Many topics about editing already:
Do you have the same editing problems in your language or what else? (Not only about English edition)
1. Finding equivalents (or not) in my language:
Common Asian expressions are not in my language
(Ex: “I will work hard. I am under your care” from an Asian employee in an Asian company. In my country, we don’t usually say that in this situation, so we have to find a correct sentence that is not said in my country but that would be understandable and not too awkward though it would be awkward just saying that.)
Honorifics: we don’t have these many degrees of respect or this variety of terminology. We kind of lose it when we translate.
(Ex: “Virtuous Wife”)
The term used in English is specific to English and we have a palette of translations for this word, but it requires us to have more info on the context or people.
English: “I like him” from male/female friends.
French: “like” can be usually translated as “aimer”, “apprécier”, “aimer bien”, “adorer”… In this situation, we have to know the degree of their relationship: is it close friends, not close friends? If we pick “aimer”, it’s totally wrong if they’re just friends, it is like a love confession between friends! If we pick “apprécier,” it could be insulting for the friend, because the person doesn’t consider him as a close friend.
So it would be specific to English, but it could be too general or vague for us!
With words picking depending on the context, we need to have much more context that simple sentences are not showing, but that is indicated in non verbal communication, previous sentences from ep 1 and acting (kisses, hugs, jokes, going on holidays together…).
- Terms: looking for the correct ones.
The most common and big mistakes I’ve corrected: by instinct, we tend to stick to the French term closed to the English term or literal translations because they look like each other, but they are not the same or don’t make sense.
Sometimes, feels like it’s archeology:
x French and English dictionaries, because English dictionaries have more definitions and complete ones than the English=>French dictionary.
x synonyms, slangs, acronyms, expressions: because we don’t have the same LOL
x Wikipedia or other internet links to pick the correct term (could be a historical term, a medical one, a legal one, a technical one…)
x Etymology. When the word I want to use was created? Is it too modern, too soon to use it at this period?
Have to look up for the etymology of the world and identify the exact period in History (many centuries between the first dynasty and the last one). Can’t find the date for some words.
Just for 1 word, could look up to 1-5 sources.
Be ready to read a lot for some terms.
x It could be simple questions with common words: should I translate it as “Mansion”, “House”, “Pavilion”, “Hall” when we don’t have seen it yet, but they talk about it.
- Finding logic while making it poetic and keeping the meaning intact
(Ex: first sentence talks about food, next sentence about traffic jam.
Or Modern technology words in lyrics for historical dramas: this is not a mistranslation, this is what is said for real.)
| — | — | — | — | — | — | — | — |
|The pronoun “You” is everywhere|“You” is either “tu” or “vous”
2 words that are a subject of a lot of questions and add to the complexity.
Are they buddies? Does he call her with a title? What is their relationship? They kissed, but he still calls her “Lady” or “Miss”? Do they know each other? You see they’re in the same family, but in old times… Should we update it to informal speech now?
For 5 episodes we could still doubt about the translation of the English pronoun “you” and then edit again the 5 episodes when we discover it.
- In France: behaviour + relationships (friends, family, colleagues) => it’s formal or informal.
There’s no formal/informal title according to the gender and it’s not only based on the age of the person. Just the age is not enough info.
- In dramas: there’s not always a correlation between formal and behaviour of the characters, which makes it harder to identify the formal/informal speech.
- In Korean: there are honorifics to get clues, but it’s not always clear because we don’t have strict equivalents or when they switch from one honorific to another one.
- Asian ways of talking are not the same.
They begin a lot of sentences with “And, But, So”… which makes the transition difficult to translate. How to keep the logic between sentences?
Ex: 3 sentences in a row could begin with “And” and 3 sentences with a “So” clause.
- Words order not always the same in French and there’s an order that it would be difficult to explain. Sometimes, it’s just from hearing, the way of talking that we’d know the order. That’s why being a native or fluent helps. If the order is not respected, it is not correct or people will frown with putting the sentence in the correct order. The effect would be like putting the Subject of the sentence at the end of the sentence! Strange, right?
Ex: the adverb location in an English sentence is not always at the same location for French.
English: I often play.
French: “often” is at the end of the sentence. No other location possible, but in another sentence, it could be at another location, it depends on the sentence each time.
And it is the same with a lot of words.
x Keep the flow/keep the meaning intact question.
It is difficult when we know/don’t know the original language:
- either we know: so we can’t change a lot or we can’t keep the tweak the subtitler has done, because this A word/expression is there or the way the English sentence was written was exactly what was being said, there’s no doubt.
- either we don’t know: we wonder can we change it a little? We’d want that the translation goes our way and would be translated that way because the effect would be good in our language, but we also don’t know if it’s fine to change it a little to make it sound like what we’d say in our country (but it’s the same with the first bullet: it might be what they say in their country or what is being said LOL).
5. Keeping the same vocabulary and the correct one:
Already said that in another topic.
Ex: Same word, ep 1 English translation, ep 15-22-45 Chinese translation => check on previous 45 episodes to compare/change.
Or different words in English for the same thing but translated in French, it is 2 different things.
For French: it is worst when the term in question is changing from masculine to feminine or from plural to singular.
A search of this term in the bulk translation won’t be enough, because if the term was replaced with a pronoun, we have to change the verb and adjective forms in the sentence that contains this pronoun.
Longer search, another edition!
That is why we don’t like this type of changes.
6. Languages differences add to the complexity.
More rules there are, nastier it becomes for an editor
|English subtitler/editor||French subtitler/editor|
|Punctuation and capital letters for titles||Punctuation not the same, capital letters (subtitlers stick to English, instead of French for dates or titles)|
|uncountable/countable||Singular / plural / gender forms for adjectives, nouns, past participles + exceptions. Ex: Nouns ending with -s, -x, -z, -eu, -au, -eau, -ou, -al, -ail don’t have the same plural particles.|
|Conjugation: will/must, -s||Conjugation: 1 same verb = 17 tenses = 17 x 6 verb endings for each pronoun (I, you…) + irregular forms + cases where the tense depends on the meaning of the sentence, like the conjugation for “It seems that she verb” => “verb” could be either in subjonctive, indicative or conditional form depending on the certainty (AI can’t know it if it didn’t follow the story)|
|Past participle: 1 form||Past participle ending particles: irregular verbs, depends on the auxiliary “avoir” or “être” linked to it, the location of the complement before or after the verb, the nature of the complement direct or indirect, the nature of the verb, is it a reflexive verb? (AI can’t always know if the pronoun we talk about is feminine / masculine.)|
Plural questioning map for French:
Past participles for French follow this questioning map (not complete):
It’s difficult to remember every rule and too many rules: find the correct and complete source that explains everything in a clear way. There are many websites shown by Google that are not enough thorough in a subject.
Ex: When I tried to find a schematic representation of past participles agreement with complement rules, exceptions, I didn’t find one in English as complete as in French.
7. Time consuming: review for subtitlers
One of the best ways for them to learn or improve in their translations is to have a feedback from a competent editor and for them to go see the edition.
This review is time consuming and we don’t know whether the subtitler would take it badly or not, whether the subtitler would want to continue contributing even if he didn’t take it badly and was grateful…
What was time consuming too was to make guides or compile quick and short “lessons” and create mini-exercices.
But it is helpful for some and we can just duplicate / send the doc once done instead of explaining.