resource for translating onomatopoeia?
Thread poster: Geraldine Oudin

Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Feb 8, 2009

I was contacted by an publisher who wants me to translate comics from Japanese into French.
I am very exited about the idea, and I would like to find a list of French onomatopoeias to help me in this work. Unfortunately I haven't found anything convincing so far.
There is a French dictionary of onomatopoeias, but it is a bit expensive and I'd rather wait to see if they keep me after the first book to buy it.
Thank you for your help...

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-08 19:58 GMT]


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Katrin Hollberg  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:45
Japanese to German
+ ...
Only Jap/Engl (as a jumpstart) Feb 8, 2009

Hello,

I found this quite helpful when I entered into manga translation (and I am a native German) years ago...
http://www.oop-ack.com/manga/soundfx.html

The same to you. I did not find any comprehensive dictionary for Jap/Ger sound words at that time. And there isn't any promising one yet - I suppose...But this list contains some really helpful basics. So it was easy for me to adapt it to my native language and build up a small glossary of recurrent expressions.

After a while (depending on your manga theme) you will discover a lot of familiar terms and repetitions concerning the specific usage of sounds (closely combined to the author's attitude). So if there is a chance just give it a try!!!
Personally I had great fun with various manga translations (e.g. "Kaine" and "Tactics" for a German publisher). It is a nice relief from the average business...but you will not get rich with it...and it can be very time-consuming)

Greetings - Katrin


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
sound meaning list Feb 8, 2009

Katrin Hollberg wrote:

Hello,

I found this quite helpful when I entered into manga translation (and I am a native German) years ago...
http://www.oop-ack.com/manga/soundfx.html



Thank you ! It is much larger than the (paper) JP>FR dictionary I have.

I am not expecting to become rich out of manga translation, but as you said it is a nice relief to the daily business... especially romantic ones !


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
precision Feb 8, 2009

Since I have been asked in private, let me just answer here in public the dictionary I talked about isn't a JP>FR dictionary (which I have, and is not very useful), it is a FR>FR dictionary.

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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 18:45
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
do you think you need to translate comics ... Feb 8, 2009

France-Japon wrote:
There is a French dictionary of onomatopoeias...

by the book?! I would rather see it as the great creative challenge (and vocabularies be d*ned)


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Read some comics Feb 8, 2009

I suggest you take the time to read some comics in the destination language, to check what their readers are used to. It's not worthwhile to reinvent the wheel, especially if yours may come out elliptical.

To illustrate, I once had a very silly question:
What would be the onomatopeic sound for pigs in French?
If the usual "oinc" were used, it would be pronounced like "wank" in French.
It took me a while to find a fellow translator who told me they use the umlaut (") to write "oïnc", for the French cochons to say it properly.
As simple as that, but I'd never have thought of it.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 18:45
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
... because without diaeresis (umlaut sign) on i, oinc... Feb 8, 2009

would sound like woanque in French. And you know what this would mean for cochons, dont you? Comunication breakdown. Isolation. Misunderstanding. No more empathy.

[Edited at 2009-02-08 19:53 GMT]


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chica nueva
Local time: 04:45
Chinese to English
Off the top of my head Feb 8, 2009

France-Japon wrote:

I was contacted by an publisher who wants me to translate comics from Japanese into French.
I am very exited about the idea, and I would like to find a list of French onomatopoeias to help me in this work. Unfortunately I haven't found anything convincing so far.
There is a French dictionary of onomatopoeias, but it is a bit expensive and I'd rather wait to see if they keep me after the first book to buy it.
Thank you for your help...

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-08 19:58 GMT]


Hello France-Japon

Just an idea. Are the Japanese onomatapoeias in kanji? if they are how about checking in a Ch-Fr dictionary, it should list the pinyin (similar to romaji? I have no idea) transliteration and translation.

The onomatapoeias might be similar in both source languages, who knows.

Lesley

France-Japon:

Do Chinese comics use a lot of onomatapoeia?

That's a good question. There are anime etc video clips on Youtube, some of which have Chinese translations...
I suggest you could try asking in the Chinese Forum. It would be a nice topic.

L.


[Edited at 2009-02-09 02:10 GMT]


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reading comics Feb 9, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I suggest you take the time to read some comics in the destination language, to check what their readers are used to.


I have been reading many many of those, and my impression is many of the original onomatopeias are just skipped. It is true the Japanese use them a lot more than we see in a French or English comic, but I'd like to keep them when I can.

Lesley: Most onomatopeias are not in kanji, just in phonetics katakana. I have no problem with their sound or meaning, my problem is the target French language with its very limited onomatopeias. I read a research document which suggests that they can be invented by the author and that the spelling is free, except for the most common ones.
Btw I was wondering, do the Chinese comics use a lot of those?


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Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
You may not need a dictionary Feb 9, 2009

There are established onomatopoeias (animal noises, explosions, certain actions), but certain actions don't have any. For instance, how would you describe in French the sound of rushing water, a car's engine stalling, a bird landing, a sword being drawn? Quite possibly these would be new, and you'd need to see the onomatopoeia next to a picture of the action to clearly understand what it means.

Some become well-established even though they actually mean something in the original language. In American comics translated into Spanish, I've seen "bang" (gun shooting), "slam" (door closing), "boom" (explosion), "plop" (falling into water), "crash" (accident), etc. We've become used to them.

Doubtlessly, you know the many ways different languages employ to describe what should be the same sound, such as a rooster's. They barely coincide!

All this conveys the idea that new onomatopoeias can be more or less freely created, just as long as they sound OK to you. Here, let me brush my teeth in English:

Creak, creak, creak... Whoosh.
Squish.
Brush, brush. Brush, brush.
Spit, spit.
Gargle, gargle. Spit.

Even if I pronounce the above in Spanish, as long as I have pictures of the actions (opening faucet, running water, pressing tube, cleaning teeth, spitting toothpaste, rinsing mouth, etc.), they would surely pass for onomatopoeias, and so would many others.

Daniel


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Katrin Hollberg  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:45
Japanese to German
+ ...
It is definitely both... Feb 9, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I suggest you take the time to read some comics in the destination language, to check what their readers are used to. XXXXXXX
To illustrate, I once had a very silly question:
What would be the onomatopeic sound for pigs in French?


Yes, of course simply manga reading itself helps a lot. However, the Japanese language is extraordinarily rich of those onomatopoeic sounds. Moreover layout and sound word do not always simply depict the intended meaning. Japanese Manga can be very different from the typical American or European comic style.

I had to translate a complex ghost story. That's not to be compared to a simple teenage love story which is also popular in Japan...Sometimes you have to be very creative and inventive to be close to the original meaning. And if you have to start from the scratch a small list can be very helpful to have a good start. There IS a distinctive repertory of (typical) Japanese sound words one should not ignore to be close to the original text. Of course you have to be creative, too. There are expressions you will never find a suitable sound for in your mother tongue - due to the fact that this is not a real sound but a huge cosmos of feelings - all expressed by one word... I really would not like to sound arrogant but translating manga is not so "trashy" as one might suppose before starting... That's why I appreciate France-Japon's question)


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Katrin... Feb 9, 2009

...for your support.
Translating manga might not be rewarding in terms of money, but it is really an interesting kind of literature. And it is also a very varied, challenging one.


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