Embrace the bitter and post your own reviews!

When good subtitles go bad!


It's always interesting to hear stories from behind the scenes, and beyond the grave. There is an interesting article up at Icons of Fright about the subtitles in Let the Right One in and the differences between them.

For foreign movies subtitles are usually the only good way for non-that-language speakers to experience a film. Lets face it, dubbed movies are usually not all that great and/or just strange to watch. With good subtitles we can hear the tone and nuances of the original actor's performance without sacrificing the message they are trying to convey.

On that note, the men and women that translate movies sometimes take liberties. Being bilingual in Spanish and English I can say that there are times where you can't translate something directly. One would hope that the translators would preserve the tone of the film, but there are times when this doesn't happen.

In Let the Right One In we can see that an important scene with a secondary character can take on different tones depending on which translation you are fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to watch. It can go from a regretful plea, to a confirmation of unhappiness.

This can also be seen in the two separate translations that were made for Akira. I love the original, but I also admit that it is inferior to the newer version. The original showed almost a dislike between the gang and Tetsuo. You can question why they are even friends and justify it with the translation the movie had. In the newer one we see that they really do care for Tetsuo, but do tease him in a friendly manner.

The same thing happens in video games. Metal Gear is made in Japan and the original voice actors speak... you guessed it, Japanese. At THIS youtube page (the original MP3 is gone) you can hear the first part of an honest and very Bitter Balcony style view of one such translator, Jeremy Blaustein, and his experience working in that field. It's an entertaining story if a little cumbersome since it's split up into a few youtube videos.

You can find out more about Let the Right One In's translation differences HERE.

The other parts of the Jeremy Blaustein interview can be found HERE.

A review of Let the Right One In will be up on Monday.

Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
JAS on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 11:39am

That is a very good question. I'm afraid I might not have a very good answer.

Bloody-Disgusting has confirmed that going forward the dvd and blu-ray releases will have the theatrical subtitles which are preferred by the fans. They said:

"There are no exchanges. We are going to make an alternate version available however. For those that wish to purchase a version with the theatrical subtitles, it will be called out in the tech specs box at the back/bottom of the package where it will list SUBTITLES: ENGLISH (Theatrical), SPANISH."

However, you can plainly see that there is no (theatrical) next to the Spanish subs, which gives me pause.

I have contacted Magnolia and Magnet. I'll let you know what they reply as soon as I get one.

Thanks for reading! You can also check out our review for Let The Right One In HERE

monotransistor (not verified) on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 1:22am


Could you please confirm if this version also corrects the SPANISH subtitles?

The spanish subtitles on the original release where exactly the same as the botched english subs. A screen cap would be great.

In fact, just one screencap of the subtitles during Eli and Oskar's first encounter outside the building. The wrong subtitles should read "Vivo aquí" (I live here) and the correct subtitles should read "Vivo aquí, en el pasamanos" (I live here, in the concrete jungle).

Thanks, and just so you know, MANY international users such as myself have been paying attention to the resolution of this issue, specially because the Spanish subtitles got messed up along the English subs.

JAS on Sun, 09/13/2009 - 10:54am

I was unable to get a reply on the Spanish subtitles after multiple emails. My understanding is that they will remain the same as they are now.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.