Has anyone noticed how bad the subtitles are for so many English products in Taiwan? Doesn’t matter if you’re reading Beetle Bailey or watching a movie - seems like they screw up every other line. I saw the movie Minority Report yesterday (cool movie), but was surprised that the quality of the translating was so poor. Who does this work, anyway? They need some serious help.
One of my favourites is from “Lawrence of Arabia”.
Prince Feisal: What I need now is a miracle.
Chinese Subtitle: What I need now is an American.
I also always worried about a mistake in the anime “Totoro”, which is just a result of “cheap and quick”. (We are the cheapest! And the fastest anyway! And of course, we are experts!) Now that Studio Ghibli finally made its authorised DVD, the movie has excellent subtitles and very good (including selection of voices) audio tracks in English and Chinese.
I was watching A Fish Called Wanda on TV. The Kevin Kline character kept pretending to speak Italian to turn his girlfriend on…just saying dumb phrases like ‘spaghetti bolognese’ etc. Well, here they subtitled everything he said, including an English subtitle…sorta missed the point.
The funniest part was the last thing he said before jumping into bed with her, which was “Benito Mussolini” which was subtitled as “I’ll be sweet to you” in English.
My friend does some of the subtitles for Discovery; apparently they pay a bit better than other channels or programs. It’s amazing what happens when you’re willing to pay a little more money…
My favorite subtitles are for the Friends DVDs. Obviously they got only about 60% of the jokes, and none of the sarcasm… I’d never translate into Chinese myself, but I know even this dumb foreigner could do a better job…
quote[quote] I interviewed at one of these places a couple of years back, and they were offering something like NT$1500 to subtitle a whole movie. [/quote]What was the movie? Beverly Hills Cop? "get the fark out of here" "what the fark" "fark, fark, fark, fark, fark fark fark" You'd only need to translate about 20 words.
My wife did the subtitles for a movie shown on HBO. She was paid a flat rate for the work, which was a bad thing in her case, because the film was by Barry Levinson, who has some of the talkiest scripts around. The person with HBO who gave her the case promised to give her an action movie the next time. But the pay (around NT$4,000, I think) just wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile, so she never did another.
I will say this for HBO: the English script was very good. It was accurate and had notes explaining the context for some of the jokes and references.