Wednesday, March 25, 2009

That's just awful

Word is that the subtitles for "Let the Right One In" are a travesty. Check out the article:
I just wish I knew someone who spoke Swedish. That person, who would probably be a girl who lives somewhere cold like Wisconsin, could then "Netflix" the film and watch it and then let me know what I am missing. If I knew someone like that...


Zelmarific said...

Wow, funny, I seem to be receiving that movie from Netflix today... and I speak Swedish... and I live in Wisconsin... and I - hey, are you being sarcastic or something?

I read the subtitle article you linked. Sadly, this is pretty much the case with all modern Swedish movies. I have no idea why, but I always notice that they change the nuances a lot. They even changed the last line of "The Best of Intentions" from (in Swedish) to the viewer not being sure the two main characters would stay together, to (in English at the bottom of the screen) oh, yeah, they'll probably stay together. All of the original Igmar Bergman films on Netflix seem to be translated okay, but most other films are really dumbed down. I seriously think someone out there believes that Americans can't handle subtlety, that we just need to be hit over the head with things!

The funniest movie (forget the title) was some sort of old crime detective thing, from the sixties, where the main character has this amazing potty mouth. He's a nice guy, but he says "fan" every other word, which is literally the devil, but kind of is like fuck or shit. The subtitles just left it out. The effect was that you would, if you didn't speak Swedish, think that Swedish was a very uneconomical language, because it seems for some reason to take seven words to say, "I'm here." In reality, in Swedish, the guy was saying, "I'm fucking here you son of a bitch! Let's get on with it!"

It goes the other way, too, because Swedish television, when it's in English, is often translated badly into Swedish, too. The result is a lot of cultural misunderstandings! If only things were translated better, we would realize that both Americans and Swedish people are sometimes sarcastic and have deeply nuanced thoughts.

Jen said...

I remember seeing "The Best of Intentions" with you at the arty movie house in Santa Rosa! The last line totally changed the feel of the film, and I wouldn't have known if it wasn't for my Swedish speaking friend!!! I think the companies that release the films on DVD are just to cheap and lazy to pay for a good translator, so we get shit like this! In any case, I hope you like the movie!!

Cellar Door said...

Okay, I've watched the first half, and I have to say, the translation is great! It is not dumbed down. I think that the difference between the two translations is simply that there is no exactly correct translation; "forl├ąt" means both "I'm sorry" and "forgive me". People in different places talk and think differently, and in some sense, all translations are approximate. I still have to watch the second half, but that is my take on it thus far.

Zelmarific said...

Okay, I watched the whole thing, and I love it! Great movie!

I still think the subtitles are good. Probably better than the other version, actually, because she never says she's standing on the jungle gym, for instance. Sometimes, they don't translate the side conversations, but film is basically a visual medium. I think they did that because they want you to look at the picture. Excellent subtitles, I think. Excellent film.

I could post this over on that other site where you linked to the article... but I'm afraid. They're so happy being right about the "wrong" subtitles there, I hesitate. I don't want to shatter their world view or anything with my good news.

The one part where they criticize him saying "I'm trapped," when you could clearly hear him saying, "Ellie"... I think they didn't translate "Ellie" because you could hear him say it!

Beyond all that, though, I love how the whole movie takes place in winter- as though time stands still.