Several days ago, I finished subtitle translation of Fight Club for Czech TV. Of course, I wanted to base this translation on the subtitles I translated for Czech theatrical release 7 years ago. Originally, I just wanted to adjust my old subitles a little bit because I always assumed Fight Club translation was one of my "masterpieces".
I was rather surprised at how many mistakes I found in my old translation!
Not "godawful mistakes that completely prevent you from understanding the movie" like there are in the video dubbing of Fight Club, but serious oversights nevertheless. For example, I originally thought that "ground zero" refers to the time of explosion or that "I was hugging the walls" means that the hero actually embraced the walls. In Fight Club, there are isolated sentences that don't make much sense themselves and you have to put them in the context of what characters think and believe. Only then you can try to translate them. And, by the way, I still think Fight Club is very good movie, but for slightly different reasons than 7 years ago...
This reminded me of the horrors I experienced when I recently read my first movie reviews in the Cinema magazine (from 1993!). At that time I thought "How fucking cool I am, I write for Cinema, beat that!" Now I see that the editor maybe saw some glimmer of promise in my writing and published even the shitty stuff I wrote at that time (I had no prior experience with writing reviews, much less any education in this field).
Remember. No matter how good you think you are, you can be better (at least if you are younger than 60 or 70, probably). The fact that 60% or 99% of other people are worse than you doesn't change a thing about it.
BTW, this post's title is a quote from Fight Club.