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April 18, 2006

Alexis Siegel on Translating Comics

As First Second gets born this Spring (May 2nd, at your favorite bookstore), we hope to define ourselves by the care and attention that goes into the making of the books.

One aspect that goes mostly unmentioned is translation, but for the foreign titles we offer it's totally crucial. I've been dismayed over the years to see sometimes brilliant titles receive slipshod, clunky translations -- which are bound to turn off American readers and reviewers. I know this is dear to the hearts of publishers like Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics and Chris Oliveros at Drawn & Quarterly.

Anyway, :01 translator extraordinaire Alexis Siegel (and my brother) gave a very interesting interview at Comic World News on the subject of translating comics.

Comments

(See Viz's Whistle for the most hilariously wrong-headed translation in international Comics!)

Oh, I think Viz's Godchild holds that title.

I'm looking forward to the happy birth of First Second - lets hope it both is painless and healthy.

Just a quick note of translations. Remember, the English language audience extends further than the USA. There are few things that bring one up short when reading than a pure Americanism in a strip supposedly set in France. IIRC, for some reason Fantagraphics replaced Rugby with (American) Football when they reprinted a few 'Gomer Goof' strips - or at least used phrases such as 'touch-down' when a perfect English language equivalent already exists ('try').

(See Viz's Whistle for the most hilariously wrong-headed translation in international Comics!)

Keep up the good work!

George

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