Lost and Found in Translation

I rewrote the italian version of the Zymachi illustrated synopsis (ho riscritto la versione italiana della sinossi illustrata degli Zymachi).

Whenever I’m working on a story, my first step is to tell it to friends and relatives. Usually that’s how I shape it up entirely. With Zymachi, storytelling wasn’t enough: plot was complex, and I had a lot of bottlenecks to widen, so I started writing it down by hand, in italian. I wrote it as if I were talking to someone, just explaining the plot, that’s why I call it a synopsis. Usually I wrote in bed, just before falling asleep. Some of the ideas came to me carried by dreams. Manuscript was raw, I polished it on the keyboard.

Second step was to illustrate the synopsis. I wanted to visualize the charachters and the locations, and eventually bypass lack of description. As soon as the sketches were ready, I posted the whole thing on my website.

Then I started translating the synopsis in english. It wasn’t a mere translation, english can be a very synthetic language, so I was able to condense most of the material. I gave things the right name: Internal Sea for bloodstream, Jellyfish for white blood cell, Free Machine for cancer. English is fantastic for names: I can’t find the italian for Jelly-Spermwhale! Moreover, I started adding dialogues. I’m not a real writer, I had never noticed before how a dialogue can extricate the narration, maybe that’s because I have a comic background. In comics, dialogue is the easiest way to build interaction. Description is provided visually, then you just have to fill the balloons. A writer can’t do the same, he has to balance words from description to dialogue.

Third step was to translate synopsis back into italian. This was a very simple task: I realized that I write in english having italian structure in mind. It just “sounds” like english, but it’s italian in disguise.

Di Andy War

Born in Naples, 1965, lived in Princeton and France, then back to Italy. Comics. Grendizer, Star Wars, Lucky Luke. Architecture, Punk Rock. Sciattoproduzie, structures. Digital animations, running, hospitals. I live and work in Rome, married with two children.

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