Bridget Jones Diary - Boots
Thread poster: Andrea Alvisi

Andrea Alvisi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
English to Italian
+ ...
Jul 8, 2009

Hello everybody!

I'm doing a revision of the official Italian translation of the book 'Bridget Jones Diary' as my dissertation for the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators (SSLMIT) in Forlì, Italy.

At the moment I'm just having a general look at all the main mistakes and translation problems that have been made and encountered by the official translator. I came across a sentence, though, which neither my professor (and she'd English) nor many of my English friends were able to understand.

In the first chapter, when Bridget arrives at the Alconbury's place for the Turkey Curry Buffet, she meets all of her relatives and the people there, who are all over 50 years old. This is what appears in the book:


'Bridget! Happy New Year!' said Geoffrey Alconbury, clad in a yellow diamond-patterned sweater. He did a jokey Bruce Forsyth step then gave me the sort of hug which Boots would send straight to the police station.


Now my question is: who or what is Boots?? It can't be Boots the monkey from Dora the Explorer as that cartoon is too recent for the first edition of Bridget Jones. And, obviously, I don't think it refers to Puss in Boots.

The amazing thing is that this reference has been kept also in the American version but, while Bruce Forsyth has been replaced with an American TV presenter/showman, Boots still appears on the page.

Any suggestions? Thanks a lot in advance

Andrea


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Andrea Flaßbeck  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:59
English to German
+ ...
HTH Jul 9, 2009

Hi Andrea,

I have found something that might help you:

Boots as the personification of a British policeman who would take him off to the station. They are famous for those big Doc Watson-style boots.
http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090225100843AAMO4lP

and (in Spanish, but maybe still helpful)
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=410257

Cheers,
Andrea


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
French to English
+ ...
:-) Jul 10, 2009

This is something you probably have to be British, or at least have extensive exposure to British culture over the last twenty years, to understand.

It's Boots the Chemist (that's "chemist" as in the old-fashioned or colloquial word for "pharmacy"); now not just a pharmacy but a general shop selling hair and body products, make-up, shaving kit etc etc etc. http://www.boots.com/

A major part of its business is photo processing (now mainly digital photos). At some point in the last twenty years there was a story in the newspapers that someone had taken some photos to be developed which contained images of naked children (I think...) and someone in the shop called the police.

I found this book reference: http://bit.ly/LHaJo which contains some commentary on the case (the woman involved was in fact arrested, and the newspapers picked up the story because she was semi-famous).

Here's a newspaper story from the time:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/julia-somerville-defends-innocent-family-photos-1538516.html

It does seem strange that this was kept for the American edition. Perhaps no-one understood the reference or asked the British publisher to explain it.

Edited because all this took place in 1995 which is nearly 15 years ago... feeling old now...

[Edited at 2009-07-10 08:10 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great! Jul 10, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:
A major part of its business is photo processing (now mainly digital photos). At some point in the last ten years there was a story in the newspapers that someone had taken some photos to be developed which contained images of naked children (I think...) and someone in the shop called the police.

Angela, I'm impressed. Indeed all this is true!


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Andrea Alvisi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 10, 2009

Thank you all very much, especially you Angela!

I have to admit my teacher had given the Boots pharmacy option a thought, but had then dropped it because she couldn't figure out its real meaning. Anyway, will try to think of something nice to put as a translation.

Thank you very much again

Andrea


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
French to English
+ ...
Back to the book... Jul 10, 2009

Just to bring matters back to the book: what is implied is that Geoffrey Alconbury is bestowing inappropriate attention on Bridget.

Now how you'd convey all the cultural background in an Italian translation (or any other, for that matter) I have no idea


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Patricia Will  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:59
Member (2004)
German to English
Boots the Chemist Jul 10, 2009

Absolutely correct, that's how I understood it immediately. Boots the Chemist is probably one of the major places on the UK "High Street" where people get photos developed, so I suppose the suggestion is that if anyone had taken a photo of him hugging her it would look suspicious and Boots would inform the police, as they have done in the past. If I had been translating that I would perhaps have left out the name "Boots" and changed it to "the photo developing shop" so that readers in other countries would realize the inference. You cannot expect readers in other countries to be familiar with Boots the Chemist as a photo developer. If there is a similar well-known photo developing shop in Italy, for example, you could substitute its name at this place in the text. Although unless a similar case had happened there it still might not mean much to the reader. How far can you stray from the source text - could you say for example "the kind of hug that could get you locked up"? I have never done any literary translation but the linguistic challenges must be enormous.

Best regards
Patricia Will
German-English translator, Western Australia


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
French to English
+ ...
de nada Jul 10, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Angela Dickson wrote:
A major part of its business is photo processing (now mainly digital photos). At some point in the last ten years there was a story in the newspapers that someone had taken some photos to be developed which contained images of naked children (I think...) and someone in the shop called the police.

Angela, I'm impressed. Indeed all this is true!


Elementary, my dear Tomás. All in a day's work, sir.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes... Jul 10, 2009

probably impossible to know if you don't live in the UK...

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I seem to remember... Jul 10, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:


A major part of its business is photo processing (now mainly digital photos). At some point in the last twenty years there was a story in the newspapers that someone had taken some photos to be developed which contained images of naked children (I think...) and someone in the shop called the police.

[Edited at 2009-07-10 08:10 GMT]


that it was an ITV's newsreader? Ah, yes, found! Julia Somerville!

Somerville and Dixon were interviewed by police in 1996, when concerns were raised by Boots The Chemist staff over photographs of their seven-year-old child in the bath. No caution or charges followed the investigation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Somerville


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:59
English to Croatian
+ ...
The Boots Chemist Shop Jul 11, 2009

I immediately recognized the Boots shop reference, because it is capitalized and it is such a big and well-established chain of (chemist) shops in the U.K.

But I never knew about the case involving the inappropriate child's photographs; although I suppose it must have been talked about on all the British media at the time.

Additionally, I don't understand why on Earth the author has involved this little detail if this edition was aimed at the U.S. market? Trying to advertise and popularize the Boots in the U.S.?



[Edited at 2009-07-11 08:13 GMT]


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