There’s a guy who was in the same Japanese studies program I was all those years ago in Osaka, whose post-Japan experience took him down the road to being a professional, free-lance translator. A good one too it seems.
Late last week, he posted what I thought was an odd question to me and 2 others who have kept in touch with one another, and that question was, how should the word ‘Manga” be translated into English and could we ask around to see what level of understanding there is.
Have a hunch he’s trying to gather data for some sort of translator debate on should the word be/not be translated into English (or another language).
The reaction he got from the other 2 he asked was that most of those asked hadn’t a clue as to the meaning of the word ‘Manga’. I haven’t asked but very much believe the answer one would get depends on who and where the question is asked. For example, had I asked “Do you know what Manga is to a random group of folks say in rural Virginia, I strongly suspect you’d get blank stares. But asking the same question in Northern Virginia, especially to Millennial, I think there’d be a higher degree of understanding.
But in the end, as with words like sushi or karaoke, manga too will enter mainstream English (and again, other languages) and there’ll be no need of translators to fret over what to do with the word.