Muses of Smartphone Team

Hi everyone. BlackSwordsman1721 here, one of the Editors of Smartphone with the recent addition of Empress. First of all, thank you for the support you guys have given us. We are really grateful for the amount of support that you guys have given not only to the Smartphone translation team, but also to the whole RTD community. That said, I can not help but read a few misconceptions some of the fans have. Therefore, I am hoping to address these issues you guys have with this message of mine.

First of all. Why did we decide to stop translating Smartphone. There are actually a lot of reasons for that.

  1. Smartphone already has an official English translation.
  2. The official English translation of the Light Novel is catching up.
  3. We have been burned out just to keep up the pace of our releases.
  4. Web Novel or not, we, the Smartphone translation team in RTD, do not have the permission of the author to translate his work.
  5. Smartphone was insisted by Hobby Japan to J-Novel Club as one of their English translations.

Given these reasons, we would also like you to understand why we translate here in RTD. We do not just simply translate because we want to. We also have other reasons why we chose to translate Smartphone.

  1. No official English translator
  2. Increase the awareness of the Smartphone Novel

With J-Novel Club coming in:

3) Continue translating just for the sake of the fans and to somehow promote the official English Light Novel translation due to the inferior quality of our work (It’s simply the truth because the official translation team at JNC are licensed and are being paid to translate.)

1 and 2 have been successfully accomplished courtesy of J-Novel Club and the Anime adaptation of the Smartphone Light Novel. 3 is more of our selfishness and is not a very valid argument. With all of those I’ve stated above, we really have no justifiable reason to continue translating Smartphone.

Some of you guys have said these, but please, DON’T INSIST THAT THE WEB NOVEL IS DIFFERENT FROM THE LIGHT NOVEL. Yes, it is partially true, but it is ONLY partially true. Please somehow think in the author’s perspective. Why do you think these Japanese authors post their work in syosetu? Is it because they are still young aspiring authors? Have their work been rejected by a publishing company prior to them posting their said work in that website? Honestly, we can not be 100% sure of their reasons unless we ask the authors themselves. Nevertheless, there is one reason that we can be quite sure of. That is the authors post their work in syosetu hoping that their work will be recognized and published as a Light Novel by a publishing company. Who gets to decide that are none other than the Japanese themselves. One can argue that English fan translations do promote their work outside of Japan. True. It can happen. But then it did happen for Smartphone. Hobby Japan suggested Smartphone to J-Novel Club and J-Novel Club picked the novel up. This means that J-Novel Club HAS THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR. Having permission is a sign of respect. For those who understand Japanese culture, respect is a VERY big thing to them. How much westerners value freedom is equivalent to how much Japanese value respect. True. They have committed atrocities, for those who are very much knowledgeable World History, but that’s not my point in this case. All I’m saying is that the Japanese value respect as much as how the westerners, or most westerners, value freedom. That is why we really can not use the logic that the “web novel is different from the light novel” no matter how logical it is because we, the Smartphone team in RTD, do not have the author’s permission. I’m not so sure if you guys know about this, but Japanese companies are not very keen on exporting Otaku related stuff to foreign countries. Sure, there may be a lot of conventions and Otaku related stuff being promoted, but you guys have to understand that this is the general attitude. I am not sure why the Japanese are thinking like that, but they generally view foreign fans as selfish leechers. So insisting on “this logic” does not help quell that view against non-Japanese fans. In fact, it will only infuriate them even further. Just to let you guys know, Alex, one of the translators of Smartphone, sent a direct message to the author himself, asking for permission. He didn’t get a reply. A lot of us might just brush this off, but this means a lot for a Japanese. And I mean, a lot, to the point that it shouldn’t be taken for granted. That’s why, no matter how logical the reason “the web novel is different from the light novel” is, please do not insist on that. From the bottom of my heart, please don’t. Let us respect the author for his decision.

Another thing I want to point out to you guys. We thank you for thinking that our translation is of good quality. We are really happy for you guys to say that. But what troubles us is for a lot of you fans to consider our work to be superior to that of J-Novel Club. How accurate the translation to the raw while following proper grammar rules is the baseline being used to judge how good a translation is. That said, official translators do follow certain rules whenever they translate. They are license-bound to do so, and we really can’t do anything about that. One of the rules they have to follow is to remove the “foreign-ness” of the novel to that’s going to be translated. This means that the “Japanese-ness” of Light Novels have to be removed. This further means that honorifics unique to Japan have to be removed and/or replaced. Someone in discord used to work on an editing company that uses English as one media of communication. He expressed his desire to somehow train me to the level of a licensed Editor. He just wasn’t been able to do so because I’m already part of the work force, and I’m only doing this as a hobby. Despite that, this is one of the pointers he told me to remember. That is why considering J-Novel Club’s translation to be inferior to ours is very unfair to them, seeing as their team is made up of official licensed translators, translator checkers, editors and proof readers. If their work looks stiff to read, then it just means that they are following the industry standards. I may not look like it, but I used to read American novels back in high school. And I say those novels are very stiff, probably even more stiff than the official English translation of Smartphone. So please don’t consider their work to be inferior to ours simply because it looks hard to read. I’m quite sure they are simply following the standards of the industry. Just think of reading their novels as practice for English. Besides, if you guys think that our translation is better than the official one, then we realy ought to stop translating. Again, it’s all because of permission.

Well then now, this post has now become quite the novella itself. Thank you for keeping up with me on this long post of mine and for your understanding with regards to the issues I’ve pointed out. As an Editor and the longest staying Editor of the RTD Smartphone team, this is BlackSwordsman1721, signing off…

… for now. XD

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