Japanese ideophones in English translation: Official vs User-generated translation of manga

University essay from Lunds universitet/Japanska

Abstract: Thanks to the Internet, User-generated translated (UGT) material has spread at an impressive rate. Not much research exists on the subject as of the writing of this thesis, since it is a relatively new field within Translation Studies. It is an interesting topic worth exploring nonetheless. This phenomenon began in the 1980s, where these fan-translations had to be done by manually changing the video-cassettes to get around censorship and/or exclusivity of Japanese products. Today, we have streaming-sites that allow people to watch anime at the same time as it is released in Japan. There is better localisation of Japanese products available today than ever before. However, when it comes to manga, the options are still scarce. Therefore, despite its legally dubious origins, UGT has flourished and is still prominent today because of various web-platforms and crowdsourcing. The focus of this paper will be to determine if the translation of Onomatopoeia and Mimetic expressions could tell us anything about their translation purpose, as opposed to the Official Translations. This will be done through the investigation of Onomatopoeia and Mimetic expressions in ten volumes of manga. The vocabulary of ideophones in Japanese is considerably larger than in English. Therefore, the translators will likely take measures to reveal their focus. My hypothesis was Fan-translations favour accuracy, while the official translations focus on accessibility. Through analysis of the data, this hypothesis was supported.

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