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It's been a loooooong time coming, but I finally wrote up a FAQ to keep linked up on the Taiji Project profile. Keep in mind that this is subject to change.


THE PROJECT


Ok, the questions in this section aren't frequently asked at all, but they're obligatory, so deal :P What exactly is Taiji Project?

The short answer: Taiji Project is unofficial, fan-made English translations of various Japanese media.

The long answer: Taiji Project began as a humble little blog nestled in a tiny corner of the internet, where I hosted my translations of Japanese song lyrics. After a few years I decided to move all my translations to Livejournal, where I could organize things better and make my stuff accessible to more people. Adding fansubs to my project list came later, and that was when my little Livejournal with probably no more than 5 friends got its huge break and gained HUNDREDS of watchers in a matter of months.

However, Taiji Project is not a fansubbing group (so to speak, anyway, since there's only one of me). I just translate what I want to translate, pretty much. It just so happens that videos are among the things I wanted to translate, so fansubs are just another part of the project.


What's with the name?

Uh... I dunno. :D;; My first and primary Livejournal username was angelembryo, inspired by one of my favorite Dir en grey songs, Embryo; the "angel" was added just for substance, and because the concept of a celestial being in fetal stages sounded really cool to me. And "taiji" is the Japanese word for embryo, so uh... I guess that's pretty much all the logic I can give for the Taiji Project name. :3


How are Taiji Project translations different from any of the other translations on the web?

I don't know; you tell me? But I can say that I put my heart and soul into my translations and making them the best they can possibly be; they're what I love to do and want to dedicate my life to. So while there may be a mistake or two here and there, you can rest assured that I go to all possible lengths to make sure my translations are both as accurate AND as accessible as possible - meaning I try to keep them direct and correct while still making them sound right to an English-speaking audience. Since the two languages are so different, it's easy to let some mixed-up grammar and strange wordings slip through the cracks, resulting in English that sounds unnatural and just plain goofy, but I try to go the extra mile to avoid that without compromising accuracy.

Another thing I strive for is to make my translations sound like something the person saying them would say. Everyone has a different speech style and attitude that comes through in the way they speak, so I try to make my translations sound as if they were coming straight from the original speaker/singer/writer, as if they had said it in English to begin with.


What sorts of things do you translate for Taiji Project?

Stuff I like. Songs, poems, interviews, video clips, TV shows... pretty much anything. At first it was just songs I found myself and liked but couldn't find translations for, so I decided to make some myself... but later I joined the jrock_translate community as a translator and picked up a few new projects from there. Now, almost all my lyric translations come to me by request - and yes, I welcome any and all requests! There have been a few times in the past where I couldn't deliver because the request was just beyond my Japanese comprehension level *coughthankyouverymuchMiyavi*, but I'll try anything once and do the best I can to make it work.


Can I post this/that/any/all of your translations on my site?

The only thing I ask in return for the time and effort I pour into my translations is that you include some form of credit if you display my work elsewhere. I also appreciate it if you let me know through a comment or PM, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go look at it and judge whether you get to keep it or not - I just like to see. ^^ This does NOT apply to my fansubs, however - they are not to be redistributed in ANY WAY. See "The Fansubs" section for the reasons.


Can I use your translated lyrics for karaoke subs, graphics, fanfic, a school project, re-translation into my own language, etc?

Same as above - as long as some form of credit is included, you're welcome to use my lyric translations for other creative projects. Again, I also appreciate it if you can let me know how and where you're using them, just so I'll know where they're going and (if applicable) get a chance to see how the final product looks. :D



THE OWNERSHIP


Who runs/works for Taiji Project?

*raises hand* That'd be me ^^ My names's Becky, my age varies by the year but begins in 1982, and I live in some random little corner of the south central Ohio boondocks. Technically I'm all there is to Taiji project - I romanize, I translate, I time, I typeset, I edit, I encode, I upload, I post, I comment, I maintain. But I'm still giving credit to my best friend and favorite two-legged kitty, who goes by Morrigan online, because she has put up with all my ranting and raving and the ups and the downs of my translation and subbing obsessions for the past 4 years, and she's also helped me with editing and quality checks. I don't know how she puts up with me. ♥


How did you learn Japanese? How long did you study?

I took an intensive four-year language course as a Japanese major at Ohio State University; "intensive" means I took four years' worth of classes in three years, since I declared my major late. I graduated in 2004 but I've continued with individual study on a more-or-less daily basis by being the official translator for two Japanese bands, BLOOD and Suicide Ali, which eventually led to translating for the indie labels they belong to, Darkest Labyrinth and Starwave Records. I also help out the American company Tainted Reality, which works to bring Japanese music and bands to the US through radio shows and tour organization. And of course, more recently, most of my practice comes from the videos I translate and fansub. Amazing how much you can learn from these crazy shows. :o



THE FANSUBS (refer to community taijiprojectsub)


What kinds of videos do you fansub?

Right now, I'm sticking with Japanese variety shows featuring the Japanese pop group Arashi. My first fansub project ever was their series called D no Arashi, because it was the most hilarious thing I'd ever seen and I wanted to share what I saw in it with the rest of the world... and since the VAST majority of the Taiji Project readership is Arashi fans thanks to that, they became my main focus. So far I've only done variety show episodes and clips, but after I've gained a little more experience, there's always the possibility that I might attempt things like movies or J-dramas someday - whatever I think needs to have a subtitled version out there in the world, whether Arashi's part of it or not.


Why do you keep your fansubs locked in members-only posts away from public access?

This is explained in my fansub access post, but the main reason is simple: fansubbing isn't exactly legal. Personally I don't see the problem with subbing variety shows that were just recorded straight from TV and have never been marketed elsewhere, since it's not like anyone's losing money by my redistributing them... but Japanese broadcasting networks and management agencies have different ideas. The fact is that they've has been cracking down on streaming and redistribution of Japanese shows and videos, especially on sites like Youtube. That means fansubbers like me have to watch our step to avoid getting into a huge international legal mess. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to be sued by a major broadcasting network - or, worse, the man who owns the monopoly on all the most popular boy bands in the history of Japan. T_T

Therefore, membership to Taiji Project Fansubs is moderated so I'll know who's taking the subs, and so I can be sure that people read and agree to the rules before they join. It has nothing to do with popularity or attention; it's not because I want a big impressive number of members, or millions of comments on every post, etc. Heck, if you never want to comment or speak to me again after asking me for access, that's fine with me, as long as you honor the one favor I ask in return for my efforts.

...Ok, sorry, I got a little ranty there. :x But thanks to certain hate memes that ran amok in the past *cough*, I know there are people in this world who believe we fansubbers keep our work restricted to tight circles just for the sake of glory and attention, when it's honestly just for legal purposes.


I sent a request to join the fansub community, but I wasn't accepted. Why?

Didn't read the directions, did you? ^_~ I know my access post is a little on the tl;dr side, but if you're interested enough, you can surely spare the time to read it once - or at the very least, the bolded parts. I can't apologize enough for how strict this probably seems, but again, I can't afford to even risk getting sued.

Also, please keep in mind that the community has roughly 10,000 members now (holy crap I feel famous T_T ♥), so I get hundreds of comments, messages, etc from Livejournal alone each week... and as a result it usually takes me some time to get caught up with adding new members. Most recently it's been taking about a month each time. :\ If you've been waiting that long, the quickest way to learn whether you've been skipped or are just still on the pending list is to find your comment on the access post and check the comments around it. I always reply to each new member I approve, so if comments posted after yours have been replied to and yours hasn't, that's your cue to re-read the directions and try again. If your comment and several others before yours haven't been replied to, I just haven't gotten to you yet. Sorry for all the delays, but please be patient and I'll get caught up when I can m(_ _)m


How can I get the fansubs if I don't have a Livejournal account?

Right now, unfortunately, you can't. :\ But it's no more of an annoyance or obligation to sign up for a Livejournal account than it is to join a forum or any other type of semi-closed-access download site, so there's really no reason not to, y'know? ^^; (No, I'm not promoting Livejournal - I just want as many people as possible to have access to these fansubs!)


What's your current fansub release schedule?

This will change over time as I take on other projects, but currently my only running project is the C no Arashi series, and I release a new episode every Friday (Eastern Standard Time). Everything else I release (requests and such) just comes out when it comes out. :P


How can you release new episodes so fast?

They're an addiction, what can I say? :P Actually, when I decided to fansub D no Arashi, the first thing I did was finish the translations of ALL the episodes - just to make sure I could actually do it, and wouldn't do something stupid like releasing 10 episodes and then having to stop for weeks and weeks while I figured out a particularly difficult one. It took about 10 months to finish all those translations, and THEN I started the process of hardsubbing and releasing them. So it's not like I'm doing a whole episode from start to finish every week; I already have the translations done, so all that's left now is the stuff that any regular joe can learn to do just by reading a few tutorials :P


Can I make requests for fansubs? Where do I request?

I welcome all requests... but due to the sheer volume of requests I already have pending, sadly I can't promise that I'll actually get around to fulfilling them. But I do save all requests for future consideration, and occasionally I do dip into the Bottomless Request Pool for a new project to play with (in fact, everything I've ever subbed besides D no Arashi was technically a request XD). As for where to send requests - I'll take them via comments, messages, email, whichever you prefer. I have email notification turned on for all LJ comments and messages, so wherever you send it, I'll get it. ^^



THE TECHNICAL END


What software do you use to make fansubs?

I use VirtualDub to rip the audio soundtrack from the video, Sabbu for timing and typesetting, and VirtualDub again (with the Vobsub plugin installed) to encode everything together. I've also used Aegisub for karaoke coding, and to figure out some typesetting techniques that I couldn't figure out on my own in Sabbu; I should probably use it more often since Sabbu is much more basic and beginner-oriented, and has a bad habit of crashing... but anyway...


How do you decide which file hosting sites to upload to? Will you upload to [insert host name here]?

I use Sendspace, Megaupload, and Mediafire because they seem to have the highest accessibility rate and popularity among the people who download my fansubs, and because I've personally had the best luck with them. I also used Divshare for a while, but then they changed their bandwidth limits, so I had to switch to ZShare. And yes, I will upload to other host sites upon request ^^ Just let me know which site works best for you and I'll look into it.


The link I want to download from isn't working, what should I do?

Let me know in whichever way is easiest for you, and I'll try to re-upload it as soon as I can. ^^ But this is one of the reasons why I upload to multiple host sites, so if at all possible, go ahead and try to download from one of the other hosts. But I do appreciate the heads-up when one has expired, as I like to keep them all active as long as possible, so don't hesitate to yell at me if a link has gone dead!


I can't play the videos! What's wrong? Is the file broken?

I don't upload broken files; they're all checked and double-checked before I release them. They're avi files, so they should play in the most common players like Windows Media Player, Realplayer, and Winamp, but my personal recommendation is VLC Player. If you're using one of these players and it still won't play, you probably need to install the latest DivX codec. If it still won't play after all this, see the next question...


Why are some of the files split into parts? How do I put them together?

Some file hosting sites have much lower maximum file size limits than others; I can upload any file up to 1024 MB at Megaupload, but only up to 200 MB at Mediafire. Thus, I have to split many of my video files into parts so they'll fit these restrictions. These parts won't play as videos on their own, but you can join them together easily using HJSplit. Just make sure you've downloaded all the parts from your chosen host and they're all in the same folder before trying to join them, and don't edit the filenames - they won't join if you do.


I downloaded the file in parts from Mediafire, but I can't join them because they're .avi files, not .001/.002/etc files. What do I do?

Unfortunately this seems to be a problem with Mediafire itself, so I can't change anything, but I can recommend a quick fix. See this post for instructions. Hopefully Mediafire will fix all this idiocy soon... but in the meanwhile, if at all possible, my foremost suggestion is to try one of the other download links. That's why I upload to multiple sites, after all. ^_^


Got a question that wasn't answered here? Ask away in a comment, and I'll either answer you directly or add it to the FAQ (or both)!

Comments

everystarrfall
Mar. 4th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like reading FAQs. ^_^ [which ... says something about how I'd rather choose to spend my time. Especially since I should've been studying for a test...] And yours was quite entertaining. I bring you much luffs and hearts; thank you SO MUCH for all the effort you put into this series translating it so other people can enjoy the show as well. And your subs always brighten my day. For instance, I'm off to bomb two tests today, probably. ;; [I blame Arashi on Utaban for Valentine's Day that I somehow ended up watching four times last night] But as today is Tuesday, I have high spirits knowing that I'll be able to drown my sorrows in ... some DnA episode which I've forgotten from the last episode's preview, but I'm sure will be absolutely wonderful.

Wow. I just rambled for way too long and contributed absolutely nothing useful to these comments. ;;
taijiproject
Mar. 5th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
Blah, who needs that education stuff when there's so much Arashi to be watched, anyway? :3

Hope the tests went ok, though ^^ And thanks for reading! ♥
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