Essay on The Untranslated Onomatopoeia in Chinese Versions of Manga

Essay on The Untranslated Onomatopoeia in Chinese Versions of Manga

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The Untranslated Onomatopoeia
in Chinese Versions of Manga

As one of the biggest industries in Japan, animation-comic-game industry is famous all over the world. Manga, the Japanese term of comics, has become globally popular that thousands of manga are translated into other languages to expand the market worldwide. China, the densely populated neighbor country of Japan, of course is an important market for Japanese manga. Among those Chinese translations of manga, there is an interesting phenomenon that many translations leave the Japanese onomatopoeia untranslated, even though the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana, unlike the right-to-left reading direction, are not so familiar to general Chinese. This results in a barrier to manga reading. Therefore, some people would like to blame the Chinese publishers because they seems like simply omit the translations of onomatopoeia to reduce the cost,sacrificing the comic fans’ reading experience to save a lot of time and labor. Maybe that is one of the reasons. Nevertheless, in my perspective, the translation of Japanese onomatopoeia expressions is unnecessary indeed. In this research paper, I will clarify my view in terms of linguistic knowledge background, graphic expression strategy and manga reading experience.
The first reason for my argument is that there are too many difficulties in onomatopoeia translating, which, even if done, may result in unsatisfactory effects. The onomatopoeia is an essential part of Japanese language because of its vividness on description and frequent usage in daily life. In Japanese manga, a great amount of onomatopoeic expressions are integrated. Each of them refers to a “specific, precise and fixed” situation or action. (Wood-hung Lee & Yomei Shaw, ...


... middle of paper ...


...(2003) The Language of Comics. New York: Routledge.

Berndt, J. (2008). Considering Manga Discourse: Location, Ambiguity, Historicity. In M. W. MacWilliams, Japanese Visual Culture, (pp. 295-310). M. E. Sharpe Inc.

Takeuchi, N. (1998). Sailor Moon 1. (pp. 3-119). Tokyopop.

Lee, Wood-hung & Yomei Shaw. (2006). A Textual Comparison of Japanese and Chinese Editions of Manga: Translation as Cultural Hybridization. IJOCA, vol. 8, no.2, (pp. 34-55).

Sell, Cathy. (2011). Manga Translation and Interculture. Mechademia vol.6, no.1, (pp.93-108)

Lent, John A. (1999). Local Comic Books and the Curse of Manga in Hong Kong, South Korea,
and Taiwan. In Asian Journal of Communication, (pp. 108-128) vol. 9, no. 1.

Jüngst, Heike Elisabeth. (2008). Translating Manga. In Federico Zanettin, ed. Comics in Translation. (pp. 50-78) Manchester, U K: St. Jerome Press.



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