Are there any specific theories and techniques for translating comics?
Thread poster: pradityar

pradityar
Local time: 01:33
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Apr 23, 2013

I'm writing a thesis about comic translation, but I'm confused is there any specific theory and techniques in translating a comic?

 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds interesting Apr 25, 2013

the only thing I can think of is that the speech bubbles remain the same size so the size/length of the text can't differ greatly from the original.
If you understand some French, or you know someone who does, you could search on this forum for previous discussions under the heading 'bande dessinée'. Belgium is the European home of the comic and plenty of Belgian comics have been translated (usually from French) so you may find more information that way...


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:33
Italian to English
Ideas Apr 25, 2013

My experience is with comic books rather than what we understand by "comics" in the UK.

Obviously, the language register can be very different from most texts, with dialogue predominating and sometimes a lot of slang or at least colloquial terms.

If it is stories you are translating, don't make the mistake I once made of overlooking a key "frame" which revealed who the culprit was, resulting in later errors due to misunderstanding. Read the whole story first!


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
You're right Apr 25, 2013

Russell about the distinction between comics and comic books. I hadn't thought about it but of course Tintin/Asterix can't be compared with Marvel.

 

Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Hard but fun Apr 29, 2013

It's a topic that interests me very much and which I'm dealing with again these days. There is plenty of material around of any kind, especially if you understand some other language and not just English since, execpt Japanese mangas and maybe some rare example of works in French, Spanish or Italian, English is rarely the target language in this field but rather one of the source languages.

I'll try to compile a list and some links and get back to you on this as soon as I can. I've just finished watching an interesting conference on YouTube on reading and translating comics but it was in Italian.

Theories? Many as for translation in general, it depends on the kind of book, language, author, target etc.

Techniques? Sure. Basically, it's not an easy job since – unlike a novel for instance – you are contrained by the baloons and by the images so cultural references, puns, idioms, jokes etc. sometimes are extra hard and not immediately translatable/localizable because of the visual aspect and the limited space.

I advise you to investigate also similar, neighbouring translation areas like audiovisual translations (subtitling, dubbing etc.) for TV/Cinema and video games since they are strongly related to the subject.

Have fun!

As for the distinction about bande dessinée and American superhero comics or high culture vs. low culture or whatever I'm not going there;) There are many genres and subgenres just like in any other art form and they vary from country to country and inside the country itself.

I love both Asterix and Spider-Man none would come to my rescue though... too bad!;)


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:33
Italian to English
Another point Apr 29, 2013

It is said that only 7% of communication is in the form of words and 93% is in body language. This obviously relates to face-to-face communication rather than the translation of written texts, but the introduction of pictures showing physical environments, facial expressions etc. in comics undoubtedly adds a substantial percentage of the message and can have a significant influence on the way the actual text is translated.

My translations of comic books were for the purpose of film scripts and, while the first stage was to replace the dialogue in the bubbles, the second was to prepare descriptions of the physical settings and analyses of the characters. What they said only made a small contribution to this exercise.


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Are there any specific theories and techniques for translating comics?

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running, helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features, ensures new

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search