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Scanlations are pirated Japanese comic books (manga). Fans scan and translate the comics into English and post them on the Internet.
Hey otaku, Did you download the latest scanlation of Toriyama world?

Nah, I'm still reading Love Hina.
by Keitaro August 01, 2004
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An unauthorized copy of a Japanese manga to be found on the internet. Name comes as the images from the manga are scanned on to the computer and its words translated into English, giving the final, most readable copy for viewership (in comparison to a raw, which is the original scan of the manga). Is useful for several things, mostly giving readers access to manga that they can't find or they want to see the next chapter of, or just giving free and complete access to a manga.
Person1: Gahhhhh, that new chapter of Bleach won't be in America for months, but it is already in Japan.
Person2: Just find a scanlation online, those appear regularly.
Person1: Really??? MUST. READ. NOW.
by SleeplessMotive November 25, 2011
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Scanlation, from SCAN (or 'SCANned') + transLATION, is the unauthorized translation of a foreign graphic novel, usually Japanese yaoi or other sexually explicit work, from Japanese into English. Typically the scanlator scans the hardcopy text into a computer, and electronically whites out the Japanese characters in the thought balloons to replace them with English text.

Illegality is the essence of scanlation, as opposed to authorized translations in which rights are granted, royalties scheduled, and chain of intellectual property is maintained. Many scanlators will argue that the more erotic or hardcore types of manga (yaoi, bara maga) are rarely translated into English, and that even a Japanese best-seller can sit untranslated for years. (Example: the graphic novels of Gengorah Tagame, like his three-volume PRIDE, which has as subject matter the training of a novice in BSDM techniques and includes very explicit sexual language and images, and scenes of torrture.)
-- "I'm reading a scanlation of a Japanese 'bear-loving-bear' manga."

-- "Is it any good?"

-- "Definitely gets the plot points across, though sometimes the English is a little sketchy. The scanlator uses spellings like "colour" and "honor" so it's probably someone from the British Commonwealth or perhaps a Japanese person who learned English using English spellngs. No way of telling, really, their blogs don't have to say where they live or what they do."

by al-in-chgo April 07, 2010
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