Much Ado About Translations

David A Gerstein David.A.Gerstein at
Fri Oct 15 02:01:15 CET 1993

	Dear Folks,

	This will be my last digest entry for four days... I'm going
to visit my grandmother in New Hampshire over a special long weekend.

	Mark on Marco (Rota, that is)
	==== == ===== ====== ==== ===

Mark told us yesterday:

"Andold Wild Duck" is the first Rota story that I've read. Although I
liked the artwork very much, the story itself struck me as somewhat
average. Given that I'm reading a translation, I don't really know
whether my complaints would be with Rota's writing or with Gary
Gabner's translation.  (As scripter, is he the one who does the
translation?)  How does this story compare with Rota's other works?

	I can clear this up a little.  First, though, let me recommend
US 266-67 (1992):  Marco Rota's "The Money Ocean" is a supreme triumph
which I prefer by far to "Andold," despite some good moments in the

	And now... Scripters have various duties.  When it comes to
Egmont stories, the standard procedure is for Gladstone to look at
them in Egmont's own comics (unless told about them before publication
by the creator, such as Van Horn, Rosa and myself).  They then order
them, and the story is delivered in an *English* script... that's
right, English!  If it's a Rosa or Van Horn story (or one of mine,
though they haven't seen those yet), the script as it's sent won't
need any work.  But if it's a story written by a Briton -- or
especially someone whose first language is *not* English --
"dialoguing," or more precisely "translation into DEV (Duck English
Vernacular)," is called for.
	In one case, for a story called "For School the Bell Tolls," I
worked from such an English script.  But I prefer to work from the
German comics I sometimes have access to -- because the Germans have
already added a lot of jokes to the basic English script that I can
then work into my version.  Besides, if I do the story straight from
German that gives me complete priority on the story.  Gladstone
doesn't look at it and say, "Who should dialog this?"  The first they
see of it is when I submit the story with English dialogue... so in
effect, I get to choose my favorite stories, then do them!  John Clark
encourages this 100%, because he agrees with me that one's favorite
foreign stories make the best dialogues.

	With Oberon/Geeillusterde Press (sp?) stories, things are
different.  Oberon prepares a version in English like Egmont, but the
original proofs aren't left blank like in Denmark;  they're lettered
in Dutch, and those are the proofs other countries get... with an
English script, *if* they order the story *soon after* its *original*
publication!  If Gladstone orders a Jippes story from a long time ago,
though, it's more likely that Oberon will have pitched out the English
script... it belongs to the ages, as is their practice.  But Gladstone
is still supplied with the Dutch, so they have to get someone who not
only can dialog, *but* translate Dutch.  As of now, I'm one of two
among Gladstone writers who can translate Dutch.  So far I have
gotten to do the Dutch stories that will be in WDC&S 589 and DDA 25!
(The Jippes story to be in WDC&S 590 must have come to them in English...
or else Dwight Decker, the other fellow, was the translator.)

	When it comes to Italian, things are even worse.  The Italians
prepare their stories in Italian alone.  Anyone who wants them outside
of that country *has* to have a translator.  I cannot translate
Italian, but my student dean at Williams can and has agreed to go into
partnership with me!  So she'll be paid $5 a page for the translation,
while I'll get considerably more for the dialoguing job.  Others, such
as Dwight again -- I think!! -- both translate *and* dialog.

	Then there are the weird exceptions.  I will be doing a MM 
time-travel story for D&M this winter (to be published next summer I 
believe).  It's Italian, but I have a German version of it to work 
from.  Since Gladstone can't get English on it, I'll get paid for
translation as well as dialogue.  But for the Egmont stories I'm doing
from German, I don't get an extra cent for translation because it's
ultimately my own choice to do it from German... I *could* be working
from English if I wanted to.  Then there's a Fred Milton story I did
eons ago called "The Clock Watcher" -- I did it from German, but there
was English available for it so I don't get paid for translation as I
was for the DDA 25 story.

	And now you know.  Gee, Mark, ain't you sorry you asked?

	Your friend,


	(Other letter coming)


More information about the DCML mailing list