And Another Thing…

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The Subtlety of Subtitling

I don’t know where this list originated, but it makes for a good read. These English subtitles to Hong Kong action movies show how difficult bridging the language gap can be.

“I threat you! I challenge you meet me on the roof tonight for a duet!”

“I will kill you until you are dead from it!”

“The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?”

“I got knife scars more than the number of your leg’s hair!”

“I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.”

“Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.”

“I’ll fire aimlessly if you don’t come out!”

“You are too useless. And now I must beat you.”

“Gun wounds again?”

“A normal person wouldn’t steal pituitaries.”

“You always use violence. I should’ve ordered glutinous rice chicken.”

“Take my advice, or I’ll spank you without pants.”

“Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.”

“Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?”

“Quiet or I’ll blow your throat up.”

“You daring lousy guy.”

“Beat him out of recognizable shape!”

“How can you use my intestines as a gift?”

“Damn, I’ll burn you into a BBQ chicken!”

“This will be of fine service for you, you bag of the scum. I am sure you will not mind that I remove your manhoods and leave them out on the dessert flour for your aunts to eat.”

“Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can now deliver you violently to your gynecologist for a thorough extermination.”

“Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some @$$ of the giant lizard person.”

“Your spear is useless… You better use it for mixing excretory.”

“Now I feel flatulent, and you did it.”

“My innards have all been disturbed by him.”

“That may disarray my intestines.”

“I please your uterus. You kiss my toes. It’s fair.”

“This is the Martial Arts Competition, not a place for fighting!”

“Get out, you smurk”

“You cheat ghosts to eat tofu!”

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Filed under: Movies, ,

5 Responses

  1. preacherman says:

    Great list!
    My favorite is, “I will kill you until you dead from it!” 🙂
    I think Jackie Chan said this in one of his movies.
    Love those Jackie Chan movies.
    The guy is crazy out of his mind!

  2. Milena says:

    All of the movies here have Polish subtitles. With enough Polish under my belt, I can tell you that lots is lost in translation.

  3. Frank says:

    Just think. What if they brought “translators” like that to work at the UN? Bet it wouldn’t be so stodgy around there. Or in other words, wager that there heavily it would not be.

  4. Andy says:

    Yeah, direct translations just don’t work well from English to Chinese or vice-versa. Some of the old Stephen Chow movies Ann watches have subtitles that are outright unintelligible.

    In Taiwan I’ve noticed the translations are usually technically correct, but cumbersome. For example instead of a road sign saying “buses only,” it would say “exclusive bus lane.”

  5. smilingkj says:

    Thanks for a good laugh… 😀

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