WTF

Jun. 9th, 2017 12:48 pm
gwyn: (slings & arrows wtf)
[personal profile] gwyn
So I have to take a work break to write this out because I'm still sort of WTFing about this today. A while ago I was writing about how I'd had a few requests to translate a fanwork but how I figured at this point, after more than a year in some cases, I was never going to see them (and of course, right after I wrote that someone posted a translation into Russian of one of them). Even though I give blanket permission to translate, I've noticed people still will ask, usually in comments on AO3 but sometimes on Tumblr.

I got a message from the person who'd asked about translating the Groundhog Day story I can't remember how this started (but I can tell you exactly how it ends); she'd left a really sweet comment and said that there was nothing like it in Russian and would it be okay if she translated? I said yes and thanked her for her lovely comment. On Tumblr last night she sent me a private message, though, saying she was the person who wanted to translate it--and between autocorrect and language difficulties, I'm not totally sure I understood everything completely, but that she wasn't feeling really sure about it (I did love that she said Russian grammar is terrible, because man, I feel that, I think grammar in every language is terrible!) but she'd had a lot of trouble finding anyone who would check the translation for her.

She said that she finally found some girls who would look it over but that she had to bring it to what sounds like possibly some kind of con or gathering (a "fest") at the end of the summer; she said they would only look at it then, and that she had to delete the comment on the story at AO3. Which I just…what kind of weird Russian mean-girl shit is that? Like, you can't have a trail of asking for permission to translate, or you can't have a trail that you liked the story and left a comment? I can't figure it out for the life of me, it struck me as SO WEIRD. Cultural differences, yadda yadda, but I felt so bad for her that they were putting her in this position just because she was excited by a fanwork and wanted to have a translation out in the world, and also, deleting a comment affects the author, too. I mean, it's the most-commented on story I have so it's not a huge deal, but that's not saying a lot, as I don't tend to get a lot of them--so their demands affect both people, the translator and the writer, in a really odd way.

I responded that of course I remembered her, and I was glad she'd found someone to check the translation and that of course I was sorry to see her lovely comment deleted, but that it was her comment and so she should do whatever she wanted with it, and that I hoped the fest would be fun. But I couldn't stop puzzling over that: why they would only look at it there and why they would demand that she remove the comment on the fic. It's just so peculiar.

ETA: So it turns out that this is actually a legit fest thing with some seriously hard core rules, which you can read some explanations of in the comments! I assumed that it was something negative because her message sounded so sad and frustrated and anxious, but I'm hoping that it'll turn out to be a great experience for her.

Date: 2017-06-09 09:02 pm (UTC)
ratcreature: RatCreature is confused: huh? (huh?)
From: [personal profile] ratcreature
What? Peculiar indeed. I agree that this doesn't make a lot of sense.

Date: 2017-06-11 11:44 pm (UTC)
ratcreature: What? Who? When? Yes, I have been living under a rock... (under a rock)
From: [personal profile] ratcreature
Ah okay, that makes more sense. Though now I wonder why the explanation you got by the prospective translator was so incoherent, because explaining something like "There's a translation fest I want to participate in with this, that requires translators to be anon until it's over, and having my comment on the story might break that when people look at the original." is not that complicated? Maybe they assumed you to be familiar with that format so that you'd automatically fill in the blanks. But anything that has judges or rankings or winners or such has really fallen out of favor in English language fandom over the last years as format, like I mean awards and such. I suppose if you do it anon, that will cut down the popularity wank associated with this stuff.

Though Fandom Games with teams and such used to happen in English language fandom too, like a few years back I had several Harry Potter games on my flist with teams competing for points, like there were Snape/Harry (the first I think -- used to be called Snarry Olympics but was actually threatened with a lawsuit by the actual Olympics for using the name), Harry/Draco and Remus/Sirius games. Merlin fandom had games with competing teams too.

Date: 2017-06-10 01:12 am (UTC)
hypertwink: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hypertwink
I don't want to be so jaded but this looks like someone trying to erase a paper trail. Be careful.

Date: 2017-06-10 02:52 am (UTC)
saraht: "...legwork" (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraht
I had a somewhat similar request scenario recently--the translation was supposed to be for some fest, I gather it may have been something of a competition, and so the translation was supposed to be anonymous:

"I'd like to share this story with the Russian fandom and translate this fanfic for the Fandom Combat, an annual multifandom fest held on a Russian website. Of course, I'll give a link to your original story. I will also give you a link to the translation posted on my personal page, but only in October, because the competition is strictly anonymous, and before it is over I must not post the translation at any webpage other than the anonymous competition-specific page accessible only to those who have an account (the anonymity rule does not apply to the original authors of translated works, and your name will be indicated together with a link to the original). When the competition is over, I'll post the translation on my personal page and send you a link accessible to everyone without any restrictions. I'd also ask you not to share my username online with respect to the translation. If the name of the translator becomes known to the public before the end of the competition, the entire team will be disqualified."

I don't know, even if the person wanted to Nefariously Plagiarize The Story!!!, really, it's not something that having the comment or not having the comment would determine the success of. Honestly, if some Russian wanted to plagiarize my work, there's very little I could do about it anyway.

Date: 2017-06-10 03:03 am (UTC)
mackiemesser: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mackiemesser
I see your WTF? and raise you a "Bwuh?"

Date: 2017-06-13 02:25 am (UTC)
mackiemesser: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mackiemesser
You don't mindfuck Russia, Russia mindfucks you?

Date: 2017-06-10 03:13 am (UTC)
sineala: (Avengers: Steve with cowl)
From: [personal profile] sineala
Seconding the above comment -- I've had a couple of my stories translated into Russian as part of what is probably the same fest. One was a couple years ago, and one going up this year. The translator has contacted me privately, so as not to leave a comment trail, and the stories are all posted in the summer by the anon fest account and then claimed at the end of the fest by the original translator.

(This was the story; the WTF account is the fest account.)

As far as I know, it's on another site because that's where they run the fest and eventually a bunch of the works end up on AO3. It's one of those things they do in Russian-language fandom.

(Here is a post of mine where the only person I know in Russian-language fandom ([personal profile] hamsterwoman) has attempted to explain it to me, when I happened across a story that was part of the fest.)

Date: 2017-06-10 08:35 am (UTC)
sperrywink: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sperrywink
Very strange indeed. Huh.

Date: 2017-06-11 01:16 pm (UTC)
bond_girl: (star wars.)
From: [personal profile] bond_girl
I've heard of Fandom Kombat before, it's been around for at least five or more years. All I know that this is a legit team fest with complex rules and many inside jokes :) So maybe hang in there and things will work out with your translator?

Date: 2017-06-11 06:17 pm (UTC)
phantomas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] phantomas
I was going to comment with 'weird' but then I read the other comments and it does sound like your story is being translated for that specific event, with all the anonymity rules, etc.

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