FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Lost in French Translation, Part 07: Jaynestown

POSTED BY: FORTINM
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 08:42
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Sunday, December 16, 2007 2:17 PM

FORTINM


This review is part of a series of articles analysing the translation work for the French dubbed Firefly series and movie(s). It is intended for anyone who would like to know a little better how a French audience would perceive Joss’ wonderful creation.

Introduction to this series: http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=4&t=31382
Previous review (Our Mrs. Reynolds): http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=4&t=31737
Next review (Out of Gas): http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=4&t=32090

The various excerpts analyses are formatted like this:
In bold is the original line.
In italic is the French translation replacing the original lines.
In bold and italic is my English translation of the French lines.
In regular text is my personal comment on the translation work for the excerpt.

General comments
The French translators did a good job on this episode. My biggest complaint is that every single Chinese line was removed.

They changed magistrate Higgins son's name from Fess to Fass. It probably was a good idea since "fesse" (with the last e being silent) means buttocks in French! Of course Fass is also pronounced the same way as "face", which has the same meaning in French and in English. But "face" is definitely a better name than "buttocks" for a magistrate's son!

They did not dub the Hero of Canton song. They decided to use subtitles instead. This was a good decision. It is my conviction that a song is rarely as good once translated into another language.

Translation score: 4/5
Chinese score: 0/6


Chosen Excerpts

KAYLEE
Bye now. Have good sex.
Au revoir. Éclate-toi bien surtout.
Bye now. Have a good time above all.
This completely invalidates Simon's expression since the French expression is not inappropriate.

ZOE
I outrank you.
Ça te changera.
That will be a change for you.
Less banter, less fun!

SIMON
Son of a bitch!
Mais c'est pas possible!
This is not possible!
The first time (?) we hear Simon swear, and they remove it? It ruins the build up of the first scene.

HIGGINS
But I only make the people I own use my title.
Mais je ne demande qu'à mes gens de m'appeler par mon titre.
But I only ask my people to use my title.
Inara's subtle disgust to these words is not warranted because the allusion to slavery is absent.

RIVER
So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden.
Alors nous intégrerons la théorie créationniste avec la création d'Eden.
So we'll integrate creationist theory with the creation of Eden.
This looks like a mistake from someone not familiar with biology and/or religion. It makes no sense but the impact on the story is negligible.

WELL-DRESSED MAN
I'd advise we all just lay low for the moment.
Je vous conseille donc d'attendre l'instant propice.
I advise you to wait for the right moment.
It removes the justification for his reaction in a later scene where he is appalled by the fuss around the hero of Canton.

JAYNE
Fought the law, eh?
Et vous avez gagné, hein?
And you won, eh?
Jayne would be much more impressed by an outlaw than by a winner. Jayne's face, and psychology, better fits with the original line.

HIGGINS
30 feet?
30 pieds?
30 feet?
It should have been translated to "9 meters". You may find it an annoying pet peeve of mine, but I cannot admit that, in 500 years, the international system of units won't be universally accepted.

INARA
Jayne? Jayne Cobb? You're talking about Jayne Cobb?
Jayne? Jayne Cobb? Tu connais Jayne Cobb?
Jayne? Jayne Cobb? You know Jayne Cobb?
She already knows that he doesn't from the previous dialog. This question doesn't make any sense, unless we decide to put it on account of her confusion.

JAYNE
And that's... I guess that's somethin'.
C'est bien, c'est courageux, c'est beau.
It's good, it's courageous, it's beautiful.
All of Jayne's speech is a bit more articulate in French and this line is the best example. This is not a reproach 'though.

SIMON (to Kaylee, about his propriety)
You're never letting go of that, are you?
Quelle est la question qui t'intrigue encore?
What is the question that puzzles you now?
No comments.

MAL
It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of son of a bitch or another.
Si tu veux mon avis, je pense que tous les hommes qui ont une statue érigée à leur effigie ne sont pas forcément des héros.
If you want my opinion, I think that every man that got statues made of them were not necessarily heroes.
It's a bit less punchy.

That's it. Thanks for reading!

Michel

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Sunday, December 16, 2007 7:09 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by fortinm:
This review is part of a series of articles analysing the translation work for the French dubbed Firefly series and movie(s). It is intended for anyone who would like to know a little better how a French audience would perceive Joss’ wonderful creation.



Thanks again! For a moment there I was worried you had given up on the project. :) Two minor comments:

Quote:


ZOE
I outrank you.
Ça te changera.
That will be a change for you.



Lit. "That will change you."

Quote:


SIMON (to Kaylee, about his propriety)
You're never letting go of that, are you?
Quelle est la question qui t'intrigue encore?
What is the question that puzzles you now?



Hmm, I do not fully understand why you translated it this way. Intrigue. "Intricare". In the Latin (meaning: to entangle). But I think, in this context, it rather means being 'fascinated with'. Also, why is "encore" translated "now"? I, my own self, only see two viable meanings: again/still. So, either:

What is the question that still intrigues/puzzles you?

Or,

What's that question again that intrigues you?

("that" just feels better, in the latter, instead of the literal "the").

Or could be that I simply misunderstood the construct here. Also, if "now" does not denote time, per se, but is more like an interjection, I would (reverse-translating your line) expect something like:

Alors, quelle est la question qui t'intrigue?

Oh well, it's very late again. Time to turn in... Et je redescends dans le noir. :)


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Sunday, December 16, 2007 8:06 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by fortinm:
JAYNE
Fought the law, eh?
Et vous avez gagné, hein?
And you won, eh?
Jayne would be much more impressed by an outlaw than by a winner. Jayne's face, and psychology, better fits with the original line.



While that translation does make a hash of the original meaning all is forgiven as it results in a sly allusion to this classic song of misguided rebellion: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/clash/i+fought+the+law_20031691.html





David

'Geeks can't admit that anything worthwhile was invented before 1981. Soon, "making cocoa" will be called "milk hacking."' - Lore Sjoberg

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Monday, December 17, 2007 2:26 PM

FORTINM


Quote:

Thanks again! For a moment there I was worried you had given up on the project. :)

I can guarantee you this won't happen, unless something dramatically perturbing happens (think Reavers attack here). I'll see this through but the production may slow down a bit during the Holidays.

Quote:

Quote:

ZOE
I outrank you.
Ça te changera.
That will be a change for you.


Lit. "That will change you."


This literal translation crossed my mind. However, I feel it is too strong. I can't help but think that it evokes a life altering situation. In French, "Ça te changera" means "it will be a small/nice diversion, it will make you think of something else". Does "That will change you" conveys the same "minor" meaning? If so I'll make the change.

Quote:

Quote:

What is the question that puzzles you now?

Hmm, I do not fully understand why you translated it this way.


I translated the feeling more than the words here. "Qu'est-ce qui t'intrigue?" feels like "what excites greatly your curiosity because you don't understand some parts of it" and I chose to replace this by "puzzling". I'm perfectly willing to admit that it may be a misconception of the French expression from my part. I'll await your arguments!

As for the "now/encore" bit, I feel (again!) that this "encore" is indeed more like an interjection indicating Simon's exasperation. For instance, I would translate:

"Qu'est-ce que tu as fait encore?"
by
"What have you done now?"

The "Encore" and "Now" feel the same. Although they have different meanings, they convey the same feeling of exasperation. Am I making any sense or do I need a longer break?

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