Back in roughly August or September 2000, I started teaching myself Japanese because I wanted to play some video games with no existing translations (at the time, anyway). A noble endeavor, right? Anyway, it wasn't long before I'd mastered the grammar basics and learned to read kana almost as well as I can read the Latin alphabet. But that's the easy part.
Fluency is about vocabulary and ease of use. Eleven years would sound like plenty of time to gain that fluency, wouldn't it? Except that I did not spend the full eleven years actively studying. Probably not even a fourth of that. It's not that I've been lazy about it so much as I've been undisciplined and unfocused for most of the past decade. I've also been hindered by the fact that I haven't had a teacher to guide and correct me, or a pen pal or someone to converse with regularly.
But I have learned a great deal. Far more than the average fanboy. And I constantly see improvement in myself whenever I look back on old translation attempts. (The fact that I can go back and correct my old errors is the main reason I pretty much only do translation work on my site, rather than in any outside group projects.) So I'm confident that my unorthodox learning methods can work (along with some new study methods I'm trying). I've also recently gained the focus and discipline I need, so I'm going to bump up my immersion in the language.
Which finally brings me back to the website, and that stuff I mentioned a couple weeks ago. You'll be seeing an increase in translation projects, as part of this increased focus. I know people would prefer that I went back to the Dragon Ball guidebook translations, but frankly I think it's a little out of my league at the moment. Instead, I'll be focusing heavily on my Sailor Moon projects for the next few months, until I feel more confident about going back to the guidebooks. I need to surpass myself and climb over the wall of Super Translator before I can defeat the Daizenshuu.