Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ich bin Batman

My fabulous wife, known hereabouts as "the other Dr. K," just returned from a work trip to Germany, from which she brought me back a load of German comics, mostly German translations of American comics. Among the stuff was a complete run of Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All-Star Batman, which, for German readers, constitute issues 1-4 of the US series.

(Panini, the European distributor of many American comics, reprints two issues of the series in a given square-bound volume. So, Germans won't see number 5 until after issue 6 comes out here.)

As I have a decent working knowledge of German, I was curious to see how Miller's dialogue translated into German. In particular, I was wondering how faithful this panel would be:

Here's the version in German:

One thing I noticed in my limited experience with German translations of superhero comics is that even the mildest swearing seems to be left out, so you wouldn't see Dick Grayson saying "hell" or Batman saying "goddamn." But the German translation here makes some interesting changes from the original. (This is my own re-translation, so if anyone can suggest a better one, let me know.)

Here, Dick says, "Who the devil do you think you are?"

To which, Batman responds, "Are you serious about that idea? Are you stupid or something? Who do you think I am? Man, I am Batman."

So, unless my translation is off, Dick's question is a bit different, and Batman doesn't ask Dick if he is "retarded." But the difference I really like is in Batman's response: "Man, I am Batman." I just like saying it out loud (I also like the way "Ich bin Batman" sounds, too).

The Black Canary issue is a-whole-nother story, though--I'm learning some German there that they never taught me in school.


Spunk Design Machine said...

The Germans can't be fans of Batman?! Most Germans have the same demeanor as Batman. It's like being a fan of Marmaduke or Family Circus - where's the challenge?

Mike V. Scholtz said...

Once upon a time, my high school girlfriend came back from a trip to Norway with an armload of Batman comics. Maybe they don't know about bats in Norway, because they changed his name to "Lynvingen," which means "Lightning Wing."

Man, I am Lynvingen.

Anonymous said...

"schwer von Begriff" means slow on the uptake.

Ich bin der gottverdammte Fledermausmann.