Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Future of novel translations: Paywall

Two years ago, a reader said that he would donate if I create a Patreon account. With my usual speedy ways of doing things, I proceeded to create a lousy patreon site a year and a half ago. A reader suggested that I create tiers of rewards for certain amount of donation pledged, but I didn't do so because

1) I'm not a pro translator, and not doing so full time.
2) I have no intention of planning my life around translation releases.
3) My translation quality is sub par at best.
4) I have the bad habit of releasing translations for free.
5) I don't think I'm suppose to profit from my translation without involving the author.

But this post isn't about me, but the recent paywall trend I have been observing in the translations circle.

1. Wuxiaworld

You might think I'm dissing Wuxiaworld for monetizing their work, but I'm not. They did everything by the books, got permission from some of the original authors, and provided a service that people want and is happy to pay for.

But as with all things online, there will always be pirates. So here's my message to Wuxiaworld: don't be disheartened by the pirates, you are doing the right thing, so keep calm and carry on.

2. Patreon with paywall content

A google search led me to some Patreon site that have paywalls. Again, I'm not dismissing them, charging a fee to provide a service is completely normal. Though I'm not sure if the author gets a cut in these cases.

Novel: Womanizing Mage
Language: Chinese to English
35 patrons $490 per month
264 patrons only post

Novel: War Sovereign Soaring The Heavens 
Language: Chinese to English
98 patrons hidden amount per month
524 patrons only post

Novel: Pure Love x Insult Complex
Language: Japanese to English
74 patrons hidden amount per month
725 patrons only post

Novel: Overgeared
          The Book Eating Magician.
          Praise the Orc!          Ark          Dimensional Sovereign          God of Crime (GOC)          Breakers          Dungeon Hunter.
Language: Japanese to English
340 patrons hidden amount per month
278 patrons only post

What I want to draw your attention to is the number of posts. To draw in patrons, they need to post regularly. Which leads to many chapters, and more patrons. Patrons see many chapters, and feel they are getting their money's worth with being a patron. It's a viscous cycle that leads to projects being completed faster. Yay!

Just like how microtransactions is the money maker in video games, Patreon will probably be the trend in the future of translation.

3. Patreon that lets the patrons choose the projects

Here's a site which I found interesting,
Instead of blocking the content behind a paywall, the owner release them for free, and allow them early access to work in progress, vote for projects and be included in the credits.

I'm sure there are other patreons of this nature or uses another method, so do let me know in the comments.

4. Possible problems with this models

I'm not an expert, but I can guess some of the issue that might arise from this model, mainly with quality. If you are making money from translations, you will need to pay your editors too, which complicates matters, so it's easier to simply not have one. Maybe you will run it through a spell check, but it is usually hard to proofread your own works, so there will be errors. And since you have a fixed schedule and posting more will give you more money, you will be pressured to rush out posts instead, leading to lower quality posts.

Maybe I'm wrong and the translations are all great quality, so can the people who have actually seen the translations comment about it?

5. Conclusion

There are pros and cons, as well as grayish ethics behind this trend, but it's here to stay. Heck, there's also advertisement on this site, so where do you draw the line? Yes, you don't realize there's adverts here because you have adblock on, and I didn't add them to the mobile version of this site, but my point still stands.

What are your thoughts on this trend? Share your thoughts in the comments. I will be free to answer the comments in this post as I'm on break for translation for now. Because I'm not enslaved to the patreon schedule...


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