Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You are not beautiful unique snowflake

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.

13 comments:

Oliwer Cromwell, LP said...

Why don't you post more examples of your shitty translation? :)
Don't judge yourself too harshly though, I think most of us are embarassed about one thing or another when we look back, be it in personal, or professional life.
What I always liked about you that you never hesitated to ask others (Okoun) for help with your translations, you didn't play Mr. Knowitall. As fas as I can judge, anyway:)

Anonymous said...

Never mind, I still love you

Anonymous said...

2 Oliwer Cromwell:

"one (!) thing or another?"

You lucky guy... I'm totally ashamed for whole eras of my life.

Anonymous said...

PS: Can you give us some links to mentioned reviews? (Particulary hideous ones?)

Anonymous said...

well, and was does "hug the wall" actually mean? I don´t know it, I can´t find it, I am sad.

Eso said...

"hug the wall"

Z kontextu bych rekl, ze je to opatrny posun, zatimco jsi opreny o zed - jako policajti ve filmech s pistolema. Prenesene mozna - byt opatrny?

Fuxoft said...

In the film's context, "to hug the walls" means "I had to move close to the walls because the basement was so full of people".

Anonymous said...

Just curious: was it you, the translator of "Ukradene Vanoce" aka "Nigthmare b4 Xmas" on Prima featured last sunday ? If so, have you come up the lyrics yourself ?

Fuxoft said...

No, it wasn't me. I don't know who translated it.

Anonymous said...

Cili v kontextu soukat se podel steny, plazit se pri stene, bejt nalepenej na stenu.

Mikoláš said...

Do you have any source idiom translating idioms? I live in Ireland and I don't trust that much the English of the locals.
I just finished reading The Heart of Darkness by J. Conrad and found out he was Polish, a fact that exasperates me. I guess the times were different then.

Anonymous said...

I hope you didn't change William Shatner into David Hasselhoff again. Unlike 7 years ago, people here already know who William Shatner is. :-)

Fuxoft said...

Yes, you are right! :)