About a year and a half ago I built myself a tool I call “translation workbench” to make reading manga (in its original Japanese) easier. Going from textbook Japanese to colloquial Japanese is a hell of a jump and there’s really nothing quite like manga for absorbing common speech.
The core problem though is, unless you can read all 2,136 常用漢字, you’re going to spending 90% of your time in the dictionary. That is assuming you have no problem with the grammar.
So I did what I do. I built a tool! Take a picture of a page, upload it into translation workbench, splash some ML+computer vision on it to detect the page + apply keystone correction, run it through a preliminary translation engine, ENHANCE, select regions of interest + apply layout. Voila, you now have all the extracted kanji in a place where in-browser tools like rikaikun can drastically speed up reading time.
Anyway, this tool has been running on AWS and I even did the basics of productizing it so other people could use it… but then I basically got pulled in another direction. Is this something you’d like to use? Or even work on? The market of English-speaking Japanese learners that get far enough to attempt manga is relatively small, but I keep thinking about it anyway. I mean, I built all this, so maybe it’s worth something to someone other than me.