Off topic: Comic translation - how is it rated?
Thread poster: Beatriz-S
Beatriz-S
English to Spanish
Dec 28, 2005

Dear all,

I got my degree in Translating and Interpreting a few years ago but haven't had much professional experience since then as I've kept on studying. Now I've been asked to translate some comics (Spanish>English) and I have no idea of how this type of translation should be rated. I've been having a look at a number of web pages (translation agencies, associations...) but couldn't find any information on comic translation. Does anyone know whether it should be rated per word, as other types of translations? And should the average rates in Spain (apparently 0.07 to 0.10 euros per word) be charged?

I would appreciate as many thoughts as you can share with me as soon as possible, since I must submit an estimate no later than tomorrow and I wouldn't like to charge too much or too little.

Thanks,

Beatriz


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kimjasper  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:01
Member (2006)
English to Danish
+ ...
Alternative rate Dec 28, 2005

I suggest a per-laugh-rate, e.g. EUR 5 for a laugh, and EUR 10 for a big laugh. The funnier the text, the more you will get...

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Spanish to English??? Dec 28, 2005

Beatriz-S wrote:

Dear all,

I got my degree in Translating and Interpreting a few years ago but haven't had much professional experience since then as I've kept on studying. Now I've been asked to translate some comics (Spanish>English) and I have no idea of how this type of translation should be rated. I've been having a look at a number of web pages (translation agencies, associations...) but couldn't find any information on comic translation. Does anyone know whether it should be rated per word, as other types of translations? And should the average rates in Spain (apparently 0.07 to 0.10 euros per word) be charged?

I would appreciate as many thoughts as you can share with me as soon as possible, since I must submit an estimate no later than tomorrow and I wouldn't like to charge too much or too little.

Thanks,

Beatriz


Of all jobs, translating humour really has to be done by someone with real insights into the TARGET culture. If you are a native Spanish speaker, it's difficult to see that you will have the in-depth insights required to be able to 'transfer' humour, puns, etc.

If you are interested in comic translation, you could search for studies on Asterix and Obelix which have been translated from FR to many languages, and which have been studied a lot.

Just as an example of the translation of humour/adaptation of humour that requires a native speaker's insights, see teh extract below from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix.

I would charge by teh word, but at a premium rate, to compensate somewhat for the extra work implied by the special creativity required.

Puns in names
......
Many of these puns reflect the French original, in which, for example, the Egyptian in Astérix Légionnaire is named Courdeténis (court de tennis, i.e. "tennis court") in French and Ptenisnet in English. But the translation of puns is difficult, and Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge do a good job in the English language edition. For example, the translation of Ordralfabétix (referring to ordre alphabétique, "alphabetical order"), is Unhygienix, given that this character is a fishmonger infamous for his rotting product. The original Panoramix, which perhaps represents the druid who sees the whole picture, is named Getafix in the English version, as "get a fix" conveys the fact he makes potent potions. Assurancetourix (assurance tous risques or "comprehensive insurance"), the ear-offending bard of the village, becomes the apt Cacofonix. Another clever translation is that of Idéfix. An idée fixe is a "fixed idea", i.e. an obsession, a dogma. The translation, Dogmatix, manages to conserve the "fixed idea" meaning and also include the syllable dog—perfect, given that the character is a dog who has very strong views on the environment (he howls whenever he sees an uprooted tree). Note that the American version of the comic was done by a different translator, and tends to use different names. The word asterix is also commonly mis-used by English language speakers and writers in place of asterisk. Since the American translations were of such poor quality, many American fans of the series seek out the British translations instead.

[Edited at 2005-12-28 14:42]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Comic rates Dec 28, 2005

Hi Beatriz
I translated some comic books last year, for use as film scripts. The difficulty is counting the words, especially when you are only provided with photocopies or scans. I was offered a lump sum and on the basis of the first six pages the agency provided as a sample, that looked quite generous. Based on a wordcount of my final target language text, however, it turned out to be below my normal rate (which is within the range you suggest).
I had no complaints though because my "words per day" were significantly higher than average and I was also paid well for synopses and character / location analyses. The required format is also a key issue of course; if any DTP is required, you may well want to charge extra.
I was half way through the first book before the agency told me that, notwithstanding the ultimate purpose, stage one was (for a DTP expert)to recreate the comic book in English and therefore my text had to fit the balloons - not always so easy.
Although it's time consuming, I would strongly advise you to read the whole thing before starting to translate. Mine were mystery stories; some aspects were made deliberately ambiguous until the final pages and I jumped to some erroneous conclusions, which were not easy to locate after the event.
HTH
Russell


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Romina Minucci
Italy
Local time: 23:01
English to Italian
+ ...
rate per word Dec 28, 2005

why did you post your question as an off-topic one? it wasn't necessary in this case, it's a normal question.

Anyway, my tip is to apply a rate per word, as for many other kinda of translations. I for one would charge (in Italy) 0.08 Eur per word, but I don't know the average rates in Spain.

hope some Spanish translator can help you some more...

good luck!


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:01
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Time consuming, but fun! Dec 28, 2005

Last year I translated two graphic non-fiction books for children of about 8 years old. They were not meant te be funny, just educational, but it was great fun to do the job. It was very time consuming though, as the text had to fit in the balloons, which asked for some very creative translating. I was paid a normal rate per word, within the range you specified.

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