A Japanese start-up wants to increase manga translation with AI

A Japanese start-up wants to increase manga translation with AI
A Japanese start-up wants to increase manga translation with AI

Accelerate manga translation using artificial intelligence (AI). This is the objective set by the Japanese start-up Inc, which develops “deep learning” models allowing a qualitative translation of Japanese comics. Thanks to the technological tool, the company wishes to increase the offer available in English but also to counter pirated translations.

The Tokyo-based company, founded in 2021 and partly financed by of the largest publishers in the sector, Shogakukan, also said it had planned a fundraising of 2.9 million yen (around 17.5 million euros) to develop its translation support tool, based on “deep learning” models.

Translate 500 volumes per month

“We will first focus on English and the States. In the future, we want to translate into other foreign languages, but we have no concrete plans at the moment,” clarified Tatsuhiro Sato, vice president of the marketing department of Orange Inc. With this investment, Orange Inc hopes to launch, this summer, an online manga store in the United States called “emaqui”. It also estimates that the tool will make it possible, starting this year, to translate into English at least 500 volumes per month, or five times more than the current translation capacity without assistance.

The translation of manga is a long and difficult process due, in particular, to the specificities of the Japanese language and the limited number of professional translators faced with an abundant supply. The total manga officially available in English is around 14,000 volumes per year, or only 2% of the volumes published each year in Japan, according to the company.

A market in great shape

Japan, is the second manga country. A universe of great diversity with numerous mega-franchises such as One Piece, Dragon Ball or Naruto, whose variations on other media reinforce their popularity. The global market in the sector has grown significantly in recent years and is expected to represent more than $42 billion in 2030, an average annual growth rate of 18%, according to a recent study by the analysis firm Grand View Research. . The other side of the coin: the global market for pirated manga is also flourishing. In 2022, it would be worth $5.5 billion, according to CODA, the Japanese association of distributors of Japanese cultural content abroad.

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