My dad thinks I'm too much of a critic. I think that having the standards I do ("being so critical") will serve me well in my chosen career as an editor
. It's not like I've set a goal to be a hard-ass with impossible standards, but I do think that if I follow Dad's advice of "Reach for the stars, land on the moon; reach for the sidewalk, land in the gutter" is quite applicable. What I take it to mean is that if we set the bar too low, the results we get back will be lower than expectations, instead of meeting or surpassing expectations. But if we set a high standard, we might not get "excellence bar none," but we'll still get some pretty good stuff that, with a little bit of work, might just be "excellent!"
I don't think there's any excuse for not editing your work when you have the chance. For example, if you make an icon and someone tells you a word is spelled wrong, short of you having NOT saved the *.psd or whatever, what's stopping you from remaking it? Obviously, if you get the email when you're not at the computer with your graphics editor, etc. it's fine if you don't remake it immediately, but why not do it when you have the chance?
Same goes for fics. When someone says "comments and constructive criticism are appreciated!" or whatever and someone DOES offer those, shouldn't the author take them to heart and apply their newfound knowledge? It's not a matter of "Ouch, someone had to correct me on my bad spelling/grammar/canon facts," it's a matter of "I can make this better!" Even if you only apply it to future chapters for the time being, at some point, it's fairly easy to do with already-posted chapters. It takes about the same amount of time to fix fic errors as it does for icons-- maybe ten minutes, assuming the problems aren't too numerous or too major.
With fics, especially, "financial feasibility" is not an excuse. That's about the only one I'd accept from a manga publisher (like Viz); it's not always feasible to revise a manga just because of a few spelling errors. But posting fics is free, and I can't stand anyone that bothers to post their fics when they're too lazy to go back and FIX the things for future readers (or re-readers).
Anyway, manga's the whole reason I brought this up; I got myself the new "VIZBIG" edition of Fushigi Yuugi today, which compiles Vols. 1-3. I'm guessing it's the English equivalent to the bunkoban Fushigi Yuugi that were released in Japan a few years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like much has been revised, either in the way of writing, translating, or art. Sure, two of those three fall on Watase's shoulders, but I'm looking more at Viz here; it's entirely possible they didn't use the bunkoban re-releases for the VIZBIG editions and instead opted to re-use their original translations, re-flip the images to their proper direction (Viz first published FY when manga WAS NOT in the original "right-to-left" format), etc.
What's especially got my goat is easy-to-spot problems that you don't see in their current titles:
* 'Whoa' being spelled was 'Woah' repeatedly (common mistake and probably a small one for me to get worked up over, but STILL!)
* References to American pop culture, rather than the original Japanese ones. This is my biggest pet peeve, even if there was only one distinguishable one ("Look! Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow in bikinis!") throughout the whole VIZBIG volume. They had this problem in the original translation release of "Ceres: Celestial Legend" too, but they fixed them for the second edition releases, and explained what the references were, e.g. who SMAP was and such. I realize lots of American shows get dubbed in Japan, but honestly? Miaka doesn't strike me as the type who watches "FRIENDS" or knows who Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow are, anyway. *shrug* It could just be me, but... why not leave it? I bought the title to read a TRANSLATION, not a REVISION of the original author's words.
* Their romanization system. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND AND PICK ONE, VIZ. There are lots of romanization systems out there. The one I was taught to use (I believe it's the most common academically, and is also widely used in manga translation) is the Hepburn system, where Miaka's surname would be spelled out "Yuuki" or written "Yûki," but they don't bother to do that. They use the circumflex for the title, but, as per Watase-sensei's request, they use "Yuu" as her name, instead of "Yû." Why can't they just pick one system and stick with it? I, for one, prefer to see "Miaka Yuuki" and "Fushigi Yuugi" instead of "Miaka Yuki" (no circumflex, even!) or "Miaka Yûki" etc.
* The SFX glossary in the back. Yes, it's nice and helpful, but honestly? Who's going to flip to the back of the book every time they're curious about what the kana on their given panel mean? Especially in a VIZBIG volume which is several HUNDRED pages long!? Why not just put the translation of the kana (romanization and meaning) in a smaller type just above the kana in question, or off to the side if it's a page-wide sound effect or on a screen toned background?
* General mistakes: a panel where Hotohori calls Miaka "princess" instead of "priestess," a place where "Imperial" was misspelled as "Emperial" (NOT A WORD, PEOPLE. Even in Star Wars, ships belonging to the Empire
were Imperial Star Destroyers
and whatnot. This was a big issue in Sailor Moon too, when they kept on calling the Ginzuishou different things, like the Emperium Silver Crystal
and I was like "But the Moon Kingdom wasn't an Empire! They didn't have an Emperor/Empress! WTF!?")
FY was originally released in the Japanese in 1992. Viz first picked it up a while after that, and they finished their second edition run of it YEARS ago. So why when they release their first compilation (and supposed "revision," but maybe that's just my interpretation of a "collector's edition" or whatever... the BEST stuff made BETTER) is it chock full of such BASIC errors?
Yes, it's cool that they're using the Chinese names for the people and places (I don't know if they did that for the first edition releases; my only first edition volume is back in S.F., and for all I know I'm getting it mixed up with the anime from when I first saw it), but for a manga that's over a decade old and is still considered one of the definitive shoujo manga, it's not good enough.
They need to do more than include more color images and an SFX glossary. They need to do more than use the Chinese names and have a table showing their Japanese and English equivalents.
*sigh* What sucks is, once upon a time, I would have said to myself, "I can do better!" and I would dream of being an editor at Viz. Now, that no longer really interests me, even though I DO think I could probably do it. But for all I know, I'd suck at it because I'd want to spend more time and money on titles than the company wants to. But for me as a consumer, if I'm going to be paying more than $9.95 for a graphic novel title (which is already expensive enough as it is, considering the tankoubon in Japan are usually ¥300-700), I want it to be top-notch quality. I pay that much for what Del Ray puts out because it's DAMN GOOD QUALITY. The cover, the translation, the editing, EVERYTHING. I was actually pleased that Miwa Ueda's latest title "Papillion," got picked up by Del Rey instead of Tokyopop, who did an AWFUL job on "Peach Girl."
So, barring the dream job of making manga better myself, there's not giving companies that I think suck my money. But the fact is, it's impossible to find titles like these in complete sets anymore. I didn't have the money to buy FY when it was originally coming out, so I don't own any of it, except for that one crappy first edition translation and one Japanese edition (Vol. 14 of the original release, not even the bunkoban!). I should be glad that they're even re-releasing it! And to be honest, 3 volumes in 1 is a pretty good deal for $17.99, plus a selection of full-color images in the back.
Viz did a somewhat sucky job with "Yu-Gi-Oh!" too, but I still bought all 36 volumes because I wanted to read the story in English, not struggle with my Japanese. I only buy Japanese titles when the English equivalent (if there IS one at all) sucks SO HORRIBLY it makes me cringe. Think anything from Tokyopop (er, Mixx)'s old days. I hated their Peach Girl. I hated their Sailor Moon. I want Del Rey to pick them up (their Japanese versions were originally published by Kodansha, Del Ray's parent company, anyway) and revise them!
The only thing I can think of to do where I still get my manga and I feel like my voice will be heard is... write. So I'm writing. Maybe if enough people write and complain, their editorial staff will start to get some higher standards. I really don't think changing "Woah" to "Whoa" takes all that long, no matter what typesetting program you use. Okay, so a revision of the first VIZBIG FY might not ever come out, but if the second volume is better? I'll be happy and MUCH more willing to part with my $17.99 plus tax.SIDE NOTE:
Anyone here use Google Reader
? I was using Sage, then Sage Too, then Simple RSS, then Wizz RSS-- all extensions for Firefox. I don't know whether it's something about Firefox 3.0.5 or those extensions or what, but THEY ALL SUCK. Some don't accept cookies (which means I can't read friends-locked entries), and some kept on changing my RSS feed URL and I'd have to go back to the howto
entry to copy-paste it in again. I've been using it lately and it looks okay, but I'm not sure if it accepts cookies, and that's kind of a MUST for me. So far, Wizz RSS was the only one that did, but I'm frankly sick of it changing my RSS URL all the time. It's probably related to the weird bookmarks issue Firefox is having, which I have determined has nothing to do with the Del.icio.us extension. So... grr. Any tips for BEST FREE RSS READERS, web-based or otherwise, would be greatly appreciated. Kaze no Uta
by Chika Sakamoto
from Fushigi Yuugi - Character's Vocal Memories