Monday, February 14, 2005

Profile: Manga translator Fred Schodt

Animation Insider profiles manga translator and author Frederik L. Schodt, whose translations include the entire Astro Boy series and Man-Machine Interface for Dark Horse and The Phoenix for Viz:
My goal is to recreate the experience that the original target reader has with the original source language. In other words, in my case I try to recreate the experience that the Japanese reader would have when reading the material in Japanese. For manga translation I also try to give primacy to the illustrations. It's fairly easy for manga translators to forget that the pictures, not the words, are usually the most important part of the manga. Manga translation is different from other types of translation in this sense.

... The characters do often have strong voices. But translating them is really quite a natural process for me, at least. I just listen to the sound of the voices in my head when reading the original Japanese, and then imagine what they would naturally sound like in an English situation. Sometimes translating Japanese too directly makes it sound too corny in English, but there are ways to soften this effect. Out of the respect for the original authors, I tend to do fairly literal translations from Japanese; I think it's possible to do so and still have very natural-sounding English, but not all translators would agree, I'm sure.