DCML Digest, Vol 52, Issue 13
john at lastkisscomics.com
Mon Jun 18 02:01:54 CEST 2007
Wow. It's been years since I've written anything on this mailing list,
but I want to say that I agree completely with what Don Markstein just
posted regarding re-writes of translations. First of all, sometimes
jokes just don't translate. So you have to add something. You have to
make changes. I've never re-written any European Disney scripts, but I
did do a re-write for a five-book Viz series, Ultra Maniac. In that
case, I think one of the reasons I was hired was that the editor knew I
could write new gags.
I also agree with Don about my own Disney/Egmont scripts. I want the
people who translate and re-script my stories to make me look good. Of
course, I want them to remain true to the spirit of my story. But
there's no way they can do that if they try to go with a literal
translation and don't add references and terms that make sense in that
> Translation and censorship
> "Donald D. Markstein" <ddmarkstein at cox.net>
> Sat, 16 Jun 2007 06:26:29 -0700
> dcml at nafsk.se
> dcml at nafsk.se
>> I'm not sure I'd like it, though... just as I did not like the
>> Flintstone reference... this is 1957, the Flintstone still had to
>> air! But besides that... if there is no reference in the original,
>> then there must be no reference in the translation, no matter what.
>> Not even the Phantom Blot reference later on in the story, there is
>> no such thing in the original.
>> I'm also sorry to see that censorship in the first two pages (about
>> hunting). I know that many Italian reprints of this story were just
>> as censored (actually, even more), but that's not a good reason.
>> Censorship is always wrong, no matter what.
> How ironic to read the second "no matter what" in the paragraph
> immediately following the first! What is an absolute, unequivocal
> statement of what MUST NOT be in something, if not an attempt at
> Being a typical monolingual American, I don't do translation work. But
> I've written new dialog for both Gladstone and Gemstone when the
> original writer has made a good story, but his non-native skill with
> English has rendered the actual words on the page less than ideal.
> It's a lot like translating from English to American. In the credits,
> it's called "American script".
> My sole mandate in this work is to make it entertaining. Usually,
> that's done by remaining faithful to the story as a whole, but playing
> fast and loose with details. If I think of a good gag that can be
> slipped in without damage to the original, I have no qualms about
> doing so. I've even inserted entire subplots that weren't there
> before, tho the opportunity for anything as radical as that doesn't
> come up very often.
> If there's a reference in the original that may strike a modern reader
> as dated, you can bet it'll be modernized in the American script. And
> if I can insert a reference into the script, that modern American
> readers will get, I'll do so in a heartbeat. In a Scarpa story
> published by Gladstone during the '90s, I needed an anology to fit
> into the reader's cultural context, so I made a passing reference to
> President Clinton's cat. It was perfectly apolitical, so no problems
> there -- just a thing everybody had heard of, which was therefore
> available for use -- which, to an American audience, the European
> equivalent was not, even if a "faithful" translation would have used one.
> I took some flak from this very list for something else in that same
> story. "How would you like a translator to do that to one of your
> Egmont stories?" I was asked, tho it came more in the form of a
> challenge. I responded by asking the translators to make me look good
> in their languages, whatever that took. We're all familiar with the
> idea of things being "lost in translation". That's inevitable. But the
> translator can also put something in to replace it. There's no reason
> a translated version can't be as good as the original, provided the
> translator, who presumably is as good a writer in his own language as
> editors seem to think I am in mine, is given a free hand.
> As for "censoring" things like references to hunting or (one of my
> favorite things to drop) tobacco smoking, bear in mind that while
> these stories, churned out like yard goods for the voracious appetite
> of a weekly comic book, may indeed be deathless art -- that's not how
> publishers see them. They're just trying to sell funnybooks. If a
> racial stereotype, perhaps perfectly acceptable in some bygone era,
> would cost him circulation by offending some modern readers -- he'd be
> a darned fool not to soften or eliminate it. It's not a matter of
> right and wrong. It's what the audience is likely to buy.
> In an ideal world, there would be separate editions for quaint, musty
> antiquarians who want it precisely as it was, and modern readers who
> just want to be entertained -- the antiquarian edition, of course,
> available only privately, so as to avoid unnecessary
> circulation-damaging controversy -- but we don't happen to live in an
> ideal world. In the here-and-now, only one edition of the average,
> routine story is going to see print, and it's going to be the one with
> mass audience appeal. End of story.
> Quack, Don
> P.S. Translating Herriman?!! Since much of his appeal lies in his
> inventive use of the English language, that must be a daunting task!
> Hats off to anyone who can evoke a similar response in another
> language! But I'll bet a good job of it would be nothing like the
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