In translation studies, many of us are working on enlarging the field to not only include conceptualizations of translation that go beyond traditional, Eurocentric variations on literal meaning transfer. (…) Even if one doesn’t think of writing fan fiction as a form of translating, it’s hard not to agree that it constitutes a retelling.
Translation theorist André Lefevere (1992) argues that most people know most of what they know about canonical literature because of rewrites, not because they’re intimately familiar with the source texts. Lefevere includes anthologies, criticism, adaptations, and of course translation as rewritings. To this I would add fan fiction.
Shannon K. Farley, Translation, interpretation, fan fiction: A continuum of meaning production
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Congratulations to the editors and writers! Links to all articles below. As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from these in the coming days, and you’re very welcome to submit your own.
Spreadable fandom - TWC Editor
Metaphors we read by: People, process, and fan fiction - Juli J. Parrish
Sub*culture: Exploring the dynamics of a networked public - Simon Lindgren
A Japanese media pilgrimage to a Tasmanian bakery - Craig Norris
Fannish discourse communities and the construction of gender in “The X-Files” - Emily Regan Wills
So bad it’s good: The “kuso” aesthetic in “Troll 2” - Whitney Phillips
Translation, interpretation, fan fiction: A continuum of meaning production - Shannon K. Farley
Fan/dom: People, practices, and networks - Katherine E. Morrissey
Fandom, public, commons - Mel Stanfill
“Genre, reception, and adaption in the ‘Twilight’ series,” edited by Anne Morey- Amanda Georgeanne Retartha
Inspired by the discussion around Amazon’s announcement of Kindle Worlds, here’s a preliminary timeline on Fanlore of notable happenings related to fandom and profit. Famous instances of commercialization of fanworks, of exchange of money in fandom, profit-related incidents between fans or between fans and professionals, and so on.
Any examples to add? Please edit the wiki page or drop the info here so I can edit it in. There’s a great deal still missing, especially about commercialization of fanworks besides fic (fan films, mods, fan translations etc), and I have vague memories of reading about many more profit-related incidents in academic works and elsewhere.
I’d like to draw your attention back to an image I had used in another context, namely about boys/girls and the assumptions about/representations of in manga, and talk with y’all a little about Zolo. Now, you have to bear in mind that my first encounter with One Piece was a non-licensed translation dub of the TV anime. After that, I began to regularly follow the series while living in Japan, so I mostly read it in the weekly Shōnen Jump‘s I would dig out of garbage cans and recycle piles on Tuesdays (for the trash cans) and Wednesdays (for the recycling piles). At no point was it ever unclear to me that ゾロ was a take on the Johnston McCulley character Don Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro. I was a huge fan of the 50s Zorro television show that ran on syndicated TV when I was growing up. There was no mistaking: ゾロ was Zorro.
Fast forward a few years, and I am picking out the books for my “What is Manga?” class, for which I decide to use Oda’s One Piece as representative of the shōnen demographic. A few days before class, I sat down to read the licensed translation, so as to refresh my memory, and I come across the follow anachronism: Zolo. After a few minutes of obligatory “wat”s, I finally came around and tried to think why it was they would have done this. When One Piece was scanlated, the name was at least translated as Zoro, so the similarity would be apparent. Was this an attempt to bring back Rolo’s, which, while delicious, I don’t see flying off shelves nowadays awash in candies more flashy marketing than chocolate and caramel? It was actually just before–or perhaps even in the midst of–the class in which we discussed One Piece that I realized there was a very simple reason why you would translate ゾロ as Zolo: licensing. Zorro, like Mickey and Donald and Superman and Kitty-chan, is a diligently guarded media commodity, so, while one might conceivably be able to get away with aping Zorro in Japan, it would be much harder to get away with this in the US and the larger English language market, where Zorro media are still being produced to this day.
Very extensive fan-made resource on scanlation and its history, chock full of great info. Includes a timeline of scanlation, in-depth articles on important online hubs and scanlation groups, background info on the ins and out of scanlation and various related issues, and more. TWC did an extensive review of the site and the info on it in 2010.
Fanlore’s scanlation article is a good and quick intro to the topic, by the way. For some longer reads on scanlation, here’s a list of academic articles that are definitely worth checking out as well. (Link goes to the work-in-progress bibliography of fan studies work that TWC and Fanhackers are working on. More on that one later. If you need access to any of the articles that are behind a paywall, try requesting a copy on Fanhackers.)
Finally, the globalization of media fandom is also driven by consumers’ mobilization and coordination of intellectual capacities to mediate foreign cultural texts. Utilizing their own resources and skills, members of the fandom are willing to and capable of carrying out mediated copying and distribution. The work involved, such as copying, translating, editing, encoding, distributing and managing, is spread between voluntary participants who are closely connected via online communications. The availability of relevant free software is crucial in their work process. The final product of the fans’ labour is distributed via globally connected peer-to-peer file sharing networks. An important issue here is that the fans themselves carry out previously commercially organized mediation processes non-commercially. Their activity blurs the existing distinction between production and consumption and problematize the boundary of cultural business (Green and Jenkins, 2009; Jenkins, 2006). These participatory consumers ‘co-create’ consumer values in mediated cultural texts and share control over the text with the industries to a certain degree (Banks and Deuze, 2009; Cova and Daili, 2009; Deuze, 2007). This phenomenon can also be conceptualized within the framework of ‘free labour’ that sees consumers’ voluntary, unpaid labour as essential to the economic logic of the knowledge/information-driven society (Gill and Pratt, 2008; Terranova, 2004). However, what is more interesting about fan-translation and distribution is that it represents a new model of cultural work that cannot simply be imitated by the industries’ commercial operation. Driven by fans’ love for the chosen medium, the work is unpaid, self-organized and decentralized. It can be done on a 24/7 basis, utilizing enthusiastic fans who regard it as a hobby, not work, and operate from different time zones. The time and space condensation achieved by fan activities aptly demonstrates the noticeable gap between the globalization of participatory media fandom and that of cultural industries’ distribution business.