S. Qiouyi Lu today published a “Request for the Hugo Awards to include translators, interior artists, colorists, letterers, and cover artists in the annual long list tabulation”, which has prompted Chicon 8 to issue a revised 2022 Hugo longlist.
…I had three works on the Hugo long list this year, but I was only credited on one of them (my novella In the Watchful City). The two graphic novels that I translated were credited only to the writer of the comic script and the writer of the original work from which the graphic novels are adapted, but who did not, as far as I know, actually write the adaptation.
My works were not the only translated works in the long list. I included a full list of translators to the best of my knowledge and search abilities in my original Twitter thread, which is archived at the end of this post.
Translation in anglophone literary spheres is an undervalued art form. So while I was unsurprised by translators not being credited, it was still a major disappointment to see my labor erased on Labor Day of all days. I made a thread on Twitter saying so and to request that translators be credited in the long list….
Lu also asked for other members of the creative teams behind works in the Best Graphics Story or Comic category to be credited:
…I also requested for interior artists, colorists, cover artists, and letterers to be credited along with translators. A comics team doesn’t consist just of the writer—the finished product is a combination of all these forms of labor…
Chicon 8 agreed to the request and posted this explanation.
S. Qiouyi Lu brought to our attention the exclusion of translators’ names from the written works in the “long listed” works in the detailed results for the 2022 Hugo Awards, explaining the importance of proper credit for translators in a Twitter thread included here: here. We have posted a corrected set of detailed results at https://chicon.org/home/whats-happening/hugo-awards/, in which we have included the translators for the written works and colorists for the graphic novels.
[The direct link to the updated results is here.]
As part of the administration of the Hugo Awards, we endeavor to list all relevant creators on the final ballot presented to voters, and this includes confirming the correct ballot citations with Finalists themselves. The long list in the detailed results released after the Hugo Award ceremony is a different matter: it is required by the WSFS Constitution primarily for transparency into our processes and has the side benefit of pointing folks to works that garnered significant community interest so they can go seek them out on their own. As noted in the detailed results, we do not vet the long list for eligibility and because the primary function of the long list is transparency into the process (which requires a table that is easy to parse), we do not list out full citations with all associated names, publishers, etc. We truncate references to all the works on the long list, listing authors for the written works, author/artist for the graphic stories, and no names at all for the Best Dramatic Presentations and magazines.
Taking into account feedback from S. Qiouyi Lu and other members of the community, we have come to understand that the work of translators of written works is as fundamental to the work as the authors, and that where one is listed, both should be. We have made corrections to the translated long list works in the 2022 detailed results accordingly. For similar reasons, we are also adding the colorists and cover artists, where they are cited, to the graphic novel listings in the 2022 long list works.
Thank you to S. Qiouyi Lu and everyone else in the community who has worked with us on this issue.
I’m surprised there isn’t a publishing standard on this. I just looked up The Iliad on Amazon and it seems like half the options have only Homer on the cover, half have a translator as well. It really seems strange that the translator isn’t always listed when the translations can vary so hugely.
Hugos are awards for stories, and whether or not an individual is listed should be dependent on their contributions to the story as perceived by the reader. The writers, obviously. Translators, yes. For graphic novels, the penciller and inker. But the letterer? I don’t see how one letterer vs another makes that much difference on the story. Likewise, the colorist.
bill: When I saw this announcement I went and looked at how the Eisner Awards — which is possibly the top industry award for comics — lists its nominees. While they have award categories dedicated to letterers, colorists, and pencil/ink artists, in such work-focused categories as Best Single Issue/One Shot those contributors do not get listed along with the writer and illustrator.
However, the Eisner Awards do credit translators where applicable.
the Eisner Awards… have award categories dedicated to letterers, colorists, and pencil/ink artists
In other words, the Eisners recognize the work of these contributors as being valuable and worthy of recognition. So it makes sense that the Hugo Awards should, as well.
Sometimes I just feel like I am losing my mind here. If you want to argue that the Hugo Awards should list everybody who does anything on a Graphic Story, make that argument. How the Eisner Awards presents credits in categories pertaining to single issues, for example, is to list only the writer and illustrator, and a translator if there is one. By more scrupulously crediting translators, the previous Hugo model would conform to how a top comics industry award deals with the credits — despite those works also having colorists, letterers, and pencil/inkers.
The Hugos and the Eisners are for entirely different purposes, and have entirely different procedures. There’s no reason to expect that the existence of recognition of an award category in one means that the other should therefore copy it.
bill: The Hugos and the Eisners are for entirely different purposes, and have entirely different procedures. There’s no reason to expect that the existence of recognition of an award category in one means that the other should therefore copy it.
You (unsurprisingly) completely missed my point. The fact that the Eisners have specific awards for letterers and colorists belies your claim that they are unimportant.
bill: I don’t see how one letterer vs another makes that much difference on the story. Likewise, the colorist.
Then write more clearly.
I never said they are unimportant. But relative to the writer and illustrator, they certainly are far less important. I claim that the difference between a competent and excellent letterer, or colorist, is relatively unimportant to how well a story is told in a graphic novel. A bad one of either can mess it up, but once they get above a level of competence, there’s not much difference, and excellence is relatively unnoticed.
@Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
I’ve studied comics for 45+ years, and I bet I’ve looked harder than you have.
Neither of the articles you linked rebut what I’m saying; in fact, the first paragraph of the first one supports it: “A common sign of a good letterer is that their work doesn’t distract the reader from the story being told.” In other words, a good letterer goes unnoticed.
You may think that is unfair, but it’s not the job of the Hugos to correct every injustice.
A letterer can make an enormous difference to a comic. The text is part of the art. It conveys mood, meaning, style, tone.
There’s a reason they hire specialists to do it instead of just having the illustrator do it as they go.
No comment on crediting, just on their value and ability to influence how the work as a whole comes across.
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