The eradication of MTL descriptions on VNDB

Posted in

#1 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 13:06
< report >Okay, so after I had written a shitpost a few days ago about demanding money to fix up some of VNDB's game descriptions, I'll do it now for real. So far there is no patreon or anything made for this purpose so I don't care for your money for the time being. (If it becomes too overwhelming to keep up I might change my mind on this) I plan retranslating most if not all of kivandopolos MTL descriptions if I deem them bad enough to be representing the game in the vndb.

Even if you think I'm larping and my Japanese isn't so good, then it'll still improve them from their current MTL'd state. I plan doing 3-5 descriptions every single day I'm attempting this marathon.

If you have any games where you know the description is shoddy and hardly intelligible... or worse, misrepresents the game please post them in this thread below and I'll get to it eventually. This is all for my own practice and giving me opportunity to improve my craft every single day so I can achieve my dreams of being a good translator that can contribute to this the visual novel/erogecommunity.

Let's make the VNDB great again.
#2 by asaki
2021-09-14 at 13:09
< report >Well good luck with that.
#3 by mutsuki
2021-09-14 at 14:00
< report >can we also get rid of mtl screenshots too yikes
#4 by npzmzfg
2021-09-14 at 14:08
< report >Just search for descriptions that cite vndbreview.

I'm not sure you can do that via the standard search interface, but you can do it via link using a query like this:
SELECT 'https://vndb.org/' || id as url, title FROM vn WHERE vn.desc ILIKE '%vndbreview%';

And good luck. There are a lot of them.
#5 by mrkew
2021-09-14 at 14:10
< report >You can put all descriptions taken from EN dlsite on the list.
#6 by cubky
2021-09-14 at 14:12
< report >Best of luck you larper
#7 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 14:26
< report >Okay. So I have begun my journey and run into 60 roadblocks already. The user whose work invokes my wrath, kivandopolus, had made about 6000 of these description edits - with lots of them being shamed for "making up shit". I just tried to translate two and it took considerable amount of time.

I encountered many problems even getting to these sites:
1. Most of the descriptions which I can find easily in his recent edits on the profile are hella old games with dead sites or which can only be found in the waybackmachine and even then only the starting page might be screened. I think several of these games are sadly dead and not recoverable.
2. The descriptions, most of them, are completely made up and feel like the guy played 10 minutes of the game before writing them.
3. The amount of these descriptions is absolutely staggering. Just look at the submission dates. I'm sure he must have set up some automated MTL process that inserted descriptions at this speed. I don't know if I can keep up, but maybe once people have seen I am actually serious about this then they might want to help me with it.

Here are two descriptions I made just now. I'm confident they are correct and maybe when reading the edit notes you can also learn some Japanese from it.

link
link
linkLast modified on 2021-09-14 at 15:19
#8 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 15:21
< report >@5 Urgh... well. I'm going to hack away at the kivando ones first. The DLSite descriptions are still actively updated, so I will never keep up with those.
#9 by gambsgambs
2021-09-14 at 15:44
< report >Looking at what you did to the first one, Mousou Kyoushitsu, you changed

放課後、『先生』を名乗る子供から『授業』を受けることになる。

from

One day after school a child who claims to be a teacher offers to give a lesson.

to

One day after school, he's subjected to a "lesson" by another child who claims to be a "teacher".

with the rationale

The description here wasn't bad, but it omitted the protagonists name Yamada as well as ignored the "koto ni naru" grammar which expresses that some circumstances have happened outside of one's agency. "it has been decided" or in this case "subjected to"

Meanwhile this website which describes it as N4 grammar explains this grammar point as

ことになる (koto ni naru) is used used to express something that has been decided or determined by factors outside of one’s own resolve. Though sometimes it can be an indirect way to say something that may indeed be one’s own resolve.

with the example sentence

両親は離婚ということになった。
My parents ended up deciding to get a divorce.

I don't think anyone would translate that as "My parents were subjected to a divorce", or even "It was decided that my parents would get divorced" -- it's the wrong interpretation of this grammar point. I don't think that original description was so bad to even warrant changing, especially since the changed text also seems kinda wrong in a different way, not to mention that this is a <2hr VN with no votes that probably nearly no one has looked at anyway
#10 by butterflygrrl
2021-09-14 at 16:20
< report >Ideally IMO it would be more useful to focus on descriptions that are outright wrong/misleading/incomprehensible rather than just nitpicking grammar. I know I've seen several descriptions from vndbreview or dlsite where MTL pronoun confusion led to the entire description being way off target.Last modified on 2021-09-14 at 16:22
#11 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 16:45
< report >@10 The problem I see is that kivando didn't translate or even MTL descriptions most of the time, but he played like 10-20 minutes of the game (or sped through it) and then wrote a description on his vndbreview page which has nothing to do with the game, but more with his enjoyment of the whole thing.

@9 It is fair you're nitpicking me, but while I may introduce some mistakes they are definitely not as egregious and misleading as having subjective impressions as game descriptions from someone who doesn't understand Japanese at all. I will learn and improve from doing this and it is hard because sometimes even with the whole description text in front of you some context might be only deductible if you actually played the game. This is a fun exercise for me to improve on translation and translate a bit every day - akin to how you would do daily anki reps. If you find something like you did - which is probably a good correction to make - just revert it if you think your interpretation is better. That's what the VNDB is for. I just make sure that the original description to continue working with isn't utter garbage - as in not a description at all.

Also, while the parents can't be subjected to a divorce as they are the involved actors it wouldn't be unnatural to say it about a third party i.e. "I was subjected to a divorce by my parents which caused me trauma"

Now what does "ukeru koto ni naru" stand for in this particular? I would need to play the game to know what is actually happening there.Last modified on 2021-09-14 at 16:47
#12 by gambsgambs
2021-09-14 at 16:50
< report >sans context I would probably translate it as "...ended up receiving a lesson from..." or even more simply "...received a lesson from...". When reading that sentence I don't feel like the lesson was particularly against the student's willLast modified on 2021-09-14 at 16:50
#13 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 16:56
< report >link
link

4 and 5. I'm done for now. This was fun!Last modified on 2021-09-14 at 17:49
#14 by masturbator
2021-09-14 at 20:56
< report >Also wishing you luck, Hata-kun

Even if you think I'm larping

For what it's worth, I didn't think you were larping (whatever that means)

This was fun!

Let's hope you can still say that a couple hundred descriptions later

By the way, I too plan on writing descriptions for VNDB someday (once I'm competent in Japanese), though I'd prefer to play the game and use the experience to write an original description rather than translate an existing one from some siteLast modified on 2021-09-14 at 21:02
#15 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 21:21
< report >@14 LARPing (Live-Action Roleplay) - It is used for people who are pretending to be smth that they are not or people who pretend to be more important than they are on anonymous imageboards. It can even go as far that people start replying to themselves making it seem that there is conversation between multiple people going on. Also referred to as "schizoposting"

And yes, playing the game to use the experience makes more sense ultimately, but lots of these games are kinda hard to get (no one uploads them or... god forbid... you actually have to buy them). For more modern games it would be a better course of action to do it the way you proposed.Last modified on 2021-09-14 at 21:21
#16 by eacil
2021-09-14 at 21:33
< report >One thing that's totally acceptable about descriptions is to read the official description and then resume it or roughly translate it with your own words. What matters is that the meaning is intact.
I did that a few times because translating for real is a pita.
#17 by vninfohata
2021-09-14 at 23:01
< report >No. 6 link

This wasn't easy, because both the names of the protagonist as well as the family that is giving him the request is mentioned by name absolutely nowhere. I hate guessing Japanese names, fuck. If anyone has played it please make the edits and also add the protagonist to the character list - it would only make sense.

@16 How much is one allowed to shorten the description? You say the meaning needs to be intact, so if there is some fluff text I can simply cut that? So far I translated the whole description for practice.Last modified on 2021-09-14 at 23:02
#18 by eacil
2021-09-14 at 23:24
< report >Well, I wasn't talking to you because, like you said, you want to practice and doing that would defeat this purpose. But yeah, descriptions are here to tell you what is happening with the game. It's not an art contest. As long as it follows some writing standard, what matters is the accuracy, your synopsis' ability to convey the events at the beginning of the game. Once that is done, you can fight about who wrote the best one.
Sometimes, the official synopses are just crap. Like when they are vague or over long for their content.
Keeping the translation intact is not needed here because the purpose it to have a gist of the story, not actually translate anything.
#19 by vninfohata
2021-09-15 at 14:34
< report >No 7 link
No 8 link
No 9 link
#20 by sanahtlig
2021-09-15 at 16:42
< report >
I don't think that original description was so bad to even warrant changing, especially since the changed text also seems kinda wrong in a different way, not to mention that this is a <2hr VN with no votes that probably nearly no one has looked at anyway
Gambs has a point. You should try to focus your effort where it'll be most productive. Identifying the games with the worst descriptions isn't straightforward, but you should be able to sort the list by popularity to work on the most-played games first.

In any case, I would definitely triage this and work on only the most high-priority edits , and perhaps exclude the high-effort titles (e.g., where there's no shop page anymore). The goal isn't to fix every description. It's to make the biggest difference possible. You'll also be more motivated to continue that way.Last modified on 2021-09-15 at 16:52
#21 by butterflygrrl
2021-09-15 at 17:35
< report >OTOH the most-played games are the most likely to have been corrected by someone if they were totally wrong, aren't they?

But with games that had no description at all previously any description is great.Last modified on 2021-09-15 at 17:36
#22 by gambsgambs
2021-09-15 at 18:20
< report >I suggest we use MTL in order to quickly get rough descriptions onto all of those entries that previously had none
#23 by ninigi
2021-09-15 at 19:08
< report >Use oil to fight fire?! Genius! Bravo! A thousand upvotes for Gambs.
#24 by vninfohata
2021-09-16 at 08:38
< report >@23 User 22 is already out to discredit me for the effort I signed myself up for. But since he has already scared away most of the supporters he has online there's like 4-5 people left who might be deterred from these translations. I might do some context-based mistakes here and there, but even fixing those would be much easier than writing a new description from scratch.

I will also keep focusing my efforts on description translations. Not too confident summing up the plot understandably in my own words without knowing the game.Last modified on 2021-09-16 at 08:46
#25 by irx
2021-09-16 at 14:27
< report >I kind of like the shorter descriptions more. Adding all those citation bullshit & fluff from game covers and websites is completely unnecessary imho.