Translation, Retranslation, Comics
The retranslation phenomenon is essential to the translation process. It is considered as the logical progression of this process which allows the translated literary work to regenerate in a restless cultural and language space. To a lesser extent, we can observe the same phenomenon in the translation of comics. However, this specific translation requires other competencies and a translating approach somehow different from the ones required to translate fiction literature, especially because of the presence of the visual system of drawings which is strongly bound to its own culture and the endless mutations it goes through.
The comic book Watchmen (Les Gardiens, in the first French translation) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is known in the whole world as the comic which had not only remodeled the vision we had of super-heroes, but had also given the comic books another voice. Watchmen was published between 1986 and 1987 in the United States and translated in French from 1987 to 1988. Fifteen years after this first translation by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Panini publishing decided to retranslate this famous comic in 2007. However, if the reviews of the first translation were laudatory, the retranslation did not enjoy a great reception from the readers or from the reviewers. This paper proposes a comparative analysis of both these translations and of their original version as well as an experiment on the readers, comic books readers or not, in order to establish why the first translation was a success and the retranslation a failure. Thus, we could withdraw the elements which allow us to understand the reception of comic translation.
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