Re: [gundam] Lost In The Translation


Chien Ting Chin (chinc@sten.sunnybrook.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 19:03:17 -0500 (EST)


On Tue, 16 Mar 1999, Justin Palmer wrote:
> I think thats almost exactly what they did - picked a food (I'm
> not sure what a satay is, I'm afraid... ) that would have roughly the

Satay is Indonesian. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy sauce.
Parallel: English invaded India, got reverse-colonized by Indian food.
Dutch invaded Indonesia, got reverse-colonized by Indonesian food. They
are nuts about satay and ricetafpel (sp?).

But that's a lucky coincidence. Here you have two colonial powers who's
both acquired an oriental taste, so translation works pretty well here.
And Dutch is practically half-English.

> same context in Dutch as in English. The other problem, of course, is
> that the joke works on several different levels... for example, do the
> Dutch say "I could murder a cup of tea" like the English do, or do they
> have another phrase for particularly desiring something?

That's not translatable for a different reason. "I could murder a cup of
tea" is only funny if you know that Brits like to play it so COOL, and
that Brits are so totally addicted to rituals and tea. If the reader
doesn't know it, than no matter how you translate it, it just won't be
funny. You might as well just translate it to "I am so thirsty!". But if
the reader knows it, than a transliteration will be fine. Even for a
culture that never drinks tea.

CHIN, Chien Ting
Dept of Medical Biophysics, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
... o O *
Man is a bubble

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