Interpretive Dissonance:
        Translating Manga

Translating manga requires slightly more work than translating other foreign comics. Manga is meant to be read right to left, so the art has to be flipped. Word balloons (where the dialogue is) have a more vertical shape than western comics. With most translations, it's simply a matter of replacing the foreign dialogue and captions with English; however, with manga, the word balloons themselves often have to be re-drawn, and sometimes the art filled in where the original balloon had been. Sometimes, when the translation has been done by a small company on a shoestring budget, you'll see dialogue balloons with only one or two words per line.

Anime is available throughout the U.S. and Canada, sometimes subtitled, sometimes dubbed, sometimes in its original form. Most large comic book specialty stores have manga translated into English, published by small American companies such as Antarctic Press. Regional science fiction conventions nearly always have an anime room. The Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, which first popularized and made available anime and manga in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is still going strong in New York and California. I hear that Frederik L. Schodt's "Manga! Manga!" is being updated and may be back in print. And on the Internet, rec.arts.manga is a very active place.

According to the grapevine, in a few months hundreds of Japanese comics will be available—in English—in comic-book specialty shops distributed by Capital City.

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