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Unlady B

Lost in translation: movies/series

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I always try to watch movies and series in the original language they're filmed, so subtitles are my first option. But many times a subtitle can't explain a pun or fully catch the essence of a dialogue. So when you don't understand the language, a lot is lost. And that is not new. Dub versions tend to "accommodate" the dialogue to save the meaning, so sometimes they're rather good filling these gaps.

For instance, I've found some fan subs that try to add translation's notes giving more information, but they certainly ruin the viewing for the sake of explaining. In this regard, I think for an anime a fan sub explaining some cultural instance for the viewer is totally ok, but if I find a big translation note in the middle of the movie in a theatre it will be awkward. Thankfully, Google is our friend and personally I tend to search for things as I watch a movie or a series in order to get a better grasp (no, I don't use the phone inside a theatre! that's ill mannered).

So, what series/movie of your country have you watched and thought: this wouldn't work/be understood if translated/subbed? Which advice would you give a foreign viewer before watching it? What do you do when watching a foreign movie and feel that you're missing something (that is not key to the plot, I hope)? 

And most importantly, have you ever watched a movie in your own language and said: shit, I'm gonna need subtitles because I have no idea what they're saying? 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Lady B. said:

And most importantly, have you ever watched a movie in your own language and said: shit, I'm gonna need subtitles because I have no idea what they're saying? 

I could have certainly used them when I saw The Witch. I could barely understand 90% of the father character’s dialogue. 

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2 hours ago, Nictarion said:

I could have certainly used them when I saw The Witch. I could barely understand 90% of the father character’s dialogue. 

Same. Even the son was hard to understand a lot.

Recently I watched Kill List with subtitles because a few scenes I always missed what was said. Taboo is another one that comes to mind, but most of that was mumbling Tom Hardy.

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The thing is, when people talk about The Witch being hard to understand, my first thought is: have you never seen or read a Shakespeare play? Because it's essentialyl the same thing. (olde worlde language, rather than difficult accents)

I have started putting subtitles on if I watch a film or series on my phone or tablet because I get so bloody tired of fiddling with the volume when it switches from LOUD DRAMATIC MUSIC/EXPLOSIONS to hushed dialogue. But this is definitely a volume thing, rather than acents.

 

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10 hours ago, Lady B. said:

And most importantly, have you ever watched a movie in your own language and said: shit, I'm gonna need subtitles because I have no idea what they're saying?  

 

Basically every Polish movie ever. Apparently they don't do "studio" dialogue to save money.

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13 hours ago, Lady B. said:

So, what series/movie of your country have you watched and thought: this wouldn't work/be understood if translated/subbed? Which advice would you give a foreign viewer before watching it?

There is this Slovene movie about life shortly after World War 2, titled Moj ata, socialistični kulak / My Father, the Socialist Kulak. It is making fun of the political system in the early Yugoslavia. It is even hard to understand as a Slovene person without the necessary history knowledge, but would be even harder for somebody who does not understand the language and culture at all. I guess one should know the historical background well enough before the movie to understand what is going on at all.

13 hours ago, Lady B. said:

What do you do when watching a foreign movie and feel that you're missing something (that is not key to the plot, I hope)? 

And most importantly, have you ever watched a movie in your own language and said: shit, I'm gonna need subtitles because I have no idea what they're saying?

I sometimes look it up online, if I am interested enough.

And no, there are some dialects I don't understand, but I have not seen a movie in any of them.

3 hours ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

Basically every Polish movie ever. Apparently they don't do "studio" dialogue to save money.

Wow, really? The only few words I know of Polish I have learned from the two Polish movies I have seen, and I got the impression that they talk quite clearly in them.

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So here is my quite specific question that this thread title made me think of:

I am generally of the opinion that anything can be translated, but then I find scenes like this and I start questioning my worldwiew. They are literally made of puns. I know that this show has been dubbed in some languages, I have seen a video of one song in Portuguese - but then I don't understand any Portuguese. Does anybody watch CXG in any other language apart from English and can tell me what the translators did with the especially pun-filled songs and how it even works in any other language?

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6 hours ago, El trigo sarraceno said:

So here is my quite specific question that this thread title made me think of:

I am generally of the opinion that anything can be translated, but then I find scenes like this and I start questioning my worldwiew. They are literally made of puns. I know that this show has been dubbed in some languages, I have seen a video of one song in Portuguese - but then I don't understand any Portuguese. Does anybody watch CXG in any other language apart from English and can tell me what the translators did with the especially pun-filled songs and how it even works in any other language?

Ok, I watched the "I tapped your ass" song both in English and Spanish, and it was rather accurate...  :spank: 

I think the same happens with Disney's movies. 70% of the movie is sang so you gotta change some things, including some meanings, to maintain the rhythm. Personally I prefer some dubbed versions due to fondness of memory. The one that comes immediately to my head that changes the meaning of the song is Let it go, from Frozen, where the translated version in Spanish translates directly as "Free I am". How much that changes the plot is beyond me.

Mainly I had on my mind heavy slang when writing the topic. Kids shows and mainstream tv tend to use a moderate/neutral speech. I'm currently watching an argentinian tv show depicting a mob, and the slang is pretty heavy. I wonder if dubbed the translators would use their local slang to maintain the feeling of the scenes. If I were watching a movie where suddenly, lets say, a yakuza starts talking in my local slang it would feel just all sorts of wrong.

 

10 hours ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

 

Basically every Polish movie ever. Apparently they don't do "studio" dialogue to save money.

Do the Polish movies come with subtitles options by default or only those available in streaming services? My mother has a hearing impairment and this very issue has left her out of national cinema for a long time. Nowadays with streaming services like Netflix that come with the subtitle option 90% of the times she's catching up a little. We don't have a law or anything that binds the cable companies to add subtitles options (also known as the famous Closed Captions) for the deaf or hard hearing viewers.

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10 hours ago, Lady B. said:

Do the Polish movies come with subtitles options by default or only those available in streaming services?

It depends. I think new movies mostly have subtitles. New editions of old movies do too. But it's not a given.

 

Buckwheat, maybe it was older movies? I think they used to have a higher standard in the past ;)

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23 hours ago, Lady B. said:

Ok, I watched the "I tapped your ass" song both in English and Spanish, and it was rather accurate...  :spank: 

Oh, really? Does the tap / tapdance pun work there too? And how does the chest pun work?

I am an aspiring translator, these things interest me a lot.

23 hours ago, Lady B. said:

Mainly I had on my mind heavy slang when writing the topic. Kids shows and mainstream tv tend to use a moderate/neutral speech. I'm currently watching an argentinian tv show depicting a mob, and the slang is pretty heavy. I wonder if dubbed the translators would use their local slang to maintain the feeling of the scenes. If I were watching a movie where suddenly, lets say, a yakuza starts talking in my local slang it would feel just all sorts of wrong.

The Slovene dubs do often have different slangs or dialects spoken by characters. Slovene Garfield in the movie version, for example, speaks with a distinct slang characteristic for the capital.

13 hours ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

Buckwheat, maybe it was older movies? I think they used to have a higher standard in the past ;)

Nope, both new. Romantic comedies Listy do M. and Planeta Singli, I think they are called in original.

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On 6/29/2018 at 1:07 AM, Lady B. said:

 

I think the same happens with Disney's movies. 70% of the movie is sang so you gotta change some things, including some meanings, to maintain the rhythm. Personally I prefer some dubbed versions due to fondness of memory. The one that comes immediately to my head that changes the meaning of the song is Let it go, from Frozen, where the translated version in Spanish translates directly as "Free I am". How much that changes the plot is beyond me.

I completely agree with the changes in songs.

In the case of Frozen, might I say that there are two versions of it, the one in Castilian Spanish actually mantains the literal English translation. Not that the other changes the meaning much.

(I just happen to have listened to the main song of Frozen in many languages, even those that I don't understand :P )

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