Alright, I've been sitting on this for a while now... a long, long while - but here you have it - a French version of Loxie & Zoot!
It has been generously undertaken and provided by forum regular Cor (with proofing help from his wife). He lives in Canada and speaks both English and French. As such the French used in his translations are based around a Quebec-style grammar and usage in order to better reflect that the story itself is set in Australia where the English spoken there has its own unique colloquial qualities compared to traditional (or US) English. Translation isn't an exact science of course, you can't just substitute one word for another and it is all open to personal interpretation but I do believe Cor has given his all to capture the essence of what is being spoken by the characters. Not only has he translated The Koala Bares but also every other story I've published to date - that's right, 500+ pages of work. Astounding. I'll be serialising those pages daily... Sunday through Saturday... should take almost two years to work through them all but we'll get there.
Cor has given his own time to this project and also added the translated text (except in the case of signs, etc) over my original artwork - I had wanted to redo the lettering artwork myself to make it clearer to read but have had absolutely no time. Hopefully there will be the opportunity to still do so in the future but I did not want my tardiness to deny a potential French audience the opportunity to read these stories (and I do mean tardiness, I've had these pages for months now! Sorry, Cor!!). I have asked readers to let me know if they see any errors and to suggest corrections and I will consider merging these with any final version.
I would like to thank Cor and his lovely wife for the amazing effort and dedication they have shown in undertaking this project - as the artist, I am deeply humbled and grateful. You are champions!
I guess for a lot of folk who don't read French this probably is a bit of a yawner but for all of those who do read French it should hopefully be very exciting. Visits to the Bare Pit from France account for just under 2% of all visits, I'm not sure what the percentage from other mostly French speaking countries might be. At any rate even if you don't read French but you do love the noodtoons you should at least be excited that they now have a greater reach around the world and larger potential audience... and that's a fantastic thing!
Ever since I started producing Loxie & Zoot (and then The Bare Pit) I have been receiving offers from readers in non-English speaking countries keen to translate the comics into their own language. French, Spanish, Czech, Russian and a few others I can't remember now. And every single time I have resisted the offers. Crazy, right? Not really - there are three basic reasons I believed it would be a bad idea to accept a 'fan-translation':
1. I only speak and read English - I have no way of knowing how accurate any translation is. Sticking a translation into a Google translator can help me to a degree but it doesn't really help with the nuance and specific qualities of each language - especially around colloquialisms, word play/puns and humor. A glaring example is the pun involved in the words bare/bear - to make word play around that in English is simple but not in any other language... and what does one do to replace something like that it in a translation without losing the intended humor? Also I work hard to try and make the flow of words, the dialogue and banter between the characters sound natural and 'in character', to me the comic is as much about the words as the pictures, how can I know if a translation has captured what I want to convey to the readers?
2. The lettering is as much a part of the art as the drawing - I invest a fair bit of effort into trying to make the lettering both pleasant and invisible on the page, nothing screws up a comic more than crappy and/or hard to read lettering and poorly placed word balloons. So who does the lettering in a translated comic? Preferably not me but I have always wanted any translation to be intrinsic to the art, not just new words dropped in over the top. So I have always viewed that as extra work for me - a lot of extra work.
3. If you're going to something like this do it professionally, actually employ someone who does this kind of thing to do the translation that way one can have a higher degree of trust in the end product. Besides it is a huge, huge, huge undertaking - I have never felt comfortable with the idea of people doing tasks for me for free even though I certainly don't have the $$ to pay for such services. A lot of people have found after only a few pages that it is a big job (especially if they are doing the lettering too) and I'd also hate to get started only for the whole thing to come to screaming halt half-way through.
I've never said don't go and do a translation but I have never been very supportive of the concept. I mean I'm very grateful that it has been offered but I just see it as a project I'm not very keen to embrace for those reasons... and most people have never proceeded beyond the initial proposal. Until now that is! When Cor offered (last year I think it was) I pretty much batted back all my concerns, but he went ahead and did it anyway! We had called in a third person to check and verify the translations and although the request was accepted that person has unfortunately not been able to continue due to a number of other pressing priorities (my immense gratitude for your assistance though, Stephane!).
It's fair to say that the lettering is a bit rough, however Cor has done an excellent job all things considered. I really had wanted to reletter each page but after spending several hours on just one page my brain just went into denial and shut down. In the end I decided that something was better than nothing - I felt very guilty about sitting on it all, considering how much work had gone into it - so for the time being at least you get the 'raw version', fitting for a nudist comic, huh?
The site itself is very basic, I've just started it up as another comic within The Bare Pit site, which means some of the links are in English not French... which can't be helped. I don't even know yet if I've got the right or appropriate text for the First/Previous/Next/Current navigation buttons! As it settles in over the next few weeks I'll start adding extra material to the webpages. Given that I've spoken over the last few months about moving L&Z and TBP into a single website I'm not sure yet exactly how the French version will fit into the scheme of things, but it will.
Also, yes, this does open the floodgates. To anyone else who wants to contribute fan-translations - Spanish, Arabic, Mongolian, Latin, Klingon, whatever - I am much more open to the idea than I was a few years ago. If you think you can work through the issues and concerns I've raised above by all means let me know! Merci!
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