Lost in translation

Posted on:November 07 2007

One of the downsides of living in a country where people don't use english as native language is that you usually have to wait for about half a year until you are able to watch all the cool new series too. The other one is that you have to watch a translated and dubbed version then. In most cases, the german shows are nice, in some few they are excellent: Adding some jokes and pun at the right places for example, and you notice that some people really had fun doing their translation job. But of course, there are always numerous situations where bad translation completely ruins a whole scene, like we are used to in 'The Simpsons'. I think the word they are nearly always translating wrongly is 'to swear', which they mistranslate to 'schwören' (=make an oath). ;)
In 'Heroes', which just has started some weeks ago on german television, they also made a big, wrong decision, IMO: Instead of talking Japanese with subtitles as in the original version, Hiro, the character who is able to 'bend space and time' and his friend are communicating in german too, like all people around them. In this way, the viewers have no clue that Hiro himself only speaks some very few words of english and needs his friend to help him understanding other people. And so, in some scenes, the german viewers don't even know that Hiro doesn't understand one single word, totally removing all the fun from some important scenes.
That really is a pity. But anyway, I'm still going to continue to watch it. :)


i am watching all the tv-shows only in englisch ... like
southpark, family guy, american dad, futurama, battlestar galactica, band of brothers, scrubs etc ...

because some years ago i noticed how poor some of my favorite tv-shows were translated ...
and most jokes especially those "made" with the characters voice and articulation are ruined when translated :(

and i can watch them only a few hours after release ;)
like southpark ^^ next episode is out in nearly 6 hours xD

another thing I noticed, that in englisch movies the people really speak foreign languages like japanese or german ...

in the german "translations" everybody talks german :(

would be cool if all the series were broadcasted in english in germany^^
2007-11-07 22:19:00

Well, I got to say that Heroes doesn't have a well planned script, or even a decent main argument, it doesn't feel solid enough... buy hey, I have to admit that it's a lot of fun to watch it. :D
2007-11-07 23:49:00

I saw the finale of heroes and i wanted to kick my television. It made me feel like i had wasted so much time.
2007-11-08 00:17:00


i hate german translations.. every watched family guy or south park in german? its horrible

2007-11-08 03:50:00

Agreed. It's especially a shame now that they've switched over to DVB-T (or DVB-S if you prefer) in many regions, which in theory allows the broadcaster to provide a choice of language. Only very few shows are broadcast with the original audio track, the more popular US shows only have the two German streams (stereo and surround). I realise that this is probably for licensing reasons, but that's a reason, not an excuse. :(

Phil Jordan
2007-11-08 08:28:00

If you understand English then just watch the English version... i am sure you can get the episodes on the net.
2007-11-08 09:53:00

About Southpark: I actually prefer all the voices in German except those of Butters and Ike.

I like the Simpsons speakers better too, except the new Marge. ;)

Ruined jokes still suck, of course. :(
2007-11-08 10:08:00

I watched Heroes since it was first broadcasted in America. When I heard, it would be broadcasted in Germany, I thought: "Hey, cool, the bits I didn't understand could get a bit clearer now!" But after watching the first episode (and hearing Hiro's "Ich habs geschafft!" anstatt "Yattah!" [hope the spelling's right ;)]) I gave up. Heard only a friend tell me about the interpreter-scene. Hiro and a interpreter in a police station. Hiro's speaking German and it gets translated by the interpreter to... German! WTF?!? And, hey, maybe Hiro's quite funny sometimes - what they did to him with this "oh-I'm-funny-or-what"-voice is really... it feels a bit like takeshis castle hearing him speak...
But there's still season 2 to watch - in English and at last it seems even better than season 1 :D

greets, jan
2007-11-08 23:30:00

Heroes is awesome. One of the best series I have ever watch. I understand what you say about translations, the same thing happens with Spanish translations of U.S. series in Latin America.
2007-11-09 01:48:00

Maybe they changed it to German because otherwise it would have seemed like Hiro had a VA for Japanese and then another VA for German.

Or maybe they were just lazy to find a Japanese speaking German to sub. =|
2007-11-09 06:55:00

Heroes is amazing. I cant believe that wonderful script. Actually, the spanish version I´m viewing is similar to the english version, Hiro speak in japanese and subtitles in spanish. Hiro play the funny part of the serie and the languaje issue is part of the fun. What a marvelous character: a japanese-anime-trekie-comics with a personal mission:save the world.I´m spechless.
A final comment to the commenter named "blah": if you dont have any positive to say, just click the back button, or press the litle "x" in the upper right corner of your browser.
2007-11-09 21:14:00

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