What is Scanlation?

This section is created to help those who are wondering just how scanlations are made, and to correct those who have been misinformed of the process.

The following pages will go over the steps involved in completing a scanlation project from beginning to end. This is not precisely how things work in Be With You Scans or other groups, but a general guide. If there are multiple popular ways to do a certain step, it will be noted.

Terms

Raw
When a manga has just been scanned, it is called a raw. A raw is the manga still in its language. Ideally, raws are in Japanese, but there could also be Chinese raws, Korean raws, or even French raws. Scanning English raws is very rare and more illegal than usual.
HQ and LQ
This usually refers to where the scans came from. LQ (low quality) is when the manga has been scanned from the magazine; for example, Naruto runs in Shounen Jump magazine one chapter a week, and is then later released in volumes containing several chapters. Magazine scans are usually the ones with crappy midtones and lots of 'dust' on black areas. Many groups will wait for the volumes to come out so they can scan that instead. Here in Be With You Scans, we bring you the latest Tsubasa in LQ magazine releases and later follow up with a HQ (high quality) volume scan release (the re-edits). LQ scans are typically more frustrating difficult to edit, but there can be a wide range of differences in editing HQ and LQ. Some editors who specialize in one may find it difficult to switch to the other.
Redrawing
You've all seen those double pagers in manga. Many people think it just comes like that. NO. No matter how well scanned the pages were, double pagers always turn out to have a gap between then when you try to piece them together. The gap could be 1 cm or wider. In these cases, the editor has to manually redraw and clone the space in, so that when they are finished it looks like one complete, seamless image. You also need to redraw when the artist placed Japanese text directly on the image; you need to take the text out, redraw it, and place English text on top. Often this is the hardest part of editing, and comes with practise.

Outline of the Process

Once a scanlation group has settled on what title to work on with a new project, or is ready to work on the next section (chapter or volume) of an existing project, the hard work of scanlation begins.

The general steps for the creation of a scanlated manga are:

  1. Scanning
  2. Translation
  3. Cleanup and Editing
  4. Quality Check
  5. Packaging and Release

To ease the workload of those participating in the process, each member of the team is focused on a single one of the above steps. This allows volunteers to contribute to the best of their abilities and avoids any one person from having to learn all the steps in-depth.

Next: Step 1 - Scanning

The Process

  1. Ideally, the scanner buys a hard copy of the manga. They melt the plastic binding of the volume/magazine with a hairdryer (though I've heard rumors of a microwave) so that the pages come out as unadulterated as possible, and then scan each page with a very nice scanner. However, it is more common that the group finds the manga online (there exist many places where you can download a raw of the manga that someone else professionally scanned) and use this instead. The now-digital copy, or the raw, gets sent to the translator.
  2. The translator translates the manga. Again, ideally the translator is Japanese-English, but Chinese-English translators are much more common. The translation gets sent to the proofreader, who checks the accuracy/grammar as well as consistency/flow of the script. This is NOT merely finding spelling/grammar errors, as many people seem to think. The completed script is sent to the editor. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
  3. The editor cleans the raw up. They make sure the areas that are supposed to be black are black, and the areas that are supposed to be white, white (they usually scan in as varying shades of gray). They take out the Japanese text and put in the translated English text. They remove any 'dust' (gray specks on the page that aren't supposed to be there) and if there was text on an image, or if there was a double-pager, they will clone and redraw the page until it looks seamless. All this is almost always done in Adobe Photoshop. The editors may also resize the image or save it in certain formats, so that when everything is done the filesize is smaller for you to download. BWYS recognizes this as the hardest job in the process, because editors frequently need drawing skills to redraw, and it takes practise to be able to clone well. As you can see, unlike your childhood English classes, editing is not proofreading the script. It is graphically fixing the actual manga artwork so that you get an English version of how the author intended you to see their work. Being able to white out Japanese text and paste English text in the bubble is not enough. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT THEY DO
  4. The edited manga is sent to the QC, or quality checker. They make sure there are no typos and that the quality of the editing is constistent and flawless enough to uphold the group's reputation. A chapter is almost never ready for release on the first try, so the QC sends the editor a list of things to fix. Eventually the chapter is fit for your downloading.
  5. The finished chapter is sent to the distro; people to put in their fserves, XDCC bots, torrents, this site gets updated, etcetera. You may now leech.

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