Monday, March 19, 2007

Boy Am I Glad I Only Speak English!

From the Internet Movie Database:

"Efforts by overseas film distributors to cut costs by outsourcing subtitle translations to such countries as India and Malaysia have resulted in creating dialog that makes little sense to local audiences, according to today's (Monday) London Times. The newspaper observed that translators with little understanding of the nuances of English are taking the place of British subtitlers, many with long careers in the business. Kenn Nakata Steffenson, who translates English films into Danish and Japanese films into English, cited one film in which the line "Jim is a Vietnam vet" became "Jim is veterinarian from Vietnam" in the farmed-out Danish subtitles. In another film, the words "flying into an asteroid field" became "flying into a steroid field." In yet another, "She died in a freak rugby accident" became "She died in a rugby match for people with deformities." In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Uma Thurman's line, "We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment" was translated into Taiwanese as "We hold the highest standards for sexual harassment." The Times said that Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro was so upset with the English subtitles for his 2001 film The Devil's Backbone that he himself worked on the subtitles for last year's award-winning Pan's Labyrinth."


yoggoth said...

I've noticed that even English subtitles on Spanish language movies aren't always that accurate.

Little Earl said...

Can't you just picture a bunch of people flying in outer space and one of them suddenly screams out, "Oh God, Jim, it's a STEROID FIELD!!" and then they get barraged by a bunch of creams and pills and lotions! I can just see it now.

yoggoth said...

I imagined a bunch of floating body builders yelling at the ship in Austrian accents.

Little Earl said...

Or how about this exchange:

Susie: "Jim seems a little bit edgy, don't you think?"

Martha: "Well, you know he's a veterinarian from Vietnam."

Susie (with a look of renewed clarity): "Ohhhhh, gosh I didn't know, that explains everything."