(Which genre? It's up to you.)

I don't usually participate in pile-ons, but this one is relative to translation issues I've discussed previously in this space. A YouTuber and voiceover artist wrote a long Patreon post extensively trashing a recent anime release he helped localize. The licenser subsequently released a statement that they would not be working with him in the future, citing disappointment at his "lack of professional discretion."

Simple cause and effect at work, but the reason why the story's picked up steam, I think, is how utterly unhinged the author comes across in the blogpost, both in his rampaging ego and utter lack of self-awareness. I have never seen anyone shoot themselves in the foot so spectacularly. The very idiom seems painfully inadequate. He missed the foot and instead blew out his entire brain cavity.

  • Outside of the ego on display, the blogpost is a superb argument for why this individual should not be writing anything, much less a dub script, where editing and time constraints are of paramount importance. It goes way too long for the little it says. His argument that the anime sucks consists of him just repeating that it sucks over and over, with the expansive vocabulary of Homer Simpson from that "It Pays to Increase Your Word Power" segment. There are a few objections where he affords a degree of detail, but for the most part, he considers evidence beneath him - he's so self-evidently brilliant, after all, that any reasonable person would instantly agree with whatever he says! No one but someone completely blinded by their own narcissism could write this and believe it portrays their argument or themself in a good light.

  • I've said it before, but: These people are always hell with whom to work. Their ideas are always terrible, and they insist that they are brilliant with unwarranted Dunning-Kruger confidence. They never get any better at their jobs, because they consider other people ants beneath their notice and therefore disregard any feedback. Their egos suck all the air out of the room. You cannot explain their suckitude to them, such is the magnitude of their suck. They actively detract from a project, and they are such hateful headaches with whom to deal personally - completely uncooperative, kneejerk dismissive, and profoundly ignorant of the most basic aspects of their jobs. And yet, like our Hemingway here, they can't stop bleating: "I'm so great and everyone else sucks! My genius is the sole saving grace of this project! You're so lucky I'm so spectacular and that I filled it up with me, me, me!" (Actual quote: "I am a romantic and love writing Actual Good Romance (tm) because nobody else on earth seems to know how to do it.")

  • Incidentally: I've seen claims in forum discussions that the author was not, contrary to his credit-jumping, the head writer but that the "Marissa" mentioned was. I do not know if this is true but can completely believe this dude's rapacious ego and complete narcissistic disrespect for anyone who isn't him would lead him to steal credit from someone else.

  • In a rare glimpse of self-awareness, the author admits that it's normally unprofessional to disparage a project on which you've worked and your coworkers by name immediately after said project's release, but he explains that he has what he believes to be a complete Get out of Jail Free card: he's an independent contractor, which oh, my God, you fucking idiot. (One: The vast majority of translation and localization-related work, game-related or otherwise, is done under independent contract. Nintendo's Treehouse and its stable of full-time employees, while one of the most visible faces of game translation, is an extreme exception, and even Nintendo uses independent contractors for some projects. Two: Even as an independent contractor, you will typically be under an NDA, which usually excludes disparaging the company or project by name for a set period of time. Three: Even if you're not under NDA, or your NDA does not have a non-disparagement clause, it is extremely inadvisable to advertise yourself to potential employers and coworkers as a toxic, narcissistic, backstabbing jackass without a shred of discretion or self-restraint when it comes to discussing your professional projects.)

The author does manage, despite himself, to let slip a few bits about the project that seem like genuine cause for concern - such as the oddly-offhand claim that the dub was localized and acted primarily through uncompensated work from professionals doing it piecemeal as a "favor." I have a lot of questions about this, but the info is coming from such a thoroughly unreliable source that I doubt anything is going to get usefully resolved without clarification from other quarters. Likewise, perhaps the heroine is indeed a complete sociopathic train wreck, but the author is such a demonstrably poor judge of appropriate human interaction that I'm going to need outside confirmation. (He's so emotional in ranting over and over about her, in a manner not commensurate to the misconduct of which he accuses her, that I have to think personal issues are involved to some degree.) The claimed treatment of the trans character is what gives me the most genuine pause: the show comes from the mid-2000s, a time when popular attitudes in the U.S. and Japan toward trans people were largely ignorant, but the "running joke" cited in the text sounds really...indigestible, let's say. I've seen discussion that the character was considered a historic stepping-stone in trans representation, but what was historic doesn't always sit well in the modern day. I'd have to watch the show itself and get more context to have a useful opinion, but I will say the author's discussion of how to handle material in this vein that would be considered inappropriate today is the closest he comes to acting as a professional, responsible localizer.

Outside of that, let me say this: As a translator, you're going to handle source material with which you don't get on perfectly. I have had projects where I actually kind of relieved I ended up for other reasons going on to something else, as I indeed didn't like the franchise. And if you feel really strongly that a project is irredeemable trash, you need to quit. (Even if it's only for self-preservation, to ensure that trash isn't associated with your good name!) Once you are committed to a project, though, I feel that being a translator or localizer imparts a duty of custodianship: to try to understand what those who like a piece of media see in it, and try to bring that out in your work. This guy is so full of himself that I can't imagine an attempt was even made in that department.

The guy needed to be fired, and I hope he doesn't work in localization for a long time. People like him plow projects into the ground, and I feel so sorry for whoever had to clean up after this chucklefuck.

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