By request, I’ve decided to do a short post explaining a useful tool I’ve recently come across that can be used to automatically translate Japanese names to English (romanji) when reading any web-page. This tool is especially useful if you’re interested in animation and animators, because often these credits are not promptly translated into English on websites like ANN or Anidb (or not at all). The particular extension I use is something called “Fox Replace” (ver. 0.12.2). it’s a firefox extension, so you’ll need that browser. This extension allows you to build up a substitution list, where you tell it to replace a Japanese name with the English characters. You can build up several lists, and each list can be applied to a range of websites, or for every website. I’ve started creating a list of animators that I’m interested in.
Now, whenever the Japanese names on the left appear on any web-page, they are automatically replaced with the corresponding English names in the right column. The need to build up your own list might be seen as a downside by some, but for me it’s perfect; I wanted a tool to show the names of animators I’m interested in appearing in credits. Instead of getting a fully-translated page of names to sort through, the notable staff members jump out at me in English amid their Japanese peers. For example:
That is from a page showing all the credits for each episode of Panty & Stocking. There are a number of websites around that list Japanese credits for anime episodes, but by far my favourite one is here. They update every day for the currently airing anime, and list the full genga credits.
One of the things that impressed me with FoxReplace is that it runs its list off a simple XML file, so lists can be exported and imported very easily. But probably the most powerful feature is that it can automatically use an XML file from a website. That got me thinking, if others in the sakuga community start to use this tool it could potentially be very worthwhile for someone to host an xml file which can be updated based on people’s suggestions and contributions (say on the 4chan sakuga thread). That would save everyone the trouble of putting together their own lists.
To get people started, I’ve put up my own list for download HERE.
I’m assuming everyone is clever enough to find and install a firefox extension by themselves, so I won’t elaborate on the basics. I will say that you can use wildcard characters when you’re building url lists. So, for example, if you wanted the list of animators only to apply to the one website (but all of its urls), you could have: “http://wiki.livedoor.jp/radioi_34/*”.
I find this to be a really handy tool, and I’m hoping others will too. If we can work together to keep a good communal list together, it could be very powerful indeed. It’s in that spirit that I made this post, and I hope that when others come across their own useful tools they’ll share them too with the combined aim of making appreciating anime more accessible!
Comments welcome, especially if it’s about helping host/build a list!