Why Translation Matters In Comics


Panel Discussion

Featuring: Emma Hayley, Mari Morimoto, Maria Antonia Rahartati Bambang Haryo

Moderator: Lim Cheng Tju

We may not always associate translation with comics. But from manga to the Asterix series, much of our diet of comics is made possible only through translation. In this panel, our speakers – Maria Rahartati aka Madame Asterix, translator of the Asterix comics in Indonesia; manga translator Mari Morimoto; and influential indie comic publisher Emma Hayley (SelfMadeHero) ­– tell us why they champion works in translation and why comics are important for intercultural understanding.


TranslateSingapore takes a close look at the translation of comics in all its colourful forms – from graphic novels and Japanese manga to European bande dessinée and comics from Southeast Asia. Join award-winning comic artists, translators and publishers from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Europe and the US as we explore how this popular medium is used to engage with cross-cultural representations and understanding.

Lim Cheng Tju, an educator who writes about history and popular culture, is the advisor to the “Comics and Translation” programmes. The programmes will be in English.

Comics and Translation Forum Pass

The Forum Pass offers access to all panel discussions; discount to comics translation workshops and film screening. Please present your Pass to gain entry at the events.

See also:

Panel Discussions

Comics Translation Workshops: An Introduction

TranslateSingapore is back for the third year as we celebrate “SG Translation Month”! Click here to find out more about the highlights this year.



Emma launched SelfMadeHero in 2007, after spotting a gap in the market for high quality graphic novels. Her background in publishing, following a postgraduate diploma in journalism at City University, London, has seen her work as a journalist, a film PR and as an editorial director for several small publishers. Since launching her own company, her focus has shifted to the business and entrepreneurial face of book publishing, while she remains hands-on in commissioning new titles. She was named UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, as part of the British Book Industry Awards 2008.


Mari Morimoto has been a freelance translator of manga and Japanese subculture content for over 20 years. She has been invited to be a speaker, interpreter, and a guest-of-honour at anime and comic conventions, and Japanese cultural events. Her translating bibliography includes many bestselling titles such as Naruto, Sailor Moon, Dragonball, and Inuyasha, and she routinely interprets for Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan Society, New York Comic Con, Otakon, and Anime Boston, among others. Highlights of her career include meeting Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama in 2003, assisting shojo manga legend Moto Hagio at San Diego Comic Con in 2010, and interpreting for Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto at New York Comic Con in 2015. Born in Osaka, Japan but raised in New York City, Mari also happens to be a small animal veterinarian.


Maria loves words and music. When she was a teacher at the French Cultural Center in Jakarta, one of her students Mrs Listiana, who would be known as the translator of the Harry Potter books, asked her to translate the book Les Contes de Perrault. It then set her on a path to becoming a freelance translator for Indonesian publications. From 1985 until 1996, the editor of Pustaka Sinar Harapan entrusted her with translating 19 titles of the comics Astérix. She is now affectionately known as Madame Asterix. She loved this assignment because it made her continue to learn, consult dictionaries and find the meaning and nuances of words, and later, to use modern technology (Google) as a reference. Till this day, Maria has translated 96 books from French and English into Indonesian.


LIM CHENG TJU (Singapore)

Lim Cheng Tju is an educator who writes about history and popular culture. His articles have appeared in the Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Popular Culture and Print Quarterly. He is the country editor (Singapore) for the International Journal of Comic Art and also the co-editor of Liquid City 2, an anthology of Southeast Asian comics published by Image Comics. He is one of the authors of The University Socialist Club and The Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity (Amsterdam University Press/National University of Singapore Press).

Fri Sep 22, 2017
7:30 PM - 8:45 PM SGT
Add to Calendar
Standard SOLD OUT $10.00
Students and senior citizens SOLD OUT $8.00
Forum Pass SOLD OUT $38.00
Venue Address
1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429 Singapore
5 to 10-min walk from City Hall, Clarke Quay and Raffles Place MRT stations. For list of buses: theartshouse.sg/visit
The Select Centre

Sponsored content