Mobile menu

Hunyak girl\'s song in \"Chicago\"
Thread poster: Csaba Ban

Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Mar 18, 2003

Last weekend I went to see \"Chicago\" in a downtown cinema (\"theater\") in Budapest. It was subtitled, and the translation was excellent.

One of the songs is the \"Cell Block Tango\", when 6 convicted women tell their stories of they killed a man (or two).

Then appears a tall blond girl and the subtitles disappear. After a few lines I had to realize that she was singing a language that was meant to be Hungarian. I could only make out a few words (notably: \"I am innocent\"), but the rest was largely incomprehensible.

A few scenes later, the same character asks for help as \"pomogitye, pozhaluysta\", which is Russian for \"help me please\". Surprisingly enough, these two words were perfectly pronounced.

As far as I know, \"Hun\" and \"Hunyak\" are derogatory words in the U.S., mainly used around 1900-1950, referring to almost any Central or Eastern European immigrant.

This word reinforces the fallacy that ancient Huns (of Attila fame) and present day Hungarians share the same origin. There are still some semi- and pseudo-scientific debates about this, but the historically and lingusticaly more or less established fact is that the these two peoples have never been related and the similarity in their names is merely coincidental.

In any case, there was a large wave of immigrants from Hungary to the U.S. between around 1890 and 1914. Roughly half the population of Hungary at that time was non-Hungarian speaker, i.e. mostly some Slavic (plus Romanian and German speakers) Consequently, of the 3 million immigrants (their number is well known by the token of a famous poem that was written in the 1930\'s), an important percentage was Slovaks, Poles or Croats.

As it turned later out in \"Chicago\", the Hunyak girl\'s name was \"Katalin Halenszky\" - a Christian name in its Hungarian version, with a definitely Slavic (Slovak or Polish) family name (with Hungarian spelling though).

And, as it turned out in the cast list, the character was played by a Russian actress, which explains the funny Hungarian and the perfect Russian earlier on the film.



Another example of Hollywood ignorance about historical and cultural backgrounds? Or the screenplay deliberately gave mixed Hungarian and Russian words to the mouth of the same character, naming her \"Hunyak\", which means just any old immigrant from Eastern Europe?



A final note - Chicago was infamous in the prohibition era for its crime. A run-down area in Budapest has been called \"Csikágó\" (pronounced the same as the Windy City) since around 1930, due to its traditionally high crime rate. Grand crime may hove gone since then, but the area is still run-down, and it is an excellent terrain for budding sociologists to study social seggregation.



[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 08:55]

[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 08:55]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
bergazy  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:45
Croatian to Italian
+ ...
You have some reason to smile! Mar 18, 2003

Dear Csaba,don\'worry.

According to the Associated Press, (AP-NY-10-26-96 1604EDT) people with some claim to Hungarian ancestry have been nominated for Oscars 136 times since 1929, when the first ones were handed out, and have taken home 30 of the golden statuettes. There\'s an old joke from the \'30s about a sign on a movie studio wall reading \"It\'s not enough to be Hungarian. You have to have talent.\" The joke refers to how a relatively small country had such an impact on the history of the movies.



Have a nice time!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maria Rosich Andreu  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:45
Member (2003)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Swordfish Mar 18, 2003

The movie \"Swordfish\" also offers a nice example of Hollywood\'s disregard for languages. In it, two Finnish characters speak German to each other (!). However, when one of them is refered to as \"Ikea-boy\" by a policeman, he replies \"Ikea is Swedish, and I am Finnish\". Why introduce this detail and on the other hand completely overlook the fact that not every funny country in Europe speaks German?



I am sure we could find many more of this sort.



Greetings,



Maria


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
two more examples Mar 18, 2003

The state-run Soviet film factory \"Mosfilm\" also made some similar ignorant mistakes.



A famous spy series of the 1970\'s was \"17 moments of spring\". Stirlitz, the main character plays a Russian spy in Nazi Germany during WWII (but the Germans think he is on their side, spying against the Russian )

Funnily enough, a recurring scene is when Mr. Stirlitz writes secret reports to his boss, Göring, in ... well, you guessed it: Russian.

After all, the series were made for the Russian market...



A very typical and ridiculous scene in Hollywood (and perhaps other) films takes place when part of the story takes place in a foreign language environment. Just one example: James Bond visits a Soviet military officer. The officer speaks fluent English, but when asked a simple question, he would simply say \"da\" or \"nyet\".


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxErika P  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Toto Santos , Chicago and “All That Jazz”... Mar 18, 2003

Toto Santos:

“Grim Fandango” is arguably the best ever adventure PC game made by Lucas Arts.
(I think this is the best of the genre so far...)
The plot of the game unfolds like a movie and is full of extravagant characters.
The most colourful of them all is Toto Santos, a sailor and scrimshaw artist who runs a tattoo parlour from his rusty boat marooned in Rubacava harbour.
Toto is an exotic creature, though his name is unmistakably of Spanish origin (South American) in the dialogues he speaks English with a strong Russian (or Slavic) accent!
As the story progresses Toto sometimes drifts out of the centre of the action and creates some background noises, such as telephone conversations at the back of his workshop.
All carried out in crystal clear Hungarian, peppered with strong colloquialisms...

Chicago:

Katalin Halenszky’s ”Famous Hungarian Disappearing Act” has been etched into my conscience since I've seen “Chicago”.
The total disregard of getting this important detail right, combined with poor casting in an Oscar- nominated movie is pretty much of a gaffe. Not to mention, there are plenty of pretty and talented Hungarian actresses hovering around the Dream Factory, any of them would have been too happy to break the routine of selling hamburgers. During the film, my partner( who has been to Hungary before) turned to me in amazement:
- “ The language she speaks… It’s meant to be Hungarian…but it’s not, is it?”
- “ Put it this way: she speaks neither Hungarian nor English. Her Russian is very poor, and she is too stupid to send for an interpreter. The chick is obviously doomed.”
The movie dragged on, and of course, all that jazz:
”We all know about Harry Houdini, don’t we?… (wink, wink) …and of course, you, erudite viewer also happen to know the famous disappearing act around 1956?…(wink, wink). Hungarians are best depicted as the perfect victims, aren’t they? …Whoa, that’s it! Doesn’t matter the girl chips in in Russian! Let’s offend all the Slavic nations as well! “ (before the execution scene I believe I caught the glimpse of an orthodox icon of Jesus in her cell.)
What a shame it all went down the drain and I’m not buying the DVD, thought KZJ’s legwork was outstanding.

“Call in the Huns”

Quote:

On 2003-03-18 08:42, Ban Csaba wrote:
As far as I know, "Hun" and "Hunyak" are derogatory words in the U.S., mainly used around 1900-1950, referring to almost any Central or Eastern European immigrant.


The word “Hun” carries even nastier undertones:
Hitler’s Nazi thugs are often referred to as Huns. In fact, any military hordes that loots and rapes “in the manner of the barbarians” entitled to be called Huns.
“A hun is :a person who is wantonly destructive : vandal: (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2003)”
Now, that ‘s not exactly what the Magyars wish to be associated with…


[Edited at 2003-06-24 08:42]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:45
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
On Chicago Mar 18, 2003

Hi Czaba,



I too caught that oddity: a supposedly Hungarian (and Hungarian-singing) woman speaking perfect Russian later on. The original book by Fred Ebb does involve a Hungarian woman and she does sing in Hungarian. I saw it in Broadway 4 years ago and I heard a weird gibberish which could have been the actress\'s version of CentralEuropean-ish. The casting of a Russian actress in the film may have been the inadvertent cause for that scene where she shouts out \"pomogite pozhaluista\", which, by the way, is not in the book. Typical Hollywood: cast a leggy blond from some distant Slavic country and let her represent the entire Slavic-Finno-Ugric race.



Another cinematic oddity: all the Vietnamese extras you see in Apocalypse Now are actually Filipinos...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I second every word you said, Csaba & Erika! Mar 22, 2003

Quote:


Another example of Hollywood ignorance about historical and cultural backgrounds..



Let’s offend all the Slavic nations as well!




Dear Csaba & Erika,



I only saw Chicago last night and was about to post this morning - I see you two have already said it all! Thank you so much for your rants, I couldn\'t have said it any better. Now, if we could figure out how to educate those who ruin otherwise brilliant films (another example, which also happens to be a great picture, is Blade Runner, where to illustrate a \"non-existent gibberish street-language\" they used: Hungarian!). I\'m completely dumb-founded why in the movie factory it is a standard to save a few grands on real interpreters / translators / native actors while their overall budget is several millions of $$$$...


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxGrokita
Spanish to English
Spanish version og "GREASE" May 27, 2003

i totally agree with all your comments and i think that movies doubt the intelligence and cultural knowledge of the spectator.
i have also seen a translating mistake in the spanish version of "Grease". in one of the last songs, John Travolta says "'cause the POWER you're supplying, it's electrifying..." well, in the Spanish version, whisch is dubbed, the y translated the song: "Porque la flor...". They understood FLOWER instead of POWER!!!well, it's my first comment in the forum, i hope you enjoy it.
UN SALUDO PARA EVA MARICHALAR!!!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not only Hollywood is out to lunch... Jun 5, 2003

This brings back "fond" childhood memories, when I saw "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" dubbed into Spanish. Newman and Redford end up in Bolivia, and need to learn a few words in the local language (e.g., "stick 'em up") so they can rob a bank. In the original version, of course they try to learn Spanish. Whoever handled the Spanish version decided to circumvent this dilemma by having them learn French instead! No wonder the local extras looked so puzzled!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:45
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Puzzle of the historical Huns & Hungarians Jun 10, 2003

[/quote]
The word “Hun” carries even nastier undertones:
Hitler’s Nazi thugs are often referred to as Huns. In fact, any military hordes that loots and rapes “in the manner of the barbarians” entitled to be called Huns.
“A hun is :a person who is wantonly destructive : vandal: (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2003)”
Now, that ‘s not exactly what the Magyars wish to be associated with…
[/quote]

And yet the link claimed between the two peoples is a puzzle. Presumeably it arose because of the historical Huns and Hungarians shared fame for their skill with horses and for their cavalry, and a desire to be seen as invincible in the climate of 1000 years ago. And people do not always see things from the same point of view. As far as I know, its not uncommon for Hungarians to be named Atilla, which doubtless is equated with brave, kind, noble qualities. And yet in English the name Attila is used, with no reference to Hungarians intended, to conjure up an image of brutallity and ferocity, because of the memory or legend of Attila the Hun.
Perhaps the names have separate origins, but if so such a striking similarity combined with others is surprizing.
The use of 'Hun' as a war time insult directed (in the unhappy past) at Germany (from Britain and perhaps France) with the intended meaning described above, goes back further than Nazism to the First World War. Perhaps it's coining springs from the classical (ancient Greek & Roman) education of the speechmakers, journalists and politicians of that era ?

(The word vandal too comes from the name of another of the barbarian peoples who invaded the late roman empire, during the same period as the Huns. The Roman historians thought the Vandals behaved like, well, vandals - although everybody including the "other barbarians" was frightened of the Huns.)

[Edited at 2003-06-10 14:20]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
stylez
English
omg May 31, 2006

well i was looking around to try and find out exactly what she said and this is what i pulled up- Mit kersek, en itt? Azt mondjok, hogy a hires lakem lefogta a ferjemet en meg
lecsaptam a fejet. De nem igaz, en artatlan
vagyok. Nem tudom mert mondja
Uncle Sam hogy en tettem. probaltam
a rendorsegen megmayarazni de nem ertettek meg...
ok so um lol









Csaba Ban wrote:

Last weekend I went to see \"Chicago\" in a downtown cinema (\"theater\") in Budapest. It was subtitled, and the translation was excellent.

One of the songs is the \"Cell Block Tango\", when 6 convicted women tell their stories of they killed a man (or two).

Then appears a tall blond girl and the subtitles disappear. After a few lines I had to realize that she was singing a language that was meant to be Hungarian. I could only make out a few words (notably: \"I am innocent\"), but the rest was largely incomprehensible.

A few scenes later, the same character asks for help as \"pomogitye, pozhaluysta\", which is Russian for \"help me please\". Surprisingly enough, these two words were perfectly pronounced.

As far as I know, \"Hun\" and \"Hunyak\" are derogatory words in the U.S., mainly used around 1900-1950, referring to almost any Central or Eastern European immigrant.

This word reinforces the fallacy that ancient Huns (of Attila fame) and present day Hungarians share the same origin. There are still some semi- and pseudo-scientific debates about this, but the historically and lingusticaly more or less established fact is that the these two peoples have never been related and the similarity in their names is merely coincidental.

In any case, there was a large wave of immigrants from Hungary to the U.S. between around 1890 and 1914. Roughly half the population of Hungary at that time was non-Hungarian speaker, i.e. mostly some Slavic (plus Romanian and German speakers) Consequently, of the 3 million immigrants (their number is well known by the token of a famous poem that was written in the 1930\'s), an important percentage was Slovaks, Poles or Croats.

As it turned later out in \"Chicago\", the Hunyak girl\'s name was \"Katalin Halenszky\" - a Christian name in its Hungarian version, with a definitely Slavic (Slovak or Polish) family name (with Hungarian spelling though).

And, as it turned out in the cast list, the character was played by a Russian actress, which explains the funny Hungarian and the perfect Russian earlier on the film.



Another example of Hollywood ignorance about historical and cultural backgrounds? Or the screenplay deliberately gave mixed Hungarian and Russian words to the mouth of the same character, naming her \"Hunyak\", which means just any old immigrant from Eastern Europe?



A final note - Chicago was infamous in the prohibition era for its crime. A run-down area in Budapest has been called \"Csikágó\" (pronounced the same as the Windy City) since around 1930, due to its traditionally high crime rate. Grand crime may hove gone since then, but the area is still run-down, and it is an excellent terrain for budding sociologists to study social seggregation.



[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 08:55]

[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 08:55]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
bronwyn_rebekah
English
Hunyaks speech in Cell block Tango Sep 23, 2007

I agree entirely, they should have got someone who actually was hungarian.....

because, um, I need help.
Im playing Katalin Hunyak in the stage version of Chicago, but I dont know anyone who speaks Hungarian. The only thing ive got to go by is the movie. I know what it means, what she is saying.... well, roughly... but I cant find anyone who can actually pronounce it...

vvvvvvvvvvv

Mit keresek, en itt? Azt mondjok, hogy a hires lakem lefogta a ferjemet en meg
lecsaptam a fejet. De nem igaz, en artatlan
vagyok. Nem tudom mert mondja
Uncle Sam hogy en tettem. probaltam
a rendorsegen megmayarazni de nem ertettek meg...

^^^^^^^^^^

please help? i really dont want to have to use my copy from the movie.... if it was already barely intelligible, no one will be able to understand me... even if they know the language!:(

example:
Mit keresek, en itt? has turned into...
(read it like english with some sort of accent)
meet kereesha kell

???????????


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Hunyak girl\'s song in \"Chicago\"

Advanced search


Translation news





CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs