I’m back from Yorkshire. Well, actually I got back yesterday, but I was too tired to blog or do more than catch up with my e-mails.
There will be photos in the next few days, but for now here are a few interesting links:
Now I mainly do tech translations, where cultural pitfalls are rarer, though not unheard of. But I do sympathize with the movie quote issue, particularly since you have to track down the correct German title and quote, if possible. Bible verses are also an issue, particularly since translations of the Bible vary wildly between different languages. Years ago I translated the website for a business which took its name from what was allegedly the original Hebrew version of an Old Testament verse. The only problem was that the English translation of that verse was very different from the German version and the English version did not have a connection to the business at all. I eventually went with the English Bible translation which conveyed the intended meaning best and included a mini essay about why I had chosen this particular translation over all others and why none of them fit.
Advertising slogans are extremely difficult to translate as well, since they often rely on puns that do not translate well. What is more, customers often come to me with advertising slogans while saying, “It’s just a few words. Surely you can fit that into your schedule. And surely you can do it for cheap/free.” In the end, I often wind up spending an hour to translate those five words, because I’m trying to convey the right meaning and preserve the pun or come up with an equivalent pun. And then the customer balks because he has to pay me for an hour of work, even though I translated only a handful of words.
Are British viewers losing their taste for period drama? At any rate, the Guardian reports that Titanic, the latest offering by Julian Fellowes, the man who foisted Downton Abbey onto an unsuspecting public, was less successful than expected and the latest edition of Upstairs, Downstairs is faltering as well.
I actually did see a glimpse of Titanic, while in the UK, and I may have to watch the whole thing with my students at one point (in their eyes, films about big ships sinking are almost as good as films about people getting eaten by monsters). I must confess that I was surprised that the Titanic was already sinking and the people were already wearing life vests by the end of part one, considering that the James Cameron film wastes almost two hours on the not very exciting love story of Kate and Leonardo before the bloody ship even hits the iceberg.
There is a new Doctor Who companion and once again it’s a very young woman played by 25-year-old actress Jenna Louise Coleman who apparently used to appear in Emmerdale. I was in the UK when I saw the announcement and I said to my travelmate, “Hey, there’s a new Doctor Who companion and she looks about 15.”
Besides, watching a rerun of one of the Doctor Ten/Donna episodes reminded me how much I enjoyed seeing a more mature companion with the Doctor. Just as I always preferred Jack Harkness to any other companion from the Russell T. Davies era. Because while I did like some of the very young, barely out of their teens companions, a steady diet of very young women from contemporary times gets boring. Even old Doctor Who was more adventurous than this, giving us schoolteachers, soldiers, journalists, time ladies, amazon warriors from outer space, teenaged Highlanders, sheltered Victorian lasses, flight attendants, alien criminals, robot dogs, etc… in addition to the steady diet of very young women. Okay, so the Moffat episodes have River Song, but even though I like River Song in theory (a smart educated older woman would have been my dream companion), I don’t like the execution, cause I can’t stand Alex Kingston, find the whole “She is the Doctor’s one true love and even got married to him” angle forced and the incestous implications (River Song is a daughter of companion Amy and has time lord abilities, so only that idiot Rory and some very sheltered fans can believe that she is Rory’s kid) downright creepy.
The 2011 Rita and Golden Heart nominees have been announced. Interestingly, a lot of urban fantasy novels (I counted three) now show up in the “novel with strong romantic elements” category rather than in the paranormal romance category, but then Jennifer Estep’s Spider series and Eileen Wilks’ Lupi books are not romances in the strict sense of the term.