VocaDB gets new editors almost every week. Some of them are artists who registered to update their artist profile. Others add one or two songs and then leave. But there’s also those who stay. VocaDB is designed to be as easy to edit as possible: the editor inputs minimal amount of information and the system generates bidirectional links and listings automatically. This is one of our major advantages and a huge improvement in productivity. There’s also interactive warnings for common errors such as missing artists. Being a noteworthy database, we strive for consistency and reliability. Thus there are a significant number of conventions and guidelines related to editing the database that the editors must follow. Despite trying their best, often there’s something to be fixed the first time a new user edits something.
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2016 is coming to an end in about 1 month. I decided to write something about VocaDB – where we are we now and where we’re going.
Our goal is that the information on VocaDB is both accurate and reliable. Because VocaDB is a database specifically made for singing synthesizers, those synthesizer voicebanks are given more attention than on other music databases. If it’s known that the song uses a specific variation of a voicebank (such as Miku V4X Sweet), we want to display that information whenever possible. The problem is that often the exact voicebank isn’t mentioned anywhere officially. The artist might say that the voicebank used is “Hatsune Miku”, or possibly “Hatsune Miku V4X”, but you can clearly hear that it’s the English voicebank. Even worse, the artist might not specify the voicebank at all. Obviously this is a problem that has existed since the Crypton Appends were created for Vocaloid 2, but it’s only getting more complicated with V2, V2 Append, V3 and V4X versions of Miku out there. So what to do?
As noted earlier, VocaDB’s translation system is basically limited to 4 language options: original, Romanized, English and other. Up until now this included lyrics, meaning you weren’t able to specify the actual language of the lyrics (unless it was English). This made it inconvenient to add translations to many languages. That’s now fixed. There’s fields for original and Romanized lyrics, plus variable number of lyrics translations. Language for the original lyrics and translations can be specified and will be displayed on the song page.
In the future we can pick more sensible default lyrics to show based on the visitor’s user interface language or list of languages they’ve specified in their profile settings.
Some things to note: because the language of the old lyrics entries was unknown, we had to migrate that old data with some simple assumptions, which may be incorrect for some entries. So don’t be surprised if some songs are showing original and translated lyrics wrong. The type of lyrics can be corrected with the “Change to translation” and “Change to original” buttons as necessary. There might also be some other issues with the new system, so please let me know.
One of the unique features of VocaDB (at least I’m not aware of any other website that has this) is the option to choose your content display language: whether you want titles displayed and sorted in the original language, Romanized or English. Although it’s one of my favorite features, it’s still a compromise and leaves a lot to be improved.
We always want to get better. That’s why this time we’re asking what would you like to see improved on VocaDB. Have you had problems finding or editing information?
VocaDB’s user interface is currently available in English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Russian and German. I’m extremely grateful to the people who have helped with those translations.
For reference, here are statistics about the visitors’ native languages, as reported by Google Analytics:
Sometimes I get requests to add more user interface languages to VocaDB.
VocaDB includes a lot of strings, so translating the interface to a new language takes a time. I estimate about 10 hours for inputting the translations, in addition to the time it takes to actually translate the strings. On top of that, the translation needs to be maintained as the user interface changes.
Speaking of which, the German and Russian translations are badly outdated since they haven’t been maintained for a while. We’re also constantly looking for people to help with the maintenance of the Japanese translation since I cannot do it alone.
Because my time is limited, I have to prioritize. Looking at the above graph, Chinese is the 3rd most popular language among the visitors (not to mention Vocaloid is growing fast in China), so when szg28 offered to provide the translation, I accepted. But for other languages besides Japanese and Chinese, I can offer only minimal help.
Is it possible to do the translation without my involvement? Definitely – the German and Russian translations were added almost completely without my involvement. I have written a wiki page which explains the necessary steps. If you’re interested in translating VocaDB into more languages, I’m willing to offer some assistance, such as clarifying those steps if needed, but you’d be responsible for most of the work.
There has been some discussion about the intention of the different PV types.
The current policy is that the “original” PV type should be used for the first authorized PV for a particular song. In this case authorized means that the person uploading the PV had permission to do so. The reason for this requirement is that original PVs are promoted as official, and displayed separate from reprints and “other” PVs. Promoting PVs that use content without permission as official might insult the creators of original content, which in turn makes VocaDB look bad, so we want to avoid that if possible. We’re doing this to support the creators, whether they’re doing it as a hobby or professionally.
Maybe you’ve seen the Suggestions, requests, features to improve the website thread on the site. Related to that, I want to explain a few things.
I consider VocaDB a large, mature website. It’s feature complete in the sense that it has everything that I originally planned it would (and more), and there aren’t any major limitations/problems with editing or browsing the website. Of course a website needs to evolve, and there’s always something to improve or add, so it will never be completely done.