What Do You Need to Create a Manga Translator?

Wed Sep 15 2021
Automation SolutionsMachine LearningApplications of AI

What AI-based techs are used to develop a manga translator platform? The technologies applied include image recognition, NLP, and machine translation.

What Do You Need to Create a Manga Translator?

Manga is a type of narrative fiction and comic book that has captured the interest of a fast-growing number of people. It is continuously gaining avid fans, not just in Japan where it originated and in the rest of Asia, but around the world. It has even inspired some anime and TV series, the most popular of which have their cult following.

However, there is a problem with manga that limits its reach: the language barrier.

Because mangas are written in Japanese, fans, and audiences from other parts of the globe have to contend with whatever has been translated to English or their languages. They have to wait for mangas that are still exclusively in Japanese to officially become available in English or their native language before they can start enjoying them.

But do fans have to wait for the official translated versions of a particular manga? If there are many free mobile apps nowadays that can translate whatever one is saying in a foreign language to your local tongue, and vice versa, then it must not be hard to create a similar app that is designed specially to translate manga into various languages.

What Does it Take to Create a Manga Translator?

A manga translator is an artificial intelligence-based machine translation service that would automatically translate Japanese text into multiple languages. Through this platform, you will be able to read manga in your language of choice.

To create a manga translation platform, you need to utilize several technologies, including:

  • Image recognition technology. This technology will automatically detect speech bubbles in a manga image or a section of a manga page. And we know this can be a challenge because manga can be very creative. Speech bubbles come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and sizes.

    As an alternative, it can also detect the grid pattern of characters or text blocks, which are more standardized and are typed in the same font. It will scan the image for regions of Japanese text or characters to be translated into your chosen language. The tricky part about this is that while most text or character blocks in Japanese are vertical, some are horizontal. So, your code should be able to differentiate between the two and automatically make adjustments.

    Through this technology, die-hard non-Japanese manga fans who cannot wait for translated versions of a new manga no longer have to input the Japanese characters or the text manually online just to get a translation. Or they don’t need to ask people who know Japanese to translate it for them. They can just take an image, and voila!

  • Natural language processing. Natural language processing is a branch of AI that helps computers understand and interpret human language. Through NLP, the platform will detect characters and recognize them correctly, even if they are in distorted fonts, which are usually applied in manga.

  • Machine translation. The block of characters or text in the speech bubbles will be automatically translated into another language while also taking into account its surrounding context. The text in the speech bubbles will be replaced with the translation.

    By taking into account the surrounding context of what's in the speech bubbles, it won't be just the mechanical substitution of words and phrases in Japanese for words and phrases in another language. This mechanical substitution usually produces poor translation considering that not all words in a particular language have an equivalent in another language. Certain words carry more than a single meaning.


Creating a manga translator involves a lot of steps, a lot of man-hours, a lot of patience, and a lot of trial and error, but this kind of app will prove very valuable for an ever-growing community of avid manga readers. We are talking about a community that pays for manga and will ultimately support manga artists, writers, and publishers.

However, you can create a manga translation tool more quickly and easily through PurpleDye, the AI app builder. You’ll be able to use end-to-end SaaS to develop and deploy an artificial intelligence-based app to translate manga and, in turn, help the manga industry grow faster globally.

Related Articles