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Adventures in translation, Part Deux
Written by Kim Thompson | Filed under Joost SwarteComing Attractions 27 Apr 2011 12:32 PM

Working my way through the Joost Swarte book, I stumbled across this panel (I'm showing the French version because the Dutch one I have only in black and white, and it needs to be shown in color for the full effect), in which a woman Joost's hero Jopo is trying to pick up leaves him a kiss-off message written in lipstick on a mirror. And I thought, uh-oh.

Jopo - French

This Swarte book is being printed in a "co-production," which means that two or more publishers simultaneously go to press on the same book in different languages. In order to achieve this, the publishers have to make sure that any alterations for translation purposes appear only in the BLACK layer (the covers are excepted from this) — so any text has to either be in a common language, or distractingly translated via a footnote. A red lipstick scrawl telling someone to fuck off (or in the case of the French version that he's a "testicle," which is kind of like calling someone a dick) in a foreign language is a definite reader-annoyance.

Which is why when I recently got Joost's final files for the book and checked out this panel, I actually laughed out loud. Can you guess how he handled it? Try. Then click here to see his megabrilliant solution.