MegKF August 2009
MegKF is the founder and leader of MegKF, a shoujo-oriented scanlation group that has been around since 2003. Aside from managing her own group, MegKF also helps out at other groups.
MegKF: I'm MegKF. I'm a scanlator. I do a lot of things for my scanlation group, as well as for other scanlation groups. I scan manga from other languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). I send these scans to the amazing people who translate them into English. I sometimes proofread those translations. Then I, or another member of my staff, edit the scans so that they look like they were meant to be in English. And then I get someone to go through them and look for mistakes so that we can make them as close to perfect as non-professional can be.
MegKF: My scanlating group has been around for several years. I created it mostly out of boredom. I was in college, I had the week off from school and work, so I decided to place the translations for a manga I liked, Hana-Kimi, onto scans I'd found. I was very new to scanlating, but I wanted to share what I'd done so others wouldn't have to look at translations and then scans. My editing wasn't very good, and I'm sure I annoyed several people in the process, but I ended up getting a lot of help and advice from various people, which caused me to create my group.
MegKF: In a way I was very lucky, I'd picked a very popular manga already being worked on by multiple groups, so I didn't step on too many toes starting out and I got a lot of attention. I got help from people on-line, Siana from ShoujoMagic, Kaila from DGT, and br|away, who to my knowledge never actually worked for a group, although he did later make a couple of releases on his own. They really helped me make my group solid, and allowed me to keep it going.
I wasn't too involved when other groups started to form from people I eventually came to know in the scanlating world, though I ended up helping out wherever I could.
My friend beline, who scanned several yaoi titles for me, ended up starting her own yaoi group, Yasca. Although I really didn't do much beside help share her releases in the beginning. She had several great people helping her out at first, though many of them have since moved on. I've since ended up QCing and managing their website.
Then someone I knew who scanned and translated Korean manhwa decided to start her own group as well, TrapNest. I signed on to help them manage their website and they even made me one of their higher-ups for helping with that. As they slowly lost members I started to take over more and more of the positions that had been vacated including scanning. Pretty much everyone has since vanished, which has pretty much left the group dead, something that sadly happens to too many groups.
Probably the most well known group I've helped out since the beginning has been Entropy. I knew two of the main founders of it for awhile, riseabove77 and Saga. Both of whom were always helpful and have worked on projects for my group. When they decided to start their own group with some other people who were also freelancing with other groups, I offered my help, although once again this was mostly with their website, which wasn't even much since they had a gifted person making them a great website. I've since been promoted to high admin status, although the only real task I do for them now is scan, and scan, and scan, and scan...
I've also worked with other groups. I helped out when Korean-Movies became Korean-Manga. As well as some groups that have simply vanished after only making a few releases.
MegKF: It was actually Kaila of DGT who did almost all the work getting groups together to make her Christmas Bonanza work. She contacted a lot of groups about seeing who might be interested in trying to make this happen. I was pretty lucky in that I had a relatively short manga that I wanted to scanlate that no one was working on. But with anything like this it's a lot of work, we had to make sure names matched up and the use of honorics (san, kun, etc.) matched up. As it was, I ended up lending my translator out to translate some of the other chapters, which I scanned. Only 1 chapter wasn't scanned by me, the group actually went out and bought a copy to re-scan since they didn't like my scans. It was my first time scanning. I've obviously improved in the years that have followed. To my knowledge, nothing like it has been attempted since.
MegKF: I've been pretty lucky. Publishers haven't really contacted me about any legal issues. I think a lot of that comes from the emphasis I put on making sure things are clearly labeled on my website. I post things like who has licensed it and where to buy it on my website. I also have a trigger in my IRC channel that will list licensed titles I've worked on pre-license and who licensed them.
The only publisher I've had contact with is DramaQueen, mainly because the managing director is someone I'd known for a couple of years before she started DQ. I've actually suggested titles to her to read, which she later licensed. I'm sure some people are upset about that now since they're currently staled in production. I do my best to help promote them since I really want their titles and them to flourish. I've even recommended some of my staff to them to work there, some of which were accepted. My friend at DQ has also recommended contacting me about feedback about scanlation when someone wants scanlation feedback, which is pretty cool and surprising.
The only problem I've had with a project is when I scanlated a Spanish manga to English from Polish of all things. The authors contacted me, and pretty much said that I should have gotten their permission, that they should be mentioned in all my credits and that one of the translations were incorrect, although they admitted that might have been a mistake made going into Polish. Overall they were very polite about it.
MegKF: My most popular project was probably my first, Hana-Kimi. I was one of several groups doing it, so I got a lot of attention for it right away. In fact, the reason my group succeeded as well as it did is most likely because of its popularity. It's now licensed by Viz, though I must say that all the attention and time I spent on it ruined it for me. I only own a couple of volumes of it and I didn't re-read its scanlations for that reason. In fact I didn't really like editing it after the 5 volumes or so, it was only the introduction of other series that kept me going. My first popular yaoi series was Kusatta. It's actually shounen-ai and relatively long at 10 volumes. I gained most of my yaoi loving readers with it. I still love this series and hope that it'll eventually be licensed.
MegKF: I don't think there isn't anyone who got into scanlating shoujo projects when I did who wasn't inspired by ShoujoMagic. And I can't help but be in awe of their work even now. When I started scanlating, I didn't know how much work went into making a single release until I was making my own and they were always making so many. I was also really connected with DGT, who I jointed with on a couple of releases from my first project, Hana-Kimi as well as for the Christmas Bonanza multi-group project.
MegKF: The future of my group is never certain, well at least on how active it is. Staff comes and goes. Sometimes I've got a lot of staff and sometimes hardly any. But I made a promise to myself when I started scanlating that I wouldn't stop until I finished all of my projects, though I do count things being licensed or other groups taking them to finish that those projects are done.
The future of scanlations in general is a mixed thing, I think. Right now we're in a grey area of the law. I like to think that publishers appreciate the work we do, letting them know what to license by following our readers on what people want to read. I also know that other groups working on projects after they're licensed can bring us down if they're not careful. I doubt scanlating will ever go away completely, but I do worry about the negative attention it can receive when scanlators ignore the law.
MegKF: I sometimes mention this and I think it's a feeling most readers should have. If you want a manga to be perfect, convince a publisher to license it. If you feel it wasn't worth your money then tell them. No scanlator should be making money on scanlation. We do this because we want to share manga with others and we bring attention to a lot of manga that publishers might never have noticed otherwise.