Thursday, January 12, 2006

Name that film... in just a few simple lines...

The voice you hear is not my speaking voice, but my mind's voice.
I have not spoken since I was six years old.
No one knows why, not even me.
My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last.
Today he married me to a man I've not yet met.'

Soon, my daughter and I shall join him in his own country.
My husband said my muteness does not bother him.
He writes, and hark this, God loves dumb creatures and why not he!

Were good he had God's patience, for silence effects everyone in the end.

Paddington station.
Over here, my lovely!

Right lads, unbutton your muftis.

Piss like a tom.

Jesus Christ, whose bloody coffin is this?

Christ, it's heavy!

Leave them behind, it's what they fucking want.

Aye, leave them and be lynched for the pleasure?


Yes, that's right.
It's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.

'An Aardman Animations production' is not sufficient...

Well, I suppose it serves me right, for giving in to the on-every-street-corner dodgy DVD hawkers during my recent trip to Shanghai, but stock up I well and truly did, and unfortunately not every disc appears to be entirely satisfactory...

I succumbed yesterday to the indulgence of a day off-sick, with presumably not bird 'flu, more likely just bloke 'flu (debilitating though it undoubtedly is...), and cracked open a few of the Chinese cases for the first time.
Fortunately, for all the English subtitles which must have stumbled in somehow from another film entirely (answers on a postcard, please...) the speaking itself was in our mother tongue so was perfectly understandable.
Well, reasonably so, for the most part, anyway... (They did appear to be speaking 'Northern' an awful lot, but still...)

Sadly no such joy with the Batman Begins and Harry Potter discs, of which I'd also stocked up, largely to distribute as Christmas gifts to those more interested than myself (other purchases included Lost In Translation, the Godfather trilogy, Punch-Drunk Love, The Graduate, The Manchurian Candidate and many, many more...)

Sadly, the afore-mentioned ones I've tested were not just subtitled in obtuse English but dubbed in even more (to me, at least) obtuse Chinese.

Batman Begins also seems to have slipped a different set of subtitles - perhaps subversively, perhaps just cack-handedly - into the wrong film.
How else to explain this translation of a key, tenser-than-intense conversation between Christian Bale's Batman and Gary Oldman's someday-to-be-Commissioner Gordon, over the best crime-fighting tactics to deploy in the dire straits in which they find themselves...?

Shut up, shut up.
- Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!
Shut up, shut up.
- Look, he's in the metal shop. I repeat, the metal shop. Go.
Shut up, and get against the rail.


I'd say, if he does make a wholly-unwanted comeback in a sequel (and how crassly-cute was the ending to this one? Bah, surely a thankless task awaits anyone foolish enough to take it on), then with strategy-forming like this from the powers-that-be, The Joker has very little to fear...

At least the Harry Potter subtitlers appeared to have done their level best to match their words to the film itself - albeit with little legible success.
Here, for example, is Headmaster Dumbledore introducing a visiting school to his Hogwarts assembly...
'Keep them wait to wait in a short while gently. Persia lovely girl of an evil law school of ba, still there is their president ma can fix the boon madam...'

While here is a blistering row between Ron and Harry...

'I did not enter the flames cup to the name hurl.
- I saw calculate, the elder brothers of iron who connect you all do not tell.
Tell you what.
- You know it in heart.
I also do not figure out such matter. Luo does the boon understand.
- You how so silly.
I am silly.
- Luo's boon, weislai Harry. The wave is especially the silly friend.'

Ouch. Boys, boys...

But for true heart-scorching passion, how about the first love'n'lust-drenched soiree of Harry and the Oriental objection of his affections, Cho Chang...

This helps the ragamuffin.
- You return true fastidious ugly tail.

Ah, young love...

It's almost like watching - that is, reading - Casablanca, innit...

Speaking of which, that's one of the other DVDs I bought out there.

I just haven't been able to bring myself towards putting it into the language-mangling machine just yet...

Play it, Sam?

Well, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow - but someday...

6 comments:

overnighteditor said...

Lovely mistranslations. I stumbled across some recently myself on a list of Japanese porn sites (purely research purposes you understand...)

Anglicised they are strangely innocent. And make great post titles. But yours are much, much weirder. Must be something they can be used for... perhaps more "guess the film" quizzes?

OE

Toxic said...

I'd be tempted to stink-palm the gooner

mike said...

This site is surely the bible of Asian mistranlations - http://www.engrish.com.

At Highbury last week, Park Ji-Sung was greeted onto the pitch with chants of 'DVD! DVD!'

Hope you make a quick recovery from bloke flu. I'm sure I'm due a dose of it soon...

Aidan said...

Lovely stuff equally, the Japanese porn sites (ahem...) and the Engrish page...
Hmm, certainly seems potential here.
Have plenty of Chinese-bought DVDs to attack my way through still. Strangely, I'm almost starting to hope they're all in Chinese and mangled, utterly-incomprehensible English...
Despite having spent, on each one, the princely sum of, er, about 70p...

Beth said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog :0)

I have conversations at work that are like those subtitles. I tell them one thing and my subtitles say something different.

Example:

What I say:
"Please make sure this doesn't go out of contract."

What they hear:
"Yeah, you can just ignore this. Let the contract lapse. The supplier will quadruple their rates but its cool. The company has infinite cash to compensate people when you mess up.."

Aureala said...

Just thought you might appreciate this site:

http://vittachi.blogspot.com/2006/02/chinese-movie-subtitles-update.html

Mistranslated subtitles as a medium for learning the English language... Interesting!