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Sigella

Awful translations from aSoIaF

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Posted (edited)

I think it would be fun to list the worst/funniest translation-job we've come across in our different translations.

 

Mine are cringy as hell so be warned.

 

"direwolf" is called "skräckvarg" which directly translates to "horrorwolf"

"weirwood" is called "själaträd" which directly translates to "soultree"

"white walker" or "other" -> "vit vålnad" -> "white ghost"

And they've changed all the names of places too. Not "Winterfell" but "Vinterhed" which directly translates to "Wintermoor" for example. And the Stark words in swedish directly translates to "Winter is coming closer" which hasn't (imo) quite the same ring to it... :D

Edited by Sigella

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Well, if it's any comfort to you, the Czech translation sucks, as well. - To give the poor translator some credit, translating English compound names into Czech is a damned if you do, damned if you don't job because of the different natures of the languages - Czech words are, in general, longer, and as a highly inflected language, it doesn't create compounds by merely slapping the words together. It can be done but the results are usually awkward and sound very unnatural. If the translator opts for a more natural naming strategy, s/he basically has two choices: drop one part of the compound and add some Czech-sounding suffix (works quite well with toponyms; the translator of LotR did a splendid job there), or make it a two-word name. The former causes a loss of meaning (which may turn out quite a problem if the dropped part is later revealed to be of importance), the latter can make declension and use in sentences a bit awkward and sounds unnatural if overused, so the best strategy is probably combining the two methods while looking for already existing names as a model.

- Needless to say, the translator went for a very literal compound translation in most cases, which leaves us with a number of very cringy names, sometimes with rather dubious meaning - for example, direwolf translates back as evil-wolf, which, IMHO, is not exactly a good choice for the sigil of the good guys.

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Posted (edited)

Horror-wolf and evil-wolf are curious choices.

My reading of direwolf was always linked to dire's definition as a "warning of disaster" or a "desperately urgent" situation as their reappearance accompanies a message that the Others are coming. The Stark sigil and words Winter is Coming go together maybe in more ways than they realize.

Definition of dire

direr; direst
1 a : exciting horror
  • dire suffering
b : dismal, oppressive
  • dire days
2 : warning of disaster
  • a dire forecast
3 a : desperately urgent
  • in dire need of assistance
b : extreme
  • dire poverty
Edited by Lollygag

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1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

Horror-wolf and evil-wolf are curious choices.

My reading of direwolf was always linked to dire's definition as a "warning of disaster" or a "desperately urgent" situation as their reappearance accompanies a message that the Others are coming. The Stark sigil and words Winter is Coming go together maybe in more ways than they realize.

Definition of dire

direr; direst
1 a : exciting horror
  • dire suffering
b : dismal, oppressive
  • dire days
2 : warning of disaster
  • a dire forecast
3 a : desperately urgent
  • in dire need of assistance
b : extreme
  • dire poverty

Haha, I thought it was meant as an extreme. Like its an extremely large wolf.

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Well, if it's any comfort to you, the Czech translation sucks, as well. - To give the poor translator some credit, translating English compound names into Czech is a damned if you do, damned if you don't job because of the different natures of the languages - Czech words are, in general, longer, and as a highly inflected language, it doesn't create compounds by merely slapping the words together. It can be done but the results are usually awkward and sound very unnatural. If the translator opts for a more natural naming strategy, s/he basically has two choices: drop one part of the compound and add some Czech-sounding suffix (works quite well with toponyms; the translator of LotR did a splendid job there), or make it a two-word name. The former causes a loss of meaning (which may turn out quite a problem if the dropped part is later revealed to be of importance), the latter can make declension and use in sentences a bit awkward and sounds unnatural if overused, so the best strategy is probably combining the two methods while looking for already existing names as a model.

- Needless to say, the translator went for a very literal compound translation in most cases, which leaves us with a number of very cringy names, sometimes with rather dubious meaning - for example, direwolf translates back as evil-wolf, which, IMHO, is not exactly a good choice for the sigil of the good guys.

Lol, no its not.

I'm forever grateful for not being resigned to the swedish version because I tried it years earlier and gave up on it at Wintermoor and Kingharbour.

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The french translation was the object of a severe controversy here. Most of the family name and all the cities, places, villages, etc. are translated; in some cases it works but in many cases it's childish and a bit ridiculous, like "Potaunoir" for Kettleblack, "Petitbois" for Smallwood, "Corbois" for Hornwood, "Mervault" for Seaworth, "Fort Griseaux" for Greywater Watch, "Casterfoyer" :wacko: for Stokeworth, etc.

As for the dire wolves, the translator chose to make them "Loup Garou" which is french for "werewolf" — the worst possible translation.

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Speaking about family names... some were translated, some were not, and then halfway through the series, the translator decided to translate practically all of them, again making them very literal, and put them all in adjectival form, which again is possible as such surnames do exist but not in such numbers.

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Posted (edited)

"The Dreadfort" -> "Skräckfortet" -> "The Horrorfortress" :lol:

Edited by Sigella

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The Polish one was famously (well, in Poland) bad. At least the first book or two, I believe that later they hired someone more competent (but meanwhile my English got thankfully good enough to read the version originale). The translator couldn't decide (and the editor neglected to helpfully kick him in the butt) whether to translate geographical names or not, so he decided on "both". For the same places. So Walder Frey's castle would be "Twins" on one page and "Bliźniaki" on another.

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This is why I bought them in English - I didn't want to cringe at the names of the castles and places most of all, and wanted to read only the way the author himself wrote them. 

Plus, you never stop learning something new in English when it's not your native language and you want to improve.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I never even considered to read the books in my native language. Sometimes I come across the Dutch wiki, Google tends to think that I want to go to the Dutch wiki, and I think the Dutch translations have the same problem as German or Scandinavian translations (direwolf=schrikwolf=scarewolf *ugh*). The language is just off. Also, some (if not most) of the poetry tends to get lost in Dutch translations, in any booktranslation, and that's really a problem in these books IMO. 

But to be honest I never read a full chapter or even a paragraph in Dutch so I can't really tell.

Edited by Deepbollywood Motte

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Direwolves were real animals. How do you screw up the translation of a word you language already has?!?

Wikipedia says the actual animal is called Jättevarg in Swedish, Pravlk obrovský in Czech, Canis dirus (just its scientific name) in French and Reuzenwolf in Dutch.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

Direwolves were real animals. How do you screw up the translation of a word you language already has?!?

Wikipedia says the actual animal is called Jättevarg in Swedish, Pravlk obrovský in Czech, Canis dirus (just its scientific name) in French and Reuzenwolf in Dutch.

Yes, they could have used that. But it means "gaint wolf" in Dutch so maybe it would give confusion on it not being a different animal but just a big wolf.

Edited by Deepbollywood Motte

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20 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

Direwolves were real animals. How do you screw up the translation of a word you language already has?!?

Wikipedia says the actual animal is called Jättevarg in Swedish, Pravlk obrovský in Czech, Canis dirus (just its scientific name) in French and Reuzenwolf in Dutch.

"Jättevarg" directly translates to "giantwolf". Why didn't they go with that? Silly translators.

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But also translators are (I'm guessing) trying to make stuff sound archaic.

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6 minutes ago, Sigella said:

But also translators are (I'm guessing) trying to make stuff sound archaic.

Maybe trying too hard? An actual direwolf is extinct, so shouldn't it have an eldritch vibe to it in any language?

(Sorry for sticking my native-English-speaking nose in, but this is the best thread I've seen in ages.)

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38 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

Direwolves were real animals. How do you screw up the translation of a word you language already has?!?

Wikipedia says the actual animal is called Jättevarg in Swedish, Pravlk obrovský in Czech, Canis dirus (just its scientific name) in French and Reuzenwolf in Dutch.

"Canis Dirus" is an international scientific name; in French no one would name a common rat "Rattus Norvegicus" or call a wolf "Canis Lupus".

The best translation would have been "Loup géant" (giant wolf) since Canis Dirus was much bigger and heavier than common wolfes.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Therae said:

Maybe trying too hard? An actual direwolf is extinct, so shouldn't it have an eldritch vibe to it in any language?

(Sorry for sticking my native-English-speaking nose in, but this is the best thread I've seen in ages.)

No, since there was a lot of megafauna in prehistory that looked like fauna we see today at least in Dutch those animals are given the prefix "reuzen", "giant". We do it with some contemporary animals (reuzeninktvis - giant squid. Reuzenmanta - manta ray).

Edit, Add; but for the casual reader who is not that much into (ancient) fauna "Reuzen" might also just indicate a big version of the known animal.

Edited by Deepbollywood Motte

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In serbian edition of TWOIAF Blood and Cheese are one person.

Blackfyre is sometimes kept in original form, and sometimes translated to Crna Vatra, meaning Black fire.

Brave companions's name in serbian sounds childish, because Hrabri drugari can be translated into Brave friends.

Vargo's lisp is worse in serbian version.

Serbian Dorkstar

...and night is mine.

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2 minutes ago, Deepbollywood Motte said:

No, since there was a lot of megafauna in prehistory that looked like fauna we see today at least in Dutch those animals are given the prefix "reuzen", "giant". We do it with some contemporary animals (reuzeninktvis - giant squid. Reuzenmanta - manta ray).

But when you hear "Reuzenwolf", does it not make you think "prehistoric" (despite the use of the prefix in modern species that happen to be really big)? That's what I meant.

Although in the specific case of the direwolves, I guess "giant" is still an accurate descriptive, even if it doesn't suggest it belongs to older era.

What about "aurochs"? I believe they are extinct as well. How does that get translated?

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