Translation, Typesetting Company Amimaru Issues Statement Regarding Low Pay Rates

posted on by Kim Morrissy & Lynzee Loveridge

Manga translation and typesetting company Amimaru released a formal statement on Friday regarding pay rates for contractors, in response to accusations on social media that the company pays typesetters as little as US$1 per page. Amimaru asserts that the rates vary depending on the workload and scope of the project and that they pay "all of our agreed compensation in an appropriate manner."

ANN has independently confirmed that multiple typesetter were paid 110 yen or €1 per page (approximately US$1), €1.25 per page (US$1.48) for translation, and 14 yen (US$0.13) per page for quality checking. ANN has also confirmed that another typesetter was paid US$1 for every page of an entire book. A typesetter confirmed with ANN that the rate did go up based on difficulty, but was limited to typesetting on color pages.

"Anything not in full color is not considered difficult for the bonus," a former typesetter told Anime News Network. Amimaru project documents indicate that chapters ranked level 4-5 in difficulty included a 25% pay increase, or 135 yen (US$1.28) per page. According to documents provided to Anime News Network, typesetting project workloads varied with minimum and preferred goals. The preferred number of pages completed each month ranged between 50-300 pages or "more if possible." At the maximum number of pages completed at normal difficulty, a typesetter would earn US$284.75 a month.

Additionally, freelance project members are not allowed to identify which projects they worked on due to Amimaru's non-disclosure agreements and are not credited in the released series.

Manga typesetting is a graphic design job that involves putting the translated text onto the page. According to veteran typesetters, the amount of time it takes to typeset a single page can be anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the amount of text and the extent to which they must redraw or redesign assets.

Amimaru's full statement is below:

On 24th August 2020, we were informed that there has been an SNS post regarding one of our typesetting rates for Amimaru contractors.

We have agreed in advance with all of our contractors on the rates together with the content of work, before the work starts. We have paid all of our agreed compensation in an appropriate manner.

The rates are not unified, it varies based on the workload. If, based on the requests by the client, the cleaning and redrawing workload is smaller, the rate becomes lower due to the decreased workload. This workload is detailed in the style guide, and varies largely between the clients, or even between titles.

It is only possible to discuss the rate in combination with the style guide and the concerned manga material. It is not possible to discuss the rate out of context, without referencing the style guide and the manga material, and it may lead to misunderstandings and confusions.

If you have any questions, please contact us via the contact form. We will sincerely do our best to address your concerns.

FANTASISTA, INC., which runs manga distributors Manga Planet and futekiya, also released a statement regarding Amimaru rates as follows:

First and foremost, we only contract Amimaru for the translation and typesetting of works distributed on the Manga Planet/futekiya Library under the proper conditions. As such, the Manga Planet/futekiya team has no direct contractual relationship with the translators. Due to the restrictions imposed by Japanese laws, we also have no knowledge or involvement in the amount of compensation the translators receive.

Amimaru was founded in 2010 and established the Amimaru Translation and Localization Services Ltd in 2014. The agency handles translations from Japanese to English, French, Arabic, and Finnish, as well as other languages on request. Besides Manga Planet and futekiya titles, Amimaru has also been involved in the localization of Kodansha Comics titles such as Smile Down the Runway and Tokyo Revengers.

Sources: Amimaru, FANTASISTA, email correspondence

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