A Few Thoughts on Comics Translation
Marc-Oliver Frisch, who has translated works of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman or The Walking Dead, writes on his blog: “Due to its formal constraints, comics translation probably has more in common with subtitling or dubbing than with regular prose translation. With limited space available, the length of the text is crucial, of course, and German words and sentences tend to be longer than their English equivalents, often substantially so. Consequently, there’s often no room to use what might seem like the best translation if space were of no concern.
Then again, the fact that the formal restrictions eliminate certain solutions forces you to be creative in a way that prose translation doesn’t. It encourages you to take liberties with the text that you otherwise might not, and to look for solutions in places that might seem unlikely at first. It’s a challenge that can be frustrating, but it’s also a huge part of the appeal of comics translation.”
Image above from Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1-2, (C) by Marvel Comics
Talking about comics, here’s a page from Spider-Man vs. Wolverine (Marvel Comics, 1987). Spider-Man climbs over the Berlin Wall and the writer had some jolly good fun with his dictionary.