Sunday, January 7, 2018

SquareSubs in 2018 - Part 2 (batch update, staff recruitment, donations)

Image result for anzu
Literally me
So, in the previous post I've rattled on about the future, but what about the present? In other words, where the fuck are the batches for Beyblade and L&G?
Well that's a very good question, and one that has been asked us man, many times. The truth is, we're a group of very lazy people and some of us (read: everyone but me) have, get this, a real life outside of subtitling Chinese cartoons for children! Crazy stuff, I know.
Jokes aside, the truth is we've been kind of working on the on the side while doing the new episodes but at the same time, not really. If you know us you also know that batches, and especially complete batches, take us an unusually long time to get done.

The reason for this is usually a lack of organization and the disappearance of one of our members, which obviously slows down the work pace, some times to a complete halt. This time is no different: our senior group member Migon, who has assisted me since the very beginning, helping me make the subtitles look prettier and managing the group's files, was also the one to take care of creating the well-organized batches, with chapters, CRC codes and all that jazz. Unfortunately this job is very tedious and time-consuming one, which is why he recently confessed that he doesn't feel like doing it anymore. I obviously respect his decision completely, but the problem persists. Now we're lacking a dedicated batch editor/muxer. Currently our other members are trying to take over his role, but this is where my lack of organizational skills comes into play. Long story short, not much is getting done on that end (although the Holiday season is also to blame).

tl;dr the batches are coming, but veeery slowly.

Image result for i want you
Which brings me to the second point I want to touch with this wall of text: we need more staff. Okay maybe "need" is not the right word, but having more people would help us a lot I think. Right now our group is composed of:
  • one main translator (me) who also does the timing, 
  • Maxine, who proofreads and is also translating and timing our side-project Yume no Crayon Oukoku,
  • Celestine, who proofreads
  • Migon, who manages the files and used to edit/mux the batches
  • Sorepeoong, who edited the Medarot batch and is working on translating and timing Medarot Damashii on the side
  • Some other people who helped us in the past for some time but I wouldn't count as actual group members (pls don't hate me for this, I'm really thankful for your help)
So, as I said above, right now we're in need of an editor who can cover for Migon. 
But I also wouldn't mind having backup for other roles. Specifically, proofreaders. Right now we basically have 2, which means one per series. But I'd rather have more than that in the eventuality that one of them is busy and can't proofread an episode, or simply because they don't like the series they're working on. In this case, having someone else to take their place would be ideal. I don't want to force anyone to work on a series they don't like.
On this note, Sorepeoong has actually been working on translating a number of older mecha series in the past, namely Denno Bokenki Webdiver, Bakuto Sengen Daigunder, Nekketsu Saikyo Go Saurer, and Karakuri Kengoden Musashi Road. Now he only needs someone to proofread/QC his translations and he's good to go. So if there's someone out there interested in making these subs a reality, let us know!
Truth be told, I also would like to have an extra translator on the group. As you may have noticed in the previous post, there is a lot of series I would like to work on, way too much to handle on my own unless I somehow stumble on a cloning machine or step into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. So having someone else translate other series at the same time would be very nice. Potentially we could switch places every now and the for a change of pace, but this is just a possibility. At the same time, I feel like I would be nitpicky when judging other people's translations, so yeah, I need to think about this some more.

Anyway, another tl;dr if you're interested in joining our group as a proofreader, batch editor or translator, let me know. (especially batch editor, it's the most urgent)

Now comes the part I like the least, but I still feel I need to talk about this: Patreon, donations and other jewish tricks.
I want to say this straight away, we don't need money, and we won't stop making fansubs if we don't get donations or anything. I didn't start this whole thing because I wanted to make money. I did it because I wanted to see these shows subtitled, and I wanted other people to enjoy them in the same way.
However, in the last few months I've received a number of comments (not a big number, like 3-4) asking us if there was a way they could support us money-wise. Some proposed we open a Patreon, others asked if we could put some ads on the blog so that they could click them to give us money.
When I read through this I was dumbfounded. I never really thought about getting paid for what I do, but even more than that the idea that someone would voluntarily click on an ad, not because of an interest in the product that is being advertised, but to give money to the person who put up the ad, well it was crazy to me.
So this got me thinking about what other fansub groups do. I don't really know many people in this field, so I have no idea f the idea of donations, Patreons etc. is a common thing among them. Fundamentally, the fact that we do it out of fun and passion instead of money is what separates fansubs from services like Crunchyroll, at least that's what I think. So on the one hand I think, it's not right to ask for money for something that I can do for free. But then again, I know that some groups kind of need money to get their hands on VHS, DVD, BD or even LD sources for shows that aren't available on the internet. So it makes sense to ask, or at least to accept donations to gather that money.
However, especially with things like Patreon, I am not sure how safe it would be even hypothetically to use. I mean, fansubbing is sort of a grey area, it's not exactly legal. So I am kind of afraid of getting tangled legally if money is involved. Then again, I really know very little about this stuff so I might be spouting bullshit here.

Either way, the point doesn't change: our group already has raws available for all the shows we are working on, or plan to work on. So there's no money to be spent on that (we instead owe it to the kind people who went ahead and ripped DVDs, Blurays and whatnot and distributed them online for us to use). There is, nonetheless, one thing our group is spending money on, and that is MEGA subscriptions. Right now we're hosting all of our project files on MEGA to easily share them between us and with you (though we rarely do that). And these files add up to about 120-130GB, which is quite a lot. And it will keep growing as we work on more series. Previously only the owner of the shared folder had to pay the subscription and the people 'receiving' it didn't. Unfortunately last year MEGA changed their policy in merit, and now the shared storage gets counted as part of each person's total. Which means that if I only have the free subscription plan (50GB) and someone shares with me a 70GB folder, the result will be that I technically occupied 70GB of storage, but since my subscription only covers 50, the extra 20GB won't be accessible.
The MEGA subscription we're on right now, the cheapest one, offers 200GB of cloud space for $5/month, which adds up to $60 a year. Multiply that for the number of group members and you will see that it's quite the sum.
Again, I want to be clear on this: we won't stop making subs either way, and if we don't get money fro you, we will pay for these expenses ourselves. We don't want to make you feel obligated in any way to donate, nothing of the sort. As long as you guys enjoy our work and maybe leave comments here, then it's all good for us. This whole thing about MEGA was just the one thing that I can think of that we might need money for. But really, it's nothing we can't do without. In other words, we don't need money, but if we got some extra, this is what we would use it on.
At the same time, if you really feel like giving us money who am I to stop you? *hand-rubbing noises*

So, and here's the last tl;dr of this humongous post: Would you be okay if we opened a donation channel, either via Paypal or Patreon to pay for the Cloud storage where we keep our project files? Keep in mind, you don't have to donate anything.
Rest assured, our subs won't change one way or the other, at least not because of this. As I said before, once I get a job I will have less time to sub so our pace might slow down, but this and that are totally different matters.


  1. you can put those link shortener ads on the download links, it's not bloating the site and the site stays clean, i know some people finds it annoying but hey, as a student who is struggling with money, i am willing to click some ads to support someone who bring me happiness.
    thanks for everything!

  2. Trust me when I say this, your work goes a long way in contributing happiness to the many people who eagerly wait every week and I myself regularly check for all the subs you have made for all the anime(especially bakusou kyoudai Lets & Go). Hopefully you upload season 2 and 3 as well :) Thank you for all your hardwork. Don't give up. God bless you :)