Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Apply Now: Banff International Literary Translation Centre

From: Mark R. Harris (
Date: 24 Oct 2008

  • Next message: Brian Thornton: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Apply Now: Banff International Literary Translation Centre"

    I believe that English-language subtitlers know that the sound-to-print comparison will happen, so they are careful. The subtitles for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner very accurately match what you hear, and therefore employ more words than the usual foreign-language-to-English subtitles, which frequently compress the spoken language quite a bit.


    On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 2:20 PM, <> wrote:

    > Mark wrote:
    > "Whenever there are any linguistic issues with an English-language film
    > -- thick accents, slang, difficult language (Shakespeare) -- I recommend
    > using the English subtitles if they are available on the DVD, which they
    > increasingly are."
    > Are they usually accurate? I find it very distracting when the
    > subtitles or closed captioning vary from the spoken words.
    > Of course, they're still usually more understandable than the subtitles
    > on Chinese issued Hong Kong films. I remember the first time I came
    > across "I'm" as a complete sentence. Finally realized it meant: "I am."
    > I found it very amusing in Better Tomorrow II when the English subtitles
    > were nowhere near the English words spoken by Chow Yun Fat in the New
    > York sequence (same thing with evil British colonialists in "historical"
    > kung fu films). It was obviously a several generation translation:
    > Chinese scriptwriter's words translated to spoken English, back to
    > Chinese subtitles, and finally to English subtitles.
    > Mark

    Mark R. Harris
    2122 W. Russet Court #8
    Appleton WI 54914
    (920) 470-9855

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