An update on Matsumoto’s book “Isho” (“Will”)

Some days ago I made a quick post on twitter about the future of the translation project for Matsumoto’s book “Isho” (“Will”), which I’ve started last year and I’ve set aside after translating 13 chapters of it. Let get this straight first: the project is not over and I’m willing (pun intended…?) to translate the whole book. But let’s also spend few words about this project and what caused its hiatus, in order.

So, why have I stopped translating it? There are few reasons for this. I’ve started translating this book when I was living in Tokyo last year, and around the time I got around chapter 13, I’ve been going through a lot of difficult situations. I had few to no time for the project and I’ve been really stressed to the point I couldn’t just focus on translating anything during my spare time (I barely posted any gaki episode translation since July 2019 throughout the end of the same year). Things eventually started to go better as I moved to Nakano, but there were other practical problems which kept me away from it. My pc died and I remember writing few chapters on my smartphone, which isn’t an experience I’d personally recommend. Then I started working for most days of the week while also studying both at the school I was enrolled in and on my own, so I could get ready for my JLPT N1 exam on December (which I have passed, yay). Long story short: few to no spare time, stressful events and no pc availability are the reasons for why I stopped translating Isho. But that’s not all.

One day someone posted a comment which made me realize what was wrong with this project (you can still read that comment on the about section). Let me say this first. I’m not mad at this person who posted this comment (aside from that euphemism part. You really think I’m that idiot?), she made a point and she’s right about what she said:

Someone needs to say this. I realize and respect that English is not your native language. But you DESPERATELY need someone to edit for you. It’s only to help you that I’m bringing this up.“.

I always receive so much positive feedback from you guys I’m overwhelmed, but as you know, as everyone knows, negative feedback (and I meant it as “it caused be a negative response at first”, not as “it was negative”) always hits you harder. I’ve thought about this a lot, and then I realized my mistakes, and that she was right and I had no reason to feel bad about this comment. I just thought that she’s right and that I have to improve so I won’t make crappy translations, no one deserves them. It’s the right criticism I needed. And yeah, while it’s true that most of my mistakes are simply caused by distraction or typos (everything here is free content, don’t forget about this; it’s not my job), sometimes it’s so clear that the main issue is that I’m not a native english speaker and – because of that – my sentences sound weird and unnatural. I bet there are countless of them in this post too lol. So, I wanted to say thanks to this person, because she made me realize it was pointless to translate a book by publishing weekly rushed chapters without editing, without quality checking, without anything but that “gotta hurry up and finish my weekly chapter” feeling. It’s not what I wanted from this project and I don’t think it’s going to give birth to anything good.

I always wanted to translate a full book (I guess I could do a better job if it’s from japanese to italian, but again, no one cares for Isho or Gaki no Tsukai or the stuff I like and enjoy here in Italy), but I don’t want the final product to be rushed and – overall – lousy. I know both english and japanese well enough to understand everything I hear or read, but I can’t say the same about written / oral production for both of them. I’m not even sure about my written / oral skills in italian (mother tongue) to be honest lol. But translation isn’t enough. Making a content available for english users to read (or better, understand) isn’t enough, it can be done better than this.

That’s why I’ve decided to pick up Isho once again and keep on translating it, in a different way from how I used to do before. New chapters aren’t going to be uploaded on a weekly basis. I, or better, we are going to release a full Isho book in the future, together.
I’m currently working on the book again, and it’s – of course – going to take me some time to complete it. The book is 50 chapters long + afterword, and I’m also going to write a preface for it. I’ll be dealing with the translation / research / notes / preface parts (basically everything revolving around writing), but it’s not going to be enough. I’ll need editors, and that’s where you can help me. Now it’s still too early to discuss about it, but later on (we’re talking about months here), once I’ll be done with the translation, I’m making another post in which you can volunteer as an editor for Isho. Once the whole book will be fully translated, edited and completed, it’s going to be posted here on this website as a free to download PDF.

Again, it’s still too early for this and it’ll be explained more clearly later on (maybe we can finally have a discord server or such? I don’t know, I’m not really into this stuff but we’ll see), but here’s who we’re going to need for this project:
– 1~5 editors: the book is composed of really short and easy to read chapters, one editor can easily go through them all at his/her own pace, but we can also split the work between more people. You’ll just have to double check what I’ve written, fix typos / misspells, correct weird sentences, grammar mistakes etc. There could be lots of strange words / sentences which are intended to be that way; we’ll discuss them together.
– 1 (or more) graphic editor: once the book is fully translated and checked, I need someone to wrap everything up in a nice, pleasant format. You’ll have to make the whole thing appear as a proper book, with spaces, page numbers, cover, index, etc etc, nice and clean. You’ll also have to add Matsumoto’s drawings to each chapter and deal with everything about the appearance of the book, from its cover to its fonts. In other words, you’re in charge to determine how everything is going to look!

Needless to say, every person willing to help me is going to be credited in the book. As I said again, this isn’t anything official yet. I’m nowhere close to be done with it and I’m not recruiting anyone yet. But, if you want to, you can let me know in a comment what do you think about this idea. If you’re interested in lending me a hand with this project when it’ll be time, keep an eye on my twitter / facebook, any update is going to be posted there (I was thinking about posting a translation progress status tweet at the end of each month).

I hope we’ll get to work together on this project and release a nice final product out of it! Thank you for reading this wall of text, expect more updates on this topic in the (kind-of-)near future!

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