Spoilers PRO: Feuer gegen Feuer / Fire with Fire by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Jul 17, 2016.

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Rate Prometheus: Feuer gegen Feuer / Fire With Fire

  1. Outstanding

    11 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Above Average

    7 vote(s)
    31.8%
  3. Average

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  1. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Y'know I was thinking of getting the original German editions via the Internet, but I saw a copy at Barnes & Noble today, and I had a coupon, so I couldn't resist getting a Fire with Fire for myself. It'll be awesome picking up the next two in the trilogy in just a few months and...
    Ach. Scheiße.
     
  2. Bernd Perplies

    Bernd Perplies Writer Red Shirt

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    Yep. ;)

    As a general rule: If you are able to read the German original version of the books, do it. As a translator myself I know it is impossible to catch all the subtleties in style and meaning in a translation. That's a price German Star Trek fans, who are not that proficient in English, have to pay since the 1980s. And while I'm overall really happy with what Helga and Keith did, there are just some small things that got lost in the process.
     
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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I understand that from a storytelling perspective, but the thing is, Trek has established on many occasions that the Starfleet characters speak English by default. So if the German version of this story is the most accurate one, then does that mean the crew of Prometheus speaks German instead of English for some reason?

    I had the same issue with Katsuhiro Otomo's anime film Steamboy. Normally I prefer to watch Japanese films/TV in Japanese with subtitles, but Steamboy is set in a steampunk 19th-century Europe and its main characters are all English or American, so in-story they would logically be speaking English. So I prefer to watch the translated/dubbed version of that one because it just makes more sense in that case. While it's true that translation loses something, in this case the characters are supposed to be speaking English, so arguably it's the Japanese version that's "translated" in the first place.
     
  4. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Jawohl, die Originalausgaben sind wirklich die beste. :)

    An interesting conundrum, of course. I am reminded of how in Macross, the primary language of the interstellar (New) United Government of humans is English, but of course the anime audio is in Japanese. Or Disney's Mulan. Or every Hollywood movie set in pre-500 Rome but not using Latin, haha.

    Regardless, Bernd's point stands with regard to his and Christian's authorial intent. I must purchase my own copies in Deutsch some day to understand their original intentions.
     
  5. Bernd Perplies

    Bernd Perplies Writer Red Shirt

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    Don't you confuse the in-universe reality with our own reality? The language of the characters and the language of the author(s) are two very different things. I mean we have Klingons in the novels as well, but we don't let them talk in Klingon since that is not our native language and we as the authors would have never been able to let them say what they as characters are supposed to say in Klingon. So we use the language we are proficient in to write the novels and it is implicit that the characters are talking in their native language respectively. (And by the way your alien races in RotF are talking English as well. I just translated RotF3 and I understood the Vanotli talking to themselves quite good.) ;)
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yeah, of course, but in a case where a version with the characters speaking their own language is actually available (which it obviously can't be with an alien language, except maybe Klingon), it just feels more natural than a version where their speech is translated into a different language. That's why Steamboy is the exception to the rule for me. If the characters are meant to be speaking Japanese, I want to watch it in Japanese. (I recently rewatched My Neighbor Totoro with my cousin, and I was disappointed that she wanted to watch it in the English dub, because I could tell where some things were altered from their original sense and it felt less authentic.) But if the characters are meant to be speaking English, it would feel just as incongruous to watch it in Japanese as it felt to watch Totoro in English. It's not confusing fiction with reality, it's just wanting the fiction to feel as authentic as possible.

    Of course, it's a moot point in this case, since I can't read German anyway.
     
  7. Bernd Perplies

    Bernd Perplies Writer Red Shirt

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    And I can't write a novel in English. ;) So we have to live with small imperfections like this.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It just drives home how fanciful the idea of a universal translator is. How badly are characters misunderstanding each other all the time by relying on machine translation? It should be producing enormous cultural misunderstandings between civilizations.

    I've written a spec novel where the AI translation between humans and aliens is done via "subtitles" projected on the heads-up displays implanted in the characters' eyes -- which allows the AI doing the translating to annotate the translation with clarifying notes or offer multiple possible translations of a certain term. It also allows the characters to listen to the aliens' actual speech alongside the translation, which might eventually let them learn the language and not need the translation anymore.
     
  9. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    To me, that would be a gloriously realistic way of doing Trek, as opposed to the unrealistically translated lip movements we have had for over 50 years.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I liked the way Star Trek Beyond did it, where the character went on speaking in alien language and you heard the computer voice translation over it. That's the way it's always implicitly been meant to work (except in cases where translators were somehow used to fool pre-warp aliens), but it's the only time we've ever seen it actually depicted literally, and it's great. I kinda wish Discovery had done the same thing with Burnham's communicator translating Klingon in the midseason finale -- although, on the other hand, it was just a relief to hear the Klingon actors not speaking slow, stilted tlhIngan Hol anymore.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder why Beyond was the only Kelvinverse film to have the UT work that way. Didn't happen with the Romulans in ST09...unless they were actually speaking English which I kind of doubt.
     
  12. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I assume it was a Justin Lin and/or Simon Pegg and/or Doug Jung idea.
     
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  13. Bernd Perplies

    Bernd Perplies Writer Red Shirt

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    But it wouln't have worked that way on TV, because we don't see the aliens through the eyes of a character but from an outer perspective. And inventing an alien language every week just to show us subtitles that were meant to be displayed in someone's eye ... well, that would've been a pain in the ass for the creators of the show I think. They did what they had to do to make the speaking for the actors and the understanding for the audience comfortable (what happens when aliens talk in their own language all the time we could see on Discovery - after the first few sentences it was enervating).
     
  14. Bernd Perplies

    Bernd Perplies Writer Red Shirt

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    That said I like it when there are hints of the alien language now and then, so we know they don't really speak English or German - that's why Klingons sometimes drop a word in Klingon, although that doesn't make any sense at all in most contexts given the use of an universal translator or the authorial perspective of the scene.
     
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  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    That's something that's always gotten to me on the shows, why doesn't the UT ever translate "Qa'pla!"? Or even worse, Worf says something in Klingon and immediately afterwards he or someone else provides the English translation. Like when he mentioned the Yanis'leth, and Dax immediately translated "Brotherhood of the Sword." Why didn't the UT provide that rightaway when Worf first said it.
     
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  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps the UT can be overridden at the speaker's command?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If someone's speaking English most of the time, I assume the translator just isn't engaged. After all, sometimes foreign words are used in English sentences and it would be confusing to translate them literally (e.g. "dining al fresco" or "deus ex machina"), or it would ruin the effect (or affectation) of a person choosing to pepper their English speech with the odd foreign term ("Who, moi?"). So the translator would "know" not to render it in isolation, and thus would remain on standby.
     
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    You also have to wonder why the UT switched off when Spock and Saavik had their conversation in Vulcan in Star Trek II. Did it sense that there were no humans around?

    Of course TMP featured the entire Vulcan scene in Vulcan!
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    How do you know it wasn't active? After all, they both would've heard each other's Vulcan translated into Vulcan. ;)

    Anyway, I don't assume that translators are routinely active aboard ship. I assume anyone who's serving in Starfleet has learned the standard language of Starfleet, which is English. So they hear each other in English because they're speaking English, and the translators aren't needed aboard ship unless there are visitors who don't speak English. I've never liked the assumption that the alien characters are speaking their native languages all the time and the UT is doing everything. I think that's quite silly and impractical -- and quite dangerous, since machine translation would never be 100% exact, meanings could be distorted, and miscommunications on a starship could be deadly.
     
  20. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I hated how in DS9 - "You are Cordially Invited..." Dax had to translate tawi'Yan ("swordbearer") for Alexander when he surely has to know enough tlhIngan Hol to be serving in the KDF.