I’m in the process of revamping this page and turning it from “About” to “Q&A” answering questions you might have about what’s going on here.
Just click on whatever topic might interest you and hopefully you’ll find a satisfying answer.
If you have further questions, suggestions, or the like, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or tweet at me, and I’ll get back to you.
cautr’s is the blog I singlehandedly write and on which I post whatever I feel like posting. Since I love being reminiscent of the stuff I experienced, it’s mainly reviews of Japanese thingies. For some reason, I’ve a “talent” of pinpointing flaws in either games, novels, translations, or whatever. That makes it look like I hate everything, but that’s not how it is. Even for stuff I love I can more clearly state what’s been done… not so great than what’s been fantastic about it – fuck me. In general, the less I have to say about something, the better it is.
Anyway, I just do whatever I want on here. If I wouldn’t do that, there’d be hardly any point in having a blog.
English is not my native language. However, I’ve been exposed to the English language ever since my kindergarten days. I didn’t speak it back then, but good ol’ Cartoon Network taught me what English was ought to sound like on a daily basis, so that helped.
Much later, at some point, I started getting annoyed by lazy translations and monotone dubs of all kinds of things, so one by one I started consuming TV shows, games, books, and all that jazz solely in English. Today, on a daily basis, I’m exposed to English as much as – if not more than – to my native language. And that daily exposure has been going on for literally years and years.
Now that helps with two things: First, comprehension. I know what stuff means. Great. More importantly for my blog, though, it helped me develope a sense for what good English sounds like. I can point out poorly phrased and/or written translations, for example when something is phrased overly complicated or a sentence structure is off in a way that disturbs the reading flow.
Even more importantly, however, this does not mean one thing: That I’m godly at writing, myself. Being good at writing requires two things which are, in my opinion, indispensable: 1) You have to live in a English-speaking country (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia – those and only those) and literally have been surrounded by the English language all the times for the vast majority of your life, 2) writing talent. Just reading a lot doesn’t make you a good writer, writing is – in my experience – an inborn talent. That’s also why a lot of – even official – light novel translations feel awkward/sterile: The translator is proficient in Japanese and English, but just not a good writer. Alas, that means that between the Japanese original and the English translation, a lot of the original’s magic gets, ahem, lost in translation (badumm tss).
Lastly, as for any foreign language, my spoken English is awkward due to the lack of possibilities in a non-English-speaking country to practically speak English.
First of all, I’ve never ever been to any Japanese classes. My Japanese is self-taught. That’s why my Japanese abilities have a weird angle as I’m not studying Japanese to be able to go to Japan and order a cup of coffee or ask people the way (I won’t go for the meme here, it’ll probably be dead within a month, anyway), I’m studying Japanese to read dem yummy light- and visual novels no one will ever translate.
Officially and usually, Japanese proficiency is rated by the JLPT. The JLPT ranges from 5 (lowest) to 1 (highest). I’m “far” from being able to pass JLPT 1, but I’m confident enough into my reading and writing ability to say that I’d probably be able to pass JLPT 2.
If we divide language proficiency into the four relevant areas – speaking, hearing, writing, reading – then, for me, it’d be: reading > writing >>> speaking > hearing. Since pretty much anything animated gets some sort of subtitle, I never felt the need to improve my comprehension skills in spoken Japanese. I do want to work on that eventually, though. As for orally speaking Japanese myself, it’s the same as with any foreign language: You hardly get the chance to practically speak it, so you suck at it.
I do, however, read a lot of Japanese (duh!) and write a lot since I do chat a lot with Japanese friends, hence I’m good on that front.
As I’m writing this, my rating system goes from 0 (rock bottom) to 10 (masterpiece) with no half steps. I might introduce half steps in the future to fine tune the scores, but let’s put that aside for now.
Rather than 0 to 10, my rating system would be better represent as -5 to 5. While 0 is just a plain average piece of work, everything above it would be slightly above average to masterpiece and everything below would be shades of bad. So a 5 in my current rating system means “average” (0) and a 7 means well above average (+2), an 8 is good stuff (+3). On the other side of the scale a 4 means below average (-1), a 3 bad (-2), and so on.
That’s the reason why most of the things I have a look it will (hopefully) gather around 6-8 and not much below 5. Anything below 5 should ring your alarm bells and encourage you to avoid the respective piece of work rated unless you have a strong fetish towards the genre and ran out of other things to enjoy.
(P)Reviews are a format I came up with to tell you about mainly visual novels which I haven’t finished yet. Visual novels tend to be time sinks, I can read more than four light novels in the time it takes me to play through a visual novel, so I disliked the thought of only being able to write about a visual novel once I cleared it. This way, I can tell you what’s going on and how it is without wasting hours upon hours on potentially poorly written dialogue. Like this, you’ll have a rough idea of how I, personally, like the game and what it’s approximately about; that can help you getting into a visual novel even if you’re not that proficient as you’ll be familiar with the setting.
I’d really like to stream more, but for some reason I’m too lazy to. If I stream, it’s usually to show something/a game to a friend. I’m an achievement whore, so the games I do play will be 100%’d (eventually). I’m not really picky, I play anything as long as it’s not an utter, cough, kusoge. Given enough time, I’ll probably get pretty good at any game; gaming’s a passion of mine and I get stubborn if I don’t feel like I’m performing well.
I tweet about the things I write about here. Light novels that seem interesting, great art from illustrators, new visual novels, games, you get the idea. Those are the things I like, those are the things I wanna talk about. SJW topics and the like aren’t down my alley.
I’ve also a plugin set up which will tweet if there are new posts on the blog, so you can get your alerts there.
Generally, chances are slim. Especially if it’s a light novel. Translating light novels is a huge amount of work, only beaten by translating visual novels. Translating manga and anime really doesn’t compare. It isn’t even about difficulty or something, but just about the sheer amount. Try writing 250 pages freestyle, and now imagine that you got to translate that amount and – in my case – reread it for editing purposes to make it more fun to read.
Anyway, if it’s a series that has already been started by someone else and then dropped: No, I hate being the guy picking up the pieces of someone else. If it’s a series that recently had an anime and you want me to pick up from where it left off: Maybe. I’ve a huge backlog of stuff I wanna watch and picking up something like that would mean I gotta watch the anime first. Still better chances than in the first case. If it’s a 10 years old series that no one ever picked up: No, I like my translations fresh.
If it’s a light novel that only just started and looks interesting: You got a real chance here. I like trying new stuff to see whether the author has a new approach. Chances are I’ll at least tease the novel if I like it, and maybe there’ll be a miracle and I’ll do some more of it.
If you want me to do manga, then basically the aforementioned rules apply here too. But chances are greater in general since translating manga is really no big deal. That’s also why you shouldn’t have a problem finding someone to translate those two dozens of speech bubbles for you, which makes me wonder: Why me? XD
If you want me to do anime, then yeah, no. I suck at understanding spoken Japanese. Kanji, which usually are the bane of the Japanese student’s existence, are my beacon. I’m not saying I won’t do it, I’m just saying that there’s a good chance I’ll suck at it. I really do need some practice at this, though. But do me a favor and spare me from anime from as early as 2010 and before.
I’d even kinda be interested in doing a visual novel, but only if I really like the game and only if it’s a small amount of work; major amounts of translation work are just undoable for me ’cause schedules.