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Off topic: Expensive translation faux-pas: Shrek 2 temporarily withdrawn from cinemas in Israel
Thread poster: Klaus Herrmann

Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:27
Member (2002)
English to German
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Jul 12, 2004

The following was on Dutch teletext just a couple of minutes ago (NOS-TT pagina 424 for those of us who have access to Dutch TV):

The Hebrew version of Shrek 2 has been temporarily withdrawn from cinemas througout Israel. Singer David Daor, famous for his falsetto voice felt offended and went to court.

In the animated movie, one of the characters threatens to neuter another character using the words 'Let's bobbitt him', alluding to John Bobbitt who was attacked by his wife in 1993. The Israeli translators changed this to 'Let's David Daor him' in the Hebrew version.

Daor felt his virility being insulted. After a change of this sentence, the movie now is showing again.


Now that's a nice example of a cultural equivalent, opening pandora's box.


[Edited at 2004-07-12 19:08]


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:27
English to Turkish
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Sigh! Jul 12, 2004

I should keep up with the news then, my translation is very dull it seems. I translated it as "let's give him a cut."
Very nice example indeed. I was very relieved that the O.J. case was forgotten and I didn't come across any references to him in the movies any longer... Well at least until Shrek 2, where they are chasing a bronco too

[Edited at 2004-07-12 19:13]


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:27
English to German
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And the Germans? Jul 12, 2004

Reading this very funny article it just came to my mind how the Germans tried to solve this problem.

Sadly some of the culturally related jokes have not been translated at all. They simply used "Let's give him a shave" (Rasieren wir ihn). And there's no underlying meaning in there.

There were a couple of bad translations in the German version. I didn't like the way they translated "a kingdom far far away" (das Königreich Weit Weit Weg) and that "Puss in Boots" had simply been translated as "der gestiefelte Kater". More so as the cat introduces himself as Puss and cuts a "P" into the tree. For one moment I was really puzzled (as most viewers were) because we simply couldn't link "gestiefelter Kater" and the P.


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:27
English to Turkish
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Same here Jul 12, 2004

There are some things you can't translate in a movie. Somebody stop me if I carry the lighter side of translation into the darker realms of our profession.
I too had the same problem and in Turkish we say "Çizmeli Kedi".
A similar case happened with Monsters Inc. Pixar simply solved the problem by changing such embedded titles etc, so that if it was Gestiefelte in German the cat would cut G






Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

Reading this very funny article it just came to my mind how the Germans tried to solve this problem.

Sadly some of the culturally related jokes have not been translated at all. They simply used "Let's give him a shave" (Rasieren wir ihn). And there's no underlying meaning in there.

There were a couple of bad translations in the German version. I didn't like the way they translated "a kingdom far far away" (das Königreich Weit Weit Weg) and that "Puss in Boots" had simply been translated as "der gestiefelte Kater". More so as the cat introduces himself as Puss and cuts a "P" into the tree. For one moment I was really puzzled (as most viewers were) because I simply couldn't link "gestiefelter Kater" to the "P".

Sonja



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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
German to English
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Cultural References Jul 12, 2004

Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

Reading this very funny article it just came to my mind how the Germans tried to solve this problem.

Sadly some of the culturally related jokes have not been translated at all. They simply used "Let's give him a shave" (Rasieren wir ihn). And there's no underlying meaning in there.

There were a couple of bad translations in the German version. I didn't like the way they translated "a kingdom far far away" (das Königreich Weit Weit Weg) and that "Puss in Boots" had simply been translated as "der gestiefelte Kater". More so as the cat introduces himself as Puss and cuts a "P" into the tree. For one moment I was really puzzled (as most viewers were) because I simply couldn't link "gestiefelter Kater" to the "P".

Sonja



Hi Sonja!

I actually thought "Der Gestiefelte Kater" was the official translation for Puss in Boots, but I can see the problem with the P.

Shrek contains a lot of cultural references that many Germans might not be familiar with - the Three Blind Mice and the Gingerbread Man for starters, as well as the Muffin Man and Drury Lane (all based on English nursery rhymes).

This is thus one of the reasons why I prefer to see films in the original whenever I can (I'm English so it's not that hard to understand them most of the time:-) What is hard is getting my German boyfriend to see them with me in English - his English really could be better ...

I really enjoyed Shrek and Shrek II - I hope you did too!

Sarah


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 22:27
Member (2002)
German to English
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That's where DVDs come in Jul 13, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

This is thus one of the reasons why I prefer to see films in the original whenever I can (I'm English so it's not that hard to understand them most of the time:-) What is hard is getting my German boyfriend to see them with me in English - his English really could be better ...

Sarah


We live out in the sticks and would have to drive for an hour or more to get to Mainz or Frankfurt to watch films in the cinema in English - so we've got my old laptop (with a DVD player) hooked up to a nice big TFT screen. Now we can watch movies in English, or in German if our daughters have any of their friends round. And with the price of cinema tickets these days its probably cheaper too!!!


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:27
Member (2003)
English to Czech
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Three Blind Mice Jul 13, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

Shrek contains a lot of cultural references that many Germans might not be familiar with - the Three Blind Mice and the Gingerbread Man for starters, as well as the Muffin Man and Drury Lane (all based on English nursery rhymes).


Sarah, could you please explain the Three Blind Mice? Are they fairy tale characters?

I saw Shrek 2 just yesterday (free Monday after a busy weekend). It was in English with Czech subtitles. All major movies are usually dubbed into Czech, but they also make a few copies with subtitles, fortunately (not many, though: 4 copies of Shrek 2, 1 copy of Harry Potter).

By the way, the Puss in Boots is translated as "Kocour v botach", so we have the same problem P/K as Germany.


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
German to English
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Three Blind Mice Jul 13, 2004

Hynek Palatin wrote:

Sarah Downing wrote:

Shrek contains a lot of cultural references that many Germans might not be familiar with - the Three Blind Mice and the Gingerbread Man for starters, as well as the Muffin Man and Drury Lane (all based on English nursery rhymes).


Sarah, could you please explain the Three Blind Mice? Are they fairy tale characters?

I saw Shrek 2 just yesterday (free Monday after a busy weekend). It was in English with Czech subtitles. All major movies are usually dubbed into Czech, but they also make a few copies with subtitles, fortunately (not many, though: 4 copies of Shrek 2, 1 copy of Harry Potter).

By the way, the Puss in Boots is translated as "Kocour v botach", so we have the same problem P/K as Germany.


Hi Hynek!

Sure thing! Three Blind Mice is a children's nursery rhyme:

Three blind mice
Three blind mice
See how they run
See how they run
They all ran after the farmer's wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
Did you ever see such a thing in your life
As three blind mice?

There's actually a tune for this, but obviously that's hard to describe via proz:-)



Hi Alison!

I agree with you on DVDs - This is often my way of getting around the problem of not being able to watch films in English. I used to live near Cologne and there there is a cinema that only shows films in English - that was great, so I really miss that! I don't understand why there aren't more such cinemas that show only English films because I'd think there are a lot of people in Germany who'd like to see films in the original. My problem most of the time is that, although cinemas sporadically show English films, these don't tend to run for long periods so I often miss them

I'm looking forward to tonight - I'm going to see Spiderman 2 in the original version:-)

ATB,

Sarah


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Shrek 2 was a big success in Spain Jul 13, 2004

And that was not due to translation, but a thorough localisation.

A well-known comedy team took on the dubbing job and took many liberties in substituting the jokes and puns. I frankly doubt that anyone from Mexico or South America would've got the point (it went across well for an audience that was attuned to national TV over RTVE. They used their own - practically copyrighted - "running gags").

It also had an indispensable link with the English original: Antonio Banderas dubbed himself as (an Andalusian) Puss-in-Boots (He's Andalusian, anyway. Not to mention that the original script had linked the cat closely to his version of "Zorro"). And since it ended in Ricky Martin's brand of Spanglish, everyone thought it "cool".

You need experienced comedy specialists for this sort of job. I've seen that same team spoof "Matrix" and fell off my seat about the fight scenes.

[Edited at 2004-07-13 10:55]


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:27
English to German
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Localise the jokes Jul 13, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:
I actually thought \"Der Gestiefelte Kater\" was the official translation for Puss in Boots, but I can see the problem with the P.


You are right. But since the whole film was a parody why didn\'t they try to actually localize the jokes? Why didn\'t they use \"die gestiefelte Mieze\" or something like that? It is strange when you see a really funny film and some parts just don\'t fit into the whole picture. Maybe I am oversensitive because I am a translator, but I wasn\'t the only person who noticed that some scenes just didn\'t work.

Sonja


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
German to English
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It's difficult to reinvent established names ... Jul 13, 2004

Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

Sarah Downing wrote:
I actually thought "Der Gestiefelte Kater" was the official translation for Puss in Boots, but I can see the problem with the P.


You are right. But since the whole film was a parody why didn't they try to actually localize the jokes? Why didn't they use "die gestiefelte Mieze" or something like that? It is strange when you see a really funny film and some parts just don't fit into the whole picture. Maybe I am oversensitive because I am a translator, but I wasn't the only person who noticed that some scenes just didn't work.

Sonja


I know its a parody, but I think it might have been difficult to call the Gestiefelte Kater something else, because he's been around for centuries:-) It's reinventing the name of a famous fairytale character. Also, calling him the Gestiefelte Kater should have meant that people recognised his name and knew who was being referred to.

However, based on what somebody else said in this thread, I think it might have been a good idea to change certain scenes for different languages - i.e. have him cut a G or something into the tree, but on the other hand this would also be a lot of work because you'd probably have to do this for every language ...



[Edited at 2004-07-13 11:52]


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:27
Member (2003)
English to Czech
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CAT in Boots Jul 13, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

However, based on what somebody else said in this thread, I think it might have been a good idea to change certain scenes for different languages - i.e. have him cut a G or something into the tree, but on the other hand this would also be a lot of work because you'd probably have to do this for every language ...


Don't forget it's a computer animated movie. I'm sure they could use some kind of a CAT tool.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:27
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Three Blind Mice Jul 13, 2004

Many English nursery rhymes have historical origins. Just found this:

The origin of the 'tale' of Three blind mice!
The origin of the words to the Three blind mice rhyme is to be found in English history. The 'farmer's wife' refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of 'Bloody Mary'. The reference to 'farmer's wife' in Three blind mice refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The 'three blind mice' were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith and who were convicted of plotting against the Queen - she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three blind mice - but she did have them burnt at the stake!


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
German to English
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Fascinating! Jul 13, 2004

Jack Doughty wrote:

Many English nursery rhymes have historical origins. Just found this:

The origin of the 'tale' of Three blind mice!
The origin of the words to the Three blind mice rhyme is to be found in English history. The 'farmer's wife' refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of 'Bloody Mary'. The reference to 'farmer's wife' in Three blind mice refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The 'three blind mice' were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith and who were convicted of plotting against the Queen - she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three blind mice - but she did have them burnt at the stake!


That's really fascinating, Jack. You learn something new every day!:-)


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