Translating EGS ?

It means "The Goonish Shive."

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Translating EGS ?

Postby Tybalt on Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:22 am

Hello all :)

Back in November, when I discovered EGS and read the archive, I sent Dan an enthusiastic mail to ask him this :

Me in my bunny early days wrote:*So*, my question. I'm in France, and since not everybody reads English around here, I can't share EGS with all my friends, which is really a pity. I've even posted a link to EGS on an LGBT forum, and people who could read it in the text are enthusiastic, but many others don't know English enough to read it. So : are there any translations of EGS available ? And, if not, how about adding translations on the site ? I assume that inserting different text directly onto the comics wouldn't be possible, as it would be technically quite difficult, but at least, what about adding some translations that would appear (or could be displayed at will) under the comics, so that people not reading English fluently could enjoy EGS too ? I unfortunately don't know enough technical stuff to advice as for how to add this feature to the site, but I'd be happy to help by providing a (French) translation, and maybe other people may be interested in and/or volunteer for other languages. You keep the copyright and things : it's just that it would be great to allow non-English readers to read EGS, as it's quite unique in its domain (the only other comic I've read that *may* be compared with this is "Venus Envy" by Erin Lindsey, but it's much more specific and less sci-fi oriented) and I don't think there are any equivalents in other languages.


Dan didn't answer, obviously because he hadn't enough time. But in those days I didn't know about the forum, so now I think it's much more relevant if I ask you bunnies about this. What do you think about translating EGS into other langages ? Are you all native English-speakers and/or do you think it useless to translate the comic, or have you already thought about doing so ?
In my original question I mentioned the possibility of adding translations directly on the site, like "subtitles". Now I think that maybe it would arouse too technical problems to do this. I still think that "subtitles" would be easier to provide than direct, "on picture" translations with text directly on the panels. But maybe something even more simple would do, at least for a beginning : what about us bunnies posting translations here on the forum, something like posting a link and the accompanying translated text ? It wouldn't be very reader-friendly, of course, but I guess it would be useful if someone ever wants to share EGS comics with non-English-speaking readers, as it would provide ready-to-post translations.
Or something like this. What do you think ?
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:22 am

Native English speaker here. Actually English one as well, so bonus.

Anyway, I don't know of any existing translations, but I can't see Dan objecting to the idea. I'm sure it would be useful, if you're sure you're up to the task.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby OzLionHeart on Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:04 am

I think someone did produce a couple of "translated" strips, in a couple of different languages (with the translated text pasted into the word balloons).

I don't recall what happened to them, though. I think it was just a "one-off".
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby nitpicking on Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:33 am

Doing it without permission would be both immoral and illegal under the Berne Convention.

The only reason I can see Dan objecting is that EGS is very, very personal for him, and he might not want anyone else working on any version of it. In the end it's his call.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby theopenandclosedbook on Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:55 am

I would love to see EGS reach a wider audience, maybe you could put them in a ZIP file and hand them out, that way, no interweb retribution.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Nocturn on Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:46 am

We all know that Dan is very, shall we say, careful when dealing with legal matters. In essence, this is going into the same territory as colouring his older comics, which is to say, editing and uploading them en masse. I sincerely doubt Dan would approve of that.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:53 am

This is different. Colouring an old comic is improving something he already worked hard on,purely for artistic reasons. Translations will help his work reach a wider audience.
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tybalt on Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:01 am

Nocturn wrote:We all know that Dan is very, shall we say, careful when dealing with legal matters. In essence, this is going into the same territory as colouring his older comics, which is to say, editing and uploading them en masse. I sincerely doubt Dan would approve of that.


That is why I thought of, either adding some function of the site that would allow readers to display "subtitles" under the original panels, or just creating one or several threads on this board that would be dedicated to people posting translations in different languages. That would allow more people to read EGS, without having to edit Dan's original work or updating any alternate version anywhere.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tricia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:56 am

Illusionist wrote:This is different. Colouring an old comic is improving something he already worked hard on,purely for artistic reasons. Translations will help his work reach a wider audience.
...if he can trust the translator to actually do a competent job. I can imagine him saying no for just this reason. No offense to the OP...but if I had a comic, I know I wouldn't trust some random fan to do who knows what quality job translating it...especially with EGS, which has a *lot* of stuff that's almost certainly untranslatable.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:59 am

So what's to stop Dan asking Tybalt a few questions, looking at samples of his work, etc?

As for untranslatable, bull. Everything is translatable.
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

Nobody ever told Picard that "Ye cannae change the laws of Physics!". They just DID it. - Vampiress Kat.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tricia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:09 am

Er...see, the thing is that Dan can't speak French. How is he supposed to know if the translation is accurate?

And since you're so smart, Illy, tell me how to say Uryoum in <insert non-English language you speak here>.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:12 am

Easy. Type French, but with the letter orders reversed, like you do with English.
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tricia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:22 am

Cryptograms don't work out well in other languages. I speak from experience on this. Well, at least not ones that are supposed to serve as an actual language.

But I have a feeling I'm better off not using any more examples, since it's really not worth the time to listen to your half-assed explanations of how you're right.

So, in conclusion, bunnies are awesome.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:25 am

Half assed? You can't be bothered to keep up a debate and I'm half assed?
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tricia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:37 am

I can't be bothered to keep up a debate that serves no real purpose other than to waste my time, yes.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:38 am

Nothing on this forum serves any purpose other than to waste time. If your time is so precious to you, why are you reading webcomics in the first place?
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Nocturn on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:58 am

Illusionist wrote:Ich bin englisch-sprechend aufgewachsen. Sogar richtiges englisch, also besser.

Ich hab nichts von irgendwelchen Übersetzungen gehört, aber ich glaube nicht, dass Dan diese Idee ablehnen würcde. Ich bin mir sicher, Übersetzungen würden nützlich sein, solang du dir sicher bist, dass du das auch schafft.


Illusionist wrote:Das ist was anderes. Alte Comics in Farbe zu setzen verbessert allein für künstlerische Gründe etwas, an das er hart gearbeitet hat. Übersetzungen sorgen dafür, dass sein Werk eine größere Leserschaft erreicht.


Illusionist wrote:Was hält denn Dan davon ab, Tybalt ein paar Fragen zu stellen, Beispiele seiner Arbeit zu betrachten, und so weiter?

Und von wegen unübersetzbar, Müll. Alles ist übersetzbar.


Illusionist wrote:Ganz einfach. Tippe in französisch, aber mit der Buchstabenfolge verändert, wie im englischen.


Illusionist wrote:Halbärschich? Du wirfst einfach das Handtuch in dieser Debatte und was ich tue ist halbärschich?


Illusionist wrote:Nichts in diesem Forum hat irgendeinen Zweck außer Zeit zu verschwenden. Wenn dir deine Zeit ach so wichtig ist, warum liest du dann überhaupt Webcomics?
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:01 pm

Does Halbärschich actually mean anything, or would you say something different in an actual conversation?
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Nocturn on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:03 pm

It's a literal translation of half-assed. Granted, it's not the best in terms of translations, but it does see ocassional use in German, or at least did at some point. I considered using a different word, but couldn't come up with one that also wouldn't require rewriting the whole post within 30 seconds, so I just went with the simplest option.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:04 pm

Fair enough.
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Darryl on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:07 pm

Illusionist wrote:So what's to stop Dan asking Tybalt a few questions, looking at samples of his work, etc?

As for untranslatable, bull. Everything is translatable.

Ever heard of puns?

Puns. Don't. Translate.

Example I felt like editing in:

"Atheism is a non-prophet institution." loses its "punniness" in any language where "prophet" and "profit" are non-homophonic.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Illusionist on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:09 pm

Yes they can, they're just not funny any more.

Besides, how many puns are there in EGS.
The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is. - Warren Ellis.

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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Tarvok on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:14 pm

nitpicking wrote:Doing it without permission would be both immoral


I heartily disagree. Maybe now that he's asked, it would be immoral to go and do it anyway if Dan specifically says "no," but when one releases one's work to the public one implicitly accepts (or rather, one should) that others may do things with their work things they did not originally intend. Imagine how Dan would feel if one of us were to viciously parody his work... and yet, that would be protected under the law.

nitpicking wrote: and illegal under the Berne Convention.


Quite possibly true, given the corporatist idiocy that is current copyright law. There was a time in this country (I suppose I should specify that by "this country" I mean "The United States") when copyrights maxed out at twenty-eight years, and only the work was copyrightable, not the ideas within in any shape or form. Derivative works were not protected. And translations belonged to the translator, regardless of who held the copyright on the original (which probably wasn't relevant anyway, since copyright law was not international at the time).

And yet, great works of art and literature still managed to get produced, not to mention the substratum of popular culture that always underlies great art. Imagine that.

As to puns... sometimes, really, really good localizers can replace the puns of one language with the puns of another, in a manner that somehow continues to mesh with the overall meaning (or at least retains internal consistency to the new audience). See Phoenix Wright for details.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Darryl on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:14 pm

Illusionist wrote:Yes they can, they're just not funny any more.

Besides, how many puns are there in EGS.

If you lose the humor of the pun, it's not translated.
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Re: Translating EGS ?

Postby Nocturn on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:16 pm

Darryl wrote:
Illusionist wrote:So what's to stop Dan asking Tybalt a few questions, looking at samples of his work, etc?

As for untranslatable, bull. Everything is translatable.

Ever heard of puns?

Puns. Don't. Translate.


I can attest to that. You can only replace them, at best. I have watched enough shows in German that were shipped over from the USA, and the vast majority of them go for literal translations, regardless of what is being said. At best everything is still completely coherent, and at worst, especially with puns, many jokes are, as they say, lost in translation.

Illusionist wrote:Yes they can, they're just not funny any more.


You would be perfect for translating Simpsons episodes.

See, here's the thing. When you translate, you just don't translate word-for-word. You're going to want to get the meaning of the entire sentence across, not just the meanings of every single word in a way that they just don't match up anymore. This is why translating can actually be a pretty tough job. Finding that balance between sticking to the source-material and adjusting it for the target audience is, well, a balancing act.
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