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 2, 2004
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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 7, 2010
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Cross between "scan" and "translate"
Usually associated with scanning in Japanese manga and translating it for people who can't read Japanese (like me)
They haven't finished scanlating (insert manga here)
by miso December 5, 2003
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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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A scanlator is a person who performs scanlations, which are the unauthorized scanning + translation of a source work, usually a Japanese manga of some sort, into English for dissemination by e-mail or blog.

For more information, see scanlation.

"Who's the translator on this graphic novel? Or should I say 'scanlator'."

"Scanlator is the word, the person is called "Kuzzy" but there's no full name, e-mail or blog address. They prefer to keep it that way because what they're doing breaks international copyright laws, even in cases of works that have been sitting untranslated into English for years."

by al-in-chgo April 13, 2010
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Scanlations are unofficial translations of comics, posed on the Internet. The name is derived from the process, as, usually, a scanlation is done through scanning a hard copy of the original, whiting out the speech bubbles, and typing the translation in its place. Scanlations can range from basic unjustified text copy-pasted from Google Translate to professional-quality localizations, though it is noted that scanlations are often more faithful to the original than official localizations. From the same source as "scanlation", the verb "scanlate" is also in use.

On top of its illegality, scanlation has a bad reputation due to a massive amount of scanlated material being erotic manga. However, it is a misconception that only such works are scanlated, or even only mangas at all; for instance, Franco-Belgian comics such as "Spirou et Fantasio" that never received English versions have been scanlated thusly.

Unauthorized translations of already freely available webcomics are sometimes lumped together with scanlations, although, since no scanning is involved, they may not actually qualify depending on who you ask.
The official translation was cancelled, we're lucky to have scanlations.
by Septimus Lector July 6, 2017
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