a lot of those out there.
<Aaerul> yes true.
<Aaerul> maybe, advertise something like ‘learn to read japanese through fan translation’ (Editor’s Note: I am sure Moogy would like to CUT me for my naivety when I said this. My defence is that it was a while ago.)
<Aaerul> kind of idea is what youre thinking?<
Nimue> Now, not all hackers are guys – I do want to say that. The people who were helping me at GBATemp were mostly girls (one of them was FOURTEEN). However, being into code lends itself to wanting to take stuff apart, I think.<Nimue> Being into Japanese can lend itself to a LOT of things.
<Nimue> Yeah something like that.
<Nimue> I’d just say “Hey look, I’d like to bring this game to English speakers. I’d love some help, and it’d be great practice in reading real Japanese.”
<Nimue> I mean, that’s 80% of the reason I started this project in the first place.<Nimue> It became for the fans and for the game (once I started playing it), but my initial reason WAS for the experience (and because I’ve always wanted to translate a game… Dunno why).
<Nimue> So advertising it in that way might help.
<Nimue> This is just speculation since I mean, most of the other girls I know? Yeah, they’re big-time gamers.
<Nimue> Like, my friends I mean.
<Nimue> More so than I am, even.
<Aaerul> VN gamers?<Nimue> Now, see, that’s another difference. No, none of them play Visual Novels.<Nimue> I wonder why that is?
<Nimue> I can’t give you an answer on that. But none of them are really interested in it.
<Nimue> Now, they all play Harvest Moon.
<Nimue> Either way, none of them really speak any Japanese except floofy.
<Aaerul> What would you say to the girls who have never played a visual novel before. Why should they check it out
<Aaerul> not translators now.
<Aaerul> but players
<Nimue> To be entirely honest, I’d tell them about the story and the artwork. The emotional attachments you get to characters and how its VERY similar to a real book in terms of breadth and depth. I’d then prolly tack on “…And it has GORGEOUS guys. No lie” to the end. Unless it wasn’t an otome game (or I was speaking to one of my lesbian friends lol).
<Aaerul> how would you address the stigmatism behind it
<Aaerul> “oh so you play those … dating sims”
<Nimue> Well, I’d stress that dating is only an element in it.
<Nimue> It isn’t really why I play it. I’d say that it’s a fun way to project yourself into the story. To make yourself a part of it and have discernible rewards that reflect your answers, but that the game is a story first and a ‘dating sim’ second.<Aaerul> and I think westerners are rather adverse to that kind of ‘game’
<Aaerul> they think it steps over a barrier that should not be crossed
<Nimue> That’s true. Which is why you downplay it.
<Nimue> Take Persona 3.
<Nimue> I’ve never played the game, but I had heard of it. I never knew it had dating sim elements until like 4 months ago when someone told me it.
<Nimue> I knew it was an RPG.
<Nimue> You ought to market these stories as Visual Novels.
<Nimue> Don’t even mention the dating element. I mean, realistically, I don’t really see it as a terribly important one.
<Aaerul> but most visual novels are dating something
<Nimue> We’ve all played them. The dating sim element is mostly so you get attached to a character so they can die and you cry for hours =P.
<Aaerul> and when it comes to guy games,
<Aaerul> almost all of them have sex scenes
<Nimue> See, not all of them are sex.
<Nimue> Ever17, Hourglass of Summer, umm… That 999 game coming out. The umm… One with the mechanical girl in the wasteland. Planetarium, I think.
<Nimue> I mean, marketing the heavily sexual games is a lost cause.
<Aaerul> but those are the minority
<Nimue> Then focus on the minority.
<Nimue> I think people need to see that they aren’t all sex games.
<Nimue> I think they need to play 999 or Ever17, where the dating element is really downplayed and the story is king.
<Nimue> Eventually you can have them open up to more dating element things. I doubt you’ll ever have the stigma removed from the sexual games though, I mean… I kinda find them a bit distasteful myself.
<Nimue> When I played Air I kinda… Gritted my teeth through them x.x.
<Nimue> I haven’t heard of that one.
<Aaerul> so that is all the questions I can think of.
<Aaerul> Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
<Aaerul> about Hakuoki maybe?
<Nimue> Oh, well I’d like to thank them for all their support so far. And to tell them that the next patch should be coming in a month or two <3.
<Aaerul> my sister really enjoyed the hakuoki anime. I will definitely be recommending the VN to her when you finish it
<Nimue> Oh fantastic!
<Nimue> Well the prologue is done if you want to whet her appetite =P.
<Nimue> Thanks for your time
<Aaerul> it has been very informative
Thank you to nimue for volunteering her time out of her busy schedule to do this interview.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Finally got rid of the horrible double space. I blame wordpress.com.