JAPAN SOCIETY PRESENTS MANGA IN AMERICA: HOW ENGLISH EDITIONS ARE BORN
Well I attended the Japan Society’s Manga in America event. The place was packed with fans of Manga and I’m sure anime.
On stage there were 5 speakers:
- Allison Powell who was asking the questions, she is a literary translator, editor and publishing consultant.
- Ben Applegate is the director of Kodansha Comics and also is an editor as well.
- Tania Biswas is an editor with Yen Press.
- Ajani Oloye is an editor at Penguin Random House and also a freelance translator.
- Deron Bennett is a letterer (person who puts the letters in the manga).
This event was very informative on the process it takes for a manga to come to the United States.
First, they made a valid point that in Japan, Japanese people read manga before watching anime. So if a manga becomes very popular they will turn it into an anime. Now in the U.S we watch the anime first and if the anime is popular then they will release the manga here in the states.
Another point they made which is very true, what is popular in Japan may not be popular in America. Sometimes some manga or anime may overlap and be popular in both places. Then there are times where an anime/manga in Japan is popular may not have the same effect in the U.S.
So based off those two points and others they decide from there which manga they should buy the license for to bring to the states.
Once they have the license they receive the Japanese version of the manga. They then send the books to the translators to translate the Japanese language to the American standard English version. Now learning the process of what the translators do is not as easy. They have Japanese dictionaries, thesaurus, and online search engines to help them translate. A saying in Japanese may not have the same meaning in English. So they have to find other correct words to use. Even down to the sound effects, they have to translate that to a sound we know in English. Something as simple as SWISH or GYAHHHH. They have to translate each panel individually if the characters are speaking or if they have sound effects.
After the translator finishes their job, an editor comes to look over all their work and fix any problems or mistakes they may see. Like a demonstration they showed the translator used a word that was too long, so the editor had to use a similar word that is shorter.
After the editor does their finishing touches, in comes the letterer. This is something I never thought about with Manga, someone actually has to type the words on to the pages. As you can see in the picture above, there are some words that have to be bold or italic, Bold words are usually for when a character is screaming or shouting. Italic is a thought bubble. Everything is very tedious.
Last after the letterer is finish, the manga has a few final editors look over everything before they confirm that the book is ready for mass print.
So, I am very happy I did attend this event. I would have never thought of the process of manga coming here to America. But now I respect the manga even much more. Haha