I mean, I’ve only proofread just the one chapter, and I literally just started as the story is on its final arc already-
You know what, let’s slow down first and talk about how I ended up helping out with the fan scanlation of this. For context, here is the reddit thread for the manga High Score Girl – Chapter 58 on r/manga (Major spoilers, so be warned if you are waiting for the anime’s Season 2 on Netflix).
High Score Girl’s original fan translation team has, unfortunately, gone on hiatus and hasn’t touched High Score Girl in a while. Thankfully, a reddit user by the name of u/ItchyFlyer brought it upon himself to start translating the manga all by himself, typesetting, translating and proofreading everything. He did all this with English as his second language and a rather low-end PC.
I felt inspired by this guy who took it upon himself to translate the rest of the story for us fans by himself, so I went ahead and asked to be proofreader for him. He was doing a good job of translating, but the English and grammar were a bit lacking. That was a part I wanted to help fix for him, and hopefully, I did just that.
Proofreading was actually really fun! I had to read the Japanese raws of the manga with a translation on a notepad. I’ve learned that it’s much less the direct translation of words that matter, but what those words should mean in context. The original translation by ItchyFlyer was a tad more formal than the characters should have been. Proofreading is as much about fixing grammatical errors as it is getting the feel of the manga across in the translation without sounding stilted.
It’s all minor changes because the translation was on point, but minor changes can really help set the tone of what characters say. An exclamation point here, using a simpler word there, every little thing can change the context and meaning of what a person is saying.
You know those old anime parody subs that heavily changed the context of certain scenes into something extremely NSFW or offensive? It’s very easy to do that and convince people that was the original intent as long as the screenshot makes sense.
I am obviously no expert on this, and most of my knowledge came from this old forum back in 2010. Even though it was from 2010, the fundamentals of proofreading haven’t really changed since then.
I’ll provide you guys with a crash course on what proofreading is all about, based on the forum post above.
1. You check for grammatical and spelling errors.
2. You have to make sure that the words actually sound like they’re being said by somebody who speaks native English (or the equivalent there’of in their mother language), and not all stilted and machine-like.
3. Make sure your words are used correctly, because like I previously mentioned, changing a few words around can really affect the tone of the plot.
4. You make sure the correct verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, correct form of nouns, pronouns, collective nouns and punctuation symbols are used appropriately for every sentence.
5. You read through your script not once, but twice to ensure that you haven’t missed anything. It is proofreading’s main purpose, after all.
Let’s have an example phrase.
Say, in the original translation,this character says something like:
Now, that sounds okay, but it’s a bit too formal for the character, and runs on for a bit. Also, demon is used because it’s another meaning for the word bakemono, even though it can also mean ghost. Ghost would fit more in this context. Let’s fix that.
Proofreading is mostly just that, rinse and repeat. You have the final say in what the words are going to be like, and since that’s where we gather most of our plot, a proofreader’s job ends up being really important to the overall quality of a translation. Proofreading is perfect for me as somebody who only has two skills to my name: speaking English good, and correcting people.
I was really nervous to help out at first because I might ruin a good manga, but people liked what I did just fine! I guess where I’m going with all this is if you have the opportunity to try something different, go ahead and do it! You never know if you might like it or not otherwise.