You may have never thought about it, but adult films, websites, magazines, literature, games, comics and packaging for toys and other products don’t translate themselves; someone translates them, and that’s where the adult content translation specialist comes in.
And adult content is a big and potentially profitable niche market to specialize in: according to Forbes, together with internet-related businesses such as websites and pay-per-view movies, traditional porn-related businesses like adult magazines, video sales and rentals and toys and products move billions – some say as much as $14 billion – a year.
Logically, there are translators willing and eager to provide services to such a large potential market; however, those that take that step often run into a problem common to many translators, but that is somewhat more challenging in this field than many others: the lack of terminology resources.
Until just a few years ago, translators had no reliable resource for erotic terminology, a serious issue when you consider that, like slang, erotic terms vary widely from one country to another, and even from one generation to another. What’s more, the lack of information on the correct term can lead to the use of barbarisms, or foreign terms, and the concomitant impoverishment of the source language.
This was the driving force behind the creation of ETEP (Estudios de Traducción en el Erotismo y la Pornografía) in 2011. The collective’s three goals are to get academia to take an interest in sex due to its great importance, broaden studies to include other cultural media (e.g., comics and videogames) and, finally, to get students interested in a market niche of millions of consumers with tremendous financial potential.
And this market is no longer limited to the typical low-budget porn shorts. There is a growing number of adult film directors – both male and female – for whom the plot, and even a message (sometimes ideological), are also important. Erika Lust, for example, casts her actors carefully, imposes high production standards and believes that pornography can be an educational tool as well as pleasurable. Lucie Blush defines herself as a feminist porn director who wants to respect actors, characters and audience, and Antonio Da Silva makes art porn films featuring poetry and narration.
Translating films that are meant to be more than simple eroticism is as demanding as translating literature, and it’s not something usually covered in standard translation studies programs. Translating other adult content has its challenges, too, which is why ETEP has designed a course on translating adult content literature that covers everything from types of adult literature, sex toys, creativity, humor, comics, fetishes, author’s rights, BDSM, the current market and research.
Is translating porn for you?
Would you put it on your résumé, if you did?
Let us know what you think!