al|together 2008 “CROSS THE RUBICON” Opening Statement

Welcome to the home of the 2008 season of al|together, the annual festival for the translation of freeware visual novels. It has been two long years since our last festival, and it is hard for me to believe that it has already been three years since our inaugural season. Much has changed since then. There are some out there who believe that it is necessary to create some arbitrary grading scale in order to judge translation quality. There are some out there who believe that it is perfectly okay to output a barely-readable "first-pass" translation, to be "edited" later by people who have barely any knowledge of the original text. There are some out there who believe that it is perfectly ethical to translate another person's stories without the original author's knowledge and permission.

al|together 2008 is a profound rejection of all of that.

Over a time-limited period, some of the best translators active in the English visual novel translation community and I have worked hand-in-hand — both with each other and with the original creators of the pieces we chose to translate — in order to create translations and production processes that we believe will weather the test of time. We have pursued permission to translate stories that serve — in their own ways — as testaments of a generation that is learning to live and grow to adulthood in a culture it only thought it knew. We have applied rigorous peer review principles to all of our work, delivering our drafts into the hands of our fellow translators for commentary and correction. We have spent long hours working to make these some of the best localizations in our collective careers.

We have gathered here to show you the work of our hands.

Every day for the next six days, we will release one of our efforts. For each translation, we will provide commentary, peer review debriefs, and short literary analyses. Please be advised that by their very nature, the peer reviews and literary analyses will be full of spoilers; you may wish to avoid them until after you've read the pieces in question. I cannot guarantee you that you will find every piece interesting — some you will like, some you will hate. I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open; you just might see and hear something remarkable.

These are the voices of some talented young writers, no matter what the medium.

Will you listen?

26 November 2008
Seung Park
Festival Coordinator, al|together 2008