Friday, April 20, 2007

Thank you, Aki, for your comment

I got an interesting comment from Aki.

Hello, Nancy. I'm looking forward to the sequel. I copied the picture of the comics and made it the flip horizontal. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I want to put in the words into which you translated it. I think that it will become readable comfortably for those who read from the left if it does so. I want the comic of a flip horizontal to publish some day.

Thank you for your support. I am working on "Poe no Mura" right now. I am working in the order of publication. Hopefully I will get to your other favorites, "Kotori no Su" and "Penny Lane."

Aki talks about flipping the images and inserting my translation into the actual comics. This is an interesting topic. This process is called "layout" in the industry. When Japanese comics were published here in the recent past, the images are flipped to support the American custom of reading left to right, top to bottom. But the new generation of American manga readers actually prefer to consume manga in the original format, right to left, top to bottom. I rarely see flipping these days.

But this layout process is still quite complicated. It is not enough to insert translated words in balloons, because English translations tend to get much longer than the original text, and consequently difficult to fit within the balloon. Also, sound effects are problematic issues, because they often become part of the picture, and are therefore much harder to work with. Either you need to remove them painstakingly in Photoshop and replace them with the English translation, or you just leave them there and add the translation next to it. (Some publishers just leave the sound effects as they are, without translation, in the original Japanese.)

So, you see, layout requires very heavy editing. As a translator, you don't get involved in that process. So my dilemma is this: while I would love to see you do a layout, my translation needs to be changed in that process. If it were a real publication, it would be done by the publisher, so I wouldn't have any real control. I am translating "Poe" as a hobby now, so I am not sure if I am willing to go through this very painful process. If necessary, I would rather do the changes myself, but I am not a Photoshop person, as you can see from the poor image quality in my posts. (But this is also intentional, because I think people will find the image quality unsatisfactory and, ideally, go and buy the real comics to appreciate this very delicate, nuanced work of Moto Hagio to the fullest extent.)

One reason I started this blog is for our young American manga fans, many of whom are studying Japanese very hard. They tend to like the translation as close to the original text as possible. I am including my translation notes and commentary along the way for them. So they may not necessarily appreciate me reducing my translation to fit it into balloons. Words are very important in "Poe" to create its very romantic and haunting atmosphere. I am not sure how to cut then down. Perhaps this is one reason no one attempted to publish this work in America?

So, in conclusion, I think it is better if we left my translation as it is and don't do layout. Sorry.


Aki said...

Hello, Thank you for the comment. There's a nice information, The "ぬりえ"(coloring) of "Poe no Ichizoku" is put on the market in Japan at May. It's popular among an adult. The address of the site of sale is there.
To a regrettable thing, It becomes sale only in Japan...

Nancy said...

Hi Aki,

Thank you very much for this very interesting information! I had no idea such things existed - wow. Japan always comes up with curious trends.

My husband got quite excited about it, too. Maybe he'll pick it up the next time he goes to Japan.