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H44 Translating COMICS

What is a comic?
Target public
Aim of the presentation + plan
I) Grammatical Aspects
1.1 Onomatopoeia
1.2 Punctuation
II) Importance of the form
2.1 The importance of the pictorial element
2.2 Typography
III) Cultural aspects
2.1 Source language
2.2 Cultural problems
2.3 Comics genres

Comicsenjoy a prominent space in the translation world
1.     What is a comic?
         Origin: In the late 19th and early 20th century, comics emerged in the US, with the newspaper comic strip. It spread all over the world. Comics tackled humorous topics and literary genres. It associated film with animation, mixed words and pictures. Comics can be a combination of words and images or a placementof images in sequential order. But the most important is narration. Comics are not an illustrated version of standard literature. Some critics argue that they are a hybrid form of art and literature, others state that they are a new and separate art; an integrated whole, of words and images both, where the pictures do not just depict the story, but are part of the telling. Being considered as a“low art” in the US, comics were seen as the 9th art in Europe, especially in France.
         What for? Comics are also an answer to the technological leaps made through the industrial revolution. In 1920s/30s, comics reached a further boom with the industry. However, to capture a wide audience and become a mass medium, it needed the invention of modern printing techniques. Thus, they weretargeting children in Britain through juvenile humour (“The Dandy”, “The Beano”), or with Tintin, in Belgium. In 1938, Superman introduces a new pictorial language, that of an abbreviated art style, which worked by allowing the audience to fill in gaps with their imagination. In 1980s, comics scholarship started to blossom in the US; at that time, there was a resurgence in the popularity of comics.
          How? Comics use text, ambiguity, symbolism, design, iconography, literary technique, mixed media and stylistic elements of art, which help to build a subtext of meaning. According to the country/continent, the basics comics became more specialised, such as the “manga” (Japan), the “manhua” (China), the “comic books” (US) and the hard-cover albums (Europe).
         Manga:developed in Japan in the late 20th century, they are comics and print cartoons in the Japanese language. The genre includes a broad range of subjects: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business and commerce, among others. Its success spread until Europe and the United States.

Target public
1)Starting point: published in newspapers
Although the comics form was established and popularized in the pages of newspapers and magazines in the late 1890s, it needed the invention of modern printing techniques to allow the form to capture a wide audience and become a mass medium.
In Europe and in the USA, children and male teenagers seem to be the preferred target audience. However, in Japan whichhas the largest comic books market in the world the target audience is equally split between males and females and a much greater variety of genres can be found, both fictional and non fictional.

When comics became popular, it was mainly targeted to children.
Within children’s comics we can for instance distinguish between educational comics
and leisure comics, including the “funnyanimals” genre which made the fortune of Walt Disney.
Within adult comics we can distinguish among a variety of fictional genres, such as adventure, humour, horror, romance, science fiction, sex/eros/pornography, “serious fiction”, etc.
Spread to adult audience

When translating comics, we have to keep in mind who is the targeted reader and be able to adapt our translation....
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