Orphan doesn't get a lot of comments on its releases, but along with the "thank yous" (always appreciated) are invariably requests of the form, "Can you translate XYZ?" Just as invariably, the answer is no, so perhaps I should explain how Orphan selects projects to work on. The process is different for original translations versus resubs, so I'll describe them separately.
Orphan was formed to translate series, OVAs, and movies that were never finished or unjustly neglected. That remains the group's core mission. However, it's not possible to do every untranslated show or incomplete series. A couple of severe filters get applied to any project idea.
The most important factor is the interest and availability of a translator. While translators can sometimes be coaxed into taking on other people's ideas, mostly they want to work on what interests them. The Orphan team includes a number of translators, but they all have real life commitments as well as projects they want to do. Like everyone on the team, they are volunteers, and like everyone on the team, their time is precious.
A second factor is the availability of source material. Some shows simply have no original source or existing encodes. Over the years, I've become more finicky about the quality of Orphan's encodes, so there's more emphasis on original encodes from primary sources, like LaserDiscs, DVDs, or BluRays. (No one on the team has the facilities to rip a VHS tape.) But a viable source is no guarantee that a project can get done; Dokushin Apartment has been languishing for more than a year, despite the availability of a primary source. Ecchi is a hard sell.
A third factor is the interest of the team as a whole. If the team is not interested in a particular project, that project is unlikely to get finished in a timely fashion, if ever. And if I'm not interested, well… you can imagine.
While translation is much less of a factor in resub projects, it still matters. Whether the subtitles came from a fansub group, an R1 DVD or Blu-Ray, or a modern streaming source, they need to be checked. For fansubs, translation checking looks for errors in the original subtitles. For R1 and streaming sources, the focus is on overly clever localization or script simplification. Sanctuary and Hashire Melos illustrate the sort of problems translation checking will catch in R1 subs.
Source material is perhaps more important in resubs than in original translations. After all, there already is a subbed version; a new version needs to improve not just on the subtitles but also, if possible, on the video and audio quality. I'd be very reluctant to base a resub project on random Internet raws. This has led to some strange and expensive quests for rare LaserDiscs or DVD sets.
In addition, there has to be a compelling reason to do a resub. For Shirokuma Café, it was the lack of any Blu-Ray version of a favorite series. For Next Senki Ehrgeiz and Sanctuary, it was to improve the video and subtitle quality (LaserDisc softsub vs VHS hardsub). For Nagasarete Airantou, it was to have subtitles that were actually readable. For Princess Kaguya, I wanted a properly timed and edited version that would fit on a single DVD5.
Finally, the show has to interest me (or another project leader). I like comedy, slice-of-slice, historical, sci-fi, seinen, josei, shoujo, and cats. I don't like sports, mecha, or shounen. And I don't have the patience for really long series anymore.
Orphans and Orphan Fansubs
I'll close by reminding my readers that the original purpose of Orphan Fansubs was to finish orphaned projects. These projects often mix resubs (the episodes that were completed) with original translations (the episodes that were never finished). True orphans must satisfy the criteria for both types of projects: a translator must be interested; there has to be source material (at least for the unfinished episodes); the team as a whole has to want to work on the show; and there has to be a compelling reason to complete the series. And there's one other critical factor: the project needs to have been formally abandoned by the original group, or the original group must have disbanded.
Many orphan series fail on one or more of these criteria. For example, Sanada 10 has source material but no translator for its three unfinished episodes. Hidimari no Ki has caught a translator's eye, but there's no decent source material. MapleStory doesn't interest the team very much. And Hiatari Ryouko has not been formally abandoned, even though group subbing it has not released a new episode in almost two years.