Tuesday, March 25, 2008

manga, manga, manga ... sound effects!!


(Once again, the pic to the left has nothing to do with the article...)

Alrighty, then, let's get down to business. Everybody out there in translation land knows that the dream job is something like movie scripts, novels, or comics! Well, not really. I like contracts best, cuz they pay nice and are, frankly, pretty easy to understand on the whole. But enough with the money... the real meat that spurs most junior Japanese language students on is the idea that one day, they might be entrusted with the chance to actually translate a Japanese comic for a living! Hey, well, after six years of professional translation in the freelance world (and a short, what, six month stint at a translation company years ago?), I finally got that chance! The pay is lower than minimum wage in even the poorest countries, but I'm having a blast!

So, today I compiled a list of the sound effects that I had some problems with translating. And for the benefit of cyber translation land, I now present that list here. It represents about fifty pages of comic book ism.

But beware! This is not some end all dictionary or glossary! Not only are most of these terms highly subjective to begin with, but they are also highly situation dependant --- that is to say, the explanations and translations do not cover every possible meaning of each sound, but only the meaning as it appears in the context of the story I am translating. Some, like "pori pori," pretty much always mean the same thing (scratch scratch). Others, like はっ have a variety of meanings, tho I only list the one relevant to my translation. In other words, you should think of the English listings as POSSIBLE translations, and not RESTRICTIVE DEFINITIONS.

The first line of each listing is the sound effect written in katakana. Then follows an explanation in English and a tentative translation. Sometimes only an explanation or only a tentative translation is given.... Hope this is not too difficult of a format to understand!

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines...

(in the mean time I am going to go work on a sample translation for some client interested in giving me work doing academic texts related to art... and try to get done before the sun goes down tonight!!)

----------
ポリポリ
sound of scratching an itch
scratch scratch

----------
ベキッ
pow!

----------
フフン
sound of laughing proudly/having confidence
yep!

----------
プッ
sound of starting to laugh, kind of sound that looks down on people
heh!

----------
ピョン
sound of someone jumping
hop

----------
ヒュ
sound of something flying through the air
whoosh!

----------
ピッ
Sound of someone moving fast to get to something
swish!

----------
ピッ
Sound of someone holding up a knife
 

----------
ビクッ ビクッ
sound of a wound
drip, drip

----------
ピク
body moving just a little bit in pain after getting beat up or injured
shudder or twitch

----------
ピク
Sound of gripping hand tight in preparation for a fight
grip!

----------
はっ
Sound of noticing something
huh? または ah?!

----------
ニャ ニャ
sound of smiling, smirking, or an evil grin
smirk

----------
ドン
sound of a body falling/hitting on something
thump! or slam!

----------
ドガバ
hitting/kicking in a fight
pow!

----------
だっ
Sound of walking away fast
 

----------
ズル
sound of dragging something
scrape... scrape... Or slide...

----------
ズッ
Getting angry
grumble

----------
ジリ
sound of stepping forward
shuffle

----------
シュッ
sound of someone's leg moving/flying (when kicking/fighting)
swish!

----------
ジャリ
 
shuffle

----------
ザッ
sound of getting ready to fight, the foot staying firm in the position to fight
stomp

----------
クル
turning around to look at something
 

----------
グッ
sound of someone tightening a knot or rope
 

----------
グッ
sound of trying to grab someone's clothes (grabbing someone by the lapel, etc.)
grab!

----------
グチョ
Sound of pencil going under the skin, bloody sound...
 

----------
グシュ
Sound of pencil going under the skin, bloody sound...
 

----------
クイ クイッ
sound of someone tightening a rope to a bar
 

----------
ギッ
angry staring
 

----------
ギシッ
old, heavy door opening
creak

----------
ガラ
sliding door opening
clack

----------
ガバッ
sound of a guy popping up in front of somebody
pop!

----------
カッ
The sound of the guy stopping in his tracks.
Chkk

----------
ガシ
Sound of someone grabbing someone's clothes with desperation
grab

----------
ガガン
Sound of falling on the floor
Thump!

----------
ガア
Sound of an automatic door opening
swish!

----------
うーん
sound of thinking
hmm...

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD THANK YOU! i haves been looking for exactly this for EVER! me and my cousin will thank you in our comic when we use basically all of theese =3
peace!

Anonymous said...

O.O!!!! OMG!!!! D:!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been looking for Kanji sound effects for a long time!!! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks so much! i'll remember to thank you once my oneshot is done =)

Anonymous said...

thank you sooooooo much i needed this really bad and now im saved thank you!

Spirit said...

"Sound of pencil going under the skin"? Oh my... I can't imagine what bloody manga you're translating :D

kaikohanakami said...

sir i shall mention you in my manga if it works out

Anonymous said...

Oh my god than you! i have been looking for a really long time for these

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am working on a dojinshi, and this is very helpful.

Zokusho said...

I found an obscure one, do you or anyone happen to know what this is? I don't even know how it's read. "Aattsuu"? It's not a sneeze, though. The situation involvs, umm ... indecent groping of a female.

あ゛あ゛~っ

In the original, dakuten (゛) is actually combined with a (あ), which is a kana that doesn't exist, as far as I know. I wonder what that is...

The last kana might also be つ (tsu) and not the sokuon.

It's not anything important, I was just curious...

Anonymous said...

An excellent list, thank you! It amazes me that more people haven't complied a list of manga sfx. Now I just need a list for manhua. DX

Keith said...

THANKS! this will help tons! although you wouldnt know the sound effect for a gun shot and a bullet ricochet would you? those are the only two left i can think of that i would need =/

chiaki said...

this is so helpful! THANK YOU! I've searched the internet for a list like that, but never found one. glad I happended to stumble upton your blog. :)

PrinceOthman said...

THANX ALOT!

But can u add how to read theese sounds? thanx!

yassmin said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THXZ ALOT MAN!\
i NEED THIS ALOT IN MY NEW MANGA!

Anonymous said...

I love how everyone is thanking you for these to use in their mangas... right...
Sounds like a bunch of amateurs spewing rubbish about comics that will never see the light of day, but oh well. Best of luck to you all.

More to the point, sadly it seems we aren't translating the same kinds of mangas, the few we have in common on this list are the few I've already figured out D: (Don for thumping bodies, Gara for sliding doors, etc.)

Japanese sure have odd sound effects...

Anonymous said...

this was an excellent help for me and my senior project... i am turning little red ridding hood into a graphic novel of my style she is dressed in a gothic lolita dress and the manga is gothicy, and going to be gory at parts but it is in a japanese themed thing lol but thanks alot u r much luved!! <3=^o^=

xxKira-chaNxx said...

I appreciate this very much~! :D
This is very useful. Thanks..! :)

tsukasa said...

I'm looking for the meaning of the sound effect "Gokiiiiii", if you know it.

Anonymous said...

Alternative site:
http://www.lolikon.org/misc/soundfx.html

Anonymous said...

You are a bloody Godsent ^^

Liyana said...

wonderful! Thanks!

is it ニヤニヤ or ニャニャ?

nduck said...

i luv this

inkhat said...

Do you think it's important to preserve the kanji within the scene since it has the onomatopoeia in the language and interacts with the scene differently than it would in English, or should it be removed and replaced with an easier to understand English word?

Rii said...

Helped me a lot! I seldom put some SFX in my comic strips, which may be the cause of my bankrupt every Komiket. ^^ Well, it's inevitable, since I'm deaf since birth.

---
Sorry if my english is not correct. I just used a translator.

chii said...

thank you!!! I've been looking for this so long~! since I'd already have it, I'm gonna use it to my comics!!!
:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much I've been looking for this for an eternity. ARIGATTO!!!

shy bock said...

You are my life saver!!!! I needed them for a long time thank the heavens I found this website