Saturday, 2 February 2008

見てください: MOSAIC.WAV- ラストバトル!

MOSAIC.WAV's 5th single was officially released in stores yesterday (02.01.2008). I thought I would do my share of propaganda by translating the title song and posting it on Youtube... enjoy!

Now, allow me to share this learning experience with you. This is the first time I've actually had to translate something so eccentric, as none of my Japanese lessons ever dealt with denpa lyrics. In that capacity, I ask that everyone, Japanese native/major or not, plays nice with me: I am open to suggestions and corrections. I had a rough time with some of the lyrics because I only had the short version to work with and I suspect most of the plot elements are explored in greater detail within the complete one. For example, who is Dr.109? I can only assume he is the bad guy in this tale, but details about his motives couldn't be any muddier. Shibuyoung's origins were made just as unclear. I definitely had to take some liberties when translating, even though some of the more literal parts still hurt my brain. More of these translations are in the pipeline, so quality should increase in due time.

The whole technical aspect was also an ordeal in itself. To create the AVI file, I used Adobe Premiere 1.5, which was overkill considering the video itself is nothing but an MP3 playing over a static image. I then created the SSA subs using VisualSubSync, simply because it allowed me to inspect the wave form as I applied the captions. In the space of 4 hours, I tried countless subtitling tools that all failed miserably in satisfying my perfectionist needs. I'm a programmer cum engineer, so a functional GUI is a must. When my SSA file was finally in order, I had a problem with VirtualDub while trying to "burn" the subs onto the AVI. As you can see from the video, two Greek letters are used, namely α and μ. Those characters weren't supported out-of-the box so I had to hunt down a plugin with UTF-8 support (VSFilter 2.38/guliverkli2) .

With the hardsubbed AVI ready to go, my second big problem came in setting up my Youtube account. I had never uploaded any videos before today and frankly, after such a horrible experience, I fail to see how the site managed to become so popular. The user interface is terrible. I learned the hard way that you can not update one of your videos with a new version. I had a change of heart about some of my initial lines so I went back and changed them locally, but then I was forced to delete the video and upload a new one. If it had been up for months, all of its comments, ratings and favorite links would have vanished, /dev/null style. Furthermore, they tell you that any account change can take up to 6 hours before they are accepted. Preposterous, I know. Small example: want to change your account picture? Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. First of all, they tell you that whatever you upload will be resized to a ridiculous 130*96 resolution. Fair enough, I will resize my trusty Adol the Red avatar to this "widescreen" format. It finally shows up after many failed upload attempts and 2 hours of patience, only to be displayed at an even more insane 100*75. WTF? Being the perfectionist that I am, I resized it again to 100*75, and 3 hours later, it shows up as 128*96... to hell with it.

If you have read this far, thanks. Recently I have received a number of encouraging emails telling me to keep at it. I have been pressed for time in the past couple of weeks but things should slow down by mid February, after which I can return to a regular pace. For now, the Dallas Stars are on TV and considering everything I did today... I really earned some time off!

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