Manga Translator Jenny McKeon shares how she's gotten into the industry, and also shares that she's good at drawing comics. Possibly.
Jenny McKeon is the manga translator of Vertical Inc’s Nichijou & Seven Seas’s upcoming fall releases of Please Tell Me! Galko-Chan and Dragon Maid. Did you know that she wasn’t sure what to do with her Japanese studies? Well you get to find out as she shares a bit of insight into how she’s reached this point, and has even provided a preview of her upcoming comic that talks about her experience.
I’ve always been obsessed with comics – reading them, drawing them, and now, translating them. Of course, I had delusions of becoming a manga translator when I started studying Japanese as a young nerd, but in college I put that dream aside and just enjoyed learning the language, despite having no idea what I’d do with it once I graduated.
Now, thanks to a lucky twist of fate (mostly in the form of the Manga Translation Battle), I’m essentially living the dream! I spend my days translating manga, games, and other odd job projects; I still often indulge in anime on my lunch break (it totally counts as job research now, right?). And when I have the time, I still like to draw and write my own comics!
I aspired to be part of the comics industry somehow for a long time, and now I feel like I’ve “broken in” to the business in an unexpected but extremely fitting way. My love of manga as a kid played a big role in making me want to draw comics and learn Japanese. As an adult, I thought my path in life would lie more in indie comics or literary translation; but I never really stopped loving anime and manga, so it makes perfect sense that my path ultimately led me here.
To complete this cycle, I decided to make a comic about the whole thing. I had previously made two autobiographical comics called Nihongo Nikki, or Japanese Journal (which are available online), which were about my experiences studying Japanese in college and in the year following my graduation; Life in Translation is the conclusion (for now!). Like the first one, it’s a comic that tells my specific story while also giving information and silly 4-komas about studying and translating Japanese.
Here are some exclusive preview pages from the book! It’ll be available later this month online.