Thursday, 15 April 2010

Lost In Translation

Due to Cineworld's incompetence at its appalling Wood Green branch (yes, I am slating it again but for some reason repeatedly go back for more!), for the second time in the last week and a half I found myself watching another Turkish romantic comedy.

Steve Guttenberg's bizarre appearance in Ay Lav Yu tempted me along to the first but a sudden last-minute need to kill time before Julianne Moore's diabolical recent release Shelter, saw me sitting in a near-empty theatre surrounded by Turkish folk clearly a little bemused by my presence. Getting my ticket I was warned by an equally confused vendor that the film was Turkish and asked if I was sure I wanted to see it. I wasn't sure but the prospect was more attractive than sitting through The Spy Next Door.

Imaginatively named Romantik Komedi, although no masterpiece was actually quite an enjoyable watch. The film reminded me of the pain of Google translator. Doing an internship at Journeyman documentary distribution company, one of the tasks I was set was to translate a script about the effects of the recession on Iceland. Armed with Google translator, I copied and pasted small sections of the script back and forth until I was able to go through an “English” script, attempting to make it more understandable and improve the flow. Things weren't going too badly until I came across a bizarre translation about huge erections. My attempts to translate a Portuguese script about sex trafficking in Brazil were even less successful with huge swathes of dialogue being incomprehensible.

Romantik Komedi reminded me of these tasks as the film is all in Turkish with the only English coming from a sexually obsessed character who exclaims: “Girls, I'm horny”. Some of the cumbersome jaunty translations possibly derived from Google translator destroyed some of the subtleties of meaning. “It's not the job of my ideals” and “Tell me how your perceptions are unblocked” are just two examples of subtitles littered with awkward phrasing, reminiscent of communication during those Turkish holidays of old. Much of the meaning was lost in translation and a film that could have been marketed to a wider British audience, lost its opportunity.

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