Proofreading

There’s much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan Schiff, proofreader of Margreet de Heer’s graphic novels, explains.

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I translate my comics from Dutch to English myself, but I would be nowhere without my trusted Californian proofreader Dan Schiff

 

 

proofreading-strip

There’s so much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan himself explains:

 

I take the proofing seriously and think hard because I know translators will be using the English language version. I know it is easier to not go back and redo comics as a deadline approaches, so I feel I need to let Maggie know when a change might simply be a rewording to consider, of if it is a glaring error that MUST be attended to.

Although we call it the English language, British spelling (humour instead of humor), overly formal words (whilst instead of while) regional terms (biscuits instead of cookies) are swapped out for American versions of these terms.

Proofing comics includes noticing alignment of word balloons and captions to make sure they are consistent throughout the strip. It also includes noticing if the handles of the word balloons are pointing at the correct person, and if the coloring is off or not blended in a small area.

Punctuation widely varies and is the subject of passionate expression of views. Exclamation points, after much discussion, can appear singly or in sets of three, but never ever two side by side!! (Joke there!)

I argue my case for each proofing change, but The Stripmaker is the final voice, and as long as the pros and cons of my suggestions are considered, I am happy with whatever Maggie chooses to change, or leave as it is.

That‘s it. Waaaaay TMI, but picky picky is my job.”

Dan and I have been collaborating for over 15 years now, mostly with an ocean and a continent between us, but recently he came over for a European trip and we met up – that’s when Dan came up with the idea of the photo comic above, which we shot in comics store Lambiek. Apart from a dedicated proofreader, Dan is also an artist himself with a great sense of composition and humorous timing!

Looking forward to many more projects together, Dan!

 

Translating Digits of Pi

In September, my next book ‘Science: a Discovery in Comics’ will be published by NBM. Right now, I’m in the middle of translating this 192-pager from Dutch into English (using my own new font, yay!).

As always, translating poses interesting challenges – not only does the translation have to be accurate, it also has to fit into the space available. Fortunately, Dutch is a much “longer” language than English. The English wording usually comes out much shorter, which makes it easy on me. Except for a word like “circumference”, which is much longer than the Dutch “omtrek” – I’m coming across it in the chapter about Pi.

‘Science: a Discovery in Comics’ – page on Pi

 

Pi is interesting for many reasons – this number has a lot of mystic and artistic connotations. And did you know that the search for ever more digits of Pi spurred the evolution of the computer?

In the original book I showcased an old Dutch rhyme that helped people memorize the digits of Pi:

 

Wie u eens π heeft verzonnen in aloude tijden

was nooit begonnen inderdaad spoedig geëindigd

als hij had ingezien welk gezeur de cijfers bien”

 

If you substitute each word for the number of letters it has, you get the correct values for the first 23 digits of pi.

I was really happy with this find, but dreaded translating it – until a quick Google-search taught me that the same kind of mnemonic for Pi has been done in English even more than in Dutch! Here is the page where I found it: Pi Wordplay.

So it was actually rather easy then to put in a good translation. And these are 31 digits, so the English actually teaches you more than the Dutch!