Down and Dirty

By focusing on examples of the different typologies highlighted above, I will show how this framework can lead to the development of both general and specific strategies for translating humor in comics. My overall approach is based on Attardo’s mini-theory of joke translation (2002, 183): to move through the hierarchy of the Knowledge Resources for each instance of humor, according to each typology. Applied to the translation of comics and the humor present in single panels, pages, and stories, an apt rephrasing for my system of strategies is the following: Translators should employ any of the strategies at their disposal in order to ultimately retain the tension between verbal and nonverbal elements, using the latter as frame of reference. I attribute this to the practical and pragmatic reasons of not having the option, in most cases, of redrawing images in the comics. Therefore, only modification of the text is possible. The strategies are, obviously, not necessary in the case of a full reinterpretation or adaptation of the original comic. This system is, of course, only meant to replicate the intended humor, as the final result will only become obvious to each individual reader, if it does at all, in the perceived humor of the translation.

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