Be aware of translations if you are a non-English native

48Tentacles

Entertainment and Escapism Consigliere
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
157
Reaction score
444
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I have read the book of The Martian in Spanish, my native language, and I absolutely loved it. I've read it twice. First in Spanish, and the second time around in English. Then things went wrong in particular ways. I won't post screen captures, so what I'll do instead is summarize what happened.

There are two situations in the book in different languages. The first situation is an inclusion of extra dialogue Out of Character in the Spanish version, and the second situation is the exclusion of the ending in the Spanish version. If you want a more concrete version of what happened you can find it in the spoilers below.

In the beginning of Chapter 14 in the English version, Mark (the astronaut), after suffering a terrible accident with the Hab and the airlock, tries calmly to assess the situation and consider his options.
The Spanish version of Chapter 14 starts with Mark ranting, giving up while exclaiming things like "**** this airlock, **** this Hab, **** this planet! I have enough!" and one Audio Log later he calms down and assesses the situation and consider his options.

In the ending of the book in the English version. In Earth, some time after Mark is rescued, a curious kid wants to know if Mark would go if there was another mission in Mars. Mark responds "Are you out of your ****ing mind?"
In the Spanish version the book ends with Mark brought to the Hermes. That's it.

Did the editors do this knowingly? I don't think this is exclusive to books, but also to other types of work: games, movies... But the fact is that not every translation is gonna be 100% loyal to the original language. I can understand changing some social expressions, some jokes... but if I wanted my work brought to other languages, I certainly would want the translations to be very accurate to my original vision. Just saying.

Because, for future reference, the only thing that this tells me is "I better get the original version of the book if I can read it because translation in bad faith can happen"

So if you are one of those non-English people like me, and you want to consume English entertainment with various translations including your language, consider the purchase of the English version. Or the original language if it's not originally English.
 

EntangledPear

Previously No Patience (now patient enough)
Veteran
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
141
Reaction score
67
First Language
Slovak
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I think it's always better to read/listen to/watch works in the original language, as long as you understand that language really well. You can argue that a translation might change original intent and ideas, but on the other hand, if the translator is really good, the work can even be improved.

I had a colleague that swore that the Czech translation of the Discworld books is better than the original. I'd say that this could show that if you are not almost perfect in the language, you might not enjoy the work as much, especially wordplay and cultural references (and my colleague was very good at English).

Your example has reminded me of Stephen King's IT, and the infamous inappropriate scene with the children. I read it when I was around 11 or so, and I don't remember it at all. Now I'm wondering if I just didn't get it as a kid, or if maybe it was left out of the translation. I have to investigate :LZScheeze:
 

Popoto_milk

Tactical Marine
Veteran
Joined
Mar 27, 2022
Messages
57
Reaction score
51
First Language
High Gothic
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You gotta be careful out there. It's always best to go straight to the source if possible. And if not, it's a decent idea to check for changes between languages/regions. I'm not surprised by something as egregious as altering/omitting the ending. Translators can get very bold and arrogant about their work.

Anime/weeb stuff is sort of notorious for bad translations and localizations. It's not in a good spot. Especially with Funimation's monopoly on streaming.
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
37,343
Reaction score
10,196
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
that is one of the reasons why I started reading and watching the originals - I had different causes/stories in German but the effect was the same.

just to add a few more examples:
The 120min movie "Supergirl" was cut down to exactly 90min in German - and the cut was done in a way to focus on the action scenes, removing all deeper background info and a lot of the best scenes.
OK, even in english the movie wasn't exactly a milestone, but it was several classes better than the cut-down german version.

several books where the professional (? I wouldn't call that professional at all) translators missed the context to the words, as if they were translating sentence by sentence without reading the book at all.
And while that sometimes only was amusing (like translating "pawn of prophesy" to "the farmer's prophesy" because the translater completely missed the chess reference), in other cases it actually destroyed the character or the story. Like when the translator of a Star Wars book completely missed the reference point of Thrawn's last words "but it was artistically done" referring to the quality of his own assassination, and instead made the translation of those last words sound like a whiny minion feeling sorry for not being able to finish his plans.

and more other cases than anyone can count.
 

Arctica

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
214
Reaction score
325
First Language
----
Primarily Uses
N/A
The goal of translating is supposed to be to keep the target language meanings as close to the source language meaning as possible, without doing literal translations(some literals can work but still).
 

Darth Equus

I *HATE* Parallax Mapping.
Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
538
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVX
Did the editors do this knowingly?


There's no Iberic Spanish translation of Final Fantasy VII. There's no Iberic Spanish translation of Final Fantasy VII. There's no Iberic Spanish translation of Final Fantasy VII... >_<
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,909
Reaction score
1,960
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
translations is part of the reason why I hate "tailored" media that caters to specific customs or audiences.
the other being censorship of violence, nudity or language.
the work is one.... if you don't understand it, don't consume it.
the work is not obligated to "represent" you or "respect" you in any way.

when you shoot a person, they bleed.
when you go to the bathroom, you gonna see genitalia.
when people get angry, they gonna curse and swear.
that's humans to you: they have language, they have a body, and they have biology.
if 100.000 years of existence somehow disagrees with your speech, maybe your speech is wrong.
 

Pixel_Maiden

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
45
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
I have read the book of The Martian in Spanish, my native language, and I absolutely loved it. I've read it twice. First in Spanish, and the second time around in English. Then things went wrong in particular ways. I won't post screen captures, so what I'll do instead is summarize what happened.

There are two situations in the book in different languages. The first situation is an inclusion of extra dialogue Out of Character in the Spanish version, and the second situation is the exclusion of the ending in the Spanish version. If you want a more concrete version of what happened you can find it in the spoilers below.

In the beginning of Chapter 14 in the English version, Mark (the astronaut), after suffering a terrible accident with the Hab and the airlock, tries calmly to assess the situation and consider his options.
The Spanish version of Chapter 14 starts with Mark ranting, giving up while exclaiming things like "**** this airlock, **** this Hab, **** this planet! I have enough!" and one Audio Log later he calms down and assesses the situation and consider his options.

In the ending of the book in the English version. In Earth, some time after Mark is rescued, a curious kid wants to know if Mark would go if there was another mission in Mars. Mark responds "Are you out of your ****ing mind?"
In the Spanish version the book ends with Mark brought to the Hermes. That's it.

Did the editors do this knowingly? I don't think this is exclusive to books, but also to other types of work: games, movies... But the fact is that not every translation is gonna be 100% loyal to the original language. I can understand changing some social expressions, some jokes... but if I wanted my work brought to other languages, I certainly would want the translations to be very accurate to my original vision. Just saying.

Because, for future reference, the only thing that this tells me is "I better get the original version of the book if I can read it because translation in bad faith can happen"

So if you are one of those non-English people like me, and you want to consume English entertainment with various translations including your language, consider the purchase of the English version. Or the original language if it's not originally English.
I find it has less to do with foreign languages more with "linguistic/cultural group"
Take for instance eastern media. The english dubbing i find is not as "accurate" as the ones in my native language. They're too... monotonic too unexpressive, like a man reading a script rather than going through the nuances of speech and depicting it. A major case here being comedy. I dont blame them. The comedy here in the east is quite different from the ones in the west.

But yeah. People, or is it languages?, with similar linguisitic/cultural heritage makes for a better translation
 

r66r

Fantasy dreamer... sometimes.
Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
129
Reaction score
141
First Language
French
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
Languages are by nature subtle. All it takes is for the original author to add nuances or native expressions that the translator does not detect, and then the translation is out of sync with the intended meaning. In my native language, a single sentence can be interpreted differently depending on the tone and volume of the voice, and thus translated differently into another language.

Beyond the translator's ability to literally translate the original text, many other parameters come into play: the translator's sensitivity and his or her way of understanding the context, the culture of the foreign audience for which these translations are made, possible censorship of the original content, references to original characters/events unknown to future readers and therefore reinterpreted to correspond to people/events known in the target audience, etc.

In general, I don't mind a few deviations in the translation, even if nothing beats the original version. On the other hand, I avoid reinterpretations/reappropriations of the original work by the translation that completely change (on purpose) the original message intended by the author!
 

CleanWater

Jack-Of-All-Trades Freelancer
Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
960
Reaction score
1,063
First Language
Português BR
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Translating a text to other languages is hard, due to cultural differences. I say it based on my own experience translating my games to English, many jokes and cultural aspects got completely lost when trying to adapt it to English. I had to completely change many things, to not reach the desired goal in the end.

For my last project (Learn RPG Maker MV), I decided to do "in reverse". I'm making it English first, only later I'll translate to my mother language. This way, I already make it with the target culture in mind.
 

LisaW

☆彡
Veteran
Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
35
Reaction score
67
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Ooo, I love this topic. I think there's no right or wrong when it comes to translation. :kaodes:

There's so many things to consider:
  • The translators' skill set
  • Pay
  • Speed, wpm
  • Time, deadlines
  • The directions (or lack thereof) on how to translate - localization vs. closer translation and everything inbetween
  • Culture differences
  • The audiences' expectations
  • The type of source material (game, book, interview, movie, ...). Translators don't always receive all the information they need - for example: only a written script for a video game without being able to see the scene, because it isn't finished yet ... And sometimes there are changes to the source material that don't get passed down to the translator, so they end up translating an old script instead
I ended up rambling eventhough I wanted to make a short list, sorry...

Usually the source material is better, but there's always an exception to the rule.
 

Darth Equus

I *HATE* Parallax Mapping.
Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
538
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVX
I can understand and forgive minute and missed entendres and wordplays (The translator could have done a better job with Yoda's last words in the novelization of Return of the Jedi, when he mentions another Skywalker, but added a footnote to explain the original meaning)...

However, horrendous translations like those of some arcades by Capcom Mexico, can only be washed away by blood and lynchings: I don't know what kind of cheap drugs the translators were on, as they constantly translated "ship" as "yacht/boat" when referring to an airship or even a space ship. It's jarring to be told your target is "The giant space boat polluting the skies over Metro City", or that a "Yacht full of aliens (Xenomorphs) crash-landed in the nearby forest".
 

Cybergirl

Villager
Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
26
Reaction score
10
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RM2k3
I think this post was written especially for me. I have a relatively large YouTube channel (32k subscribers by the way) and a couple of people offered to translate my videos into English, but I declined, thinking I didn't need it. Apparently I was wrong. I'll try to offer them again, maybe they'll agree. Or write to some paper writing service, maybe they will agree to it. Either way, apparently, this will have to do.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

KDS
Hey guys! Iam currently updating my free digital art shop , let me know if you need anything done :) https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/kds-free-open-digital-art-shop.17097/
Hello! I’d like to ask where is a good place to start logging about my game dev progress as production of my game goes forth
In one of our campus classrooms was a bag full of stuff people forgot there... my bag. That I forgot there xD
You know your room is too tiny for how much stuff you have when it gives you literal insomnia. I just cleared a bunch of stuff out and man it feels good!
1670381555475.png
Meet the Kernel. You encounter him in cyberspace. He's important!

Forum statistics

Threads
127,099
Messages
1,183,966
Members
167,028
Latest member
Edujandro
Top