Translation By Example: Principles for minimizing errors

For any fan translators unfamiliar with the jargon:
source language/text = language/text being translated from
target language/text = language/text being translated into

While writing sufficiently well in your target language is important to ensure both that the finished product is a smooth read and that no errors occur because of you being misinterpreted by your editor or audience, it’s all for nothing if you didn’t interpret your source correctly in the first place.

Reading a source text without making errors can be surprisingly difficult even with a decent grasp of both your source and target language. Certainly most fan translators, and more professional translators than I’d like, are lacking in at least one of those two areas: personally, I am objectively significantly worse at Japanese than the average native Japanese high schooler¹.

There are more ways than one to avoid mistranslations, and often you can compensate for lacking in skill by being more cautious while reading the source text. Personally, I like to focus on two basic principles: always trying to detect possible gaps in your knowledge, and always considering whether your translation actually makes sense.

Does It Make Sense?

Bar things that are written specifically to evoke surrealism, writers usually try to avoid things that obviously make no sense. This is a pretty general principle and editors and proofreaders can both use it even if the translator does not, so it’s always a bit strange when I see some weird-ass obviously illogical mistranslation pop up. Theoretically QA/proofreading is extra powerful in this regard for games, as they will usually play the game as they work, so they can spot backgrounds or character movements contradicting the text too. For a subtle example of this, have something from a translation I love to hate on, Seabed:

Now when I saw this ingame it made no sense at all. Why would it be darker after you turned on the light? Part of this is probably just questionable doujinge graphical accuracy (and maybe needing the emphasize the light / mimicking how it would actually look as your eyes adjusted), but I would still make a note on this line were I QAing this². Now the Steam release of Seabed happens to let you switch to Japanese…


I flipped the switch on the wall, turning on just the nightlight (ナツメ球).

Well, that makes a lot more sense. The second background was probably going for an adjustment effect where everything but the light looked darker, but it wasn’t showing a bright light. Well, that or background 1 was a sort of generic movie-darkness-but-not-really kind of deal. The point is, we have a solution to the puzzle.

If your translation is contradicted by other parts of the game, whether it be the situation the characters are in, the lines before it or after (painfully common), or something else, you should look at those line extra damn hard. Writers do sometimes make mistakes, but it’s probably you. If you know someone with higher Japanese ability that can help check your translation of the line, ask them (make sure to give sufficient context if at all possible. I can’t believe how many people seem constitutionally unable to do this, though the worst offenders are learners rather than translators). Until the line makes sense or you’re confident it’s not supposed to, I recommend leaving the line/section blank or at least leaving a strongly worded note to come back to it later.

Always Be Suspicious

When I was still a high school kid, a freelance literary translator did a presentation at our school³. One thing she said really stuck with me: the principle of always keeping a careful eye out for anything that might not mean what you think it means.

The example she used was of a translator that had managed to get toy shaped like a dog from a lady walking her toy poodle, a small poodle breed, in English — leading to a rather surreal mental image⁴. I suspect this line wasn’t very important, but that’s not always going to be the case, and this kind of mistake is always an embarrassment.

One key skill to avoid that embarrassment is to grow an intuitive sense of what you don’t actually know — if you’ve hung out in some environments, you might actually already have gotten a slice of this with your English, or another language you know well. For example, did you know that strictly speaking bombastic is only to be used for things that are flashy but have little substance? I myself find myself googling words I only sort of know sometimes (…usually after unwisely pressing the enter key in some chat. At least I edit myself quick!). It doesn’t always go well. Ask me about the time I subtly misused reticent sometime… or don’t, actually. A soul can only take so much.

Either way, that same nagging feeling — that maybe you don’t actually know this — can be a valuable ally to maintain the proper level of suspicion when translating. You’re looking for when the structure isn’t quite like what you’ve seen before, or when you’re thinking you can figure out the meaning of something from its parts — look up とてもじゃないが for a real mindfuck of a phrase. And as above, you’re also looking for things that don’t make sense.

Always be suspicious of things that don’t make sense

Showing the interlinked nature of all your guards against mistranslation, the earlier example with the nightlight might also have been prevented by being suspicious. If it was a translation-side error, going deeper than a cursory google images search might have helped get it right — looking at the page, you’d think to yourself: do I really know this is just a normal lightbulb? Looking at ナツメ fruits they look kind of red, too. I’d better look further…

More examples

I was going to review Seabed for Fuwanovel, which is part of the reason why I took a lot of screens going through it. It fell through because I simply could not complete it: my examination had turned me hypercritical and practically every line bothered me — mostly for clumsy flow rather than translation oddities, though there were more of those too. But hey, I got some pictures for this post for all the trouble. Anyway, have another example:

Okay, so this doesn’t make sense. How are you seeing things in pitch black darkness? Let’s look at the Japanese:


見通しの悪い isn’t pitch black, it’s just the dark of the night making it hard to see. Now it makes sense that you can see the graffiti again, nice. It’s possible this was some kind of botched adaptation due to the background being solid black, but I don’t buy it.

For my last example, lets use this line from 新説魔法少女 (Shinsetsu Mahou Shoujo), an SRPG/VN hybrid with an ensemble cast of Japanese students, mostly in middle school. Moka is a first-year high school student who used to be in the swimming club last year. Before she graduated she was in the same club as Nagato, who is being discussed here due to her habit of not showing up for things (she still gets good results academically, and is also very strong athletically).

悪化してたか…… 試験だとか総体だとか 大事な時にサボる癖は治したほうがいいよ。

Huh, I guess it’s gotten worse… She should really fix her habit of skipping important events like tests and… 総体?

I was actually just reading this right now, and at first it didn’t make sense, or at least sounded extremely strained, with any of the definitions of 総体 in edict⁵. So I checked kenkyuusha (shin waei daijiten) and a J-J dictionary and they still had nothing illuminating. Now I was starting to think it could be some of my more unlikely interpretations. I checked out そうたい without the kanji to see if it might be using the wrong kanji; 相対 seemed more plausible in the sentence, but I was still not feeling it; my Japanese ability was telling me it wouldn’t look like that grammatically and the interpretation felt strained. My intuition told me that 総体 would be an event somewhat similar to a 試験, maybe sports related given who the speaker was. So I googled 総体 and the second result is a Japanese Wikipedia disambiguation page.

  1. 全国高等学校総合体育大会の略称の一つ。高校総体、インターハイ、インハイも同義。
    An abbreviation of the Interscholastic Athletic Meet. Synonymous with [various katakana words on the theme of “inter-high”].

Well, that confirms my suspicions. It’s some kind of sporting event. This definiton actually specifically mentions high school events, but there’s nothing saying you can’t have them in middle school.

This interpretation makes sense; a swimming club member would want gifted other club members to be at their competitions. Even if I didn’t use that principle, suspicion could also have saved me and made me actually google the word. But Japanese knowledge also helped me: Japanese often shortens longer terms into a word using some of the term’s kanji; for example 自動販売機 becomes the probably more familiar 自販機, and I knew to suspect this. In the end, the more Japanese you know, the less errors you’ll catch with these methods… but remember, kids: a totally radical book once said that pride comes before a fall. It had a point⁶.

To tie this up, I think my soul has recovered from the baring some time ago, so let me tell you of another English-related fuckup: for the longest time I used to think “craven” was related to “craving”, and none of the times I’d read it had disabused me of this notion. I then saw it used in the Tokyo Babel translation in a way that was clearly incompatible with craving anything, so I looked it up… and was enlightened. It was a sad moment, because at the back of my mind I knew I’d misread it like 10 times by now. With that said, I kinda blame the English language for this one. That, and not having dictionary lookup just by hovering over the word. Man, the browser addons we have these days are pretty dang good...


¹ The JLPT N1, well known for not being particularly indicative of ability but seen as a decent anchoring point nevertheless, is apparently supposed to be easily passable to any student that has finished Japanese high school. I originally wrote most of this essay in ~2017, when I didn’t think I would pass it — I now think I have a decent chance, with pass/fail mostly down to listening ability (not very relevant for text translation) and if a lot of media-obscure grammar points I don’t know happen to show up. I’m still much worse than a Japanese high schooler, though — you’ll have to believe me on this one.

² It’s hard to know where exactly this went wrong, and it’s possible only QA could have saved it from what could be both a reasonable editing decision or a translation oversight. Maybe the translator used google images and saw the bulbs looked more or less like normal bulbs and just went with that; ナツメ球 is in edict, but edict is unreliable and a professional translator might understandably avoid it (I wouldn’t – it has better coverage on a lot of random more contemporary/obscure stuff, though I if I were truly high effort I would probably get access to more updated online daijirin/shinwaei dictionaries).

³ Among other language pairs she was a JP->SE translator I believe, but I can’t remember if she did it firsthand or second. I also remember the title of one book she worked on, Shine, a localized title she didn’t pick or particularly like and which seems to be entirely impossible for me to find anywhere. I also don’t know if she was entirely a literary tl, it’s not like those get paid a lot, though I guess probably more than VN translators (let it be known that the muffled crying of our industry professionals can be heard in the background of this sentence).

⁴ It’s possible she was actually just holding it or something and I’m misremembering, but this way the example has more of the dimensions I want to discuss in this post.

⁵ At the time, Translation Aggregator with JParser and mecab was my first-line lookup choice. These days I have to look things up infrequently enough that a browser addon that has shinmeikai and shin eiwa daijiten 5th ed EPWING dictionary lookup in addition to JMdict (basically fancy non-boomer edict) serves my needs better. Those did not help me here, though.

⁶ In keeping with the principles of this post, I ended up checking out the origin of the proverb. The passage used to read “a totally radical guy once said…,” since I was assuming it had been directly said by Jesus (also, it was funnier that way). At least it really was from the Bible! Though the fall implied is supposed to be “calamitous”, apparently, so maybe we’re using it a bit lightly here. Then again, a bad enough mistranslation really could cause a disaster… though if you’re translating the nuke launch protocol, I really hope to whatever deity will still give me the time of day that you actually know what you’re doing. The rest of you, feel free to muddle along doing your best like us other mortals.

2021 in review

To procrastinate doing anything productive, I have decided to write a summary of what I did last year.


During the early parts — months really — of the year I was kind of reeling from having had a very frightening GERD — acid reflux — flareup. It’s fairly hard to tell the symptoms from a heart attack, and paranoia about the whole deal caused anxiety issues. In the end it receded… when I started eating less and barely eating at all when I was not very hungry. Would’ve been nice to have tried that earlier. GERD and anxiety seem to feed into each other in weird and fucky ways and the literature associating them interests me because I have to wonder if GERD might actually be the egg and not the chicken (the egg came first[1]).

To this day I sort of have a trigger-adjacent thing for hearing ~120bpm music with a steady beat — disco speed — where my heart will like go along with it like what disco music does to you and that will trigger warning signals from somewhere and seriously what the fuck? It’s slowly getting better though, idk.

Relatedly, I’ve discovered that my issues with various chest skin pains and neck pains are all due to me having absolutely awful ergonomics for any position I can take while using my computer in bed, and I don’t like using it anywhere else, thus I’m fucked. No longer worried about the various pains, but very annoyed by them.

I’ve gotten a new wider bed, a data plan for my smartphone, and at the end of the year, a new smartphone that doesn’t suck massive dick (poco x3 pro). I also got my first taste of imported Japanese manga, which has been pretty pleasant compared to scans.

I’ve slightly re-intensified my guitar playing habit, and I don’t occasionally hate myself for not playing enough to ever play well any more. Maybe one day I’ll actually record that one tune I don’t have a good recording of yet. I’ve also started using a guitar with lower action since the one I was always using before has VERY high action and is hard as fuck to play.

I’ve also started enjoying minecraft speedrun streams (RSG 16.1, anything Elysaku does). This started out as me watching SmallAnt and him doing mc speedruns, after which I branched out to Couriway watching his 1k seeds challenge as well as various other lesser known but more cracked runners like crookst. Overall I’ve branched out a bit from mostly watching hearthstone streams.


In January I finished watching the FFVI translation comparison by Clyde Mandelin / tomato, which I had started watching the month before. I watched the entirety of every video and counted the Japanese lines read for Tadoku[3] purposes using the Microsoft calculator as a makeshift clicker. I guess I’ve sort of finished a playthrough of the game now Kappa. At this point I was really fucked and couldn’t make myself read a vn due to anxiety issues or neck muscle posture issues or both but I could watch a video, or something. This ended up being most of my tadoku contribution for the month, which was certainly weird. I do recommend the series if you can read Japanese, it’s interesting. Not sure how it’s like to watch as a pleb, maybe it’s still cool? Lots of plebs do like mato’s site. Also I’m sorry, the whole JOP bit I’m doing will unfortunately not improve much as I carry on writing. You have been warned, &c.

Pre-edit opening screen. Note “radiating humming” instead of “radiating hum” or whatever and the lack of commas and stuff.

The first VN I completed in 2021, in February, was Digital Seclusion, a rather doujin EVN created by a member of a forum I still haunt, ghostlike: Fuwanovel. I liked it, but thought the prose could use about five or so editing passes, besides needing another proofreading pass. I ended up doing my usual bit where I comment that the writing is all cringe and needs an editor and I expect no response, but instead the writer, Zalor (whom I had some rapport with, admittedly) said that it would be helpful if I could proofread/edit — so I did, through the medium of screenshots and text in his discord DMs.

And that’s the first screen done.

In the end while I think I helped improve the text a decent bit, it was also clearly a bit of an auteur work with a distinct (if perhaps not optimal) voice and I didn’t push too hard for changes, opting to just suggest stuff (and a lot of suggestions there were). Thus while I allowed myself to be named in the credits in the end, and it’s certainly nice to be in the credits of a cool VN, I always have mixed emotions about it — maybe someone will discover my name in there one day and think it’s representative of my writing abilities? I have the dumbest fears. Sometimes I try to imagine what gender dysphoria would be like and apparently “someone has the wrong opinion about you” is a vague match so then I imagine being in a room and knowing someone incorrectly thinks I’m a trash writer or translator and it’s actually extremely uncomfortable where the fuck am I going with this. I mean I think there’s even a disclaimer in the credits too. Really this will never be a real problem for me.

Kinda waifu ngl

I started reading 12riven in February (also read in March and April). I didn’t finish, as is my stalling wont, but I got some endings and got some distance into the true route. I found it very enjoyable, and the pacing nice and tight most of the time, but I do worry about whether it can tie it all together. Also the basic mechanism of the in-universe psionic powers is, I must admit, pretty dumb. It’s given to you in a scientific manner but it basically precludes a materialistic outlook. I mean R11 has this too I guess but it’s more blatantly cringe in this. Anyway if you can go along with the dumb the rest is pretty entertaining. EOPs are missing out! They’ll probably remain missing out even if it ever gets translated (rip lemnisca tl) because Uchikoshi is a fucking memelord and loves adding plot relevant puns all over the place. It’s going to be hard to get all of them to the level of the original, but who knows?

Definitely a shimaisou line

I also tried out Shimaisou 2 (1 is a cool dark yuri utsuge) for a few hundred lines and then stalled it because idk. I tried continuing my long stalled playthrough of zanane but the common route kept on being boring and unfunny and very ドM when I am ドS so I stalled it again after a few thousand lines. I might never come back.

Nothing strange going on here at all

In April I read a chapter and a bit of the slow-start fucked up yuri yandere mystery-ish game Hitofuta. I then stalled it, though it was definitely an interesting experience after the initial SoL of like 1000 lines was past. Ask me for a download if you want, there’s some fuckery where non-jp IPs can’t access the download page for it (but it’s free doe!).

I also started Sutekano which was kind of interesting, partly picking it up because so many people seemed to hate it for whatever reason, and stalled it after a bit.

yeah right Jin

I also tried Asanyaa, which made me realize I found TS content strangely enticing. Going to chalk it up to autogynephilia or whatever just being a normal thing in a subset of non-trans men tbh I think Ozy did a survey and it showed something similar ignore selection effects. Anyway I stalled it after the first h scene. Apparently it’s a moege not a nukige somehow? Idk man. Anyway, when’s the glorious transhumanist future with effortless bodyswaps?

The second VN I completed – also in April – was Tsukiyo ni Otome wa Tegami wo Nurasu, which is a horny-ish spooky mystery yuri game that actually sort of plays into a “predatory lesbians” meme, though not in a way that really bothered me. Not that things bother me in general. It’s weird but was fun enough to read. It would be an interesting translation challenge, as you’d want to write in like 7 different styles for the various letters at the start!

Apparently it was created by two het women who flatly deny any homosexuality whatsoever in the afterword-y extras. I didn’t catch any hint of this being ironic, though it of course could be over 9000-bit encrypted Japanese. Also, those same women created a doujin otome game called Toki-Hako (toki-bako? who knows…) that has an insanely high rating on EGS and a rave review, but there are like 3 votes total so who can tell?

May saw me playing Makoto Möbius (given the メ I reject the vndb romanization, but not with enough fervor to actually change it). It’s my first CHARON game, and I guess it does interest me in other games by the writer but not massively so. It’s a neat plot with the CHARON signature menhera girls and some other funky plot twists included. That said you can just up and miss endings that really matter to the plot with ease, even after having gotten the true ending, so it’s a good thing I checked a guide. Bad design imo. I played in Japanese but to my understanding there is a translation, on whose quality I cannot comment other than my usual prior[2] of translations being bad.

I’m pretty sure I took this screen purely because of its amusing content out of context

I also started on Aibeya 2 in May because I was testing it to see if it would hook or something because someone was having trouble with it, and caprice directed me to read it for a bit because the heroine was pretty heckin kwi. I read until it started to turn from moege to probable nukige in regards to h-scene density and decided I was done with it. For once, it’s more dropped than stalled… though you never know!

And for my last May ge, I read most of Sakyuseka after a friend recommended it as being not quite the nukige it looked like, and in fact a pretty good plotge with a romantic core (that just happened to have a lot of porn you could skip if you wanted, I guess.) I got until the best part of the game according to said friend and stalled it because LOOK I DO NOT NEED A REASON IT WILL HAPPEN. Anyway, recommend I checking it out, it’s cool and there’s some decent porn too if you’re into that. Very high production values for a doujinge.

In June all I did on the VN front was a read of a few hundred lines of Kira Kira, since it was being used to demo the japanese VN streaming site OOParts and could be tried for free. I concluded that I liked Setoguchi’s writing style and also that it wasn’t something incompatible with English or anything, just would take a decent writer with enough time to work on their wording enough, so basically any translation of his works is likely to be a failure in this industry. As shown by the Musicus TL getting disowned by most JOPs, but I digress. Really when he’s not doing a stream-of-consciousness thing (which I didnt see in kira kira but have seen in Carnival screenshots) he’s just doing moderately complex sentences with good imagery and effective prose. There’s no magic nipponese essence of whatever he’s just kind of good! It’s totally doable! Urobuchi is the same except maybe when he’s doing Chinese kanji autism shit! I totally know this 100% from having read like 200 lines. Anyway. Pity the actual Kira Kira tl out there is much worse still than even the Musicus tl, which is, I understand, merely not all that well written in comparison to the original.

In July I played the bit-more-spice-than-usual yuri VN Tsuyuchiru Letter. It has really nice sprite direction and it fairly easy to read, so do read it in Japanese if you wish as a beginner. The spicier elements do bring enough excitement and delicious suffering to the table to make it an enjoyable read, though perhaps the most interesting characters are the ones they’re clearly hoping to include in a sequel (the game folder is even called “tsuyuchiru1” but they haven’t announced number 2 yet ree). The novel ends somewhat conclusively, but has sequel hooks for other couples, so if you hate even the sequel hook thing you might want to avoid the title.

The translation by Meru should be mostly solid, I trust Meru to not suck (but apparently she wasn’t looking at the sprite direction when translating, not having been given the actual script, so it’s possible some of that is off in English given that a lot of it is midline expression changes etc). Also there’s a plot CG in it that’s edited with chinese text in the CN loc but doesn’t have an English version as far as I can tell (though you get the text read in the normal textbox too so you’re not really missing crucial information). Modestly recommended for yuri fans.

Secondly, I started on Hotel., a VN which exemplifies the infuriating Japanese habit of ending the names of works with periods. Other than my rage at its typographical inconvenice, Hotel manages to be very different from any other VN I’ve read, feeling more like a… sitcom? than anything else, though the plot does hint as something a bit darker than just comedy.

It follows — in sort of ambiguous third person-y view, sometimes first — the daily lives of the quirky employees of the titular hotel, from its clearly autistic manager to its whimsical owner to the couple that keeps having arguments about their upcoming marriage to the be-afroed black guy speaking simultaneously in kansai-ben and engrish that tried to make everything a manzai scene to the mysterious loli on a mission with an eyepatch and insane guitar chops to the nocturnal, bisexual and horny bartender woman who keeps trying to unsuccessfully woo the manager, along with also trying to get at the cute cook girl just in case. And I’ve only covered half of the colorful array of characters in this thing! Nor do I know much about the mystery it’s building up to yet, but the Hotel clearly isn’t normal in any way! Anyway, stalled as usual, but maybe I’ll read more of it.

Third, I read like half of chapter 1 of Mememasa. It’s ok I guess.

In month 8 (I refuse to fuck with month names above July. Fuck the roman emperors who fucked up all the names). I read Trash Waifu. It was a qt enough short vn that fulfilled personal emotional fetishes of mine, and surprisingly ok for a random EVN I picked up because it had a meme title. I still haven’t read the sequel. Read it if the concept more or less laid in the description appeals to you I guess.

Good osananajimi. Naturally, she probably likes you but ur donkan.

I also started on My Merry May using a ps2 emulator and the combined orig+sequel release My Merry May with be. For the most part it’s a galge, but apart from the sci-fi elements which do end up mattering for the plot somewhat, what really struck me was the unusual and rounded feel of the characters.

Apart from all the sci-fi aspects of the setting, you also get forced into being the effective parent of a little robot girl that learns REALLY fast. Also she’s pretty hot and calls you oniichan but there is no porn in this game oh well.

Unlike a lot of arrow gay THESE DAYS (I feel), each character is in service to themselves, not to their archetype, and won’t always act the way you expect – but the way they act will always make sense, in the end. I picked up the title because it was super high rated on EGS and the (a?) writer had also worked on Symphonic Rain, which has the same nuanced characters I like in this.

My queen
She can cook too, so we know she’s not born after 1993

I actually read pretty far into the game, getting into the route of the one middle-schooler girl in the game (I just really vibed with her she’s a dandere and mature please understand). Just after I got to some realdeal plot in her route, I had to get my laptop fan repaired and it took a month. Maybe I’ll actually go back to this one, I may have found a waifu in Misao. Also there really doesn’t seem to be a single ingame hint that the 13-16 relationship is considered weird by anyone yet. Funky from a contemporary Western perspective. But I enjoy it.

I guess there is this

I also also started on Despiria, a Dreamcast (as you can see the theme of this month is I emulate shit) Atlus RPG. It’s a kind of sci-fi cum catholic cum biological horror setting where you’re a nun with psychic powers.

Narration text. Text presentation is cool and varied in general in this
what a cutie
Dive text is heavily animated, fragmented, the works. Good luck JOPs(?)

You can “dive” into objects or perople to read minds or in the case of objects, leftover emotions, which helps you gather information on dangerous heretics pushing drugs and other unchristian nastiness.

Also the battle system – though it doesn’t get used that much in the excellent opening area – has you use two persona-ish things with a persona crafting system.

It’s text-heavy and unhookable, and worse, has time-limited text display that you also can’t repeat. But it’s pretty cool and I can see myself returning to it from its stalled state at the third area. It would be cool to see a translation of it… even if it would be shit as usual.

He doesn’t like the psychic nuns. He’s kind of just a dick in general, though.

After this I get fucked by lack of laptop and when I finally get it in December I don’t really do much except read Hotel for a short session in The Moe Way’s discord server.

I could list LNs and manga I read as well but I’ve been writing for hours oh god oh fuck if you want it ask me. Read Urasekai Picnic and Yagakimi!


Background: you need 180 ECTS (hereafter points) to get a Computer Science BA in Sweden. This is my current goal, though since I am lazy as fuck I have been doing it at a modest pace of 5 credits per quarter – the usual pace is 15 per quarter. I had ~115p in partial credit and ~95p in completed credit at the start of the year. The partial credit thing will be explained later.

The year started off with a fat L as I managed to fail a 10-point (double length course, started in late 2020) in calculus. This was basically self-inflicted as I studied approximately fuck all for the latter half of the course. Essentially every failure I perform is self-inflicted. That’s how it goes.

I then went into the second quarter of the year and bullshitted my way into the statistics course that required me to have passed the calculus course, because my exam results weren’t in yet so I couldn’t know that they wouldn’t pass my obviously-failed exam out of clerical error (I never technically lied in any official communique). Anyway I passed the statistics course, so KEKW I was right about doing fine in the course anyway. 5 points to the Zaka team.

For third quarter I signed up to ONCE AND FOR ALL catch up on a course I half passed 10 or so years ago. The course has changed massively since then and the written exams I had failed were now replaced with coding assignments. This was actually quite fun, if a lot of work. First, I had to write a generic hash table in C, with various utility functions, auto-resizing, function pointers for element comparisons, lots of really annoying but also cool stuff. Also a lot of tests for it.

I then mailed the instructor about it and he didn’t respond because he was sick. I mailed him again and microshit office decided that THAT specific mail was the one damn mail it was going to put in the spam folder. It hasn’t put anything in the spam after that. At the same time, my laptop fan was dying and I killed it dead trying to fix it (HP laptop design is SHIIIIIIIIIIIITTT ree). Thus I was limited to a 5-year-old smartphone to check basically everything, and if I wanted to code I had to either use university workstations (that unfortunately are FUCKED half the time and near unusably slow) or an old laptop that was already crappy when my mom got it five years ago. I discovered many fascinating bugs and difficulties trying to navigate the world with 25gb of disk space and 4gb of ram on a win8.1 machine. For example, booting a vagrant VM for c coding was so slow I had to increase the timeout or it would fail. Good stuff. The laptop redeemed itself later when I didn’t have to use a VM, though.

Anyway so about the mail to the instructor about presenting my assignment completion – I send another mail saying wtf do you have a spam filter on links and he says “uhh I replied earlier” and im like “no I did not see that but ok when do we meet”. Eventually I notice it’s been in the spam for a week plus. FUCK. But yeah, I do the presentation and it goes well.

Unfortunately the lack of instructor response demotivated me, so I lost 2+ weeks of time mostly not working on the second assignment I needed to pass, a Java assignment to create a symbolic calculator (but not the parser). In the end, combined with the miserably slow university systems fucking me over, I don’t get the Java assignment done until way into the last period of the year.

The last period, I’m without a laptop and have to somehow manage an algorithms course with a coding assignment component. I sign up to be randomly assigned a partner after briefly considering partnering up with someone I actually know and not doing it because I am a fuck. Anyway my luck ends up pretty decent as I hit a competent enough partner that doesn’t mind being a bit chill (though we somehow end up getting 29/30 points for the assignments – which meant we were guaranteed a grade bump on the exam – which will never not amuse me, since this was described as “going all out” but I certainly did not feel I did. Maybe my mediocre LaTeX skills and good English writing ability is rarer than I thought…). We have some tough times with the assignments sometimes, but we get through it.

The lectures are not that great and I end up slacking off on attending them after a while (my sleep schedule is also fucked in said period making it harder), but unusually for me I did eventually catch up on them using online material. Having a lab partner to be accountable to certainly helped. The exam is on the 3rd of jan 2022 and the last lecture is on like the 14th, so I manage to sneak in a presentation of the last part of the programming course I was trying to finish in last period. It ends up being pretty last-minute, I think on the 22nd, but I pass without much issue. Now this is VERY SIGNIFICANT because the course I have at last completed is a 20-point course! My official points fully gained thus increase by 20, and I am now safely above 120 points, which lets me take advanced courses. This is important for my future planning. But back to the algorithms course.

I take the exam with a bit less prep than I should have but certainly some prep, and the professor has decided to make the kind of section I do worst at double the points it notmally is, use even more obnoxious notation for it than usual, and use a problem I barely remember anything but the greedy solution for but ask about a dynamic programming algorithm. Despite this convocation of fuckery, I give myself a 75% chance of having passed the exam — it was multiple choice, so there’s little subjectivity involved. The results still aren’t in despite having sat it on the 3rd of Jan and it being fully computerized. Whatever I guess.

[1] Let there be an assortment of DNA features resulting in what we would call a “chicken”. Then this assortment must have been produced by mating two non-chickens, or they in turn would have been produced by a chicken egg as described next. This assortment will first exist as gametes or whatever, then as a fused egg, then as a chicken. Since egg happens before chicken, the egg comes first. QED fuck any philosopher that goes against me I’m 110% right.

[2] “What I expect” in Bayesian statistical terms, because I have read too much LW-style rationalist writing. For questions of something happening or not, this is just the percentage of the time that you would expect something “like that” to happen or not – give me a coin to flip and I’ll give you 50% for any one side to show up. For evaluating a number like an expected score for a vn (like how vndb does it in its Bayesian rating) or my estimated “translation quality” rating, it’s the average you would expect given no other information – a good prior would be the average of everything you’ve seen before in the category. Since most translations are bad (fan translations a bit worse on average), I expect this one to be bad also, in a purely dispassionate way that doesn’t actually give you, the reader, any useful information and could well be wrong. Also my standards are really high. Anyway, this digression has gone on long enough and made me look enough of an autistic dickhead to satisfy me, plus the more I talk about bayesian whatever the more formal error I’m going to introduce since it’s not like I really know it much other than in intuitive terms.

[3] Friendly challenge to read as much foreign-language (mostly Japanese) text as possible in a month. Goes by the honor system.

Random translations #1

Over time, a bored translator tends to accumulate random pieces of translation they never went that far with, or did in 10 minutes for the shitpost for whatever reason, etc. Apart from that, I’ve personally done some scattered work for fan translations that may or may not ever see the light of day, some (very modestly) paid in ebooks. Anyway, here we go:

1. Random demonbane fight/action scene
I think this is from an expanded rerelease or something. There’s an absolutely meme error left in here where my brain read 拳 as 拳銃, even noticing my confusion in the comments but nevertheless failing to see the actual problem. I generally prefer translating directly in the script for VNs, so that’s what you’re getting. I did this one FOR FREE. I think this is about 3k-4k moji?

2. Phantom of Inferno h-scene except there’s a lot of plot too
This one’s funny because I was initially contacted about it because the guy thought I was a coomer translator doing mostly nukige. Ironically my actual skillset turned out to be very applicable to the script I chose to work on though, so whatever xD.
Unfortunately I wasn’t doing the whole commenting out lines thing (and I changed the structure in places), so you can only really read this in something like a multi-file viewer. I promise the rest is better, okay? Anyway, here’s a zip with both the unaltered script and the translated script. I got paid for this with an ebook of shimeyuri, which I actually read afterwards. There’s a possible mistl in the script where 失禁 most likely (based on my expansive experience with illustrated japanese pornography) actually means wetting yourself and not “loosing your bowels” as I put it. I just couldn’t find as good a line that was more yellow than brown at the time so I coped. But it legitimately could mean both, so I leave the final decision up to someone who actually looked at the scene ingame.

3. New tl for the subahibi soapbubble poem that’s actually from cyrano
So yeah, this was originally French. And then through some route, it became Japanese, and was used in Subahibi. The current official localization uses a french to english translation, which is fair enough. But, well, the english translation, and espcially the lines chosen from it that I saw used in screenshots (idk I didnt actually read the english tl tho), seem to me to not quite be as clear as the Japanese. Since poems and such often change shape with translation, and Subahibi definitely wants to say something with its poems, I had to wonder if doing a translation from the Japanese might not be a better solution than merely choosing a translation from the French. Well, I could also consult the english translation too… Oh, and then I decided to specifically make sure to use words that would resonate with wittgensteinian thinking or whatever (“name” specifically. In formal logic you put “names” to stuff. Uhh anyway…). I haven’t actually finished subahibi, I stalled it in insects because the first part was really boring. ANYWAY, the poem, entirely devoid of annoying stuff like actually rhyming:

Zaka adapted tl:

We yearn
Building castles of air from but a name
Pining for a lover made of fantasy
Take it, now
This fantasy I made
And make it into reality
My romantic laments I have scattered far and wide
Only you can give them a home at last
Take them, now
One day you will know
I was not sincere; I was eloquent alone

Original jp tl:


Fr->en (brian hooker, not the one used in the official tl):

I have amused myself
As we all do, we poets–writing vows
To Chloris, Phyllis–any pretty name–
You might have had a pocketful of them!
Take it, and turn to facts my fantasies–
I loosed these loves like doves into the air;
Give them a habitation and a home.
Here, take it– You will find me all the more
Eloquent, being insincere! Come!

Is this good? …Well my tl could probably use some polish, but I think the approach is interesting. Then again, apparently subahibbers goes and explains the poem later on, so you could probably insert your explanation then and be more pure (as pure as a fr->en tl is, though!) to the original, I guess. Overall it’s a wash but I’m happy I got to shitpost.

4. The two first pages of Hige wo Soru, Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou (LN)
I was originally going to translate 10 pages as a work sample to troll one of my friends who was looking for people to translate LNs at the time, but I got too lazy to continue after finishing 2 pages. C’est la vie, innit? Also, the title given is my personal stab at a sensible title. Unfortunately the events in the book do not match the straightforward “X, then Y” structure of そして as commonly used, as Y actually happens before X in-story! Thus I choose to interpret it as listing two things that happened in no specific order.

I actually translated this from scans, which is how I read higehiro 1. I have ebooks now to copy from though, so I’ll spare you the scan reader experience. Also maybe I should have used “beneath” instead of “under” the telophone pole? Whatever, man.

I took in a runaway girl and shaved my beard

Page 10:






 そう、デートに行ったのだ。後藤さんと。勤続5年目にして、ようやく彼女をデートにさそった。快く誘いを受け入れられて、これは行けるのでは! と期待をふくらませながらデートに行き、動物園をいつしよに歩いた。正直、動物よりも後藤さんの横顔ばかり見ていた。ときどき、乳も横目で見た。


The girl under the telephone pole

My love was unrequited.

Gotou was two years older than me, and my superior at work. She took good care of her coworkers; ever since I was in training, she’d always treated me well. Her smile was graceful, her attention to others’ needs palpable — she was always there to support me as my threw myself into the life of a wage slave.

“If she had a boyfriend she coulda told me from the start, man…” I whined.

I’d already lost count of how many beers I’d downed. My coworker Hashimoto was sitting across from me, his profile peeking out of the dim barlight. He chuckled briefly at my outburst, clearly amused.

We’d been on a date all right, me and Gotou. First we’d gone to the zoo. To be honest, I’d been looking less at the animals, more at her. Sometimes, I’d snuck in a sideways glance at her breasts.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to lose my shot, so I’d gone all out afterwards. I’d taken her to a fancy restaurant for dinner. I can’t remember what it tasted like at all.

Page 11:




















I’d waited for the right time, and then I’d asked her: “Hey, would you like to see my place?” We weren’t kids — the implication was obvious. I had looked at her with uneasy anticipation as she gave me a troubled smile — and then, she had shook her head. “I’ve kept it a secret at work, but I’m afraid I’ve got a boyfriend.”


“Then why the hell did you agree to the date?” I exclaimed.
“Jeez, this is the sixth time you’ve said that today,” Yoshida said.
“I’ll say it a thousand times over, damn it!”
“I really would rather you not.”

Yoshida watched me with a strained smile as I downed another swig of beer.

“You really shouldn’t have any more to drink,” he said.
“Dude, d’ya think I’m gonna forget how angry I am with just this much?”
“Aren’t you just going to get more pissed off if you keep drinking? There’s no point to it.”

5. Purposely bad “accurate” tl of song lyrics that I was going to show myself fixing in a blog post discussing kinda lame “accurate” lyric translation but I never did the work oops totally not coping no really I’m serious though
Hahaha funny how things turn out right? anyway uhh

カプチーノ ともさかりえ

This is purposely sloppy and sort of meaning-only because I was going to write a post titled ‘how to make a typical youtube jp lyric tl’
which then was going to feature a refinement of the lyrics
or something to show the adaptations you actually
should be doing if you’re subbing fucking songs
I mean I’m not actually a god though so who knows
if it was even a good idea
but yeah that’s why this is garbage even if it is prolly ‘accurate’


Wait for me to grow a bit more
I want to make you enchanted with me
So please spoil me while I struggle to do so


I don’t get how you can just say
You won’t even need a coat on when we next meet
–The white of the milk is stronger than the brown


I want to meet you, want touch you most of all
To know every part of you
To have an equal relationship between us
Forgive me for running hot and cold
I know I might be too selfish sometimes
But don’t let that make you leave me on my own


The scent of coffee hangs between us
And I can’t hide my overbearing smile
–I’m all bitter, haven’t found the right balance


When we next meet early spring afternoon as the plum blossoms fall
Will we easily slip through the crowd
As we were able to today?
We just get busy with our own lives
And I don’t know how hard to pull you towards me
But I’m worried you’ll just forget me


We never promised to meet
Anywhere or anytime
And the sense that our feelings will fade
Is all around us


See through me more than anyone else
That I talk rough and act tough is proof of how serious I am


I want to meet you touch you most of all
To know every part of you
To have an equal relationship between us
Forgive me for running hot and cold
I know I might be too selfish sometimes
But don’t let that make you leave me on my own

Very sorry about that one, folks.

6. Literally just this one excerpt from the adashima LN (idk what volume anymore)
I picked this as an interesting translation “challenge” for a server I was semi-active in at the time because the excerpt referenced a distinctly Japanese cultural thing in the kuroneko delivery service and I wanted to see different approaches to it. The rest is just general writing skill I guess. Nobody else submitted anything because THEY ARE COWARDS ahem. Anyway this has an official tl but I’ve never looked at it (yet, growth mindset) to compare. The official tl is done by my friend and actually good translator Verde though so it’s probably cool.


Shimamura laid her bag on the desk, then sat down on the futon. “Here,” she said, throwing me the yellow cushion her little sister had been using just before. I caught it and glanced at the motif: the familiar white and black cat mascots of the Kuroneko Yamato delivery service, holding hands. I put the cushion on the floor and sat down myself.

7. Random line from I think dies irae or some other masada shit
I was challenged for a take on this by a friend so I did. Then I did another take which was better so I’m listing both here. The context I was given was “context is, guy is standing on the bow of a magic warship during a big chuu2 battle and this is a description of what he looks like”.


Take 2 (better):

He stood in the midst of a raging firestorm, giant cape battened by its roiling currents. Unmoved by heat that could boil steel, his lips twisted into a crescent grin.
Take 1 (does other stuff better maybe tho):
He stood in the midst of a firestorm of ferocity sufficient to melt the toughest steel; his cloak billowed, spurred by the raging inferno, as his mouth crested unto a twisted smile.

8. Mememasa poem with very little context because I shitpost hard okay
This is pretty bad not going to lie. Anyway it’s a quick tl of part of the poem that is shown in the muramasa prologue (and presumable afterward as well?). Also it has a tl error where I should have said it’s the saint cursing the god and not the other way around oops.


The saint performing miracles set to save mankind was cursed by God, to nausea
The gold-crowned conqueror who ruled vast plains met his end when he drowned with his beloved horse, in the river
The lady of the lake who forsook her country for love drowned in excrement, sentenced to death
The orphan babe who drank maggotsblood for mother’s milk took three days to die, rotting from the inside
Life, let my eulogy reach your tired ears and deepen your fury
Life, hear my prayer and sleep soundly in thrashing joyous rage
A hundred years’ worth of life was lost to fire and blade
Seven days’ worth of life let to shine in innocence, guarded by stygian silence
Frolic upon the fields, O beast, let loose your savage song
No chain nor jail can stop you; all before you shall fall to dust

ok so that’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure there’s more somewhere. I hope you enjoyed it if you actually read any of this kuso shit

Shinimasu TL notes: Enhanced Edition #1

I wrote earlier about how I thought when translating a few lines in Shinimasu. This series is going to be in that vein, with an eye to explaining translation decisions and highlighting unusual takes. I’m going to try to make it interesting for people not knowing Japanese, but to save effort I’m not going to be providing literal translation equivalents to lines.

Why am I doing this? Because my brain is a fuck and producing blog posts is an interesting motivation for doing a second pass on my translation.

Unfortunately for those expecting worthwhile content I feel like digressing a bit into history and methods for this first post, though. This is what my TL setup has looked like for most of the time I’ve worked on the project: 

I started out doing 64 lines in December 2017, this got Asonn involved, and he introduced me to Porygon, who set up a git repository* and provided the tool you see. My brain swears I tweeted this pastebin, and I know I at least got some comment, but twitter search can’t find it so who the fuck knows? Anyway, I probably did 129 lines just copying from the game or script (can’t remember), then I copied them to the tool and worked there. One of the joys of working with porygon is that he has highly motivating auto-updating progress pages for you to fap to after pushing your new lines. This probably helped me more than I’d really like to admit.

Either way, apart from being convenient for reinsertion later**, the tool has rudimentary edict-lookup of the (autoparsed) tl lines, which is convenient if you’re extremely fucking lazy. I’m not going to say I never used it (I am extremely fucking lazy), but going j-j definitely was needed more than once. Other than that I guess it’s ok, though it does have a still-unfixed bug where it’ll fuck up and display too few lines of text in a box due to some miscalculation.

It’s certainly missing some features my dream tool would have, though. Personally I’d love to be able to see the script commands surrounding a line through some UI element to expand, as this could partially substitute for actually having the VN open for visual/scenographic context. It doesn’t have EPWING lookup, but that’s high effort since the format is bullshit apparently. It also doesn’t let you play voiced lines associated with spoken lines, though Shinimasu is unvoiced so I guess it doesn’t really matter for this project.

Today I had to contact pory since it had stoped working properly; it turned out my build of the tool was old enough that a bug with java 9 (I had recently updated) was making it unusable. He quickly got a fix for the tool, but it took enough time that I lost the energy for revising my tl. Or that’s my excuse, anyway.

See you next time for actual tl discussion w

*What’s a git repository? Well the long answer is long and full of programmer-speak, but basically it lets you keep an online backup of your files, preserving older versions each time you decide to add a newer version to the server. You can do this while multiple people are working on the same file sometimes, though it can get hairy. I ended up not needing this much, but it’s been good insurance against data loss (and I have changed laptops at least once during translation, also had to reinstall windows once…). Really if you don’t have a backup for any translation of length, you’re probably doing it wrong (but also I am a CS student so it’s… not as hard for me w)

**By virtue of saving the line number in the original script where the Japanese line was and associating that with the eventual translated line. I used a simplified version of this myself based on google sheets columns when I did tech for the ichigo & kyuugo tl.

Countdown to silence: a VN recommendation/review


The story of how I came to read this EVN is kind of like Countdown to silence itself. It started out with a bit of comic relief mingled with human drama (The dev came in and posted a link on the Fuwanovel discord and I grilled him for a bit because my ego is large and my opinions voluminous, but he managed to at least catch my interest). Then trouble struck (My Internet’s been down for hours now and it’s doing a number on me), but this led to some exciting events (I played the VN on a whim and it turned out to actually be good). The ending… well, my Internet’s still not back on, can someone tell the wankers over at Comhem to hurry up and get my router a bloody IP address? Thanks in advance.

13 hours later, I finally have the connection necessary to post this. Holy fuck.


Countdown to Silence takes place in a world where (entirely benevolent and harmless) experiments intended to give humans superpowers have succeeded, but in an unexpected fashion: only their kids got a splash with the supe brush. This ability is called IO for “Information Overlay”, and true to its name it presents itself as an overlay showing you certain information – with varying levels of usefulness depending on your specific ability. The protagonist and (voiced!) narrator, Josh, didn’t get particularly lucky with his: all it shows him is a countdown to when people will speak to him next. While there are _some_ uses for this, it mostly doesn’t give him much benefit. His best friend Kyle has a much better ability: seeing potential conversation choices when talking to people, potentially revealing their secrets but also making him a great guy to talk to. The setting and abilities are used surprisingly well in the story, but don’t expect anything about uncovering government conspiracies or rebelling against society or whatever, it’s just accepted as a Thing in universe. You could probably rewrite the thing without the abilities, but it wouldn’t have the same zing to it, so I can’t say I’m bothered.


No, but self-isolation does, so basically half of us are in the system now.

The VN walks a delicate line between drama and comedy, and will frequently take the edge off tense moments with a comedic segment before ramping up the tension again. Thankfully, it succeeds in the balancing act; neither the comedy nor the drama are cheapened too much by its counterpart. The humor does have indulgent parts; the main character is a weeb into magical girl shows for kids. This doesn’t get too grating in my opinion, and it’s only mentioned in like three scenes, but after reading this many EVNs I still feel it’s a bit cliché. Otherwise, I would describe it as… a bit camp, I guess? On the low end of the scale though. I swear to god if the creator of this isn’t British I need to get my tea-dar fixed. He’s Australian. Close enough.


Nisemonogatari >>> Bakemonogatari

So why do I like it so much? Well, first of all, the plotting is tight: it doesn’t waste time, keeps you interested, and things slide into place from foreshadowing in pleasing ways.

Second, the voiced narration actually adds a lot for me. There’s a constant echo-ish effect to it, it’s clearly not a super high quality recording, but I find it charming. Combined with the rest of the voices in this fully voiced VN (not badly acted, but certainly not recorded with the best equipment), the weird style convention of leaving off most ending periods in text boxes, and the uhh, funky backgrounds, it feels very doujin. Alone, any of these elements would be less than ideal, but together it forms a gestalt I find strangely palatable. Though I still must insist that you really should still end your text boxes with periods – I got used to the style because it was consistent and repetition legitimizes, but it’s not going to be a good fit for most stories and arguably made even this one worse. Anyway, the aesthetic fits the drama-comedy flow of the story pretty well. I’m left with the impression that it all shouldn’t fit together so well, and yet it just does.

So yeah, I really recommend this for a fun and engaging 30-60 minutes or so of content. Extremely positively surprised.

Download free at:


Okay, but as we all know I have autism, so let’s nitpick the craft a bit instead as I think the writer has potential and might read this. If you’re not into that, feel free to skip the rest of this.

Page up/down do nothing, despite the fact that they’re listed on the Help page! No hotkey to show message history, the SUPERIOR history function.

There’s no way to replay voice lines besides going back from a later line with rollback (and then they always play due to renpy rollback.) Rollback is the default backlog for mousewheel (my JVN soul cries for it to activate the backlog instead and then have scenario jump and voice replay buttons in that history). Uses default UI rather than anything custom as far as I can tell, though at least the modern Ren’Py default doesn’t make me want to tear my eyes out.

Some voices are too hard to hear at the default music volume (full) while others are perfectly fine. I remember a scene where this made me have to go into the settings and lower the music volume to like half (which I left it at). I feel like this could have been avoided with more careful sound design.

Why put this on your download page when you can just change the default settings???

Music doesn’t fade out, it just cuts, which makes scene transitions feel unnecessarily and jarringly sudden. Especially the final line of the game suffers from this – it really needed a soft fadeout to mimic the emotion at that point. Overall, think about transitions more when scripting. I checked and there is a fadeout on the last line at least, so I’m not sure what I was smoking. It feels way too short however, so I’ve advised the guy to make them longer.
Voices sometimes do not fully match the written line, though the wording is often better than the actual text. One voiced line even adds a word that was accidentally omitted in the text! After this he DMed me, so I went through the thing and sent him a QA report with ~50 spots of (mostly) voice/text inconsistency but also a few genuine textual errors. Apparently he doesn’t have his main computer available right now, though, so there might not be any fixes for a while.

Apart from the aforementioned thing where sentences just end without punctuation half the time, there’s a few typos that could’ve been caught by a careful eye. The phrasing style, and well, the style in general is unusual and feels like veering into the relaxed conventions of, I don’t know, fanfic writing? With everything else it kind of works, but it certainly won’t work for just any tone, and you’ll need to be careful with this in the future. The voiced narration does help sell some fairly long sentences without punctuation, so it’s good we have it.

…And that’s about it, I think.

[NSFW] Recommendation: Twintail no Loli Shoujo ~Ano Ko to Amaenbou Ecchi~

If you’ve been on the boorus lately, you’ve probably seen a few ghastly failures at animating 2d porn. In the VN sphere, from what I’ve seen Damekoi’s H scenes were basically ruined by bad, forced animation, and even things people seem to like are not really more than passable. Honestly, most of them are so bad I wonder why people even bother.

Well, this game is Not That. It originally got on my radar because someone retweeted some animations the creator had extracted from the game onto my timeline. Once I’d checked them out, and realized there was some kind of game released, I knew I had to get it.

The gameplay is very basic; it’s basically a mildly interactive animation viewer. You can pick between 5 different scenes, which have 4 levels of intensity – the final level fades out the UI until it’s done, then resets to the lowest level (because you/loli just came). There’s a few neat touches: once you’ve cummed on the loli’s face in the dick lick scene it’ll be there for the other scenes, and cumming in her pussy (heretics will be furious to know this is the only option) will have her in her cummed-inside state for the other scenes as well.

There’s 5 scenes to choose from; missionary, a dick lick (the dick never goes inside the mouth), a remote-controlled dildo with only the girl in frame, a piledriver scene, and a hugging/lotus scene. I kinda wish she’d pee in a more discernible way in the vibe scene (what’s shown barely registers as piss for me) and oral on penis was never my thing, but the other three are very good imo. I imagine opinions might differ though, lol. I also really like the voice acting, though I imagine a few people will think it’s a bit overdone.

The animation loops a bit unsmoothly and transitioning between modes could be better, but it’s not _that_ jarring, and I found it extremely fappable. If you, much like me, would rather skip to the 30 seconds of the porn video with the actual good content than watch all of it, this is basically the perfect implementation of that concept.

All in all, I highly recommend this thing out; it’s restored my faith in the possibility of actually hot animated h-scenes in a non-hentai style.

You can buy it at DLsite here:
English version:
And Fanza here:

I haven’t tried the DLsite English translation but it’s kind of hard to fuck this one up too hard since it only has like 10 lines of text in total.

Misc links:

Creator patreon


I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing it for myself.


I met my soulmate about a week before I started the first, transitional year of elementary school. I guess that means we were like, six or seven years old? She was sitting on the swing in the playground next to an apartment complex, and for whatever reason I was drawn to her instantly – I broke off from my parents and greeted her, and we got along like a house ablaze.

The next time I saw her was at school. She was in my class, and it was only natural that we’d be inseparable from that point on. Or was it? There was another boy who by now I barely remember who used to be in the picture, but he moved away. I think at one point she – I guess I’ll call her M – told me I was actually her second choice, but that other boy had left, so she’d picked me. Looking back I find myself analyzing this interaction as heckin’ weird, but at the time I accepted this without feeling bad about it. I guess I used to be even more obviously autistic than I am now.

Soulmates, for those reading who have had the misfortune of never having had one, are a real thing. It’s hard to describe the feeling of absolute, utter 乗り, of flow, I felt in her presence. Sometimes I doubt myself – did she feel the same? – and I guess by now I’ll probably never know. But there was something there I have never felt interacting with anyone else in my life.

She and I were best friends for I think five years. For most of them, as far as I know, I was essentially a donkan eroge protagonist, going as far as openly telling other people ‘she loves me, but I don’t love her’. We were officially boyfriend and girlfriend to each other for a little while at the end, but the most intimate thing that ever happened was a hug. Technically we got best couple at a dance or something, but frankly what I did there was a performance, not *real*. So I’m left with the curious feeling that while I may have unlocked the achievement ‘kissed a girl’, though we never did do it in the French fashion, I have never done it when it truly meant something to me. I think it’s fair to say I was a late bloomer when it comes to emotional maturity, if I ever hit it.

Eventually we slid apart, gradually, seemingly as naturally as we were first joined. Different classes and different friend circles meant we rarely met. We actually did happen to join up once again after having slid apart, however, and it felt just like to old times to me as we took a walk together. But that was it; we went to different high schools, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her since then.

今でも彼女を会いたいなぁっと想い、毎年あの炎に行く。 Mum told me she went to IT-Gymnasiet. 毎年「やっぱり居ないなぁ」って感じで炎の原始的な美しさを楽しみながらちょっとした悔しい思いも含む状態でいる。 She talks to M’s mum sometimes, I guess. 必死染みた所もあり彼女を探して失敗して、毎度悔いの有る想いを持ちながら火を観るのも飽き、家を向いて戻り始める。


So I finished a tl and shit

…And you probably know about it already if you know me, but anyway, my own #brand is Memeshii Translations apparently. Since you’re here, have some information on the experience of working with the paltry tools available:

*The linecount had to be the exact same or the insertion tool would crash with an unhandled exception.

*Some lines had a linebreak in the original; these were joined together engine wise so they had to be line broken no matter what. Usually this wasn’t a problem, but some lines ended up short in english but still needed a linebreak so they look wonky, and the second line in-game had two lines that wanted to be long and couldn’t be split so it was kind of hell to fit.

*Weeb quotes 「」 had to be used or the engine wouldn’t read it as a spoken line.

*One line was turned from speech to narration for flow reasons (it was like suu haa or some shit) by removing the speechtag annotation in front.

*There was no manual linebreak code I could use (mandated ones were just CRLF linebreak, and could only been used for that specific line). However, the engine does automatically line-break on a character level, and seems to be more or less monospace. So I ended up doing some of the line-breaking in this truly kami manner, checking it manually ingame over like 5 iterations:


す@ is Sumire; あ@ is Azami

*The extracted yscfg.ybn file had the window title at the end in plaintext. But the title seemed to be read in 2 char blocks or something which meant the title ended up as either “The world ends tomorrowA” or “The world ends tomorrowb” after insertion. I fixed this by adding a space after the name.

*The nametags were in a different script than the scenario but they were just text strings, so I could just edit them

*Same for the exit message when pressing the cross at the top right

*Since we used the “spoken line” format I had to convert this to the japanese quotation brackets. Kotlin code for you to meme at:

oh, java strings are immutable, fuck… fiiine I’ll your it your goddamn way

This is probably half the reason why any in-line quotes ingame are single quotes; I actually edited a pair of doubles because I couldn’t be arsed to clean up the script after the fixer code worked on it… or something.

Okay since you read this far some stats; I used Mediafire for the release because it gives download counts. It seems to update daily or something. First update was 63 downloads. Second was 89. I had 66 pageviews the blog release post on feb 14 and have 178 so far for feb 15. 89/244 gives us a ~36% download rate per view, not too bad. The About page seems to have gotten like, 8 views. The dedicated asuowa tl page has 7.

So uhh I guess I have to tl more shinimasu now.



VNs I read in 2018: Retrospective

Retrospectives are good. Posting on Reddit is not my style though and besides this is too fucking long. The Reddit tradition of describing things as boxes I am more ambivalent about, but I’ll do a few entries in that style I guess.

Jisatsusha x Yuusha First Connect
I found this vn in a MEGA archive with lots of now-unavailable doujin games. I think I got the link from moogy’s a few million years ago. Curated by 2ch anons or some shit. Either way I was just casually browsing the catalogue and the name of this vn appealed to me for some reason, so I decided to try it out. I don’t regret it but it was, uh, mostly of meme value. The story has several fairly random 中略’s but basically involves the female main character biking, sort of dying in a traffic accident (wait did she kill herself? fuck the title certainly implies it but), then some UNIMPORTANT coming back to life thing I can’t fuckign remember and I think maybe there was some prophecy or some shit, then she wakes up again and is in an isekai with a VERY CUTE SHOTA THAT WILL SAVE THE WORLD and there’s this raising sim-ish? interface with a few interaction choices and stuff. Did I mention that oneechan lusts for shota boi very hard? Yes. 5/10

already reviewed on this very blog. 8.1/10 read it god damn you

Sugar And Massacre demo
Cool but the prose is not close to strong enough compared to all the other elements. Would still read a full version god damn. These are some serious production values. That said the Kickstarter failed hard so it’s probably dead rip

An Octave Higher
Indonesian developer Kidalang builds a fantasy world, decides to take some inspiration from local history and mixes in some perspectives on communism with veiled crystallized version of the memes of production in mana potions, then adds some sprinkles of programmer humor and a decidedly nerdy magic system including university lectures that made me feel right at home actually. Kidalang writes it in English in the typical Indonesian prose fashion: somewhat poorly. Especially weird is how the whole thing opens with a battle scene since that scene is so badly written holy shit they really can’t do that well. But I suppose I’ve seen much worse. At its best it gave me a similar feeling to Discworld books; I’m somewhat reminded of Monstrous Regiment. Do make sure you read the second half of the game as the first half is a meme in comparison, especially the extremely extraneous character endings which I hope were added to satisfy kickstarter goals or something. 7.9/10

One Small Fire at a Time
A vn set in the same world as An Octave Higher but with a fairly different tone and focus. Protag-chan lives in a madhouse despite being rather sane, since she can’t use magic, which is unfortunate in a world where work involves repetitively casting spells at things. Basically it’s the old, memeier kind of sanatorium, but we should mention that it is not run cruelly or anything. Well, there is the whole thing where people disappear into the other building on the property when they get old enough though. How mysterious. A dark, tragic story, a few somewhat interesting philosophical ramblings from the characters that I had seen expressed before but nevertheless appreciated, a kinda sweet, kinda bittersweet end. I very much enjoyed it.
The writing is slightly better than in An Octave Higher, possibly thanks to the modest efforts of the editor, Ryechu. Not exactly well written prose wise though, still. Modest efforts. I guess it’s possible the original text was horrible, of course. 8.0/10
05/15 because I really wanted more from the dev after An Octave Higher

Who is Mike?
I picked this fairly small box up because Tay recced 3 million years ago it or some shit. It’s box in which how you open some boxes determines how you opened other boxes and in fact what your box opening tool even is. Rather out of the box. Horror/mystery, kind of cool, but not more than kind of. Also the official walkthrough is rubbish get something more detailed. 7/10

I picked up Cupid by the same dev because they seemed to have potential but i didn’t really get hooked and I while it was unusual and interesting I didn’t like the way the choices were done, I guess.

Evenicle is a JRPG, not a visual novel. It will thus not be discussed in this visual novel retrospective or given a vote on vndb, much like how I treat Ace Attorney. However I did more or less complete it this year.

Winter’s Symphonies demo
Leafcascade is not a good enough writer to consistently pull off this kind of prose. Otherwise interesting, I guess. Reminds me that I want to read Anomie but paying for things is not generally my thing when I could spend it on snacks so w/e. Well maybe it’s on certain sites… I should check

Yugami Kairou
A middling-sized box that when you open it contains a few other small boxes and a small piece of ribbon. The small boxes all contain their own small ribbon pieces and seem to have some conspicuous holes to stick the ribbon through. Eventually you get to the last box, but its piece of ribbon isn’t really long enough to satisfyingly tie all the boxes together. Realizing that you’re not going to have closure, you look at the small boxes again as more isolated beasts, and they are still kind of entertaining, really, but you kind of wanted something more. At least the use of ero cgs was unconventional in an unfappable but cool way. 6.8/10 but I didn’t read the addition yugami garou yet so if that changes things consider me beaned. Definitely got me interested in the creator though and I’ve got 鉢の底 downloaded for reading some time later. Download, along with other geemus from the dev: here.

Himawari (日廻り, the one that’s not on vndb)
Short, damn good graphics, why is the font randomly missing strokes, unhookable which made the engine dev actually contact me about hookability lol, wew that ending, very bimyou geemu but I respect it. 7.5/10 I guess
comp’d around the 20th of december I think

Uso to Makoto ni Oshioki wo
A short “ero-drama” from 10mile, packaged with another similar style of story by the same writer. As an “ero-drama” it skirts the line between nukige and not by sort of having a plot. Also the ero scenes are written with humor in mind and include some amusing fails like the girl being too short for 69 to work properly. Kami tier ending that should be an inspiration to us all. 7.5/10

Unfinished business

Being zaka, most of the things I started or played some of this year I did not complete:

Amairo Islenauts
I read some more of Yune’s route during various times of the year. She’s pretty kwi. I haven’t gotten the first scene of them actually fucking yet. Last screen I can find is from chapter 11-1… Masaki route remains stalled.

Read like the first 200 lines or something. Too high level for me rn really holy god the vocab. I mean I could read it if I tried, textractor can hook the text. I’d rather read easier chuunige like Sanzen first though.

Sanzen Sekai Yuugi
Otome R-18 chuunige, it said on the box. Intrigued, I picked it up. Kind of interesting, amusing protagonist for sure. We’ll see when I pick it up again.

I’m just reading this for better tlc, honest, nothing to do with it being a hot nukige at all. Have to say I don’t particularly identify with the female perspective thing I guess, but I can still fap to it so /shrug

Ie no Kagi
Picked up because some people said it wasn’t as pedo as it looked. As far as I can tell right now, they are correct. There are definitely elements and yes, the mc is literally a pedophile (though limited in his current crimes to clandestinely taping girls peeing). However, it’s mostly focused on a suspense / thriller plot driven by the devilishly clever kami I want my daughter to be like this but I’m not going to have children though Sakuma Rika. Was unhookable, might be hookable with the newest version of nexthooker, though holy god there are a lot of threads to look through.

Kodoku no Yurikago (link nsfw, not on vndb lul)
Picked up because their next work, Himawari, was promising and also Kiri was memeing it. Denpage. Chopin is kami actually. My music drivers bugged out and started playing only scattered bits of pieces and I thought it was the game doing it. Damb.

Kotonoha Amrilato
Read again from the start, stalled, kinda kwi, fun, learning esperanto is realdeal dot org.

Umi Kara Kuru Mono
Cool suspense/denpage thingy I read some of. Some lines literally have 250 moji, though at least they’re not 1 sentence. No voice replay is baka (I think there might be some way of doing it hidden in the year 2003 interface somewhere but fuck). Literally moogy approved though so we know it’s bound to be shit /s

Sukisuki (eop so not worth linking)
Yuuki is cute and I’m happy I applied the first patch by Yuukianon because not properly marking vowel elongation in Japanese names bothers me way more than it should. BGM is kinda subpar. Did not get that far tho

For once this is unfinished because the actual geemu is unfinished. Cool mystery to the tune of 999. Final eps to cum out in february next year or something. Maybe then people I rec it to will actually fucking play it. Also maybe he’ll release it in something that’s not a fucking browser, all browser shit is a terrible engine for vns stop the text displays unsmoothly and shit and the saves disappear and and and stop

Wagahigh (eop)
I finished Kaoruko’s route. It was surprising to me that people found it disappointing as it just seemed like moege 101 to me, which is exactly what they should have expected. Started a bit on Ashe’s route, didn’t get far.

Re;lord 1 ( eop)
Fairly entertaining. With my touchpad curently broken due to my swelling battery unseating it from its proper position I don’t think I can actually do it the way I want it though since the combat controls are extremely hostile to non mouse users holy shit the touchpad made things hard but now I’m having to use a ps4 controller and wow.

Started it up, eventually got through the common route, got some distance into Mio’s route, stalled. At least I actually got some h scenes wwwwwww

Shinsetsu Mahou Shoujo
Seems fun from the like 4 chapters I read. Sci-fi magical girls through spinal injection. I’ll read this when it’s hookable okay

Haruka Kanata
Did common route. Verdict: meme
Did precisely the amount of Haruka’s route that wasn’t yet the cool part according to the guy that recced harukana to me. Sucks, mate.
I’ll get back to this one day, totally.

Toushin Toshi II
JRPG. See Evenicle.

Y;N / Yin
Actually an adventure game, so no comments on contents if I can avoid it. Quit because I get too scared by horror, and stuff.

Translation by example #1: わた死

I’ve mentioned earlier that I think one of the reasons there haven’t been a lot of translation blogs on Fuwanovel is that a lot of advice the editing blogs are peddling could equally well be applied when translating. But how would that look? In this blog (and maybe series, but me and regular effort don’t tend to get along), I’ll try to show you the process of translating with an eye to using the structure of English writing rather than following the Japanese.

The great thing about being the translator rather than the editor (or editing while knowing Japanese, but that’s a luxury) is that you don’t have to go ask the translator if the structure of the Japanese prose, when copied, looks weird. You can just make the adjustment yourself, without worrying that you’re distorting the original meaning too much.

This post is primarily aimed at translators, but should hopefully be useful for editors as well. It is probable that some of the patterns shown here could just as well have been picked up by an editing blog; the main difference will be that I can also show how it looks in Japanese.

I am by no means perfect, and any comments or suggestions are appreciated.

In the spirit of leading by example, I’ll be quoting my in-occasional-progress translation of 私は今日ここで死にます (Watashi wa Kyou Koko de Shinimasu; ‘This is where I die today’). Me and Asonn have settled on the shorthand “shinimasu”, but the author’s comments actually use わた死 (“Watashi” with the last syllable using the kanji for ‘death’ that appears in “Shinimasu”). Thus the title.

Let’s start with three lines from the very beginning of the novel. Our protagonist 京介 (Kyousuke) has just seen a girl jump off a bridge, gone after her by jumping himself, and managed to get her out of the river and onto land. The reader doesn’t know this yet, however the start just talks about what you’d do if you saw someone about to kill themselves.

Japanese Literalish translation Adapted translation
「入水自殺、か」 “Suicide by drowning, huh.” “Tried to drown yourself, huh…”
ぽつりと呟きつつ、腕の中でぐったりとしている“それ”を見る。 While mumbling a few words in a staccato manner, I look at “that” resting limply in my arms. I look at the girl resting limply in my arms.
まだあどけない顔をした少女だ。 It is a girl with a face that is yet cherubic*. Face innocent as a newborn babe’s.

The adaptated first line is based on trying to get nuance right. While I mostly did it on instinct, we can motivate it more logically. In English, the literal version feels like something you’d say when starting to talk about a topic I’d expect Kyou-boi to expound on the subject of suicide by drowning afterward. But in context he’s commenting on the specific act the girl in his arms has attempted. Another consideration is brought by the second line, which shows that Kyousuke is looking at said girl while saying this. So we’re looking for a line that sounds reasonable spoken to a person that can’t hear it. Which is a weird category now that I think of it, but not entirely uncommon. The ellipsis is questionable, especially when cutting ellipses is something editors do all the time in j>e translation, but I have a reason; it’ll be in the next line analysis.

The second line features a thing frequently found in Japanese visual novel writing that doesn’t really agree with English style conventions at all: describing speech after it’s already been said. Frequently this is entirely redundant information in a visual novel due to speaker tags, but in some cases it will contain some kind of judgement or opinion of the viewpoint character that you might want to preserve. These kinds of redundant lines is a good reason to ask whoever’s doing technical work on your translation if you can just plain remove lines (for example, they might be able to program something that detects the translated line being exactly “SKIP” and cuts those lines.) However, it should be noted that cutting these redundant lines will change the flow of a text. If it’s frequently used in a passage, you may end up with a very different feel than the Japanese ― perhaps this is worth it, but it’s something to take into consideration. わた死 doesn’t do this that frequently, however, so we probably don’t need to worry.

This gives a bit of motivation for adding the ellipsis in line #1; it makes the line more mutter-y in a way that doesn’t make it look weird. This is one strategy for dealing with structural incompatibility: move the piece of information where it does fit.

There’s more. The line doesn’t mention “that” being a girl, revealing this in the next line. I’m not sure why the author did this -maybe the lines read better in Japanese that way, and Japanese lines in succession often depend on each other - but the technique just looks weird in English. Thus, we move the information from line 3 to line 2 in our adaptation.

The third line is annoying because while we technically do have a word that fits あどけない fairly well, cherubic - angelic, innocent, and youthful - few people are likely to know it and it doesn’t really fit the register the Japanese word uses. As such I’ve tried to reword it, though honestly I’m not really satisfied. I’m also not entirely sure if I’m missing a nuance of まだ (yet in the literalish translation) I should be getting; it’s probably just consonant with あどけない as “still looking young”, but it could also be referring to her state of unconsciousness causing it or something. The next line that I’m not showing talks about her looking young for her age though, so we can at least use that. The other thing of structural interest is that we’ve moved the “girl” piece of information to the second line, as mentioned.

…Man this took a while and I only did three lines. I think I’m just going to post. Like, comment, watch the Shinimasu translation progress here, design a double-sided daki with both Yukas on it for me if you’re feeling generous.

As a bonus, have a few other examples of describing things after-the-fact and how I’ve currently handled them:

As you can see the pattern isn’t limited to just speech. Here I decide to go IN and use context to write a line half new.

Another thinking version.

And here’s one with 返す. Also this has mixed speech and narration, which I’ve tried to work into the English as well. Though I’m going to go change this to present tense now since I picked that later, fuck.