Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few things about working on Les Miserables

Now that the dust and excitement has settled a bit, I would like to discuss our thoughts and goals for Les Miserables: Shoujo Cosette, as part of the joint with Wasurenai Fansubs.

As previously mentioned, we are here to provide translation support.  This series, like most World Masterpiece Theater series, requires due diligence in its translation.  To translate this series properly requires several things:
  1. Reading the actual novel.  That is no small task, considering that most editions are over 1200 pages, and it is not used that much in your standard English class at school.
  2. Historical and cultural research.  In particular, French history tends to be very exciting, and oftentimes confusing as well.  Reading the actual novel actually will fulfill a part of the needed research, as the novel is known for its exposition of politics, philosophy, and the historical events of the time.
  3. Religious research and understanding.  Catholicism does feature prominently in the novel in some form.  Again, reading the actual novel fulfills some of this requirement.
  4. Careful matching of the meaning of the dialogue versus dialogue in the book.  What we mean by this is that the spirit of the novel should be preserved in the dialogue.  We admit this is rather subjective, but it is something that we keep in our back of our minds as we assist in the translation.
To make this series relatively kid-friendly, the anime does deviate from the novel in key places.  A lot of events are actually done slightly out of order, and there are filler episodes that do not correspond to any chapter.  Because of this, an exact match of the dialogue to the novel is not possible and is actually undesirable.  In fact, the version of the novel we are using uses a translation dated back to the late 19th century, and language structures have changed since then.

In terms of release speed, from the perspective of Licca Fansubs, we actually have no right to force Wasurenai to release at our speed.  What we do hope is that we will do our part as efficiently and precisely as possible.  That alone should allow releases to come faster than previously. 

As previously noted, things like editing, timing, styling/typesetting, and encoding are done by Wasurenai.  Our staff members are also standing by to assist in any capacity if needed.  It is actually better to maintain consistency between editing, typesetting, and encoding to ensure that continuity is maintained.

Feel free to comment on this.  If you need to make a criticism, don't direct it to other people commenting; do direct it to us.


  1. Thanks to contribute to this translation! As I can see your level of professionnalism is absolutly outstanding! Thanks alot for your wonderful work!

  2. Wow! I can see that much dedication never to be seen on majority of fansub groups.

  3. You should try to listen to the audio book for les miserables while you're doing things that doesn't require reading other things.I do that all the time. I listen to audio books when I lay down for bed. Then you can refer back to the book for some things. It would make some things much easier. ^.^ (Unless you don't care much for the narrators voice)DX

  4. Interesting post! tho i found it a bit late in the day....

    If u can, get a recent translation cause English in the C19th was so stilted it interfered with translation from less uptight countries.

    The difference between the old 1850s English version and the 1960s translation i read of "The Three Musketeers" was amazing, a whole different book in fact.

    Peace out, i go d/l some Les Mis now! :D

  5. Thanks for explaining this, I didn't imagine off hand but it would make sense I guess that very dedicated people would read the book to do the best job and that would be the sort of people who'd be interested in the series in the first place.

    I got curious: how do you choose which episodes to do?

  6. We're basically doing episodes that have not been subbed, in order.

    To properly do series that have historical context requires preparation and research. One notable example would be Zipang, where a knowledge of Japanese naval history is required. Yes, you can sub series without research, but you'll end up digging yourselves into holes.

    I do have to admit... no matter how much preparation you do, you're going to dig yourself into at least one hole due to whatever reason. Doing all this research and preparation allows us to sidestep most of the holes.