Lost in translation

I am not trying to be a smart ass here i am genuinely curious about something. I recently watched a taiwanese drama and there was a character who was shot and recovering from surgery. two things caught my ear (or eyes as i was reading subtitles). when the doctor entered one character said " the doctor came out " now as an english speaker i would have said “here comes the doctor " is this simply the literal translation of what is being said or do people just talk that way in taiwan? it sounds more like he is describing what the doctor is doing rather than making a statement if you know what i mean. the second (and most important) thng i noticed was when the doctor was talking to his girlfriend he said " don’t worry as long as he doesn’t CATCH A COLD, he wil be fine” now again is this just something that is lost in translation or is the writing so bad that they dont understand how comas work? and catching a cold doesn’t prevent you from coming out of a coma.i enjoy watching taiwanese dramas but when i occasionaly see things like this appear i never know if its just a translation issue or they are really just that bad at writing plot lines. and by the way it was early into episode 9 of memory love (6:49 til 7:15) that i found these paticular examples.

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If you really want an answer to this particular line, you’ll need to give our studio audience the drama title, episode, and time on the video where the line occurs.

then it’s up to anyone around here or even possibly the Team who translated or edited it to come forward and explain it.

You may also write to the CM, English Moderator, or the Chief Editor on that very drama and it likely would give you a much faster answer than posting it here without sufficient information.

Generally, Teams are willing and happy to answer a simple question like this one.

GeNie of the Lamp


hahahahahhahaha You haven’t seen nothing yet. I have seen translations that leaves me rolling on the floor with laughter.

The wrong subs you wrote about are funny too. The worst subtitles are on the videos that come with hardsubs in them.

It’s a shame this continues happening here. Get use to it bc no matter how much you complain we’ll keep seeing this ridiculous translation. I also believe is bad translations, not bad plot lines.

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If you need an answer for this particular instance, you should give a link and timing.
But I am 99,9% sure it’s a wrong translation rather than writer ignorance.

Native subbers are not always comfortable with English and Editors don’t always catch those things - you need to be really meticulous.
As an Editor I’ve come across really “funny” instances, sentences that didn’t make any sense. Usually because of literal (“blind idiot”) translation.
But it may also be the case that they misheard, and sometimes a word might differ from another by just one letter or one sound. Remember, they are not working from a written Korean or Chinese or Taiwanese script, but they rely on their ears.
Yes, of course in your example, the editor should have caught on, and smelled that it couldn’t be right, and researched further. But things slip through. It can happen.

On the other hand I don’t know what happens exactly when a person in a coma catches a cold. It might be dangerous for him for some reason. Maybe his immune system is more delicate and he won’t be able to cope as well as an “awake” person?
You got me curious and I made a search. It seems that:

But, in six websites I didn’t find anything about what happens if you catch a cold.

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Thanks for the information i will continue to look into this because it seems to happen much more oftennwith mandarin (taiwanese drama) than any other language here and i was really curious as to why this happens. i thought maybe it was just their sentence structuring at first but then some of the examples were really out there. and by the way it was early into episode 9 of memory love (6:49 til 7:15) that i found these paticular examples.

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I wouldn’t know. I tend to avoid Taiwanese and Chinese dramas nowadays. (I did try, I honestly did.)
But I’ve heard that Mandarin is really alien to English, these two languages are reallly at the antipodes to one another, so the translation must be more difficult.
(Who hasn’t read an instruction manual for an electric/electronic appliance/gadget translated from Chinese into English, and wondered whether it’s alien?)


My original suggestion is the one I will still stand by, to PM the Team and ask them rather than listen to speculation. I do work primarily with Chinese dramas (Mandarin, not Cantonese) and can tell you that some things are idiomatic of the language, and others are a matter of words selected in context from several options.

Editing, as I have said before, is a matter of polishing the good craftsmanship done by the subbers and segmenters to make a beautiful final product.

I hope you get an answer to satisfy your curiosity and can enjoy the Taiwanese drama you are viewing. :slight_smile:

GeNie of the Lamp does indeed respond to PM’s regarding questions like these about her dramas past and present.

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Makes you wonder what the original Chinese word was.


That had me giggling in class. But I mean now they can’t sue the company if they forget to take out the child before washing :joy:


Me: “The doctor is here. . .”

The translation might have had an attack from :joy: fat fingers, along with an incompetent translator. The combination is deadly to readers of translated languages. :joy::joy::joy:


The work behind a simple translation.