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lisps in subtitling
Thread poster: Dominika Schoenborn

Dominika Schoenborn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:35
English to Polish
+ ...
Mar 5, 2005

I am translating a movie in which one of the characters lisps. I am wondering whether my Polish subtitles should also include lisps or instead correct speech. Whether subtitles with lisps won't confuse the adudience? Thanks for advice

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Please don't lisp in subtitles Mar 5, 2005

I have never done subtitling, but every year I see many subtitled films. In Switzerland all Eng. language films have French and German subtitles. I can never recall seeing any speech impediment in a subtitle. Usually the written form is more "standard" than the spoken, which sometimes causes a subtle point to be missed in the subtitles. Even regional variations are not carried over in the subtitles, i.e. US southern Eng. is just standard German or French. From the viewers'perspective, I believe a "written lisp" would make reading the subtitles and trying to follow the action on the screen extremely difficult.

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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 06:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
how important is it to the plot? Mar 5, 2005

I don't do subtitling either, but as soon as I read your post I thought of "The Life of Brian." I first saw it in English with Spanish subtitles, and in that case, Pontius Pilate's lisp was reflected in the subtitles (probably because it was necessary to explain why people were laughing when he talked). It did make it a bit hard to follow the subtitles (for me at least, although I had really gone to hear the English), but I really don't see what else the translators could have done.

My thought is that you have to look at your own particular movie and see what the lisp does or doesn't add to it, and make your decision based on that...but I'd be interested to see what people who do subtitling have to say.

My 2 cents


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:35
Italian to English
+ ...
Mar 5, 2005



[Edited at 2005-03-05 22:47]


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:35
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ask the company. Mar 6, 2005

Subtitling is seldom done for a single language. When an order is placed for subtitling, say, for an English speaking film, an English file is prepared, in other words somebody makes English subtitles of what the people are actually saying. It is common sense, that they use it to prepare subtitles in as many languages, as it is commercially viable.
Of course, it is possible, that Polish is the only language in this case, but somewhat I doubt it. So ask your project manager, has the question been discussed, and what is the company's view. If they haven't thought about it, then they should ask the other translators now, and make a decision.
In case they leave it to your discretion: if the character doesn't talk much, then it would be funny to include the lisp, but use it sparingly. If he talks a lot, it can be very distractive.
Good luck with it.


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davidgreen
German to English
would you translate a thick accent? Mar 6, 2005

My thought is that for example if the character was speaking English you probably wouldn't translate a thick Russian accent, unless as already mentioned the character only speaks a couple times and it wouldn't distract too much. Some things just have to get lost in a translation for the sake of not having to feel like you're "reading" a movie.

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sabroso  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
Spanish to French
+ ...
N o lisps un subtitling ! Mar 6, 2005

Hello !
I do agree with Linda. I've subtiled many films / documentaries and I never translated any "linguistic peculiarity" at a written level. That is not the purpose of subtitling.
Good luck with your work
Manuella


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 23:35
German to English
I agree with Cindy Mar 6, 2005

- i am not an expert - have never done any subtitling! - but i definitely think that it is our job as translators to produce "equivalence of effect" wherever possible.

By this I mean that, if the lisp "says" (indicates) something about the character (which it presumably does, as I can't imagine an actor with an accidental lisp being cast in a part where this is not required/desired), we should try to reflect this in the translation in some way, so as to produce a similar reaction in the target-language audience.

HOW you do this without making the subtitles hard to read is a different matter, but I think it would be a mistake to simply "gloss over" something which was presumably intentional in the source language and which could be important aspect of that particular character.


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Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 06:35
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
007 Mar 6, 2005

Hilary Davies wrote:

I can't imagine an actor with an accidental lisp being cast in a part where this is not required/desired.



What about Sean Connery?


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 06:35
English to French
+ ...
lisping Mar 6, 2005

You could put before:
(lisping) and the words he says


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:35
German to English
+ ...
No lisps! Mar 6, 2005

I agree with sabroso and others. Presumably the audience can hear the actors speak. Lisps in the subtitles would simply be distracting. (I have enough problems reading the subtitles and following the action at the same time)

Dubbing, of course, would be a different story.


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 23:35
German to English
"Define "lisp"" Mar 6, 2005

Dan Marasescu wrote:

Hilary Davies wrote:

I can't imagine an actor with an accidental lisp being cast in a part where this is not required/desired.



What about Sean Connery?


That's not a lisp! It's a sort of "whistling thing"


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Linn Arvidsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 06:35
English to Swedish
+ ...
No lisp Mar 9, 2005

I have done a fair amount of subtitling and would not include the lisp.

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Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:35
English to Polish
+ ...
never seen a lisp before... Mar 10, 2005

but when I translate subtitles, there are some altered words, which have to be translated properly - that means, altered also in Polish [my target language] - but how, it also depends on the context, of course.

Besides, when you translate subtitles, you get to see them, not only hear the dialogue, right? So just translate what you read, and I don't believe there are altered words appearing on the screen when you translate a lisping actor... like the above mentioned Sean Connery.

Subtitling is a lot of fun, isn't it? Powodzenia!

Joanna


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 06:35
German
+ ...
Sean Connery the Elder Mar 23, 2005

Hilary Davies wrote:

Dan Marasescu wrote:

Hilary Davies wrote:

I can't imagine an actor with an accidental lisp being cast in a part where this is not required/desired.



What about Sean Connery?


That's not a lisp! It's a sort of "whistling thing"


He'sh probably fearing shat hish denturesh will fall out if he opensh hish moush any wider...


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