prompted: "Fandom and language for you: what fandoms did you experience dubbed into German, are you in any German-language fandoms, how does English-speaking fandom feel to you, things like that."
Well, as far as dubbed tv shows go, pretty much all my fandoms before I had fast internet I first watched in German. So all the series I felt fannish about before finding online fandom, and the things I watched in the late 90s when I first found online fandom too. Some of those I have never actually bothered to rewatch in the original (I don't rewatch things very often in general), like most of original Star Trek episodes I only watched on tv here, same for TNG. But for example the X-Files I first watched haphazardly in German, but later on I got the episodes in the original and rewatched.
With Buffy the video tapes came out with not too much delay (about a season iirc), so that was the same as watching them here, so I bought those from the UK soon. With The Sentinel I first watched dubbed German episodes, but after I found the fandom I managed to get tape copies from another fan, and the later third and fourth season I only watched in the original.
The dubbing for Sentinel made some odd choices, in particular that Jim and Blair stuck with "Sie", presumably because they called each other Ellison and Sandburg in the original, but who would address a close work colleague who is also a roommate with the formal you? But it is a tricky issue, because obviously if they spoke German, they would start out with "Sie" and then at some point a "Du" would need to be offered, which is a significant marker for a relationship. And obviously that doesn't happen on screen, so they would have had to switch suddenly and that would also be odd.
With Due South I watched the RayV seasons in German first, but managed to get the RayK seasons through tape trade.
Tolkien I first read translated, but then later reread in English. Actually, iirc, LOTR was the first English book I read in English outside of English class assignments (which at that point were still mostly short stories). It was a tad ambitious as a choice for someone who at the time was not fluent. I think I was fourteen or fifteen or so, so I had only four or five years of English classes, because when I went to school they didn't yet start foreign languages in elementary school, but only in fifth grade. So that was quite slow going, even as I knew what was happening. Eventually I had the German edition open concurrently as I worked my way through LOTR in English the first time.
It turned out though that deciphering Tolkien was still a better choice for first reading material than reading French comics in the original, which I couldn't really manage after four years of French later on (even before I forgot most of it again). Being able to read French comics was my major aspirational motivation to drop Latin eventually (which my parents had wanted me to take as second language) and pick up French instead, because so many great comics aren't translated. But with so little text as context for guessing words you don't know, and the text not explaining the images but conveying separate things, and being spoken language with jokes and slang, comics are quite far from easy literature.
Speaking of comics, with Carl Barks' Donald Duck comics the classic German translation by Erika Fuchs is really good and sometimes funnier than the original. I have an English language edition of Carl Barks' complete works, but I really like the German translation as much, and many German fans prefer it. Because Erika Fuchs translated so many Disney comics with inventive language she had quite an impact on contemporary German language use, btw.
Actually Donaldism is the closest I come to having a German-language fandom, with German fanzines I have and such. And general comic fandom too to some extent, though that is more a multi-lingual thing. And mostly offline fandom engagement.
I don't watch a lot of German tv. These days I mostly watch tv shows on the computer, and I'm not in any online German fandom. Generally my online fandom engagement happens in English.
I find it even somewhat awkward to talk about fanfic fandom in German, because so many of the terms are English, so that when you talk with another German fan about something, you end up talking Denglisch with every second word (at best, sometimes seven out of ten) or so being a direct loan. Which okay, on the one hand, I won't start saying Schmerz/Trösten or whatever it would be instead of h/c, but otoh at some point it just gets ridiculous.
If you take a fairly normal fannish sentence you might to say to someone while talking about fanfic, like "XY wrote a great gen h/c ficlet for a Mundane AU prompt on the kink meme." you end up with very few German words, and maybe one of them a noun. I mean, even those that have translations are difficult, like say "prompt": Would I pick "Stichwort" or "Aufforderung" for "prompt" in a kink meme? Both sound odd. Maybe just stick with prompt, even though only the adjective meaning is the same in German (I don't think prompt as noun got loaned yet). And sure, you can translate "mundane" as "alltäglich" but "Mundane AUs" are a thing, saying "alltägliche alternative Universen" might as well mean "common AUs". Similarly you could say Geschichtenschnipsel for ficlet, or half-translate it as Fic-Schnipsel (though honestly, saying "fic" in German is, well, it sounds like you say fuck only in German that word is more obscene, because normal German swearwords all are more fecal-based than sexual, as I explained at length in my intro to that topic
), but you'd probably end up saying sentences like "XY hat ein tolles gen ficlet für einen Mundane AU prompt im kink meme geschrieben." Awkward.
On the flip side, when fandom first shifted to the blogging/journaling format from mailing list, I hestitated starting one, because doing anything journal like in a foreign language felt weird to me, because I had kept paper diaries before, and those had obviously always been in German. And while thinking about fandom stuff in English was quite natural by then (after years of practicing with maililng list posts), for most other things it was not. The very first post in my blog in 2002 (reposted on DW here
) which I started before getting an LJ was about that issue, and the odd feeling. Obviously more generalized nattering in English has started to feel more natural with years of practice.
Though in a way it is still weird, because I've gotten out of the habit of keeping a paper diary, and I post more often about non-fandom stuff, but still in English, so by now it feels more natural to narrate my own life in a foreign language. But that is not really fandom-related.
Otherwise English-speaking fandom doesn't feel like anything particular to me, that I could trace to the language. Sure, you can ponder the pervasiveness of English on the internet and the relative dominance of English language pop culture, and what it means for language diversity and power in international fandom, but in the end having a lingua franca is a practical thing, even if it is not a neutral thing. I like German, and I don't think English sounds cooler or some nonsense, but I'm pragmatic about reaching fannish audiences, English is more common than German, and I speak it well enough to make communicating in it not a hardship. So English it is.This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/541255.html. | comments