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Meugorac Sara General Principles of Translation

SekuliIvana 2013/2014
ANALYSIS OF MISTRANSLATIONS IN A SUBTITLED FILM
Introduction
The Wedding Planner is a romantic comedy film starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. Jennifer Lopez
plays the role of San Franciscos most successful wedding planner who breaks the jobs cardinal rule and falls in love with the
groom. Even though two of them try to ignore the feelings they have for each other, like in every other good love story, they end up
together.
Translation, in contrast to to synchronization, is shorter than the original text, as some things have to be left out. However,
while shortening the text, the meaning of the original one should not be affected. In this paper, mistranslated words and phrases
have been categorized according to three aspects: lexical, syntactic and cultural aspect.

Analysis
1. Lexical aspect
1.1.Idioms and collocations

Idioms are frozen patterns of language which allow little or no variation in form and often carry meanings which cannot be
deduced from their individual components. They are hard to translate as sometimes the idiom from the source language has no
equivalent in the target language and then the one that is similar in form or meaning should be used or it should be paraphrased.

Original text Translation Possible solution


I am going to nail this account. Uzecu posao.
Fear of dancing Strah od igre. Strah od plesa.
We need to construct it from the scratch. Treba se organizovati. Treba poeti sve ispoetka.

1.2. Transcription

When it comes to adapting proper nouns, translation is usually not a solution, as there are only few synonyms like
Alexander, Peter, Mary. English phonemes should be presented with the corresponding phonemes in Serbian language.

Original text Translation Possible solution


Tattinger Tattinger ampanjac

1.3. Articles

An article is a word that is used with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun and they specify
grammatical definiteness of the noun. Serbian does not have articles and that is why they are hard to translate. Usually they are not
translated at all but sometimes they are relevant for the meaning of the given word or phrase.

Original text Translation Possible solution


Is he the doctor? Je l to doktor? Je l to taj/njen doktor?
And he is a doctor. I to je doktor. I jo je doktor?

1.4. Mistranslated words, phrases and clauses

Original text Translation Possible solution


I joined the Scrabble club. Ula sam u Skrebl klub. Ulanila sam se u Skrebl klub.
Big eyebrows Veliko elo Velike obrve/guste obrve
Thighs Bokovi Butine
We met on a day of our wedding. Sreli smo se na naem venanju. Upoznali smo se na naem venanju.
Are you Nancy Pong? Poznajete li Nensi Pong? Da li ste vi Nensi Pong?

2. Syntactic aspect
2.1. Passive

As opposed to active, passive is a marked case, less frequent in English as well as in Serbian. When translating into Serbian,
English passive sentence is usually transformed into an active one.

Original text Translation


They want their new money to be taken seriously. Hoe da se njihov novac ozbiljno shvati.
She was the only queen in the Bible to be eaten by dogs. Ona je bila jedina kraljica iz Biblije koju su rastrgali psi.

2.2. Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs are idiomatic phrases consisting of a verb and another element, typically either an adverb or a preposition or a
combination of both. Serbian does not have phrasal verbs so they are hard to translate, and they are usually translated with one
corresponding verb.

Original text Translation Possible solution


Go forward with the chocolate cake. Idi na okoladnu tortu. Izaberi okoladnu tortu.

2.3. Adverbs in Serbian

English where can be used both for movement, direction and the position of someone or something, but it is not the case
in Serbian. It can be translated into gde and kuda with slight difference in meaning: gde denotes the position, whereas kuda implies
movement in a certain direction.

Original text Translation Possible solution


Father where are you going? Oe, gde ete Oe, kuda ete?

3. Cultural aspect
Original Text Translation Possible solution
Yuhu Juhu Sok
College Koled Fakultet

Conclusion
After we analyzed the subtitles of the film, we concluded that there were no many serious mistakes. We noticed
more examples of mistranslation in lexical aspect than in syntactic and cultural aspect. The most frequent mistakes were
found in translation of certain idioms, collocations and some ordinary lexical words.

Sources
Wedding Planner, Adam Shankman, United States of America, 2001

References
Baker, M. (1992) In Other Words: A Course Book on Translation, London and New York: Routledge.
Novakov, P. (2008) A guide to time and tense in English and Serbian, Futura publikacije, Novi Sad
Meugorac Sara Optiprincipiprevoenja
SekuliIvana 2013/2014
Pri, T.(2008) Semantika i pragmatika rei, Izdavaka knjiarnica Zorana Stojanovia, Novi Sad
Pri, T. (2011) Engleski u srpskom, Filozofski fakultet, Novi Sad