What is it about?

This paper analyses a corpus that includes a selection from the Belgian comic series Les aventures de Tintin and its translation into two satellite-framed languages (English and German) and two verb-framed languages (Spanish and Catalan). The study draws on Slobin’s Thinking-for-translating hypothesis. Special attention is devoted to the role of visual language within this framework, with the ultimate aim of identifying translation techniques adapted to the issue of translating Manner-of-motion in comics, in both inter- and intratypological translation scenarios.

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Why is it important?

Despite the wealth of research on the translation of motion in narrative texts, both in inter- and intratypological scenarios, the Thinking-for-translating hypothesis remains virtually unexplored for illustrated narratives. The results highlight the key role of visual language in the translation of Manner-of-motion in comics, since this can compensate for alterations in the verbal code of target texts, by comparison with originals, and thus minimize the consequences of Thinking-for-translating. Moreover, the (limited) space in the balloons and the respective stylistic conventions of comic books in each language are shown to constrain translation to some extent


Further analyses that, for example, draw on larger corpora and other comic series and different linguistic and typological combinations are necessary. A necessary complementary approach could be to analyze the expression and translation of the Path component in the genre of comics. The specificities of the comic book genre and the phenomena of visual language, the influence of the cartoonist's mother tongue on the depictions and the influence of the spatial limitations of balloons also deserve greater attention when examining the Thinking-for-translating hypothesis.

Teresa Moles Cases
Universitat Politecnica de Valencia

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This page is a summary of: On the translation of Manner-of-motion in comics, Languages in Contrast, September 2019, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/lic.19007.mol.
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