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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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manga, translation, norms, comics, Japanese, onomatopoeia


This paper addresses the issues inherent in comics translation, with specific regard to the translation of Japanese manga into English. In North America, the norms of manga translation have undergone several radical shifts in the past few decades, with strong preference being shown alternately for domesticating and foreignizing translations. Such paradigm shifts suggest differences between readerships, which have a strong influence on translators’ and publishers’ decisions. This understanding of the current translation situation then provides the backdrop for a novel method of translation that is centered around an initial textual analysis, which is itself rooted in a form-focused understanding of the comics medium. This understanding of the medium also sheds light on some of the translation issues specific to the Japanese context, particularly those of flopping and treatment of onomatopoeia. At all points in the translation process, the translator must keep in mind that comics is a medium that utilizes multiple overlapping, intertwining sign-systems, which can only be translated effectively when considered in relation to one another. The paper concludes with two short manga translations, which represent the culmination of these ideas.


First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

Bruce P. Baird

klundy_dancing-on-colored-snow.pdf (51305 kB)
Dancing on Colored Snow

klundy_mr-okumuras-eggplant.pdf (175856 kB)
Mr. Okumura's Eggplant