Being a long-running (if small-time) comics publisher means that I at times get interesting offers. That one I got from a minor-league baseball team the other day to sponsor their superhero day was actually oddly tempting. But the most interesting one that I had this year was probably when Ministry of Culture for the People’s Republic of China invited me an various other publishers to an off-site event that they held during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, a presentation on their industry. Alas, the event overlapped with the one panel I was on at the con this year, so I got there after the presentation itself was over. When I got there, there were Chinese men standing outside the room, but inside it was basically all reasonably attractive Chinese women at tables having conversation with folks… and judging by the dress and demeanor of the folks they were talking to, there was no one who they could do any serious business with. But they started to talk to me, as if I might be someone useful, explaining the range of materials produced in the industry…
…and then they handed me the propaganda.
Now, if you think that I’m exaggerating, putting an unfair and loaded term on the usual sort sales materials that one gets handed in such situation, let me show you what it said on the back of each of the lovely full-color folders that they handed me:
The pages inside promoting various individual products and companies also had signs of the same sort of translation problem, going beyond just grammatical problems to real cultural differences. I certainly was not going to be a customer for them, buying the rights to their material, but I did follow up with some suggestions about how they might try to tackle the American comics market… including possibly offering my services as a translator. Nothing came of it, but at least I got to keep my genuine communist propaganda.