Category: Languages

Aaaand Action!: Remembering Translation and Localization in Movies and TV Shows


Conan the Barbarian (1982)


Do you remember your favorite movies and shows in your native language when you were a kid? I remember Las Tortugas Ninja (the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Los Magníficos (The A-Team) and Conan El Bárbaro (Conan the Barbarian) in Spanish and I loved them. That is, until I saw them for the first time in English. Then, everything changed. The emotions expressed in the voice over were not the same in Spanish as they were in English. Culturally, we express differently, especially over 25 years ago when social media had not had the cultural impact that it has today. Moreover, the translations were not all that accurate and localization was still taking baby steps within the industry, and unfortunately, since I knew both languages as a child, that was very disappointing. I’m sure most of you who are translators have had similar experiences when watching movies or TV shows in your downtime. If you have, you probably were not able to escape disappointment and/or frustration when you realized you could have done a better job at translating that movie or show.

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Awareness is not Enough


Photo from 8tracks – Pinterest

Have you ever been driving and then you see a billboard on the road that says they speak Spanish? Well, it is wonderful that companies nowadays are more aware of the importance of letting customers know that the service they provide is also available in another language, whether it is the product itself or the customer service they provide. However, awareness of such importance is not enough.

It is vital to present your company or yourself as professional as possible. Nevertheless, it is annoying, for lack of a better word, to see that companies try to inform the customers that they provide services in another language in the wrong way. The other day I was driving and saw a billboard advertising a financial product when I noticed that they wrote in a huge text bubble: “Se Hablo Espanol!”. For those of you who speak Spanish or are Spanish translators, it is extremely evident that there are serious grammatical mistakes, and for those of you who don’t speak Spanish the correct way(s) to write it should be “¡Se habla español!” or even “¡Hablamos español!”. It might be a small line that maybe at the end still makes its point, but the reality is that it won’t do it for everyone and as a company or independent entrepreneur you want to get as many customers as possible, right? I mean, isn’t that what advertising is all about?

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I Speak Geek


Before letting you all know how and why I became a translator, I would like to say thank you to Nova Marketing for giving us the resources to start this translation blog, to El Jefe for giving us so many ideas and direction in taking the first steps to write a blog and to El Profe, whom we admire and respect, for his encouragement to write about our passion. This would not be possible without your ideas and determination to create a space where we can be ourselves and where we can express, inform, educate, and serve those who appreciate our profession, whether translators and interpreters or not.

My journey as a translator began with my other passion —being a geek! From Sci-Fi movies and TV series to comic books and manga, from cartoons and anime to fantasy literature and video games, I have always had a passion for everything that can transport me into another realm. I guess most children are born being geeks and some leave that fantastic world at some point in their lives, except the Force was strong in me.

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