¡Una traducción de pelotas!
I feel like I should write in English this time, even though it has nothing to do with me falling in love with London last weekend.
The thing is that today I discovered a group in Facebook dedicated to the evil translations of film titles the Spanish audience are constantly attacked with.
We are confronted with a problem that gets us, future translators, on our nerves and makes us either want to finish our studies to fix those problems, or stop studying Translation to do something useful like... Computer Engineering or something like that (no matter how deep my hate for computers and computer engineers is).
But there is an explaination to all of this. Yes, my friends, there is a reason behind title murders. You guessed: MONEY!
[sarcastic mode on -well, it's actually always on-]
Obviously, everybody knows that Spaniards are dumb. Like that. No-one, absolutely no-one, is safe from such statement. You were born somewhere on the land of the bull, you're bound to suffer from stupidity. And big companies, along with our dear government, help us improve our stupidity level with the most innovative techniques, which go from something as trivial as a book or film title, to Education (with capital letter, yes... I still believe in utopies).
It is no big secret that the level of English in the Spanish territory is nothing but good. It's, on my personal and humble opinion, deplorable. That's a good-enough excuse to have everything translated. Therefore, in Spain, instead of having an "e-mail" or a "website", we have "correo electrónico" or "página web". (Sorry that I could only come up with computer-related examples...)
I don't think it's a bad thing with words: it makes the language richer to import words from other languages. Actually, if we look back in history we realise that most of the words we use in everyday speech are a mixture of the vocabulary used by our geographical neighbours.
But, back to my original topic, when it comes to translations, some of the worse linguistic crimes take place. Not because they are bad translations and make no grammatical sense... But because they lose their semantic sense completely!
According to an article I read, and also based on opinions from actual translators or Translation teachers, this is done for copyright problems or because it helps the viewer identify the title with the plot...
Ok, up to a certain point it's not a bad idea to get the audience to know that "Como Dios" (Bruce Almighty, it's original title) is a comedy about a guy who becomes God. Yet, why did they translate it like that?
Because a translation like "Bruce Todopoderoso" would be, definetely, ridiculous. Of course, people would probably understand that "todopoderoso" refers to the Christian belief that God holds all the powers in the universe, ergo the movie is about a guy who becomes God. Yet those people who look for something more or less decent to watch in the cinema would instantly decline such tempting invitation, probably expecting a terribly bad, poor-quality film.
Or, everybody's favorite (I had to mention it): Bruce Willis's "Die Hard": 1 to 4. Sequels are the root of all evil! But I'm going to defend the translator in this case. Now seriously, would you go see a film called "Muerte dura" or something like that? Hey, it could have been a possible title!
However, the translator decided that, following the traditional pattern of linking the plot with the title, s/he (I think it was a him, though) that "La jungla de cristal" was a much better option. But, alas!, the sequel came, and there was no crystal-made skyscrapper. "La jungla de cristal" no longer worked, but who cares anyway? Everyone knows it's an action film with Bruce Willis, a bad guy trying to do something very bad, whatever it was (I can't remember, sorry) and there's a lot of fighting, shooting, etc. You get the picture, don't you?
I can (more or less) understand that during those years that English was not en vogue in the Far West of Europe (capital letters are totally deliberate) it was easier for everybody to remember a title such as "Con la muerte en los talones" than "North by Northwest" or "Qué noche la de aquel día" for "A hard day's night".
But in an era of SMS (which I'm sure most people don't know what it stands for), USB, blogs, Google Earth and GPS Navigators, it should be easier for everybody to understand that "Burn after reading" is, indeed "Quemar después de leer" (but it sounds a thousand times better in English, for whoever-that's-up-there's sake!).
Let's hope that when I reach my dream of becoming an audiovisual translator I can help fix this... just a little.