This page describes the recommended "default" Baka-Tsuki Translation Project Conventions for all English light novel translation projects. These are the "default settings" and rules that should be observed for a translation project until a Project Manager specifies more detailed guidelines.
Project Managers have the full power to modify the default conventions with respect to their corresponding translation projects. We generally recommend that Project Managers discuss details with all project staff members prior to implementing major guideline changes.
Please note that all conventions in this section may be overridden by a Project Manager for his/her specific project.
- Project Specific Guidelines takes precedence over the items stated in this section.
Language, Typographic Style, & Grammar Conventions
Default English Dialect: American English
- The default spelling lexicon for translation projects will be based upon American English as defined by the Fourth Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary (5th edition).
- After editing, manuscripts should only contain colloquialisms and slang understood in American English.
- Note that some Project Managers may change the default language to British English, Australian English, etc.
Default Manual of Style: None
- Baka-Tsuki has no default style manual. However, we do encourage that a single translation project adhere to the same typographic choices.
- Here are some popular style manuals:
Note: Translation Projects are encouraged to come up with their own typographic formatting guidelines involving ellipses, em-dashes, quotes, etc.
Default Verb Tenses: Narrative Tenses
- For story narratives, the default verb tense should be in the Narrative Tenses (aka: Past Tense):
- Narrative Tenses include: Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect, and Past Perfect Continuous.
- Example: I turned and looked out the window. Even at midday, it was still pouring. The laundry my mom left outside was probably soaked by now.
- For dialogue, monologues, and thoughts, the default verb tense should be Present Tense.
- Example: What the heck is that guy thinking?
Joining a Project
1). Registered Translators are NOT REQUIRED to Contact the Project Manager Prior to Contributing
- If you have an account, registering on the Project Registration Page is sufficient for joining a project and making translations.
- Note that some Project Managers like to talk to new translators before they start translating. Some Managers may request a sample translation to gauge fluency.
2). Anonymous Translators are REQUIRED to Contact the Project Manager Prior to Contributing
- If you do not have an account, we will be unable to contact you. Hence, you are required to contact project staff before contributing.
3). Translators are REQUIRED to register for chapters they are translating on the Project Registration Page.
- Registration is on a "First Come, First Serve" basis.
4). A Translator may only register for chapters within a single VOLUME at a time.
- This is to ensure translators do not sign up and reserve more chapters than they can chew.
5). A Maximum of TWO Translators May Be Simultaneously Registered on a Volume
- This is to preserve similar writing style and translation style across a single story arc.
- Exceptions: Situations with side stories and episodic series.
6). If an apparently Inactive Translator (no activity for ~2 months) occupies a registration slot that you want, contact him/her and the Project Manager
- If he/she does not respond in TWO WEEKS and the Project Manager does not protest, assume the reservation has expired.
7). Translating from Intermediary Languages: ALLOWED
- Chinese to English and Korean to English translators of novels originally published in Japanese may participate in a Translation Project.
- Note: Or the equivalent analogs if the original source material is Korean or Chinese.
- Note that some Project Managers may request that only Japanese to English translators participate in a project (ie: Bakemonogatari).
8). Translating from Fan-Translation Sources: ALLOWED
- Second-hand translations made using fan-translations as a raw are allowed.
- Example: Translations made from Chinese fan-translations, instead of the officially published Chinese version, are allowed.
- Note: If the statement were false, translations made from the officially published Chinese version would be allowed, but translations from Chinese fan-translations would not.
9). Machine Translations: DISCOURAGED AND ONLY ALLOWED IN SPECIAL CASES
- Machine Translations (translating with a full dependence on software) are generally discouraged, and only allowed if it gets approval according to the Machine Translation Guidelines.
10). Translations of Unpublished Works, such as Web Novels: ALLOWED ONLY AFTER APPROVAL
- Baka Tsuki focuses on translations of published works, but allows translations of unpublished works such as Web Novels in some cases. See the Web Novel project guidelines.
11). Novel or Chapter Summaries: NOT ALLOWED
- All translations posted on the Wiki must be legitimate translations. Summaries or summary-like translations are not allowed.
- Note that a Project Manager may allow summaries in extraordinary circumstances, such as for licensed or missing volumes.
12). For incomplete chapters and translations that are uploaded, translators should add an Incomplete Template
13). When translation of a chapter is completed:
- Add the text:
"Completed" next to your username in the Registration Page.
- Add the update to the Update Log found on the Project Overview Page.
Types of Edits
1). Editors are NOT REQUIRED to contact the Project Staff for Minor Edits
- Minor Edits include typos, grammar mistakes, misspellings, etc.
2). Editors are ENCOURAGED but not required to contact the Project Staff for Stylistic Edits
- Stylistic Edits include re-wording sentences, changing tenses, and modifying sentence structure to improve fluency, flow, and general style.
3). Editors are REQUIRED to contact the Project Staff for Major Edits
- Major Edits include any edits that change the interpretable meaning of the sentence.
- Editors should contact Project Staff to have a translator check over the new sentence.
- If in doubt (when it's ambiguous), contact a translator just to be safe.
General Editor Rules
4). Editors MAY NOT change terminology or nouns without first consulting translators
- All terminology should follow the conventions dictated in the Project-Specific Guidelines Page.
- The Project-Specific Guidelines Page can be modified by editors only after obtaining permission from the Project Manager.
5). DO NOT change the meaning of the sentences unless you are a valid proofreader.
- Translation Reviewers (TLR) who can read the source language are encouraged to negotiate a special arrangement with the original translator.
6). A summary of the edits MUST be included in the summary section while editing a page.
- This is for moderation and accountability purposes.
Dedicated Project Editor Registration
7). Editors are REQUIRED to Contact the Project Manager if they would like to officially join the Project Staff as a Dedicated Editor
- The Editors listed under Project Staff are exclusively reserved for editors who have made major contributions (e.g. >10,000 characters of changes).
8). Editors may not add themselves to the Project Staff list on the Project Overview Page
- The Project Manager will do it for you. The Project Staff area is exclusively reserved for individuals who have made major contributions.
Conflicts and Disagreements
9). In the case of a disagreement, all editors are REQUIRED to defer to the opinion of the original translator
- Baka-Tsuki generally holds the stance that the original translator figuratively "owns" the translation, so editors should respect the opinion of the original translator.
- If there is a major disagreement, members are encouraged to incorporate the Project Manager (or third-party translators) in the discussion.
10). A translator IS ALLOWED to ask a specific editor to stop making revisions to his/her translations. Editors should respect that sentiment.
- It's nothing personal, but translators and editors often need to work intimately on a Project. If the chemistry isn't good, no one ends up happy. Unfortunately, unhappy translators lead to quitting translators, so please understand why this rule is in place.
General Translation Considerations
Sound Effects (SFX) and Onomatopoeia
- By default, sound effects and onomatopoeia should be translated to an English equivalent whenever possible.
- Example: "goro goro" (ごろ ごろ) should be translated to "purr" (cats).
- If there is no straightforward translation, Project Teams are asked to use their best judgment.
- Unless otherwise stated, Baka-Tsuki translations use romanized Japanese honorifics:
- Example: Yuki-san, Yamada-sensei, Yoshimura-sama, etc.
Japanese "Otaku" Terminology
- In general, Baka-Tsuki holds the stance that translations should be maximally accessible to an audience that may not be familiar with "Otaku" terminology.
- Japanese "weeaboo" terminology should always be translated to an English equivalent:
- Example: Kawaii, Baka, Arigatou, Sugoi, etc., should be avoided in translations.
- Key terms (ie: Chuunibyou, Denpa, Doujinshi, Tsukkomi, etc.) are more debatable. Project Teams are asked to use their best judgment but arrive at a common standpoint that is consistently used throughout the series. Romanized terminology should be accompanied with an explanatory reference at the first occurrence of every volume.
Image Placement and Pagination
- Cover art, color images, and inserts should be included in a special gallery Illustrations Page at the beginning of the volume.
- Inline Illustrations should be placed so that it will be displayed adjacent to the passages written in the page opposite of it in the original novel.
- To do this, place the relevant piece of code directly before the sentence that starts the page before the picture.
- Inline Illustrations should be placed in a thumbnail aligned to the right, using the following code:
- Every chapter should have a navigation bar that links to the previous chapter, next chapter, and the Project Overview Page.
- Here is a simple template:
- Note that contributors are welcome to make NavBars more complicated/detailed
- References and Notes should be factual and descriptive. It should not contain the translator's opinion, comments, or verbose.
- Translator/Editor comments and opinions should be limited to
<!--Hidden inline comments--> or the chapter talk page.
- The preferred method of making references is through the use of the
- Place the code:
<references/> at the bottom of the chapter to display the references.
- ↑ This was the convention decided in the original Format Guideline