Did I ever tell you about the rabbits? If so, forgive me for repeating myself. (I’m finding the search function on Bookwitch rather rubbish. Even stuff I know I’ve blogged about can’t be found.)
The Resident IT Consultant emailed me the link to the Guardian blog about the subtitling of The Killing. (He’s in the next room, so we don’t speak. We email. Selvfølgelig.) It made for interesting reading, although not necessarily in the way they had intended.
Are English speaking viewers really only just waking up to the fact that you (can) lose things in translation? I don’t mean so much because subtitles need to be shorter than what’s being said on screen, but the meaning in general. And that a good translator needs to do what we get on The Killing; the ‘hellish’ swear words turn into religious ones, and the total avoidance of the f-word. When the subtitles tell us ‘Christ’, it would have been downright ridiculous for Lund/Strange to have said ‘Kristus.’ They most likely said ‘hell.’
I was also rather touched by the fact that viewers feel there ought to be explanatory bits in this Danish programme so that we foreigners can understand what they are talking about. But we rarely explain obvious stuff in a BBC thriller. If a character talks about the MI5 it is assumed the viewer knows, or doesn’t need to know. (The fact that the Swedish translator made a motorway out of this noble intitution is a different matter altogether.)
The island on which Copenhagen (aka København) is situated has bridges for leaving it, both going west and going east. If you really need to know where they’d take you, get your school atlas out. On the other hand, I would dearly love to know where the h*ll those Danes took us in Sweden last week. It felt like a compilation of all that is typically Swedish, with no hope of there being a real place like it. I just want them to have done it out of love for our wonderful landscape, and not to make fun of us.
But yes, you lose something in translation. On the other hand, you lose even more if you never watch subtitled films.
The rabbits? Yes. American sitcom of some sort. Argument about allowing the dog near the dinner table. A woman says in her most scandalised voice that some families even let their canine friends sit at the table!
Unfortunately, the subtitle allowed rabbits to sit down to dinner. Canine. Kanin. Rabbit. It was a sitcom, so presumably not many viewers stopped to wonder how we went from dogs to rabbits at such speed. But it always strikes me as interesting how you can work as a specialist, without knowing quite basic stuff.
(I follow the facebook page of Fabio Geda, so occasionally get a good dose of Italian thrown at me. Last week I felt I got the gist of it, but when I discovered a translation offered, I clicked, just to see. I’m a mere amateur, but I’d say Bing wasn’t even close.)