Official Translation Review: DanMachi Volume 2

Volume 2 Cover
Volume 2 Cover

Same translator, same quality, same rating? Let’s see. Again, this review will try to rate the translation quality as it reads alone, nothing else. Just sayin’.

The translation is, yet again, far from being bad. It flows, has impact, recognizable characterization, and thought. If you’ve read the review of DanMachi volume 1, however, this volume reads like a lite version of the former. It flows, but worse than volume 1. The sentences have impact, but less than volume 1. It has characterization, but is inconsistent. It’s thought-out, but not enough. The derp quota increased, too.

It is still very easy to read and enjoyable, but the translation lacks courage or boldness. The feels more half-assed than the first volume, but isn’t half-assed overall. Compared to Index and NGNL, it’s still worlds ahead, but it’s a setback. For the weirdest reason, the cat people don’t “nya” anymore either. Only a bit in the beginning, then, suddenly, they “meow”. Was someone in dire deadline stress here?

Now you can count the “but”s in here and then should be able to guess my dilemma: how the hell am I supposed to rate this? It is, of course, not going to be 8/10. However, I wanted to give Index a 6/10 if the beginning hadn’t been so absurdly poor. But even without the first part, Index‘s translation would still be a lot plainer and dead. So it’s ahead of this. And as it’s still enjoyable and all, just less impressive, I think it deserves a 7/10. Reviews of up-following volumes are kinda short, huh? But I don’t know what else could be relevant. Everything’s been said on volume 1 already, I guess?

By the way, you can pretty much forget buying it right now, since there seems to be some kind of shortage. At least on Amazon. Furthermore interesting is that volume 3’s price has been reduced by 50% (!) to about $7. Now if that kinda pricing would become the new standard, that’d be much fairer.

Rating 7/10



9 thoughts on “Official Translation Review: DanMachi Volume 2”

  1. So even Andy starts disappointing us.
    They meow now? So sad. I don’t buy the deadline issues for this sort of things, I think someone was under heavy editor pressure instead.
    Hopefully the quality won’t keep plummeting.

    • If the disclaimer page can be taken at face value, then there are no editors. IF there are editors, then I rather wonder how “NGNL” came to be.

  2. I’m reading volume 3 right now and there’s actually quite a few spelling errors and outright homonym mistakes. As an editor for nanodesutranslations, I’m VERY disappointed.

    • I had to import it from the UK, so I still had no chance to read it. However, I can see the tendency of it getting rather worse than improving with proceeding volumes.

  3. I’m afraid they’re just trying to rush it before popularity for the series dies down. But judging by the author’s comments at the end of v3, he really considers this just the start of the series, so it’s going to be a long one and probably have at least one more season of anime down the line here. But, why should they care about quality? It’s not like anybody can ever legally re-translate it doing a better job, so everybody has to go to them if they want danmachi in English.

    • I’m going to break up the answer to your reply for the sake of better readability.

      1) I don’t think they’re rushing for time(!). All of their releases have a fixed schedule which is round-about every three months. So even if we assume that it takes them a month to get the script into print and to distribute the product, the translator should have two months to translate it. Even if we cut that in half, one month is enough time for a professional to translate a volume.

      If we furthermore assume that the let’s-call-it disclaimer page lists all the staff involved, then they throw nothing at series but translators – not even speaking of editors. If (ififif) we nonetheless assume that there’s a QA, then it’s a pretty damn sloppy one.

      In my opinion, the reason here is profit maximization. The less people involved, the higher the profit margin. Having someone edit it costs money, QA costs money, too. I don’t think the freelancing translators are paid all too royally, so they don’t care as long as it’s on a level that gets them their salary and doesn’t hinder their reputation so much that it’d interfere with future job offers. I also think it pretty much shows when an author has nothing to do with “otaku stuff”. The “NGNL” translation read so google’d.

      2) I don’t think there’ll be another anime season. Then again, it depends on the popularity in Japan. But it didn’t strike me THAT popular. On the other hand, seeing that pretty much everything’s getting adapted these days, why not a second season. The second season curse demands it to suck then, though. Still, I don’t believe the popularity of a series has a direct impact on the translation quality. They’d gladly accept higher sales due to high popularity, but they wouldn’t put more money into it.

      3) They’d care about quality because they hired the translator for a whole series (assumingly). If you read volume 1 as someone who’s not a die-hard fan and see that it sucks, why would you buy the bazillion other ones? If you want the translation to really pay off, you have to hook readers on. Otherwise, you’ll simply have the handful of die-hard people who wanna read it no matter what (or don’t care how it reads) and that’s it. With that in mind, I don’t get their policy. They don’t even have to care that much. Just hire one guy who knows his English, editing takes far less time than translating, if you know your stuff and the translator isn’t an idiot. So they could throw one editor at, like, four series or more. If the guy’s a gun, you have a boost in quality and a much higher success chance to hook on readers. In the end, they’d probably blame bad sales on the genre being too niche or something. -.-

  4. But they don’t care about quality, or they would have editing and/or QA. That’s my point. And you’re right, even with working 2 jobs and studying Japanese myself, I still edit for 2 different series at the same time. It wouldn’t be hard for a guy who is getting PAID for it to do multiple series.


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