Subtitle Fun!

There are so many times I wish I understand all other languages just so I could laugh at subtitle translations. Even my teeny bit of French sometimes is enough to know when they’ve missed the meaning (or skipped entire lines). However, with Bollywood film? Sometimes you don’t even need to know Hindi to laugh at the subtitles. There were many grammatical issues with the subtitles to the film Taal (which was otherwise pretty good, if over-melodramatic, and had some of the best Indian music I’ve ever heard), but these two were on a whole different level.

Um…”cent” does mean “one hundred,” which is what he said. In fact, he said “one hundred percent” in English (as Indians often do, mixing English with Hindi often within the same sentence). Yet they translated the “one hundred” into French for the English subtitles. Very multi-lingual of them. (BTW, this never happens elsewhere…they usually do subtitle the English, because the speakers switch back and forth too quickly for it to register sometimes, but IN ENGLISH. Not French. They’re not doing some fancy trick to show you how they’ve suddenly switched to a different language, as they did in l’auberge espagnole to indicate the English-speaker’s broken French.)

And my favorite:
Dude. “Mumbai” means “Mumbai.” Who knew? The best part is that the actual-within-the-movie “Mumbai” showed up first, then the subtitle followed a moment after, like a live subtitler was doing it and realized that we might not know what “Mumbai” meant and he’d better throw up a “Mumbai” just to make sure. Throughout the rest of the film, they subtitled “Mumbai” as “Bombay,” so I could see if they had indicated that Mumbai was Bombay, but no. Mumbai is Mumbai.

I think that takes the cake for the most pointless subtitle ever.

edit: in the funny subtitle vein, check out the English subtitles to a Chinese pirated Revenge of the Sith: The Backstroke of the West. (Thanks glow_boy over on Livejournal for that link!) Thirty-two down, note that the Jedi Council continues in…The Presbyterian Church! That’s right, folks. There is an explanation for that particular translation down in the comments which makes sense, but still. My Indian-film subtitles can’t hold a candle to Engrish.