How Do We Get Lost in Translation?

I always watch movies with subtitles. When I know the source language I can’t help paying extra attention. There is a saying: “Ignorance is bliss”. Sometimes, I really find it reasonable. Seeing the subtitle is completely different from what people are talking about, it demotivates me. In this article, Sean Baumgart highlights some good points and gives examples from famous speeches and movies. I really enjoy reading it. Here it is: 

Thank God Winston Churchill didn’t use a voice-to-text message service to circulate his famous wartime speech in 1940.

Instead of the British prime minister’s reassurance that “we shall fight on the beaches” to turn back German forces, the electronic translation service now widely available on mobile phones would have relayed a more confusing message.

“This is I John. Demitri. We shall fight on those ending grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,” was how the service interpreted Churchill’s timeless words.

Churchill’s actual words were, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets”.

English citizens, weary and panicked as World War II advanced on their doorstep, would probably have been left wondering: Who’s John Demitri? Where’s the PM? And what the hell is an ending ground?

They’re questions similar to those that many users of the service, which converts 10-second voice messages into text, find themselves asking today.

The service’s translations often run the gamut from confusing to amusing, so we thought we’d put it to the test with some well-known phrases from popular culture.

We weren’t disappointed.

Famous lines from movies, politics and even the local train station were thrown into the service and what came out the other end was frequently amusing.

For the rest of the article, click here.


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