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NewsTuesday February 23rd, 2021

Read Japanese Manga Online with The Help…

Mantra, a Japanese startup in Tokyo develops machine-learning-based translation technology. The technology was then applied to online Japanese manga reading sites. The technology is known as the Mantra Engine.

The Mantra Engine platform is specifically designed to translate manga content from Japanese into other foreign languages. Thanks to this platform, comic producers and distributors can release Manga titles in foreign languages, where the translation process is fully assisted with a single web page-based interface.

What about the accuracy of the AI-based translation engine?

Translation by machines and humans does feel different. However, specifically for Mantra Engine, the results of machine translation will still be combined with corrections and proofreads from professional translators.

Mantra Engine can cut the translation process in half of the normal translation time. Currently, this machine learning-based machine translator supports English and Chinese, but in the future, it will continue to increase the number of languages supported.

Helping the Global Expansion of Japanese Manga

Mantra Engine aims to assist the global expansion of Japanese manga overseas. They also want to reduce the impact loss due to piracy. There are at least three main objectives aim to be achieved by the Mantra Engine, they are:

  1. Streamline the production process of foreign language manga
  2. Character recognition of letters (reading Japanese letters in callout)
  3. Machine translation and replacing text in callout with script settings in the target language

The electronic version of the manga is now available online and is widely accessible. The ability of the Mantra Engine platform to publish new episodes in foreign languages, even for weekly episodes, is a powerful tool for the Japanese manga industry that is currently looking to increase sales through global licensing and multi-language distribution.

Glossary for Terminology

It is common among tech companies, especially those focused on AI, that the wider the scope of automated processing, the more value it can deliver.

In machine translation, the company even added a glossary feature to manage terminology on their official version of the platform. This glossary aims to address major problems they encountered during the trial period.

In Manga, unique nouns are often used. If you rely solely on Google Translate, when you find a mistake for a noun, fixing everything will take a lot of time. It’s different if you use a glossary. Whenever you come across a translation for a unique noun, register it in the glossary to remind you when you come across the same word later.

In June, Mantra raised 80 million yen (approximately $ 760,000) from VC Deepcore which focuses on Japanese AI, DMM Ventures, Legend Ventures, and unnamed angel investors.

Photo by Miika Laaksonen on Unsplash

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