Hey! I'm looking for French to English translators contributors for future episodes of my Free/Libre and Open-Source webcomic Pepper&Carrot!
It happens because I'm refactoring the workflow of episode creation. If you are interested, you can contact me and other contributors by opening a thread on Framagit here (open a new "issue") or by starting a discussion on our chat room.
How English version was done previously?
⏩ May 2014 - December 2014:
Episode 1 to 5 were written and posted directly in English by me; with a proofreading of Amireeti.
⏩ January 2015 - August 2017:
At episode 6 with the ambitious Potion Contest, I decided to write it in French and it was translated before the release by Alex Gryson. I created the base of the translation system at that time; a system that split artworks and speechbubbles. It was easier to share a lightweight 27KB Inkscape SVG files than a 200MB Krita file. It was also possible to use versioning control system with them. I continued this workflow with Alex until summer 2017 and episode 23: The Encounter. I can't thanks enough Alex for this!
⏩ 2017 to nowadays:
As in the majority of Free/Libre and Open-Source project, Pepper&Carrot's contributors uses English as a lingua franca. So, to adapt to the maximum of beta-reader possible, I changed my workflow to full English (or almost).I kept writing my scenario and dialogs in French, but once posted on the beta-reading threads, I had to propose it in English. So, I always translated my own version in English before posting.
Unfortunately, my English skill isn't good enough to express the subtle tones of voice I had in mind for characters (eg. "irony" for some, a little bit "bossy" for other, etc...). So, as you can imagine, my first English draft always is very poorly worded, contains misleading tones and in the best case feels flat. It is near to what a cold auto-translation program could do.
Fortunately, my lack of skill was compensated thanks to the effort of the contributors. This resulted in the English version you know on Pepper&Carrot and the one that become the canon version as a starting point for the other potential 57 languages added on the project. And that's how all other languages translators can start to translate the next episode a couple of week prior the release.
🐛 Lost in translation
I could spot the problems once the English version is translated back to French by the French translation team. That's often for me the time where I realize the size of the gap between dialogs from my scenario (in French) and the final French translation. That's how I can spot the tones missing from my original scenario, or worst, the shift of meaning for full sentences. Sometime it was huge and problematic, but often too late to correct back.
🐛 Unwanted creative input
In order to fix my bare/broken English translation to something improved, contributors had to inject their own creativity and sometime input new tones or change dialogs to make sens about it. Improving dialogs at a wording level, became an open door for creativity. Important meaning got removed or smoothed as if they were mistakes sometimes and get replaced with other intents. Dialogs get extended and discussed a lot, rewritten, new pages required to make them work resulting in longer production time, and a "too many cooks spoil the broth" effect.
🐛 Loss of autonomy on speech bubbles
It also put me in a serious position of loss of autonomy on a creative level. This feeling really drives down my energy and motivation in general. I felt that strongly when I recently preferred to do freelance commissions than working on my own webcomic.
So, it's time to refactor the beta-reading project and recover a bit of autonomy on dialogs and wording output for me.
✨ A start in French
I would like to post −starting with next episode 36− the first draft in French. It will happen as usual, on a new thread on Framagit, (maybe prefixed with [FR-alpha] tag) and still open to public. I wish I can get the same team as the actual French translation team on it. They are great! This thread will help me to tackle dialog issues, reading issues and improve the episode. It will be easier on my side, because I have no trouble understanding subtle shift in French and I can understand the output clearly.
✨ The French to English translation
Once the French version frozen and final, the English translation team will be able to work on it. English preserves a very special status on Pepper&Carrot. Almost all other 55 languages are built upon the English version. I also self-publish a printed version in English. This is the main language among all the ~15K daily visitors and the default language for the website as well. That's why a solid translation is necessary here, and skilled translators are welcome!
✨ Ready for other languages
Once English version done and frozen, I can contact translators of all other languages before the release of the episode. Usually ten days or a week before (while I still colorize the episode). Finally, I merge all translations and publish the episode.
I hope this blog post will be informative to everyone involved on Pepper&Carrot beta-reading system (or curious about it). It is important to be clear about my motivation in time of changes. Be sure I sincerely suffer from not being able to continue to lead (badly) the creation in English from scratch and having to change the process now. I realize my English might be good enough for internal discussion on the project, my blog-posts (like the one you are reading now) or for my video channel (I doubt about that), but I'm now sure I'll never be able to write my comics or dialogs as I do in my first language.
Also, don't get me wrong about detailing all the problems from 2017 to now: I'm not blaming anyone. I'm sincerely grateful about all the contributions I received on it. I really do. I know everyone sincerely contributed their best on it, and without any bad intents. The problems happened because of how the process was (badly) designed. Not because of any contributors who all participated the beta-reading English project on their free time. It was a huge challenge for everyone and I'm proud of the result we got in the perspective of knowing the system we had.
I really hope the change I'm planning now will improve the workflow for the next episode. But before trying that, I need new French to English translators contributors. Is it you? Someone you know? (Welcome back Alex if you read this!)
If you are interested at translating the slower webcomic of the multiverse but also my humble collaborative gem on the Internet: you can contact me and other contributors by opening a thread on Framagit here (open a new "issue") or by starting a discussion on our chat room.
I'm not in a hurry to change everything this week, a French draft will only appear by the end of November. But I hope I'll receive help in this change, thank you for reading!
(PS: I forgot to mention it, but I'm not against paying for the service. Please communicate your references and price in this case. Thank you.)
(Update: I forgot to give an example of the workload here: a Pepper&Carrot episode text looks like this: the French transcript of episode 35 , and it might be this 6 time per year maximum. )