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Off topic: famous mistranslations (Casablanca)
Thread poster: Ines Lassnig
Ines Lassnig
Local time: 18:07
English to German
+ ...
Dec 4, 2004

The German dubbing of "Casablanca" has - as far as I know - a famous mistranslation in it. "Ich schau dir in die Augen, Kleines" is not something Bogart ever said to Ingrid Bergman - at least I remember having read something to that effect.

Does anybody know the original line? And are there any other examples of mistranslations that have become part of popular cultural "heritage"?

I'd appreaciate any suggestions on this, thanks a lot!


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:07
German to English
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Here's looking at you, kid Dec 4, 2004

That was the line in English. The German is of course a mistranslation; presumably the translator had no idea what the expression means and resorted to a more or less literal translation.

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Daniel Meier  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:07
English to German
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Just ask Dec 4, 2004

Maybe the translator was just too busy/lazy/afraid/sure to ask. But what does this expression actually mean?


Many thanks, Kenneth.

[Edited at 2004-12-05 09:40]


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Robert M Maier
Local time: 18:07
English to German
+ ...
Na denn Prost! Dec 4, 2004

"Here's looking at you, kid" is... to the best of my knowledge... a slightly winded (probably prohibition era Chicago) way of saying... Cheers!

(The idea apparently being, "I might be drinking but I'm still watching you through the bottom of the glass, so don't have funny ideas like pulling a gun on me")

One of my favourite bizarre ideas... all these Germans throwing "Ich schau dir in die Augen, Kleines" [I am looking into your eyes, little one] at each other, by way of expressing dark urbane romanticism... where actually all they _should_ be saying is "Na denn man Prost, Mädel!" [Right-ho, cheersy-cheers, old gal!], or something like that... 8)

But, since you are asking for other culturally blown-up mistranslations... they're there. They're *there*, only I can't remember any right now. Except if I may go back *really* far and dig out, say, St Justin's complaints (in 165) with Trypho's Septuaginta...

[Edited at 2004-12-05 23:08]

[Edited at 2004-12-05 23:14]


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:07
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
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For non-readers of German Dec 4, 2004

what does the German version

"Ich schau dir in die Augen, Kleines"

mean, please, literally and non-literally?

[Edited at 2004-12-04 20:24]


Later: Thanks Robert

[Edited at 2004-12-04 21:21]


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Robert M Maier
Local time: 18:07
English to German
+ ...
I am looking into your eyes, little one Dec 4, 2004

- sorry, we should've said that before.

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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:07
German to English
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what it means Dec 4, 2004

As far as I know, 'here's looking at you' is a drinking toast and essentially means 'here's to you'. The most direct German equivalent I can think of is 'Zu ihrem/deinem Wohl', although the latter is more formal than the English expression.

Adding the 'kid' at the end makes it more personal. In this particular case, the entire expression conveys Bogart's respect (i.e., the respect of the character he played) for Bergmann's character. Although 'kid' can be considered somewhat patronising, IMHO here it expresses more of a sense of camaraderie -- sort of like 'you're one of the guys' (and one could write an entire essay on the relationship of this famous expression to the sexual politics of the era).


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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:07
Member (2003)
German to English
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Number of syllables per phrase is also an issue Dec 5, 2004

I agree that "Zum Wohl, Kleines" might have been "more accurate," but my understanding of dubbing from the video clips I've worked on is that the actors' lip movements also need to be taken into account. The translation needs to fill approximately the same amount of time and, ideally, should include the matching of sounds made with closed or rounded lips (etc.).

If German native speakers find the translation bizarre and grating, that *is* a problem, but the spread and persistance of the phrase suggest to me that that is not necessarily the case.


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Pablo Roufogalis
Colombia
Local time: 11:07
English to Spanish
This is a required field Dec 5, 2004

Robert M Maier wrote:

"Here's looking at you, kid" is... to the best of my knowledge... a slightly winded (probably prohibition era Chicago) way of saying... Cheers!


Been bothered by this for decades!

I finally accepted that what is missing is a "to", so the meaning is "Here's to looking at you", or more winded, "I raise this glass here to the joy of you being here with me and I being able to look at you".

Wasn't there a buzz about this when the movie was first released? Should have, even with no Internet. Sorta "Paint It Black" vs. "Paint It, Black" in my generation.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 10:07
French to English
+ ...
interesting topic Dec 5, 2004

Having grown up in Hollywood, my understanding was always that he loved to look at her, admired her, and would have wanted to do that eternally. Unfortunately, she was married to another man who happened to be one of his heroes. But I suppose many people will have many interpretations.

Internet tidbits on the Casablanca quote:

http://www.languagehat.com/archives/001213.php

Richard Corliss has suggested that "Rick's famous toast--`Here's looking at you, kid'--can be read as meaning, `Here's trying to look into your soul, kid, to figure out who you really are.'"

http://www.vincasa.com/indexsigmund1.html


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:07
German to English
+ ...
further thought Dec 5, 2004

It's been a while since I've seen the film, so I might be a bit off on this, but I think that in the context the expression combines 'to your health' with 'farewell' (in a fairly literal sense). The fact that at the time the film was made it would have been very unusual (if not unheard of) for a man to say this to a woman makes it an even more emphatic expression of admiration: the tough guy acknowledging his respect for a woman.

[Edited at 2004-12-05 17:46]


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Ines Lassnig
Local time: 18:07
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
excellent links, thank a lot! Dec 5, 2004

Rita, thank you so much for your thoughts on this and also the links which contain wonderful material on this indeed!

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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:37
English to Hindi
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Comment from the Moderator Dec 5, 2004

Dear Robert M Maier

Thanks for your post http://www.proz.com/post/187870#187870

Well, two things--

1. We try very hard to avoid postings that could have even a whiff of a controversy or that which could offend anyone in any way, and that includes sexual, obscene, racial, religious, regional, political etc etc kind of jokes or references. But going through your post, it was in the domain of a 'permissible' post.

2. The second thing. I understand that you know German. I don't. And Aurora, the other Moderator for the Forum, also perhaps doesn't understand German. So, as a little reminder for all respected members and posters, if they did use *another* language while referring to a linguistic point, it would be highly appreciated if they also provided the 'rough' translations of those phrases in [square brackets].

I hope you and everyone here will appreciate my comments and would not take them otherwise. Imagine, if I were to use Gujarati or Hindi, the languages that I know pretty well here.... how would you, Robert, be able to comprehend them???


Kind Regards and best wishes

Roomy Naqvy


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Ines Lassnig
Local time: 18:07
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
mistranslations on purpose? Dec 5, 2004


One of my favourite bizarre ideas... all these Germans throwing "Ich schau dir in die Augen, Kleines" at each other, by way of expressing dark urbane romanticism... where actually all they _should_ be saying is "Na denn man Prost, Mädel!", or something like that... 8)


Exactly! It's weird and bizarre, but it really seems to have become an accepted sentence to say in German, if you wish to say good-bye in an exceedingly sentimental way - and tongue in cheek, of course. Seems to have struck a chord with Germans...


But, since you are asking for other culturally blown-up mistranslations... they're there. They're *there*, only I can't remember any right now.


Not totally sure what you're suggesting here? And yes, there are more instances of this change of meaning by accident out there. It's just, I can't think of any either...
Or, for that matter: Are there any translations that are slightly incorrect *on purpose*, e.g. in propaganda texts or some such? Would be interesting to know.

[Edited at 2004-12-06 21:01]

[Edited at 2004-12-06 21:01]


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Robert M Maier
Local time: 18:07
English to German
+ ...
Oops. Dec 5, 2004

Roomy Naqvy wrote:
1. We try very hard to avoid postings that could have even a whiff of a controversy or that which could offend anyone in any way, and that includes sexual, obscene, racial, religious, regional, political etc etc kind of jokes or references. But going through your post, it was in the domain of a 'permissible' post.

Sorry. I know what you are talking about, and have now edited correspondingly. The question for "other mistranslations of cultural relevance" reminded me vividly of the one case that had wowed everybody in my translation course, when our classes on the History of Translation covered the very early beginnings. Ever since then, I had stored this as a piece of information about translation mishaps _only_... and this is how I reported it, initially. Not until your post did I realize that the translation in question concerned two contentious issues at the very least! If I had realized that at the time of writing, I would definitely have used more consideration first time around. I'm really sorry about that.


2. The second thing. I understand that you know German. I don't. And Aurora, the other Moderator for the Forum, also perhaps doesn't understand German. So, as a little reminder for all respected members and posters, if they did use *another* language while referring to a linguistic point, it would be highly appreciated if they also provided the 'rough' translations of those phrases in [square brackets].

Sorry about that one, as well. Giuli's question made me realize that the German maltranslation had not been made comprehensible for everyone so far, and that I had not seized a possibility to do so when it would have fit into the general course of the posts. If it had been possible at that time, I would have edited in the translations immediately, in the manner described even.
But... I see how, in a post that touches dangerous ground, this is even more suspicious.
Sorry once more to everyone. This is highly embarrassing, in particular for me with my tag-line about "reader-oriented writing"... *blush*


[Edited at 2004-12-06 10:09]


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