Translating comics

Published 13th August 2013
post thumbnail

Comic Translations 626 × 626It is often the case that people think of translation as less demanding a task than it actually is, particularly when it comes to forms of literature that are widely considered ‘light’, such as comics and graphic novels. A closer look at these pervasive forms of art reveals numerous complexities and constraints related to language, as well as limitations to do with space and layout.

Untranslatability of humour
Puns and neologisms are a major concern when it comes to translating comics, as they constitute intrinsic features of the genre. Sense of humour often varies from nation to nation and it takes great skill and talent to be able to render a witty pun into a different language, at the same time attempting to stay as close to the original as possible.

Foreignisation and domestication
At some point during their work, translators will need to decide on the degree of domesticating and/or foreignising strategies they intend to use; in other words, they will either try to adjust the content of the publication in such a way as to bring it closer to the target audience or, in turn, they’ll attempt to instil the foreign element to their translation, at the same time providing some frame of reference for the reader. This process is often quite complex and involves more services than just translation, as for example localisation of the content so as to render it fit for the intended purposes. Adjustment may not only regard text but also format, as the type of publication may be changed (i.e. from a paperback to a hard cover), pages and panels may be re-arranged, even colouring may be changed according to different conventions of the genre in different countries.

Space constraints
Format and layout create further complications in the translation of comics, as pictorial elements have a strong presence within these publications and cannot be undermined. It is crucial that any new text fits the balloons and caption boxes or the pictures already in place, as language and images are intertwined to create the intended effect. Moreover, considering that there are differences in “length” between languages, a translator’s task is often much more challenging than most people would think.

disney-institute-lingua-translations 178 × 75
amazon-lingua-translations 120 × 28
procter-gamble - Lingua Translations 114 × 92
london-partners-lingua-translations 154 × 101
Swansea City | Lingua Translations 154 x 146
Man City | Lingua Translations 154 × 154
FC_Barcelona_(crest) 154 × 156
Star_Wars_Logo.svg_-1 1280 × 773
FiFA | lingua Translations 154 × 86
The-Score 232x120
M & S 271 × 186
Walmart-Lingua Translations 232 × 65
Welsh Government & Lingua Translations 400 × 400
Costco & Lingua Translations 232 × 155

 

TUI-Group Testimonial 205 × 46 EN

Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Lingua Translations provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Lingua Translations provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018 Roland Garros is almost here!     On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could …

Read More

Signing up a birth

Signing up a birth You might’ve seen my blog a few weeks ago about an Iranian couple who required an interpreter for the birth of their child. I’m sure anyone who has given birth or been a birth partner will say it is a scary and traumatic experience. You are hoping that everything runs as …

Read More
Get a quote today