Read Manga and Fumetti with Google Translate Camera Feature

translate, image, manga, comics, bianchi, ego sum
Simone Bianchi created Ego Sum before signing exclusive contract with Marvel: it's not available in English, and it appears Marvel is not interested in third part of the trilogy whose first two episodes were issued in various European languages

Do you want to dive into world of comics that were inaccessible due to language barrier?

Regardless if that happened because local publisher thought that translating and issuing some titles in your area would not bring profits, or they bought the rights for some author and then hid it in the basement so not to disturb the audience and G'd forbid they acquire different taste in stories and characters served by monopolists... If you've just had enough of what's available in the stores near you and want to start the exciting adventure of exploring the rich world of comic art on a global scale – today's technology has the answer to that.

Creative search
If you were not lucky to be exposed to some media outlet educative on world's comic art, so you are not familiar with foreign authors or titles, maybe start with putting word comics, bande desinee or fumetti in translate tool, best is to check it in all three languages (English, French & Italian) to make sure you got the right word in chosen language.

translate, image, manga, comics, camera, bianchi, ego sum
First pages in Bianchi's Ego Sum contain Latin text, so Google Translate Camera feature is not useful here

Then switch to image search, see what you like, check who's the author and what's the title. Add universal word “blog” or local word for “review” and eccolo – you are totally into it, and can decide if you are after the title or not...
When you find the author or title you like, put them in eBay or Amazon search engine. Open the stores of sellers that offer the piece, as it is likely they have some other authors and pieces that would suit your taste as well.
Google how it's spelled in author's native language, for the artists usually have most support and access to the publishers in the country of their origin.
Or just surf the Pintrest and follow robot's suggestions based on your previous selection and see what stands out to you.
It's so much more democratic than local store under the siege of rich monopolist, and out of the reach of local indie or foreign producer.

Trust your instincts
I remember the days when I had to go in the back corner of the stores to escape all the superheroes, which felt pretty humiliating, and the only piece I bought from the front rows was Batman and Judge Dredd crossover, when DC partnered with 2000AD . The cover was awkward, and it caught my eye even though I'd usually just pass next to it as if it has cooties. I opened it, saw Bisley name, continued with pages, saw unknown artist with panels no less crazy than Bisley's, and bought it. As expected - it turned out the story was a match with visual extravaganza. So yes, the art is the way to choose comics, because partnership between writer and the artist is based on mutual understanding, and artist visualizes the aspects of story that don't fit into textual boxes. Trust your instincts and don't follow “opinion makers” as experiencing the art is such a personal matter...And don't worry about the plot. The simplest story can be written and visualized in the best style, and no reviewer can interpret that if they just re-tell the plot. Especially if they are much less informative on art or totally ignore the visuals, which English speaking reviewers usually do.

skydoll, sky doll, lacrima christi, marvel
Italian publisher Pavesio issued Skydoll Lacrima Christi in luxurious album with hard covers, featuring golden details. It costs the same as Marvel's counterpart, printed in small format, on a thin paper
skydoll, sky doll, lacrima christi, marvel
Marvel's cheaply made edition of Skydoll by Barbucci & Canepa is not suitable for frequent use and if you take it in bed and then fall asleep you might rub the pages together with it's super fragile cover

Get more for less
Anyhow, when you've made your preferences, check who issued the pieces you like.
Usually the best offer is at publishers, so try to get it directly from them, if possible.
Since Japan outlets for Amazon and eBay are a bit difficult to search – best go to Mandarake online store, biggest chain of Manga stores, which has an option to switch to English, and enjoy the search

When interested in some piece – switch to japanese version of the site, copy title and author, and put it in Image search to check it out further. Above mentioned store also offers very cheap postage options, much cheaper then courrier services Amazon Japan uses, so it's definitely a good way to go.
Another possible reason to go with foreign publishers is to get a better quality, as can be seen with Skydoll sequels published by Marvel and the ones issued by Italian house Pavesi: Marvel's Lacrima Christi comes in a small format, with soft covers as if it's just another weekly Superman, and it's really hard to enjoy it when outmost attention is needed to preserve it's good condition – like comics are to be consumed only if we washed our hands first, then put some gloves, install the fence to prevent kids getting close with their dirty hands and slimy noses... And then install the shelves on the roof of your bedroom so nobody can ever take a look on what's inside. 

Kanji text in manga...
translate, image, manga, camera, comics
..translated with Google camera tool

Above all – it shouldn't be read too often, to minimize the chances of damage. On the other hand, Italians published it in hard cover, with golden prints on it, in a big format, with thick paper not prone to tears, so it's not a big deal if kids or friends want to enjoy it together with owners. Ok, maybe luxurious album with golden details doesn't suit the toilet atmosphere, but if the owner can't drop it at the time – the piece can stand the challenge and stay as good as new.

The only advantage of inferior prints is their English language, as it appears the whole world has became some sort of anglosphere... And unless you were there to buy it for six dollars when it came out – now you are supposed to pay the same price as for the luxury edition made in Italy. The answer to this arrogance is hidden inside the Google Translate photo feature, intended for travelers, to translate the traffic signs and find their way when abroad.

App to translate visuals
Once you get the app - just pick up the read whose visuals you like, point your phone's camera to that unfamiliar words like merde and gaz which constitute 90 percent of text in cult French biker's saga Joe Bar Team and voila – not only you are suddenly able to understand the story, but are learning French as well!

Or let say you are interested in individual creation of celebrated Marvel's and DC artist Simone Bianchi: point the camera to that beautiful pages of Ego Sum he made before he signed the contract with Marvel who surely pays well but doesn't allow him to publish his own concepts featuring beautiful androgynous hero, a mix between renaissance and manga ideals of beauty. 

translate, image, manga, comics, camera, bianchi, ego sum

he method is not flawless, as you'll see for yourself if you try Ego Sum indeed, as in first few panels text is in Latin, for the dramatic purposes... So these few sentences need to be typed and translated in regular translating tool, because Image–translate doesn't recognize Latin, as it's is not a spoken language anymore so tourists surely don't have to deal with traffic signs written in that. 

But, after the part in Latin is done, all is set to go with the “subversive” activity of reading comics with the help of Image – translate. It's the only way to go, as Bianchi has exclusive contract with Marvel, allowing him only occasional work for DC.

Perhaps more visually stunning is the translation of manga, which surely pays off if your love for Japanese comics often brings you on the verge of bankruptcy.

translate, image, manga, comics, camera, bianchi, ego sum
Google Translate Camera tool applied on Simone Bianchi indenpendent work

One manga costs around two dollars, and service of Japan post SAL Small Packet Registered (described as cheapest option on Mandarake site) enables you to ship 300 grams for three dollars, and sometimes two albums or magazines fit in that package, depending on the size of publications...

Meaning one manga would cost three to five dollars, instead of ten. The savings is not so much if you are buying only occasionally, but for a serious fan who needs at least five pieces a month – that small difference in price means a lot.

Improve your skills
Unfortunately, Image translate tools and apps are not smart enough to give any meaningful translation of a bit more complicated texts such as philosophical content in Max Frezzato's intimate farewell to the comics in Too Much Fantasy on Motherflower...

Not even regular Google Translate is capable of dealing with it: even though advances in machine translation, AI, deep learning and such were tremendous, they still can't handle more abstract concepts. Hopefully Google engineers and scientists will soon be able to tackle the problem and in future, hopefully near, machine translation of philosophical texts will become a fact rather then fiction. Or perhaps, some young talented comic book fan will be motivated to study computer science or mathematics, specialize AI and machine learning, to contribute to comic book fans of the world.

translate, camera, comics, manga, fumetti, frezzato, fantasy
Stuff like Max Frezzato's Too Much Fantasy on Motherflower (2012) is still too complicated for AI, so it's better to look for translation in Heavy Metal magazine

So until these robots improve their intelligence – the fans have to rely on kindness of Heavy Metal editors who are doing their best to present the current activities in global comics scene... The old fashioned option is to learn foreign languages, there is more than one fan who learned Kanji just to enjoy the manga without being restrained by local comic art publisher's taste.
So remember what you've learned and who knows – maybe you'd be able to surf through the stories without any robo-help. Good luck!

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