Who is the Language Industry's Chocolate Apple? Comics, Technology, and Culture

I’ve previously written about the uptake of the comic form in technical communications and some of the translation and cultural challenges.

As part of Oracle’s research into the use of comics as a way of educating technical writers about DITA, I was astounded by the wide range of subjects covered by Japanese manga (漫画). Now, we have Sweet Android Highschool added to that list, chronicling the exploits of the main Android vendors, each in the form of a character: Moto-Laura-chan (Motorola), Sam-Sung-chan (Samsung), H-T-Syee-chan (HTC), Elle-G-chan (LG), Soni-Eri-chan (Sony Ericsson).

Sweet Android Highschool, image credit: weekly.asci.jp

Apple is also in the cast (Apple-kun), naturally.

Sadly, we don’t hear much about comics translation and cultural issues through the usual channels in our industry. Certainly, comics is a serious business–not just for laughs or for kids–and an engaging and interesting conference topic. From interpreting the life of Steve Jobs in manga form to translating TinTin to communicating life saving information in developing countries with low literacy rates there’s plenty of scope for discussion.

Definitely, conducting some user experience research into the use of comics in Europe (France or Belgium perhaps?) and Japan, or other countries in Asia, is something I would be interested in doing.

If you have suggestions for research into the translation and cultural aspects of comics–or any other observations–add ’em using the comments.

Anyone for a manga chronicle of Language Services Provider shenanigans? Who is the industry’s “Chocolate Apple“?

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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