How did it get to this?

7 Mar

Nobody said translating was easy. Sometimes it is sometimes it isn’t. Depending if the translation is of your field or you are trying something totally new…. even translating for certain singers/songwriters can be difficult. Or people translating film titles. However how did Shakira’s chorus in the song Crazy in English, Loca in Spanish go from:

And I’m crazy but I like you to Soy loca con mi tigre?? (I’m crazy with my tiger??)

Or the film Beverly Hills Ninja to La Salchicha Peleona (wouldn’t El Ninja de Beverly Hills have sufficed or was that too boring for the translator?).

Obviously  in the first case (Shakira’s song) inserting the tiger rhymed better in Spanish. I’m being ironic here. In the second case, there is some translator with a twisted sense of humour. I’m kind of amazed that the translator got away with a title like the Fighting Sausage….. I know I know… but a big bravo for getting away with it. It seems it is not only the problem in Spain, however it is culturally accepted for film titles to change depending on the country. I leave you here a link to an article of the New York times that I found via Lonely Planet and the thorn tree forum. If you type strange movie translations you will find quite a few that will tickle your fancy. It seems that the Chinese are winners at strange translations (strange to us).

With some friends, and I’m sure if you are bilingual (or even if you are not) you have too, we have translated Spanish sayings into English or vice versa so you end up with phrases like:

You are the milk (eres la leche), you’re pot is going (se te va la olla), shit little parrot (cagate lorito) or a whole load of others that make you roll on the floor laughing with a friend and your belly aching for a long time due to the hilarity it brings about.

My husband and I, have even started to translate English songs into Spanish. Take for example Bananarama’s Love in the First Degree (my translation goes with the music and an obvious stab at literal translation to ensure humour – of course you might not understand it but it brings out tears of laughter for quite a few of us who have had a stab at this):

Ayer a la noche, estaba soñando, que estaba encerrada en una celda de prisión, cuando me desperté, estaba gritando, llamando tu nombre. OOOOOH y el juez y el jurado, me culparon todos a mí, no creyeron mi historia, no querían escuchar mi petición…

Sólo tú puedes librarme, porque soy culpable, CULPABLE, culpable como una chica lo es… venga nene no puedes ver, estoy acusada, de amar en primer grado.

Obviously it is much better when you are having a beer/cider/wine and you are acting it out with your husband or your friends…..

So yeah! Translating IS difficult, however I sometimes ask myself, how did it come to this?


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