Translating on Danbooru is one major way to contribute, since many images need translating. Danbooru utilizes a unique soft-translation system that enables translations to appear on images which are written in their native, non-English languages.
Things to keep in mind before you start translating
- Be reasonably sure you understand the source material completely before attempting a translation. It is best to read through the material once before you begin to judge its difficulty; if it seems too high in places, it's best to leave it for another.
- Please leave honorifics in place. This is to keep a consistent style of honorific usage across the board, and Japanese honorifics usually don't translate well to English titles.
- Try not to introduce elements which were not present in the original. Given that Japanese leans on implication and context, sometimes it is unavoidable to make matters explicit in English.
- Don't use Japanese words if an equivalent English term exists.
- But don't go overboard with the above. Some Japanese concepts are untranslatable. If you have to choose between accuracy, understanding, and English, it's better to sacrifice English than understanding or accuracy.
- Make sure your English is idiomatic and well-written. Wooden translations mimicking the Japanese word-for-word are not proper translations. Try to select idioms with the same meanings as Japanese counterparts.
- Limit translation notes to the most intractable jokes, puns, and cultural concepts. It is better for the reader to miss a shade of meaning than be forced to halt and read a note.
- Puns and jokes are a special category on their own. Here it's allowable to be much more flexible, as long as the general meaning remains. It's heaps better to make a joke that clicks in English and then explain nuances in a translation note, than to make something completely unfunny and then explain in a note why it was a joke.
- Endeavor to completely translate the material on an image. That said, if you encounter something you don't understand, it is better to leave it partially translated and put out a call for help.
- When making partial translations, or when continuing on after leaving something untranslated, be reasonably sure the missing context isn't overly detrimental to your understanding.
- Use the names romanized in the same way as our tags have them. Generally this means Surname Forename, and make sure you stick to our romanization rules too.
- Ask for help. Everyone makes mistakes, including native speakers at times. The Japanese language is full of nuances that are sometimes hard to capture in plain text. That being said, try not to translate something out of your understanding -- it is better to have a decent translation improved, than to have a nonsensical translation figured out.
Translation tasks by difficulty/complexity:
1. Single words and common phrases
2. Phrases and simple sentence
3. Complex sentences and simple single page comics
4. Simple multipage comics
5. Complex single page comics and paragraphs of text (text_focus or commentary translation)
6. Complex multipage comics
As a rule of thumb, start small and work your way up. If something feels too difficult or comes out clunky, move to easier tasks until you get the hang of translating
Step by step breakdown of how to translate
- Go to an image in need of translation (look at translation_requests). You can also try searching the comments for people who bumped images for translation.
- Click on Add Translation in the sidebar to the left or press 'n' on the keyboard. Click and drag on the image around where the text is. One note will be created. (Use multiple notes for multiple parts!)
- To change the size of a note after creating it, move (by dragging) and resize (by dragging the bottom right corner) the note. Remember to save afterwards. Your changes won't do anything until you save, so it's better to move, then add text than the other way around.
- Try to make the notes as small as possible. They should obscure the minimal area of the picture. If there are natural borders (such as a rectangular speech box) you can use to hide the note, do it. Make the note match the box pixel-for-pixel as best as you can. Alternatively, stick it as close to the text as possible. (The first frame of post #4487 is a good example of fitting a translation box to text, and post #577456 of fitting it to a box in the image.)
- Hover the mouse cursor inside the note to make an empty square appear below it. Click it to edit.
- Write your translation in the box. Limited HTML markup is allowed; a list of useful tags is available at about:note_formatting. The site provides several custom named fonts for translation use that are not dependent on browser or OS: see about:note_fonts for a list. Use translation note here to add a translation note. Don't add a linebreak before a translation note, that's done automatically.
- Repeat until all the text has been translated.
- Make sure you change the translation_request tag to translated!
Tags relating to translation
- translation_request - images with significant Japanese (or other language, combine with for example chinese_text) text to translate, that's left completely or partially untranslated.
- partially_translated - images that have been partially translated. As mentioned above, this isn't generally encouraged, but in some cases it can be fine, such as when the image is very long, or when the text is not strongly related (for example post #570410).
- check_translation - used for images that have been translated but that either the translator or other people are unsure about whether it's right. Or, perhaps the English is so confusing that the translation needs double-checking to convert it to something that makes sense.
- translated - images that have been completely translated. Nothing less than completely (and properly) translated, please. When placing this tag, Remove the translation_request tag and the partially_translated if it's there. An image should never be tagged with translated and translation_request.
- hard-translated - images that have already gone through third-party_edit to replace the original text (Japanese or otherwise) with a translation into another different language. It is discouraged on Danbooru.
Translation aids for Danbooru
- Note assist is a userscript that adds new features to the note system. They include automatically resizing your notes to fit the text as well as buttons for quick access to more advanced note formatting such as text size and color. It is still a work-in-progress and aimed at advanced users.
- Google: Multiple translation options
- Note: Straight-up machine translations are not allowed
- WWWJDIC: Japanese -> English
- DeepL: Japanese -> English
- Note: Straight-up machine translations are not allowed
- The Jaded Network: Japanese SFX
- Nihongo Resources: giongo/gitaigo (Japanese SFX) lookup
- Language Realm: Japanese slang
- Jisho: look up words and kanji
- Note: A modern JMdict/EDICT interface.
- Nihongo Master: expressions/phrases
- Fuseiji: Helps with figuring out censored words (i.e. when 〇 replaces a character)