Should I try untranslated VNs for a change?

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Should I try untranslated VNs

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#1 by zealottheseer
2019-05-06 at 01:56
So I've been pondering this question for a while because I know how long translations can take and I am currently waiting on 9-nine chapter 2 and 3 to get translated (if they do) and imouto paradise 3 as well if it gets translated. But should I try playing the original Japanese VNs despite not actually knowing what the characters are saying? For some reason, I've always gone for translated versions because they add character development for me, even though most male protagonists are emotionally inept to certain characters feelings. And if yes, can someone recommend me some with links to them? One I was interested in was Hara-Min! as I am a fan of that series but due to my lack of reading the Japanese language, I couldn't actually find where the buy button was. Any and all help would be appreciated. Sorry for the long post.
#2 by iisderp
2019-05-06 at 02:56
Personally I don't think there is any point in purchasing a VN you can't read. If you don't mind the fact that you will have no idea what is happening in the VN and are ok paying for it then why not I guess.
#3 by fuukanou
2019-05-06 at 03:34
A good few visual novels are staggeringly readable even with very basic reading skill.
However, without that then don't bother. I don't think that machine translation is viable yet for completely unassisted reading.
#4 by cyric
2019-05-06 at 04:16
You can better use your time learning jap while waiting. Unless you at least know chinese as a native speaker, I doubt you'll able to make any progress in understanding what is going on. (reading wise)
You could learn hiragana, katakana and kanji then read with a dictionary, over time you'll get better and better if you're impatient.
I mean it could be fun at least, I used to watch cartoons in hungarian so go ahead.
#5 by dk382
2019-05-06 at 05:18
if you're willing to spend time trying to puzzle together what a VN is saying in a language you don't understand, you should just spend that time learning that language instead. You'll have read more untranslated VNs within the first year by actually spending a few months learning the basics first.
#6 by tomtheerogeman
2019-05-06 at 08:09
I've commented about my efforts in learning Japanese a lot in the past because many people find it interesting to know how I've learned it.

But in regards to the question of "should you," my own experience is that you should only do it if there is something you REALLY want that you'll never get in English. At this point loliges are the only thing that falls into that category. The games that are targeted for English translations are usually all the good ones, and as a result there aren't that many decent VNs left that are untranslated. Sure there's a few, but it's really not worth learning the language for. Trust me, it's hard picking games that I find interesting, unless I go for a lolige, or something that's already been touched by the English translation community.
#7 by kiru
2019-05-06 at 08:27
^I dunno about that. English translations cover a lot, but a bunch of my favorite ones aren't translated and probably never will be. Completely aside of translation quality. Some games are very hard to get well translated (especially comedy heavy stuff), while others are less so but still get butchered nonetheless.
#8 by sakurakoi
2019-05-06 at 09:12
I have been reading VNs with VNR and Google Translate for a while now, and quite smoothly so since the very beginning. When people claim that one will not be able to read into some vague intricacies or that it is unreadable are simply exaggerating.

If it was any language which at least uses letters, doesn't even have to be Latin ones, then simply learning would be better. Heck, even Korean which has also a very limited amount of characters. But especially Japanese and even more so Chinese are unreadable in the first place. The latter even was simplified!

That was by no means on the level of simple reformation or "we had no sophisticated writing system to begin with", taking a letter here or there away, it was literary too sophisticated. If there were not furigana, Japanese might very well also have had ended up simplifying their language... that is, before China did since they would refuse thereafter.

In any event, it totally is your choice alone, you might as well simply try what fits yourself best. If learning languages the scholarly way is fun for you, if learning abstract pictures is easy for you, if you have the time to learn a new language then it might be better for you to learn first before reading.

However otherwise, and if you got the money, there is not much harm in just enjoying this in your past time. Though it is of course wise to check if you can hook into the works in the first place if you do end up reading with such software, since using a dictionary is slower and anyone who blames you for not being able to read a Japanese dictionary should get lost. If a software dictionary can read characters which hook-tools can not, I can not tell but such OCR (Optical Character Recognition) sure would be neat, if it works properly, consistently.

Personally, I am indeed one who can not even sit in front of Spanish vocab and learn it. For three years, for three hours every week and I argue that my Japanese can be considered way better, especially since I forgot most Spanish grammar by now. Sure, I can not write Japanese (by hand, different to by keyboard) but I can recognize furigana and ever more Kanji from their look. Of course voiced text helps even more, to remember vocab and grammar.

I can enjoy Japanese works like this and nothing more should matter, for me, and you have to decide yourself after considering both sides. That's what an informed decision is about after all.
#9 by cyric
2019-05-06 at 11:15
I do not think learning jap is that hard these days. There are great tools and books out there for memorization. Cutting kanji into parts with Heisig and just bullrushing it made me learn it in 3 months, and stroke order follows the same rules for pretty much every kanji, if there are exceptions they are so few you simply memorize them without trying. I recommend at least learning the kanji, knowing the stroke order lets you search for any unknown kanji you come across.
Anki as well is extremely helpful, reducing paperwork to almost zero, unless you're doing writing.
But it's your choice really. There are plenty of options.Last modified on 2019-05-06 at 15:19
#10 by pabloc
2019-05-06 at 12:13
Trying to "read" untranslated VNs without understanding the text is a waste of time. Don't bother.
As it was mentioned above, invest a little time into learning bits of Japanese that are essential for reading VNs. It's not much - start with only hiragana, katakana and basic grammar (Tae Kim's grammar guide will be enough for now).
Then grab textractor, translation aggregator with JParser and Mecab (and maybe capture2text or some other OCR, just in case), and you're good to go. When it comes to titles like Hara-Min!, even such bare-bones knowledge, without any kanji, combined with these tools should give you a good idea about what's going on. You won't be reading fast, that's for sure. But it still will be faster than waiting for a translation, and definitely much better than just watching CGs.
Then you can decide if you want to keep learning (while reading untranslated VNs, because why not?), switch to deciphering machine translated gibberish (having some basic knowledge certainly won't hurt), or just stick to translated stuff.
#11 by zealottheseer
2019-05-06 at 14:44
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. It really helps out a lot. I think it was just due to the lack of animated English VNs that I wanted to try to find VNs that are also animated that aren’t actually translated yet. Another question is should I try playing VNs that don’t have much animation when I comes to the erotic scenes? I’m not a fan of the 3D animation styles so I stick more to 2D and I’ve gone through most animated VNs that I can find on f95 with help from this site of course. But I find some VNs that don’t have animated scenes on f95 say they have animated scenes on this one and vice versa with no animated scenes. Currently VNs I have played that aren’t animated are mainly Moonstone games like Princess Evangile and Magical Marriage Lunatics and I really enjoyed them.
#12 by kiru
2019-05-06 at 17:38
@8: The reason why everyone who learned Japanese tells you to stay away from machine translations like this, is because they went through the process of actually learning the language and recognizing the flaws on their way. You learn to tell the difference, which you have no way to see and understand until you actually learn the language. It's even worse, if you only know one language.
Over the learning progress, you'll eventually look back at your old self and will be amazed at how BAD you have been and how little you actually got right at times. Machine translations are even worse than that. If you think you actually know more about the language now, you should see something like this starting to happen as well. If you never really learned the basics however, it's going to be very reduced obviously.

It's fine to have fun like that, but it has unfortunately little to do with what the original work was about. Exceptions do kinda exist, but those aren't particularly good in the first place, and an exception because of that. (and you should still understand some spoken JP at least) For example, you can play Himegari Dungeon Meister just fine, because it basically has no story outside of ero, and what little there is isn't any more than an excuse for you to go down the dungeon.Last modified on 2019-05-06 at 17:40
#13 by ramaladni
2019-05-06 at 23:24
@11: "Should I do/try X or Y?" - why do you want others to decide for you? If you wanna do it just go for it lol.

For the argument at hand, I'll just quote Socrates "The more I know, the more I realize I know nothing". The more Japanese I study, the more I realize I know nothing about nothing, but it is indeed not an impossible task. I also agree that you should only bother if you really do want it, or else you'll end up quitting in no time.Last modified on 2019-05-06 at 23:24
#14 by sanahtlig
2019-05-07 at 11:40
I share your interest in animated H-scenes, and I don't think there's much of a selection of Japanese eroge with animated ero (translated or not). To be fair, the selection of translated titles is even smaller. Have you tried School Days and Shiny Days at least?Last modified on 2019-05-07 at 11:43
#15 by zealottheseer
2019-05-07 at 17:53
#14 I have shiny days but haven't played it yet. Haven't tried school days because of the anime itself (I haven't seen it but I heard of certain things.) I have a lot of VNs at least on this PC and it's hard for me to remember the ones that have the animation scenes or not sometimes haha. #13 Because I like learning other peoples opinions and suggestions of certain VNs they have enjoyed.
#16 by arcticalex
2019-05-08 at 02:44
Just learn Japanese, even at turtle pace it'll be worth it in the end, not just for vns, there's also manga, doujins, even for anime, you will find that it feels much better to read Japanese compared to English since its a far more expressive language. #9 and #10 dropped good tips, there's a lot of resources to learn Japanese out there, you don't need to learn to write, I personally didn't but it can be helpful
Also don't listen to #6, there's endless untranslated gems out there.


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