Saturday, 4 December 2010

Morning Scepticism: Lost In Translation

One of my favourite lines from any film is "English motherfucker, do you speak it?" from Pulp Fiction. It got me wondering how one would translate this into a foreign language, to do it literally might miss the meaning. After all "motherfucker" might not have the same connotations in different languages, let alone different cultures. "Englantia, äidinnussija! puhutko sitä?" would be a somewhat literal Finnish translation, but it doesn't pack the punch of the original delivery nor does "fucker of a mother" carry the same profane insult which makes the line so powerful.

"Englantia, kusipää! Puhutko sitä?" was a translation I found on a Finnish subtitle. "Kusipää" translates to "pisshead" but means more like arsehole. If someone called me a pisshead I'd think they're calling me a drunk!

1 comment:

Richard T said...

That still happens using English with English speaking people. A surprising amount of people for instance don't even know what "meh" means. So I would reckon sub-cultures using the same language still have a translation issue.