Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gained in translation

A big problem with going to the cinema or watching TV in Germany is that not only is the dubbing not as good as it should be, but the translations often leave something to be desired. This is the case even with titles: sometimes, the translation is lacklustre and unimaginative (the Star Trek TV series, for example, was called Raumschiff Enterprise — yes, quite simply the German for “Starship Enterprise”), but quite often you feel the translators just gave up and went home (The Hangover was entitled Hangover, for example).

There are some very, very rare examples where the translators actually came up with a title superior to the original. The movie The Internship, about a couple of clueless lads who land themselves an internship at Google, looks like the kind of screwball comedy I give as wide a berth as possible, but I would like to meet whoever came up with the German title and shake him or her by the hand.

The translator could have stuck with a straightforward translation: the German for “internship” is Praktikum, and as a title, that would have retained the bland, unimaginative ring of the original. Instead:

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