Verbal-to-visual translation based on linguistic and narratological models: a poetry-comic translation of Sappho and Phaon


  • Chunwei Liu University of Glasgow


ABSTRACT: Poetry comic translation typically involves a verbal poem as the source text and a verbal-visual poetry comic as the target text. This innovative type of multi-modal translation is a typical example to study inter-semiotic conversion. Although scholarly attempts have been made to create linguistic-based verbal-visual translations, there is still a gap in discussing whether visual linguistic and narratological theories can be applied to build a practical translation model. To rationalise the translation from words to images, it is necessary to divide the process of comic translation based on standard comic writing processes. After looking for possible analytical linguistic models accordingly and critically incorporating them, the model I propose is mainly consisted of the academic achievements of Neil Cohn, Chris Gavaler, Will Eisner, Scott McCloud, Thierry Groensteen, J. A. Bateman and J. Wildfeuer, aiming to deal with the procedures in poem-comic translation such as text segmentation, layout design, narrative perspectives, and word-image conversion. Based on theoretical discussions and a translation practise of Sappho and Phaon (Mary Robinson, 1796), it is argued that an incorporation of current comic linguistic theories is feasible to overcome the challenges brought not solely by the discrepancies between verbal and visual language systems but also by the multi-modal nature of TT to a large extend.

KEYWORDS: Verbal-to-visual translation; Poetry comics; Visual language grammar; Visual narratology; Sappho and Phaon