Machine Assisted Visual Novel Reading [Copied and Updated] [v2.2]

Well, this is not related to anime, but is about helping people with basic Japanese knowledge read Visual Novels and understand hopefully most of it.

I originally learned this technique from this awesome article, and many thanks to the author Blitzwing for writing such a great article. However, at the time of writing this, the site isn’t in such a great shape, so I thought of writing this here. It’s basically based on the original article with a few updates and modifications. Hence the [Copied and Updated] part.

NOTE: If you would like to see the original article, a saved version is here .

So, many of us have used, and use ATLAS and/or SYSTRAN 6 with ITH/AGTH to extract text from the Visual Novels (referred to as VNs from hereon), and get a machine-translated, half-Engrish version of the text displayed within the VN. But most of it is quite hard to decipher I think, so here’s an alternate technique.

Please note that this requires that you have some very basic knowledge of Japanese, especially its sentence structure.

We will be using Wakan, a nice software, for interpreting the lines. Its advantage is that it automatically parses the sentence, splits the kanji and displays the meaning underneath. The disadvantage is that it fails to split kanji properly, and is not good at reading long strings of Hiragana (you gotta read and understand “、” by yourself).

Software we’ll need:

So, let’s get started.

Part I – Using Wakan only:

  1. Download the software and script, and install the software.
  2. With the Visual Novel you want to play installed, start it up and keep it in Windowed mode (not Fullscreen).
  3. Go to Start –> All Programs –> AutoIt v3 –> AutoIt Window Info.
  4. Drag and drop the crosshair under the “Finder Tool” to the game window.
  5. The Window Info tool will show the name of the VN in the “Title” section.
  6. Open the downloaded script in any text editor like Notepad (don’t execute it yet).
  7. Replace “GAME WINDOW TITLE GOES HERE” with the title of the VN with quotes.
  8. Add a “;” at the beginning for every line from WinActivate(“agth.html – Notepad”) to Send(“{F5}”). (This is because we won’t be using Rikai-chan, so commenting those lines out).
  9. Now fire up Wakan, ITH, as well as execute the script.
  10. If you are in Windows 7, ensure that you run the script with administrative privileges. If you don’t see it running with Admin privileges, go to “C:Program Files (x86)AutoIt3″ and set both AutoIt3.exe and AutoItv3_x64.exe to run with admin privileges (Right Click –> Properties –> Compatibility Tab –> Check “Run this program as Administrator”).
  11. Go to “Process” tab, select the “VN” process (say ExHIBIT.exe) and click “Attach”.
  12. If all goes well, it’ll attach to the process automatically and insert custom hooks (if needed). If  ITH fails to hook properly, and you need to use H-codes, refer to the latter section of this guide on how to do so using ITH). And if there doesn’t seem to be any H-code available for it, then it’s time to use good ol’ agth. Please refer to the latter section of the guide for details.
  13. Go to “Option” in the ITH window and ensure “Auto Copy to Clipboard” and “Auto suppress repetitions”are checked.
  14. Now start up the Visual Novel, go to the Configuration options and set the Text Speed to Mazimum, for effective hooking. The option will vary from VN to VN, but I’ll try to post a few of them at the end of this post.
  15. Now start up the Visual Novel with a New Game or load an existing savegame. Select an appropriate thread form the ITH Main window (such as “UserHook”). Not all of em will capture the text correctly, so cycle between them till you find the proper one.
  16. Now ITH will automatically capture the text and copy it to clipboard. Every time a line appears, select the Wakan window and read the lines as interpreted by Wakan. I have attached a couple of screenshots of me playing Midori no Umi, a great Visual Novel.
  17. Enjoy~

 

Part II – Using Rikai-chan+ Furigana Inserter for additional comprehension:

After setting up Wakan, if you feel it lacks what you need, try using the Wakan + Rikai-chan + Furigana Inserter combo. Rikai-chan is a popularFirefox addon that shows readings of kanji on mouse over, alognwith their various meanings and examples. However, since it needs you to mouseover every single kanji in a sentence, it might get cumbersome very quickly. So, in my opinion, it’s best when you want to inspect some particular kanji more carefully.

Please note that the configuration is tested on Firefox only. It should work on Chrome with Rikaikun instead of Rikai-chan, but it’s up to you to make it work for now.

So this is like an extension to the original guide. And as a bonus, it makes reading Japanese web pages much much easier. :)

Extra stuff for this step:

So, here are the extra steps you need to do after you’ve done setting up Wakan in Part I:

  1. Install Firefox (if you don’t have it already) and Rikaichan, Furigana Injector, HTML Ruby addons.
  2. Install the dictionaries for Rikaichan.
  3. Install Mecab (select UTF-8 as dictionary, and make sure to run the setup for it as Administrator under Windows Vista/7).
  4. In Firefox, click on Firefox button–> Add-ons –>Furigana Injector Options –> Check “Process every page automatically”.
  5. Reopen the old script in any text editor or AutoIt’s editor itself.
  6. Uncomment all the lines which where commented in Step 8 of Part I and save with a diffierent name (like a v2 or something).
  7. Now, before starting the Visual Novel, open aNotepad window, and save it as “agth.html”(without the quotes).
  8. Open the agth.html in Firefox.
  9. Now fire up the Visual Novel, Wakan, the script and hook the text with ITH/agth like usual.
  10. This time, after a new dialog appears, select the Wakan window, which will trigger the script and you’ll see the text appear in the agth.html open in Firefox.
  11. Mouse over that, as well as read the sentence in Wakan. This is more cumbersome, but you’ll gain better understanding of the lines, hopefully.
  12. And that’s it! Enjoy~

NOTE: You might get an error saying Furigana servers couldn’t be contacted. I believe that’s a temporary issue and should go away soon. You can simply use Part I only b commenting out those lines again and following Part-I after that.

 

Screenshots:

Kono Oozora ni, Tsubasa wo Hirogete in the foreground

Wakan in the foreground

Special Screenshots:

Awesome scenery

HNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

One of the biggest advantages of this methodology is that it’s an awesome tool for grooming your Japanese; reading and hearing can be simultaneously be practised.

Happy reading~

How to use H-Codes with ITH:

I had a hard time to make this work, but I was finally able to. Here’s how to:

  1. First of all, find the H-Code for the VN you want  to read by searching here.
  2. Fire up the VN you want to use the H-Code for, and attach it to ITH using the same technique as above.
  3. Start up a new game or load an existing savegame.
  4. Paste the H-Code in the window as shown:

<<Gonna add this later, need to retake the screenshot cos it’s gone from my PC and the internet>>

After this, it’ll show “UserHook inserted” in the ITH ConsoleOutput window. Then click once within the VN to advance the text and you should see a UserHook pop up with the proper hooked text.

What to do if ITH fails to hook the text and there seems to be no H-Code available for it:

The solution is to use good ol’ AGTH. Here are the steps:

  1. Download AGTH from here and extract it to a directory of your choice.
  2. Set it up to run with your game by following this manual.
  3. Now start the VN. If all goes well, a copy of agth will also start up.
  4. Now test the configuration by loading a savegame or starting a new game. If it’s set up properly, text will be automatically copied to the clipboard and you can just use it with Wakan like usual. If not, go to Options and check “Auto copy to clipboard after [150] ms”.
  5. Leave all the other settings as they are. If you face problems with hooking like repeated characters and stuff, try checking the other options and/or trying another context (“Context” are the options available in the drop down menu of agth which will be available once you start a new game or load an existing one).

Please note that I couldn’t save the settings of agth, for some reason. If someone can find a fix to that, please let me know.

Enjoy~

FAQ:

Q. What’s the difference with Wakan and Translation Aggregator?

A. From what I know, Translator Aggregator aggregates the translation from a number of online sources as well as Mecab and JParser when installed. Using it as an alternative to the method in this article might be an option (in fact, that should be used for taking yourself to the next level, see below). But this method is better than machine translation (read Google Translate, ATLAS etc), in my opinion. You should try it out after you’re comfortable with Wakan and stuff.

Note that I do not recommend using ATLAS and stuff… though there exist tools to make the deciphered English better, I personally feel that deciphering that Engrish takes more effort than learning Japanese itself, bit by bit. 😛 But that’s just my opinion, though. 🙂

Further Reading:

  • There is a nice article which will allow you to read Visual Novels as well as learn lots of Japanese. It also covers learning Japanese through watching anime. A must-read! Thanks to Aaeru for writing the article and Blitzwing for pointing it out.

Moving on to the next level:

  • So, you’ve read quite a few visual novels now, using this technique. But the limitation of this method is that you’ll be stuck using English as a crutch to help you understand Japanese. This article literally teaches you to ride a bicycle properly with side-wheels attached so that you don’t slip and fall. Now, after a while, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you should try out the next stage. For that, I recommend an awesome article by Clephas on his site. Here is the link to his article titled “Playing VNs with Translation Aggregator and ITH for those who know Japanese but not Kanji”. You’ll be using JParser + Translation Aggregator to read now. While it’s a bit tougher than the process outlined in this article, it’ll seriously help you in your Japanese studies, and in the long run, should help you increase your speed to maybe native- Japanese reading level. 🙂

 

PS. Anyone who tries these methods, please comment if it worked, or it didn’t work, or if it worked after fixing something that’s wrong in this guide. All comments are much appreciated.

 

Changelog:

  • Version 1.0 (June 2, 2012) – Original article written.
  • Version 1.1 (June 20, 2012) – Added some more steps and fixed a critical issue where Wakan would not automatically copy things from clipboard and display the meanings (Steps 10 & 14 added). From here on, it should mostly be my experimentation and updating this guide.
  • Version 1.2 (June 21, 2012) – Ran into a new issue while trying to play the trial of PULLTOP’s Kono Oozora ni, Tsubasa wo Hirogete aka Konosora, where ITH fails to hook properly and there’s no H-Code available at agthdb. Looks like agth hooks it just fine, so added the section and updated the main steps.
  • Version 2.0 (June 28, 2012) – Was finally able to make Rikaichan work, alongwith Furigana inserter! This marks a major addition to the guide, so marking it as Version 2.0.
  • Version 2.1 (October 25, 2012) – Not many changes done, just updated the screenshot section and changed the permalink so that it actually becomes a permalink. Still need to add the ITH H-Code insertion screenshot.
  • Version 2.2 (March 30, 2013) – Added a new section on moving to the next level (atleast that’s what it seems to me right now). Will be adding some things on the profile very soon.
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10 Responses to Machine Assisted Visual Novel Reading [Copied and Updated] [v2.2]

  1. Aaeru says:

    Hey sm the images after “Screenshots:” and “Midori no umi in the foreground” is broken it shows up as ‘not loading’ for me

  2. maou says:

    I tried this but something went wrong…
    In the Visual Novel the text go on very fast and I can’t read anything (as if I were skipping it). As for Wakan, when I click on the window it always says “no block selected. Do you want to translate the whole text? It could take a some time”.
    Cold you help me, please? I don’t get where I was wrong

    • sm2345 says:

      Hmm… can you check the following things:

      1. If you’re on Windows 7, are you running AutoIt.exe as Administrator? The script goes all haywire if it’s not granted administrative privileges.

      2. Do you have Auto Mode or “Skip all text” on within the Visual Novel itself? What’s the name of the one you’re trying to read? Can you upload a screenshot of the “Options” in the VN?

  3. maou says:

    Thank for answering, I solved the problem! It seems that I put one “;” more than the ones requested on the script and selected the wrong “UserHook” on ITH. Now it works well.
    But unofortunately I got stuck in the second part of the guide… I think I followed every passage but when I click on Wakan, it takes me on the agth.html page on firefox without pasting the text.
    It remains empty: http://imageshack.us/f/832/htmlei.png/

    Furthermore, when I click on wakan a window appears asking me to save the text in a file (why?). Screen: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/838/htmlil.png/

    Maybe I did again something wrong with the script… here’s is the screen of it: http://imageshack.us/f/6/v2222.png/
    But I just removed the “;” at the beginning of each line >_<

    • sm2345 says:

      That *should* be caused by something wrong in the script in regards to uncommenting or something like that… I’ll look into it ASAP.

  4. maou says:

    Any news? :'(

  5. Skyover says:

    The ITH program worked really well at extracting the text from a couple VNs I tested out, but it doesn’t seem to work for this VN.

    http://i.imgur.com/jqBxjaS.jpg?1

    It only extracts a part of the text. Is there a way to fix this? The VN in the screenshot is 月に寄りそう乙女の作法 if it isn’t legible in the screenshot.

    • sm2345 says:

      Hmm, are you using ITH 2.3 or 3? If you’re using 2.3, please try running the updater application that comes with ITH(updater.exe or something); that should update it to 3.0 and try again. If it still doesn’t work, we’ll need a H-code for it.

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