There’s correct English changed to something incorrect (eg “You’re so tense” to “You’re so tensed”), but there are also stylistic choices that personally I don’t agree with.
I once subbed a scene where a girl was on her period, but she didn’t want to tell her guy friend outright hence used a euphemism. She called it 大姨妈, literally “great aunt” but used as slang for menstruation, I subbed it “Aunt Flo.”
It was brilliant and so much fun.
But an editor (idk if G or T) changed it to “my period,” taking all the fun and playfulness out of it. Maybe it’s clearer, maybe they didn’t know how Aunt Flo is used in English, but imo it took something out of the scene. Not to mention it was a much less accurate translation.
If sth like this happens to you, what do you do?
I’ve never actually spoken up about either scenario (incorrect Eng or stylistic choices), but I was wondering what everybody else thought of it. I can’t be the only one who deals with things like that lol.
Yes, of course. Why not? The day we would all just nod to everything would probably be when our languages are dead.
Maybe the day a bot could handle everything in any language either every creativity will be wiped out or will be newly inspired to bloom.
About “Aunt Flo”. I give that it might be accurate.
And the next but is right around the corner.
It could be that “Aunt Flo” is so infamous that everyone understood right away. Internationally you would be in for a dilemma. In my generation surely the “visiting aunt” was no stranger, but the next generation would be like “What aunt, since when do you have an aunt?”
In dictionaries, you will not find “Aunt Flo” either.
So that leaves 2 options to stay with “Aunt Flo” for accuracy and add a TN: That “Aunt Flo” is a synonym for the period.
Or to make it easy on the viewer and tell it as it is and taking out the “cultural” aspect.
No one said it was easy …
I once put out a translation for discussion, since I felt it was missing something and discovered something brand new for me.
A Chinese song had the line “Love is blue”.
Now for Westerners “Love is blue” is not really it, we go more with the rose-colered glasses, or might think about “I am blue” due to love.
But for Chinese “blue” is “heavenly” means it’s closer to the rose-colered glasses, then a blue feeling - at lest in view of translation.
My feelings after knowing that are still that I wished there would have been a TN: Giving me that hint.
You can certainly write to the Chief Editor, stating your points. The decision is with her. If she takes a decision you don’t like, you have to accept it, however you know you’ve done your best for the viewers and the overall quality of the project.
The worst is when there are two GEs and one overwrites the other.
Once I was in a historical drama (sageuk) and the illiterate servant from the countryside talked to her mistress about her hairdo, and spoke about her “chignon”.
Now, chignon is a French word, a bit specialized, not one everyone knows it even today in the English-speaking world, and it seemed to me odd from the mouth of that particular character.
I proposed to put the Korean word for it with a cultural note beneath, which I did. Alternatively, I suggested we could use the traditional English word, “bun”. I explained all this in detail in Team Discussion, with examples and links to websites. The other G.E., without a word, just reverted my change and put “chignon” again. The CE backed her because she is a precious contributor, very knowledgeable etc.
I felt trampled on. It’s okay to have a different opinion. I don’t presume that my opinion will always have “the last word”. There is hierarchy, so the CE has the last word. But that GE didn’t even take the trouble to write a line, “I don’t agree because…” She just ignored me as if I were a piece of crap on the street.
Things like this happen. You can choose to move on or make a fuss. For me it was much more important to keep working with that particular CE so I chose to move on. I don’t think about this episode often - I was just reminded of it by your post. But every time I happen to remember it, I still feel bitter.
Did anyone guarantee us that life would be easy and fair, and work (paid or volunteer, it’s still work) would always run smoothly? My son comes every other day with stories about how things in his workplace could be better organized, far more efficient etc. But he has no say, nor access to the higher-ups in the company. It makes him mad sometimes, but he’s made his peace with it.
Yeah. Bottom line. Do write the CE about it, but if nothing happens, move on. When one day you’ll be CE you’ll call the shots.
Hi! I agree, translations that are too literal are not really based on meaning but on the words themselves. The meaning and sense of da yi ma is a funny euphemism, so it’s more correct to use a funny euphemism in English to explain it. It carries the meaning and feeling of the original.
I also don’t know what else to say. I guess do what the editor says, as everyone else is saying. If that same editor continues to be too literal and you realize it’s not good, you could bring it up with them nicely. Anyway, I completely sympathize with you!
The thing is, they made a whole scene out of her “great aunt,” about her guy friend not understanding. How she tries to clarify but without directly saying period/menstruation. He also later buys her pads.
(And she was holding her lower belly right as she said it.)
I do think viewers would get it even when they’re not American (btw I’m not either^^).
Oooo, thank you for sharing about Love is blue! I didn’t know that either :)))
Do you know for sure that she read your post in Discussions?
But either way, I know it can sometimes feel personal when a “superior” acts like you don’t exist, but I’m so sure that she didn’t mean to treat you like dirt at all. Like maybe she was too busy or she meant to reply but then forgot, it probably really wasn’t a big deal to her like it is to you.
But I understand the feeling. When I started out subbing, it took me forever and I wasn’t very good, but I put in the work and the hours and so much effort. I was slow but I was proud of what I was subbing. Well, one time a native speaker subber came into my part and started overwriting my subs, I was furious. Like she was clearly so superior to me but what, subbing rules don’t apply to her? I wrote her about it and she turned out to be the sweetest person ever. Apparently viki didn’t show her that someone else was already working on that part, and she even publicly apologized to me in Discussions.
That’s when I learned to not take things so personally, even when they feel that way^^
But yeah, I hope all your positive experiences with fellow subbers/segmenters more than cancel out the negative ones.
That’s the trouble with different pov’s. Sometimes the English teams chose also words/terms that are clear for their language/background but if other language’s teams do translate it word-wordly to their language the whole context gets wrong. Some are incapable of realizing certain aspects that make a scene/story clear and understandable (that includes the other language’s teams as well that sometimes stick too close to English wordings).
I once watched a drama on Netflix that also had a period scene with a roomate who first did not understand what’s her problem but the subtitles there were written in a way that it was clear that the character did not understand her because she didn’t say it directly. After some time because the roomate did not get it at all she said she had her period.
Sometimes the English subs here are such a mess that subbers of other languages struggle to translate them because it doesn’t make much sense. If you then compare the VIKI subs with official English subs you’ll see that the official subs are written in a complete different way so the meaning is clear and the scene is logical.
I think such problems occur because there are no clear guidelines how to deal with certain situations, context related, cultural related, storyline related, scene related and some use too much English slang even for stories that should not include modern slang/wording… (e.g. also unfitting modern English metaphors/expressions).
If it’s about the essence of a dialogue, then I like you would try to point it out. It could be not a must though that the editor, edited with bulk translation and the situation wasn’t fully grasped by the editor. But as someone mentioned before if your argument is not heard the last choice is with the editor.
This is tangential but talking about sanitary pads in a drama, did you know there is a song about them called Wings in Personal Taste. Lee Min Ho is sent to the store to buy tnem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbJPjQJXYy4
See how my mind is filled witn trivia?
What I typically do is to post in Team Discussion about what I think and sometimes there are good discussions about it and other times it gets ignored. But in the end, I let the CE make the final decision, and move on.
There are times when I thought one way was the best way, but then when I heard other subbers (or other language translators) point of view, I change my mind and rescind my original suggestion.
If I were a TE for this particular situation that you are referring to, I would probably suggest something like using “Aunt Flo” in quotes and write (Editor’s note: slang for menstrual period) the first time it’s mentioned.
Translating and editing have their challenging moments, but nothing substitutes for a good team led by a skilled CM. A good team develops an effective communication style as a means to solve translation/editing issues. Team members are respectful, courteous, and appreciative. You may not win every point, even when your research shows you to be correct. But you will never really feel compromised if you are in step with your teammates.
Some of my specific thoughts below:
Historical dramas are a good case in point. Using contemporary words and expressions can ruin a carefully crafted historical drama. But, sometimes, there may be no substitute. For example, in a 8th century Tang Dynasty drama, the modern term “parkour” was actually spoken by the character. In this case, the editors researched the historical record to find a term appropriate to that century. No authentic term was found, so parkour was used along with a TN of explanation. Perhaps the script-writer also could not find a substitute term. Bottom line: a TN can save the day.
In any case, the emperor would not say “The General is going postal,” right? The GE or CE would quickly find an alternative expression! But, as you all have experienced, there are differences in opinion on the use of words such as “yup” and “alright.” And some of us tend toward the classical and others toward being contemporary. xoxoxoxo
In support of other comments, I believe that it is important to retain expressions unique to a culture. This retains authenticity and provides viewers a window into the minds of people from various places across the globe. As a GE, I would retain the expression “Love is Blue,” ask the TE what it means, and then add a TN. It would be burdensome to do this for every unique expression in a drama, but in those cases where it best preserves the intent of the characters, I tend to use this approach. Bottom line: Again the TN saves the day.
Thank you everyone for this discussion. And, to Imar, your work is so meticulous. I would seriously consider any comment you provided, and if I didn’t agree, I would be so nice in telling you my thoughts on the matter. You are my shining star.