In a recentpost, I discussed what I thought was a translation error in Harry Potter y el prisionero de Azkaban. I sent it to two of my friends and one of my former professors to see what they thought.
You learn something new everyday, right? It turns out that “Pascuas” actually means “Christmas” in Spain. One of my friends sent me this explanation if you’re interested.
The one – honestly, probably only – thing I don’t like about is that they have so many words for the same thing. How do they choose what words to use when? Maybe it has to do with context? Even then, what words would someone use in different contexts?
I’ve been watching Future Man on Hulu recently – hence the photo – and because I’m a nerd (and trying to be proud of it), I turned on the Spanish subtitles. It’s also a way to ease myself back into Spanish.
It’s really cool to see how certain words are translated into Spanish. Sometimes, they’ll use a phrase instead of just one word. Because realistically, not everything has an English equivalent; translation is never going to be exact, and that’s okay.
But I also have a bit of a problem. Either I’m too busy focusing on the subtitles to pay attention to the action, or vice versa. I wish I could focus on both at once. But is that even possible?
I’m still working my way through Harry Potter y el prisoner de Azkaban. It’s actually my New Year’s resolution to finish it. However, there seems to be a translation faux pas.
Let’s break it down, shall we? Here’s a passage from the book in Spanish:
POR ORDEN DEL MINISTERIO DE MAGIA
Si recuerda a los clientes que hasta nuevo adviso los dementores patrullarán las calles cada noche después de la puesta de sol. Se ha tomado esta medida pensando en la seguridad de los habitantes de Hogsmeade y se levantará tras la captura de Sirius Black. Es aconsejable, por lo tanto, que los ciudadanos finalicen las compras mucho antes de que se haga de noche.
This is the same passage in English:
BY ORDER OF THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC
Customers are reminded that until further notice, dementors will be patrolling the streets of Hogsmeade every night after sundown. This measure has been put in place for the safety of Hogsmeade residents and will be lifted upon the recapture of Sirius Black. It is therefore advisable that you complete your shopping well before nightfall.
The difference between the two is that “Pascuas” means Easter, not Christmas. And at other points in the Spanish version, it mentions “arboles de Navidad”, or Christmas trees. But then in the dialogue, Harry, Ron, and Hermione say “Felices Pascuas”. How did the two holidays get mixed up in the translation, and why does it switch from talking about Easter to talking about Christmas? The only thing I can think of is that someone had a bit too much “cerveza de mantequilla”, or butterbeer, while they were translating.
I’ve always had a perfectionistic streak. I know I can’t control everything, but I want the things I can control to be perfect. Sometimes this manifests itself as tenacity and stubbornness. But sometimes, I let anxiety take over.
We’ve all heard of writer’s block, right? But I’m sure you’ve never heard of reader’s block. I wasn’t quite sure I knew what it was myself. I’ve certainly never had a problem with not reading anything. If I got paid to read all day, that would be the best job in the world.
Recently, I received emails from two of my former professors at Randolph-Macon College. Saying “former” sounds weird. I still consider them my professors. Is the fact that I graduated ever going to hit me?