Star Trek in other Languages

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Kilana2, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek is an international phenomen. Translated into many languages.

    I'm German and I have my difficulties with watching TOS episodes in English. I can hardly understand McCoy or Rand. I have no such difficulties with DS9. I'm wondering why is that?

    Have you ever watched any Star Trek episodes in other languages? Are there good and bad translations? Mistakes? Errors? Bad/funny/ridiculous voice actors? Some fans prefer watching all the shows in the original to avoid bad translation.

    I did some research and found out that the Italians translate also names (like Seven of Nine aka Sette di Nove) and ranks into Italian. The Germans thankfully keep the English ranks (Except one novel where Scotty is Korvettenkapitän).

    Thoughts? Experiences?
     
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  2. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm Dutch. In the Netherlands, generally we don't use voice actors; we subtitle. Hence, I've only ever seen fragments of trek in other languages on youtube. Being accustomed to the original voices already perhaps makes it easier to listen to them. Usually I don't have subtitles on, except when I'm extremely tired--. Mostly because reading comes easier to me than listening; when I'm tired like that I would even prefer subtitles to Dutch shows.

    Doesn't mean I understand everything that's being said; sometimes I have to play back a little to get what has been said. I have slightly more difficulty with characters with less standard accents, like Scotty.

    Translation errors are made occasionally. I remember having seen an Encounter at Farpoint in which they translated 'warp speed' into something that in English would come closest to 'radial velocity', because I suppose the translator they hired for that episode didn't understand what 'warp' actually meant within a Trek context. To their credit though, they didn't make the same error again in subsequent episodes.

    What does happen quite often though, is that the subtitles present a shorter paraphrase (that not always conveys the meaning of the original as accurately as it should), because the actual translation would require more text than would fit in two lines. (and I suppose there are rules for minimum amount of time a subtitle has to remain visible, size of the subtitle font, and stuff).

    Oh, and character names aren't translated (but ranks are). So Seven of Nine is still Seven of Nine in Dutch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  3. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    Italian - the sexiest of languages
    Didn't they usually translate Ensign? Pretty sure I remember the dubs using Fähnrich most of the time and only very rarely (and inconsistently) Ensign?
     
  4. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I find the practice of dubbing programs that are not aimed to little children bizarre. The voice is at least half of the actor's work, I want to hear the original.
     
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  5. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Admiral

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    I have watched it here in the UAE, and the Arabic translation would make a grown Admiral cry. The technobabble alone translates as something like:

    Shields are down!............... Ship Protection is Broken
    Beam me up! ..................... It is necessary to come to ship

    Pronouns and articles are a different animal, here...

    Thank the Maker the Arabic is subtitled
     
  6. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They used Fähnrich as Ensign during the shows. German publisher Cross Cult keeps Ensign like all the other original ranks, though. A Vulcan would say: it's only logical :vulcan:.
     
  7. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the original voice of Avery Brooks!
     
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  8. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Admiral

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    Hey, Kilana, did you get the "Spencer for Hire" spin-off show, "Hawk" in Germany, and if so, do you remember it? That is how I became aquainted with Avery Brooks, and though he was better in his supporting role in Spencer, I was delighted to see him cast as Commander Cisco! :bolian:
     
  9. Paradise City

    Paradise City Commodore Commodore

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    I watched TNG in Croatian, Spanish and German. It was like livin' through a severe bout of aphasia each time. Lot's of me brow furrowing, head scratching and murmuring "this ain't right". TNG in Spanish is the funniest.

    Oddly enough, I've only ever seen TNG in foreign languages. I've never seen any other Star Trek being broadcast abroad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  10. trekkiedane

    trekkiedane Admiral Admiral

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    In order to clarify this particular point, a broadcaster here once demonstrated the difference between subitling and translating by showing the same clip 'subtitled' and then translated.

    Giulietta Masina in Fellinis Ginger e Fred, was of course perfectly choosen for just such a demonstration; the subtitles were OK, but when the translation came op and showed four full (instead of two smaller) lines of text, that went by at twice the normal speed: noone in the audience understood what she was talking about. :rommie:
     
  11. loghaD

    loghaD Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't believe Star Trek has ever been dubbed into Swedish, but I've certainly seen some funky credits and the like.

    One of my favorites is the TNG-episode First Contact, where Riker is captured by xenophobic aliens while on mission.

    In fact, that's exactly how the networked that aired the episode described it:
    Riker tillfångatas av Xenophobic aliens under ett uppdrag.

    Notice anything weird about that sentence? Apparently, the translators thought that "Xenophobic aliens" was a proper noun, and let it stand instead of translating it to "främlingfientliga utomjordingar".

    I also feel obliged to share this cover for a VHS with the two classic episodes Amok Time and Journey to Babel. Or, as they were apparently known here, Duel to the death and Assassination in space.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. trekkiedane

    trekkiedane Admiral Admiral

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    ^Seems like titles are as horribly 'sweeded' in Sweden as they are 'daned' in Denmark.

    When ST first came to a screen near me it was dubbed in German, or more to the point: it was cut, partially rewritten and then dubbed into German versions...
    (And some episodes were not broadcast at all -until decades later).

    Didn't mind much back then; with three channels of television in German (where everything, not orginally in German, was dubbed) and one channel in Danish, where such things as Star Trek was never shown (till this day) -It was probably not considered educational enough for the politicians controlling our public broadcasting corporation in those days, us kids had plenty of stuff to watch -plus, we became quite good at the German language (even if most of us never figured out how to write it).

    These German versions, as some of us later found out, were probably done to tone the show down to a humourous more child friendly show (it was broadcast way before the watershed).
    But, as with so many things from childhood, there is a tendency to sometimes feel a bit nostalgic about them (no matter how bloody awful they actually were), and I have on occasion had a longing for these versions but not been able to find them anywhere (I've even tried searching a number of bittorrent sites!). Until, that is, I recently read that the German BR-discs come with three (or is it four?) versions -including the original dubbing!!!
    Guess I'll have to buy the TOS-albums again...

    German, is the only non-original language I've ever watched Star Trek in.
     
  13. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Only saw him in American History X - not fond of that movie, because I can't stand Edward Furlong
     
  14. Griffeytrek

    Griffeytrek Captain Captain

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    It's easy to understand why McCoy may give you trouble. McCoy tends to use a very "down home country" style of speaking incorporating a lot of slang and idioms. he is essentially a classic Hollywood Western character dropped into a SciFi show. (Before Star Trek Deforrest Kelly mainly acted in Westerns). I speak enough German to appreciate where that might throw you off. Especially since McCoy is not an over the top regional caricature the way Trip from Enterprise is. His speech patterns are just informal enough to mess with the structures you are expecting, but not so much so that you are anticipating them to be so.

    I'm more surprised that Rand would give you trouble? She really has no accent or regional speech patterns beyond a tendency to shriek every now and then. Plus I can't think of any moment in the show where her dialogue even stands out enough to be noticed as dialogue? Heck they could have filmed her as a silent character with no real impact on most stories, aside from a bit less shrieking. Most of her communication comes from action, things that she does, rather than her lines.

    How do you do with some of the other ST characters that tend to have less formal or more "casual or informal American" speech? Trip over on Enterprise? Paris on Voyager?

    Korvettenkapitan would in fact be the correct translation for Lieutenant Commander, would it not? It would also make sense that that would be the one rank translated as it would be least familiar to the audience in the English form, and if I recall correctly, Scotty was really the only one ever routinely addressed as such in TOS. I think the only other Lieutenant Commander among the regular tv era TOS crew was McCoy, who is rarely called anything other than Doctor?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  15. Griffeytrek

    Griffeytrek Captain Captain

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    Oh Gods! Spanish ST dubs are fantastic for hilarity.
     
  16. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Having difficulties with Rand may be due to the fact that I hardly watch TOS in English (I don't want to buy DVDs because I have bad experience with DVD quality). And the episodes I watched were via Internet with a lousy sound quality.
    I had difficulties with understanding everyone in the Miri episode. It had also bad sound quality.

    Odd thing is, I can understand DeForrest Kelly better in his former interviews, when he isn't immersed in a role.
    Paris? I don't know. I still have the Voyager DVDs (some of them are defective and can't be played anymore). Next rewatch I'll switch to English.
    Don't watch Enterprise at all, neither German nor English.
     
  17. Shadowboro

    Shadowboro Ensign Newbie

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    I love watching media with italian overdubs (just crash about that language in general and I have no problem understanding it since I am romanian and we share a tonne of similar sounding words and the grammar is somewhat similar as well).

    I loved watching the DS9 DVD's with the included Italian dubbing. I thought the Italian voice actors did a great job in capturing the essence of the original performances, especially Kira Nerys's voice actor who kind of sounded like actress Patricia Millardet who played judge Silvia Conti on my favorite Italian television series "La Piovra".

    I also enjoyed watching DS9 in French (also included on the DVD's). Watched some episodes in German too, but not all the series.

    In my personal experience the hardest performances to get right for voice actors dubbing DS9 were Armin Shimmerman's Quark, Mark Alaimo's Gul Dukat and Jeffrey Combs 's Weyoun. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the original English performances for these three characters, but it was fun hearing the dubbing voice actors try their hand at it.

    All in all I find watching dubbed media a refreshing experience (especially after many rewatchings of the original English) but I suspect I would not enjoy it as much if they would be the only option available to me.
     
  18. Astra

    Astra Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The first time, I usually watch in English with English subtitles. I probably would be able to follow the general story without subtitles but some of the finer points and special jokes or wordplays would be missed. I can't watch in English with German subtitles, that throws me totally off.

    Dubbing is a hard job and they really do their best to match it the best way possible, but in the end they have to pay attention to the lip movement and therefore may use different words than the correct translation just because it fits better.

    And if I hear about all the jokes Kirk makes in some German versions that change a scene completely then that is going too far I think.

    It also starts to bother me more and more that dubbing sounds so artificial. It's not so much the case with TOS as they were mostly in a studio anyway, but I realized it with the trailer for STB, which first got leaked in German. When they are outside the voices should sound differently than in a closed studio.
     
  19. Reeborg

    Reeborg Commander Red Shirt

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    (Being German) I love watching ST with different dubbings. Although I mostly watch in original English, I occasionally (yet frequently) switch to Portuguese/Spanish/Italian/French/German.

    One thing I find particular and interesting in the Portuguese dubbing: they always use the same dubbing studio and the same group of 10 to 15 people for the dubbing of all ST shows. They pick the main cast e.g. 8 voices and voice number 9 is also (almost) in every episode as the (always changing) most important guest role. So the same voice is always another character.
    The pool of the main voices usually changes (within the total cast of 15) for each series so that e.g. the voice of Picard becomes a frequently (only) recurring guest voice on DS9. Funny also is that e.g. Harry Kim speaks with Data's voice etc.
     
  20. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't claim that I like that. On the other hand, speaking of dubbing: Iggy Pop as Yelgrun has the same voice actor like Doctor House! Luckily they didn't change Data's voice over the years. But Riker not spoken by Detlef Bierstedt was odd.