The Manga Industry Embraces AI for Translation: A New Era for Dragon Ball, One Piece, and More
manga ai for translation

The Manga Industry Embraces AI for Translation: A New Era for Dragon Ball, One Piece, and More

In a move that has sparked controversy and debate, major manga publishers in Japan are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) for international manga translation. Following Shogakukan’s investment in AI translation, Shueisha has now joined the trend, along with other industry giants.

Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kadokawa, and Square Enix Invest in AI Translation Technology

manga ai for translation
manga ai for translation

According to a recent report by AnimeRecorder, the company Mantra has received a significant investment of 780 million yen (approximately 4.5 million euros) to further develop its AI manga translation technology. The investment comes from Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kadokawa, and Square Enix, signaling a strong commitment to AI-powered translation.

One Piece, Spy x Family, and More: AI Translation in Action

Mantra’s AI translation technology is already being used for several popular manga series, including:

  • Vietnamese versions of One Piece and Spy x Family
  • English versions of I’m So Hungry I could eat Basahi and Byebyebye

With these high-profile titles now being translated using AI, it’s only a matter of time before other popular series, like Dragon Ball, follow suit.

Shueisha’s Vision: A Decade of Global Manga Expansion

manga ai for translation 1
manga ai for translation 1

Shueisha has stated that the next 10 years of the manga industry will be marked by a focus on reaching a wider international audience more quickly. This aligns with the original goal of investing in Mantra: to combat piracy by providing official translations faster.

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Representatives from other investing companies, such as Shogakukan and Square Enix, also emphasize the importance of continuing to push for manga globalization. The aim is to make new manga available more quickly in languages that typically face difficulties or delays.

The Human Touch: A Potential Casualty of AI Advancement

Despite the potential benefits of AI translation, one can’t help but wonder if investing over 4 million euros in human translators, who have been working in the industry for years, would yield better results. While the cost-benefit ratio of AI may be appealing to companies, there are valid concerns about the potential dehumanization of the manga industry and its impact on quality and authenticity.