OT: rambles about translation

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 20 11:20:42 EDT 2004


>And I suppose everyone here has heard the old one (dating from the
>very early days of machine translation) about what happened when
>they ran "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" through 
the
>English-to-Russian program and then back into English?

Yup - I love that one very much. :-)

If we're talking non-DWJ, a couple of my favourites would be:

>From Friends: "That time you thought you had mono" -> "den gången du trodde 
du var tvåkönad" = "that time you thought you were a hermaphrodite." I have 
no idea what the translator was thinking.

>From the DVD commentary of Pirates of the Caribbean, concerning Jack 
Sparrow's syphilitic wound: "And there's the scab" -> "Och där har vi 
strejkbrytaren" - which is a literal translation if one uses the meaning of 
"scab" that is "person who works during a strike."

>From a book on religions: "The Indians worship an elephant god" -> 
"Indianerna dyrkar en elefantgud" - again, a literal translation, if one 
happens to talk about *American* Indians. Who hardly worship elephant gods.

And this one is pertty much impossible to explain to anyone who doesn't 
speak Scandinavian, but in a Clint Eastwood movie aired on Danish TV, "Get 
outta here you sonofabitch!" turned into "Ud, dit fjols!" The translation of 
the word "fjols" is simple enough - it means "fool" - but I'm at a loss on 
how to show just how unmacho a thing this is to say...

Katta

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