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OEL: Original English Language

Sound effects in english or japanese?
Personally I find english easier, but japanese sound effects, when used correctly, have a nice visual appeal to them.

Discuss =)
The Zorya's avatar

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I don't see point of adding Japanese sound effects in comic that is otherwise written in English. Because, even if people like Japanese comic inspired style, you can't count that they know Japanese. And after all, the SFX should serve you to hear the ambient without needing to read further explanation. (like translation at footnote of page)
Rather rely on functionality than on decoration aspect of this.
Language your intended audience reads in, obviously.

Seriously, though?
denpa H-puff's avatar

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I go for Japanese sound effects in my OEL manga, even if the comic is written left-to-right, in English and everything.
I don't really like English language sound effects really, they tend to feel cheesy and like a super-hero comic, and I'd rather not give my work that kind of feel. It also feels out of place in a manga-styled comic generally.
With sound effects generally you tend to be able to see what kind of sound it is, even if you can't read it, but Japanese sound effects usually have a translation written under them.

I just feel that "Pow!" "Whoosh!" etc ruin the mood, and don't even sound like what they're meant to be (you might as well write "Punching!" over the image >.>; )

Also in terms of the 'language of comics', things like nose bleeding, sweat drop, anger mark, these are things that are specifically Japanese, and are part of the language of that comic. It won't make sense to someone who doesn't ever read Japanese comics, but that's not your target audience anyway?
So if you're going to use emotion symbols that non-Japanese comic fans won't understand, I don't see why not use Japanese sound effects that only really non-Japanese comic fans will find annoying.
I definitely like English sound effects. Everyone can do what they want, but I don't think there's any point in adding sound effects that you know the majority of your readers won't be able to understand.
Hoshimi Ritsuon
I go for Japanese sound effects in my OEL manga, even if the comic is written left-to-right, in English and everything.
I don't really like English language sound effects really, they tend to feel cheesy and like a super-hero comic, and I'd rather not give my work that kind of feel. It also feels out of place in a manga-styled comic generally.
With sound effects generally you tend to be able to see what kind of sound it is, even if you can't read it, but Japanese sound effects usually have a translation written under them.

I just feel that "Pow!" "Whoosh!" etc ruin the mood, and don't even sound like what they're meant to be (you might as well write "Punching!" over the image >.>; )

Also in terms of the 'language of comics', things like nose bleeding, sweat drop, anger mark, these are things that are specifically Japanese, and are part of the language of that comic. It won't make sense to someone who doesn't ever read Japanese comics, but that's not your target audience anyway?
So if you're going to use emotion symbols that non-Japanese comic fans won't understand, I don't see why not use Japanese sound effects that only really non-Japanese comic fans will find annoying.


You are falsely equivacating two unlike things. Sweat drops and the like may be a japanese invention,but it is easy to figure them out with context. You cannot do the same for japanese sound effects unless you translate, and if you are translating, why wouldn't you just write it in english in the first place?

If you don't speak japanese, how does it enhance the mood to have sounds in a language you do not read? Better to just forgo sound altogether,then.
denpa H-puff's avatar

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-2o

You are falsely equivacating two unlike things. Sweat drops and the like may be a japanese invention,but it is easy to figure them out with context. You cannot do the same for japanese sound effects unless you translate, and if you are translating, why wouldn't you just write it in english in the first place?

If you don't speak japanese, how does it enhance the mood to have sounds in a language you do not read? Better to just forgo sound altogether,then.

I don't believe my equation is false, lots of people do not understand why characters suddenly have nosebleeds and that apparently means they're thinking something perverted, it's something you pick up, along with that sound effects look nice, and to see what they mean you just read the tiny text under them, but after reading a few, you don't even need to do that, it becomes obvious.

I'd think of it more like symbolic graphics representing the sounds, but to just write gibberish to represent sound really would be strange, but to use something that at first sight may as well be gibberish but actually means how it sounds, I think that's quite nice.

I wouldn't write them in English in the first place because "Punching!" and "Whooosh!" looks stupid imo, and I'd rather there be no sound effects at all in that place. Forgoing sound effects is more of an option to me than putting American Super-hero style effects all over my OEL manga.

I'm saying mostly though that writing sound effects in Japanese for me is more of an artistic choice than anything else. If someone is being punched, you can see they are without the word 'pow', but some dramatically written symbols that are relevant as the sound of a punch adds to the aesthetic.

emotion_sweatdrop emotion_sweatdrop emotion_sweatdrop means embarassment
ド ド ド means punches

Also, I should ask, what difference would it make if I chose to write them using our alphabet?
If I wrote "do do do" for punches, or "fu fu fu fu" for sinister laughter, because as I said, I feel like writing "pow" doesn't sound like a punch to me, you might as well write "punch!" and then it's not even a sound effect.
In that sense, I don't read western comics, so "pow" might be more correct for a western comic reader, whilst to a manga reader it wouldn't be right.
If I'm targeting people who read manga with my work, I should use the language of manga that they are used to, from sweatdrops to sound effects.

And as I said, I'm not expecting someone who doesn't enjoy manga to like it, because that's not the audience I'm targeting my work at, right? So what does it matter really.
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English sound effects. Minus a few sound effects I've memorized, I usually glaze over Japanese sound effects as abstract background elements and you could probably switch the sound effect for pooping and intense staring and I most likely wouldn't notice...



Though sound effects are always kind of rough to do. And there's culture clash on what stuff should actually sound like. I once had an exceedingly long argument over whether frogs sounded more like "ribbit" or "kero."

....but that's a whole 'nother topic, I guess...
I am genuinely curious why anyone would put sound effects, or anything else for that matter, in a language that their target audience does not understand.
Hoshimi Ritsuon
-2o

You are falsely equivacating two unlike things. Sweat drops and the like may be a japanese invention,but it is easy to figure them out with context. You cannot do the same for japanese sound effects unless you translate, and if you are translating, why wouldn't you just write it in english in the first place?

If you don't speak japanese, how does it enhance the mood to have sounds in a language you do not read? Better to just forgo sound altogether,then.

I don't believe my equation is false, lots of people do not understand why characters suddenly have nosebleeds and that apparently means they're thinking something perverted, it's something you pick up, along with that sound effects look nice, and to see what they mean you just read the tiny text under them, but after reading a few, you don't even need to do that, it becomes obvious.

I'd think of it more like symbolic graphics representing the sounds, but to just write gibberish to represent sound really would be strange, but to use something that at first sight may as well be gibberish but actually means how it sounds, I think that's quite nice.

I wouldn't write them in English in the first place because "Punching!" and "Whooosh!" looks stupid imo, and I'd rather there be no sound effects at all in that place. Forgoing sound effects is more of an option to me than putting American Super-hero style effects all over my OEL manga.

I'm saying mostly though that writing sound effects in Japanese for me is more of an artistic choice than anything else. If someone is being punched, you can see they are without the word 'pow', but some dramatically written symbols that are relevant as the sound of a punch adds to the aesthetic.

emotion_sweatdrop emotion_sweatdrop emotion_sweatdrop means embarassment
ド ド ド means punches

Also, I should ask, what difference would it make if I chose to write them using our alphabet?
If I wrote "do do do" for punches, or "fu fu fu fu" for sinister laughter, because as I said, I feel like writing "pow" doesn't sound like a punch to me, you might as well write "punch!" and then it's not even a sound effect.
In that sense, I don't read western comics, so "pow" might be more correct for a western comic reader, whilst to a manga reader it wouldn't be right.
If I'm targeting people who read manga with my work, I should use the language of manga that they are used to, from sweatdrops to sound effects.

And as I said, I'm not expecting someone who doesn't enjoy manga to like it, because that's not the audience I'm targeting my work at, right? So what does it matter really.


I like manga. I dont like doing stupid things for stupid reasons. Your audience doesnt understand japanese. The japanese dont do it as a stylistic thing, they read in that language. This is not a stylistic choice. At all.
denpa H-puff's avatar

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-2o
I like manga. I dont like doing stupid things for stupid reasons. Your audience doesnt understand japanese. The japanese dont do it as a stylistic thing, they read in that language. This is not a stylistic choice. At all.

I really just don't think it's fair to call it 'stupid'.

Yes, Japanese can read it and English can't, but why call is OEL Manga if you're going to do away with everything that says 'manga'. I think the aim of many OEL Manga artists is to create something like the translated manga they read, and not something that you would read from DC's Vertigo. There are many things that make manga what it is, including symbols, panel layouts and methods of storytelling, and for me that includes katakana sound effects.

I would rather have no sound effects than have English sound effects, but why have none when you can include katakana for effect? It looks cool, it adds to the emotion of the panel, and it feels 'manga'.
Japanese don't include them for style alone, but they stylise them to the extent that I would say it's definitely one of the top things I'd list in "what makes a manga a manga?"
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Sound effects in your own language. What's the point of sound effects in another language? Just use abstract symbols indicating noise if the point isn't to read them.
schmeddyhead's avatar

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I'm a bit confused as to if you mean using Japanese sound effects, e.g., do do do for punches, vs, pow for punches in English, or writing them in Japanese characters.

In an English language comic, write sound effects in English letters. The sounds themselves can be whatever that sound sounds like to you. While some sound effects may be intrinsically English or Japanese, if they sound like the freakin' sound, I'm pretty sure no one's going to string you up and crucify you for using one, the other, or something else entirely.

However, it's a good idea to address that Japanese sound effects aren't automatically superior for being Japanese, and that if they legitimately do not make sense outside of Japanese culture, do not use them. (Since I'm not fluent in Japanese sound effects, I'll use the English "c**k a doodle do" to represent a rooster crowing as an example of what I mean: that sounds nothing like a rooster crowing, and therefore pretty much only makes sense in English culture, but, as an English speaking person, I would not use that sound effect because it is dumb, and my readers are capable of understanding that "aroo-aroo" probably means that rooster over there. And if I were a Japanese person, writing a comic for Japanese readers, I would definitely not use c**k a doodle do, no matter how awesome I thought America/U.K./etc. was, because most of my readers would not understand. /tangent)


Use sound effects that sound like the sound. Don't care about the language of origin. However, write them in the language they're meant to be read.
Kaxen
I once had an exceedingly long argument over whether frogs sounded more like "ribbit" or "kero."


The pacific tree frog is the only frog that say "ribbit", so it really depends on what kind of frog you're talking about.
Hoshimi Ritsuon
...why call is OEL Manga if you're going to do away with everything that says 'manga'. I think the aim of many OEL Manga artists is to create something like the translated manga they read...
That's just the thing, though. People are trying to mimic translations, not give an impression of manga as it would seem to a native speaker of Japanese. I read manga almost exclusively in Japanese these days, and when I happen across a translation, I'm nearly always struck by how awkward and incomplete they are. Even the most competent translations and highest quality editing change their source material in fundamental ways. In other words, you're never going to get "everything that says 'manga'" if you're reading translations.

So it's stupid to cite authenticity--the "manga-ness" of manga--as an excuse for drawing pages right to left or for using particular visual symbols or for writing SFX in Japanese (even romanized ones). It's stupid for two reasons. One, you're not going to achieve genuine authenticity unless you're writing in fluent Japanese and distributing your work to a Japanese audience. Until you do that, you'll necessarily be making arbitrary and/or uninformed choices about about what "manga-like" elements you retain. Two, if you actually appreciate Japanese sensibilities, you'd see the more "Japanese" way to do OEL manga would be to accommodate the reader as much as possible. There's nothing "Japanese" at all about making a ******** of a hybrid product.

Many elements of translated manga are the way they are only due to the compromises necessary in translating between such disparate languages and cultures. Without a Japanese source to constrain them, OEL comic artists should adapt and expand the medium, not restrict themselves by misguidedly aping translation artifacts. They should use left to right page orientations that read across more than top to bottom. They should base their visual symbols on stereotypes and imagery familiar to English-speakers. And they should use SFX derived from English onomatopoeia* and avoid the non-sound "SFX" (gitaigo) that you find all over Japanese comics. In other words, they should aim to give English readers the experience of manga that one can only get from Japanese manga by reading it in Japanese.

-------
*This is not to say they should use "pow" for punching. That is cheesy, so it should only be used in comedic contexts. But English isn't limited to "pow"; depending on what's being punched, we have "wham," "whack," "thud," "thunk," "bam," "crack," "crunch," etc. We can also make up SFX that build off our native sense for how onomatopoeia work in English.

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