Monday, February 16, 2009

This blog is an attempt to make up for my uncommunicativeness with some of you who deserve better from me for your support of an idea whose day will come – eventually.

As Alejandro Morales (U. of Nebraska-Lincoln) wrote to me recently with reference to language brokering, “This is an area that few people are interested in, so the opportunities to explore this topic are endless.”

But I became very discouraged last year when I submitted a proposal for a paper on NT to a conference on bilingualism and received the rebuff that my topic was not of sufficient interest. After all these years! So I turned to something else for a while.

What reanimated me was reading in a paper by José-María Bravo of Valladolid (Spain) about the new phenomenon of fansubbing, on which there is starting to be a literature.

A fansub is a fan-produced, translated, subtitled version of a Japanese anime programme. Fansubs are a tradition that began with the creation of the first anime clubs back in the 1980s. With the advent of cheap computer software and the availability on Internet of free subbing equipment, they really took off in the mid 1990s.
It would be no exaggeration to state that fansubs are nowadays the most important manifestation of fan translation, having turned into a mass social phenomenon on Internet, as proved by the vast virtual community.
(Jorge Díaz Cintas and Pablo Muñoz Sánchez, ‘Fansubs: Audiovisual Translation in an Amateur Environment’, Journal of Specialised Translation, 6, July 2006)

The point is, for us of course, that these many amateur translators have no formal training in translation, nor in cultural transfer for that matter, though they turn out work that their peers are glad to use. I would, however, tend to class them as native translators rather than as natural translators, because they have surely learnt from the plentiful examples of professional anime translation. (More soon on the distinction between natural and native translators.)

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