Popular culture has always helped contribute to language development and been responsible for many little additions over the years. Cinema is one of the key delivery methods that has ensured new words and phrases have been given the chance of becoming adopted by a worldwide mainstream audience. While some may only have a fleeting period in the limelight, others become indoctrinated into everyday language long term. Here’s a list of a few of the all-time classics in no particular order, I can imagine a few of these have caused major headaches for translators and subtitlers along the way! Read more
These days, movies and even TV shows are expected to play for a global audience. However, translating them is often as difficult as translating literature. So much of what makes a successful film or TV show “work” is rooted in local culture. For example, consider Disney’s recent worldwide release of “Cars 2.” Rick Dempsey, senior vice president of Disney Character Voices, told Forbes that “Mater”, one of the most popular characters, was also the most challenging to translate:
“Mater’s kind of a redneck, but that means nothing to anyone overseas because they don’t have that particular vocal culture. So we had to figure out what region of Germany, for example, has more of an uneducated population without being offensive.”
Another challenge is that even in countries that speak the same language, words can vary in meaning and connotation. So, trying to translate from one widely spoken language to another, like from English to Spanish, requires in-depth knowledge of how the language is used in all of the countries that speak it. It’s much more difficult that it appears to outsiders. For example, Elena Barciae, who translates English films into Spanish versions aimed at Central and South America, told Forbes:
“The more slang, the harder it gets because slang tends to be very localized. Simple words are affected, too. `Bicho’ means bug everywhere except Puerto Rico, where it’s a slang word for a part of the male anatomy. That wouldn’t go over too well for the title of `A Bug’s Life,’ would it?” Read more
If you were sitting down to watch the Gadget Show on Channel 5 last night (26th of October 2015), you will have seen a couple of our linguists featured in the show. First up, Monica Bloxam took on presenters, Amy Williams and Jason Bradbury, in a Human Vs. Machine translation challenge. Read more
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