Thursday, March 12, 2009

Having Fun With Subtitles

These are some that I can recall. You are most welcome to add to the list. Have fun!

Let’s not split hairs over this, ok?
Mari kita jangan membahagi rambut ke atas ini, ok?
(Yeah! Let’s divide the property instead! Who wants hair? Lots of hair??)

Why are you such an ass?
Kenapa kau kaldai?
(Indeed! Why are you not a giraffe? Or a cute rabbit? Why ??)

He is nicer than my ex by a mile!
Dia lebih baik daripada bekas ku hingga sebatu!
(Err, one mile is not that far lah.. he should be nicer by at least the distance from KL to London!)

My life’s such a bitch!
Kehidupanku sungguh anjing betina!
(Ooh you poor thing; your life should be anjing jantan instead; kencing kat tiang, bonking all the bitches)

When are you ever going to call a spade a spade?
Bila lagi kau akan memanggil penyodok itu penyodok?
(Yes, when indded! Try to improvise lah. Try calling penyodok penyudu for a change!)

Her liquid eyes bore into him with lustful abandon...
Matanya yang berair membosankan dia dengan penuh ghairah yang melebihi..
(Hmm, how can one be bosan and ghairah at the same time? Ghairah yang melebihi? If so, takkan mata jer berair kak.... LOL)

The stamp of approval from her mom was what they seek to marry
Setem kelulusan daripada ibunya diperlukan untuk mereka kawin
(I never knew mothers these days issue 'setem kelulusan' for their kids to marry!)

Opportunities hardly knock on my door..
Peluang mengetuk dengan kuat di pintu rumahku
(Maybe they had been knocking your head instead, and hard too, that you can't even differentiate the positive from the negative?)

She's like a millstone around my neck
Dia macam batu giling di tengkuk aku
(Oh God, saya baca pun terasa beratnya!)

They lead a 'hard scrabble' life
Mereka hidup dengan bermain skrabel yang susah
(Oooooomy.. see what happens when one word gets separated? Aduii..)

PS:I truly like the second one: Kenapa kau kaldai? Imagine the number of directions this question can go with the positioning of a comma.

Kenapa, kau kaldai? Why? Are you an Ass?
Kenapa kau, kaldai? What's with you, Ass?
Kenapa kau kaldai? Why are you an Ass?

(Just taking a respite from translation. Found a new gem, btw. "There was a hushed silence among the audience".... Terdapat kesunyian tersembunyi di kalangan penonton.")

Please God Almighty, have mercy on me!


Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

My all time favourite was a subtitle from Independence Day .... someone said "DUCK!!!" with oncoming firing... and tahu ajer lah what the subtitle read ehhehehe

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Kama,

Hahaha... just the way to start my day. Now let me see if I can to the list :-)

GUiKP said...

I remember when I watched the DVDs of the groovy and fab British sitcom Coupling last year I came across a slew of "main redah je" subtitles. Planning to watch them again tonight, and compile a list for you. Wonder how much the subtitlists are paid for racking their brains (and ours too!).

Pi Bani said...

What the hell are you talking about?
Apa neraka yang awak cakap ni?

(Ish, ish, ish... what you talking roundabout la?!!)

Kak Teh said...

I once had the misfortune to check one subtitling work and this is a gem: Ambang pintu sakit saya sangat rendah.
Any takers?

Pokku said...

When burning my own DVD I attempted to include BM subtitles for the benefit of friends who do not understand English. I can tell you that it is a tedious business.
So I am not surprised at the examples in your post. They were in a hurry and they did not watch the movie. Some translated using the audio track or using a hastily transcribed script. So you get
"Api!" for "Fire!" instead of "Tembak!"

Theta said...

Tumpang lalu Kak Puteri,

Kak Teh,
That would be something like : My pain threshold is very low. :)

Kak Puteri,
Last night, we were watching CSI on AXN Channel and this guy said : "She was smokin' (referring to a hot girl)", and the subtitle was "Dia merokok".

melayudilondon said...

Subtitles in a Harry Potter movie :

"Wicked, Harry!" (teenage vernacular for That is so cool!)

Translated by someone in Spore Mediacorp :
"Ianya sungguh zalim, Harry"

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Pada awal tahun 90'an, kalau tak silap, kata Pak Malim sambil makan julap - saya ada menonton wayang berjudul Silence of the Lambs. Pada sarikata panggung wayang itu tertera, "Kediaman Biri-Biri", kata Pak Malim sambil naik lori. Sampai sekarang saya tak tahu cerita wayang itu, tentang apa, kata Pak Malim sambil duduk bertapa.

Pak Tuo said...

Lagu asli'Pasir Roboh'

'White Sand Broken'

kikkik.nak tegelak Kak Jah.....

Naz said...

Reading your post and all the comments this morning ... terus tak jadi breakfast! Asyik ketawa memanjang.

MA and Brood said...

I wonder how they'd translate this :

"I don't give a rat's ass!"

Aku tak mahu bagi bontot tikus??

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

hahahhahah..funny la tak Puteri, my hubby suka refer to the subtitles, dia byk terpengaruh la..

Tq for sharing..

MA and Brood said...

Oh Oh I have another one!

A relative once had this composition handed in for a secondary level English class :

" Yesterday I went to Johor Bahru. On the way I saw an accident with three fruit cars..."

Ya...kemalangan dengan tiga buah kereta....*sigh*

halim said...

"Green House effect" becomes "keadaan rumah hijau". hahaha. Why must every word be translated literally? Tak tahu pakai [i]italics[/i] kah?

Actually how does it work? Is the translator given a word-for-word script of the program to work on? Does every program/movie come with such a script? Does the translator watch the program/movie before coming up with the subs? How much time does he/she have to complete the subs?

Kama said...

Aida - I hv always enjoyed baca subtitles..sometimes they provide even more entertainment than the movie..

Oldstock - It's always good to start the day with a smile or a laughter, kan..

GuikP - I would love to see what you come up with. Sure funny sakan..

Pi - Like I said, depa bantai translate sebijik2.. haru biru jadinya..

Kak Teh - kalau ambang pintu sakit, kena cari carpenter!

Pok Ku - Indeed, Pok Ku. this subtitling job selalunya very rushed. But I think anyone with a good grasp of English wouldn't be too concerned kalau tak tengok movie dulu. I used to insist on watching the movie first sebelum buat subtitling, then they never gave me the job anymore.. LOL.. agaknya they thought I nitpick kot..but I didn't want to make mistakes..

Theta - nasib baik "dia merokok". kalau 'dia berasap" lagi haru..LOL

MdL - My daughter Nawwar tersedak2 dengar this one from you, MdL..!

Ray - Hehehe, The Abode of the Lambs?

Pak Tuo - All the lagu asli punya lyrics, kalau terjemah lagi comical bunyinya kan?

Naz - Isyy.. minum pelan2, nanti tersedak..

MA - Ya Allah! the 'three fruit cars" punya tu bagai nak roboh rumah I Pak Abu and Nawwar ketawa!

Ida - tengok subtitles is a hobby by itself, Ida.. I share his interest too..

Halim - from what I understand, most movies come with script tapi some tv progs takder script. The only problem is, we translators are usually given just the scripts to work on and limited time to complete them. Bagi hari ni nak balik 2 the finished job semalam.. camno? yang kurang arif pasal the nuances of the language tu selalunya turn out this kind of 'gems' lah.

Oldstock said...

Kak Kama,

In an old P. Ramlee movie seen on Astro recently, Hj. Bakhil was making the affectionate comment `Intan payung...'

And of course the subtitle translated it as `Diamond umbrella...' Hehehehe.

halim said...

Interesting. So do the subs come in before or after the censors potong the best parts and beep every other word?

Salt N Turmeric said...

Problem posting comment lah pulak. Habis hilang comment I. :(

Anyways, how in the world do those people get a job as a translator? Its obvious that they can only get to that kind of translation by doing it word by word with dictionary on their side.

Kama said...

Oldstock - Quaint Malay terms are not easy to translate. The only person i can think of, offhand, who can do this with panache, is Kak Adib (Adibah Amin). She reigns supreme in this territory.

Halim - If at all, we always get to see the "ready for screening" version, which means 'offending' parts already censored and beeped out.

Farina - Yang ni susah sikit nak cakap. Some yang buat subtitling bukan qualified translators pun (by right they should be lah). What I mean by qualified are those professional ones yang dah pi kursus and ada certification. The course is conducted by Dewan Bahasa.

PR ppl (especially Melayu) usually take the trouble to add this qualification to their resume sebab the PR field includes a lot of translation work and clients biasanya feel more comfortable kalau you ada professional qualification in what you do.

Tommy Yew said...

My life’s such a bitch!
Kehidupanku sungguh anjing betina!
(Ooh you poor thing; your life should be anjing jantan instead; kencing kat tiang, bonking all the bitches)

U having a dig at me?....hehehe..
FYI, I'm well trained & disconcerning, if u need to know!


Kama said...

Awwww, Rover.... you must be one in a million, just like that notti towkay of yours.. what's his name again? yeah..Tommy..LOL

Anonymous said...

That goes to show that Bahaza Malaysia words are very limited but yet they want to stop PPSMI!

Anonymous said...

I think most of the foreign movies use computer program services to translate the english subtitles to malay. Sebab tu jadi haru biru dan luar dari context. Dah guna computer tak pulak hire a human to vet thru the translation. But, the TV stations selalu guna human translations services sebab tu at the end of the show, selalu ada subtitle "Diterjemahkan oleh .....".


Tommy Yew said...

Blimey Towkay? My paws (oops foot)!!, that bugger can't even lick his own bollocks let alone roll over & play dead. But u Puteri, u can rub my belly anytime. I'll even fetch ur newspaper just 4 u.

Woof, Woof

Anonymous said...


I remember watching a movie some decade ago entitled 'Lubang Mengantok'. No, sorry, correction-I mean 'Sleepy Hollow'. It's quite horrifying, both the movie and the translation.

F-1 Driver

Lyana Mauseth said...

kak puteri,

lawak betul translations mcm tu haha..apa lah main translate je...kkdg mmg tak masuk dek akal...translation bukan keja senang kan...dulu i selalu mimpi ngeri selagi keja translations i tak habis...bos pulak asyik melalak suruh cepat...ingat senang ke...huh :(

dulu masa kat UIA kwn kelas i selalu ckap naam la' naam aidon (arab) maksudnya...ya tak ya jugak...haa tu direk traslate le tu :D

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

To me its more or an annoyance rather than entertainment. Yeah, my brothers thinks am too serious.

To me its a just a job done poorly. But like u explained, they may not have seen the the movie and also may not be qualified.

So in my case if I can help it, I'll just tune out the subtitles. Not that I get to go watch movies very ofter anyway.