Drascula translation review

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Tom S. Fox
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Drascula translation review

Post by Tom S. Fox »

So, I’ve been playing Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back, and made the pleasant discovery that the Italian translation is absolutely excellent. The English and German translations, however, are utter crap. I can’t speak for the French translation since I don’t know that language too well, but it doesn’t look good for it, either.

So, why is the Italian translation superior? Because it’s the only one that gets the jokes!

For example the fact that the anti-vampire cigarette is actually a joint. Let’s take a look at the crucial line in the Spanish original:

“Ah, muy bien. Voy entonces a prepararme el po… la poción.”

Von Braun was about to say “el porro” (“the joint”) but quickly changed it into “la pocion” (“the potion”). So the correct way to translate this line would be, “Ah, very well. I’m off to make myself the joi… the potion.” But in the actual game it is translated as, “Oh, all right. I’m going to make myself …the brew.” WTF?

Now, the Italian version correctly translates it as, “Allora vado a farmi la can… la pozione.” (In this case he almost said, “la canna.”)

I said earlier that I don’t know French very well, but I still know that the French version got this line wrong, too. Let’s take a look at it:

“Alors, je vais me préparer le po… la potion.”

Now, if you look in a French dictionary, you will find that the French word for “joint” is either simply “joint” or “pétard.” So it’s obvious they thought von Braun simply used the wrong definite article at first and didn’t question why.

Another example is when Hacker is tied up under a swinging pendulum. If you look at it, he will say, in the original Spanish, “No me gustan los péndulos. Prefiero las alcachofas.” This literally means, “I don’t like pendulums I prefer artichokes.” And that’s also how it was translated (except that they used the wrong plural “pendulae.”) However, as should be clear from the fact that this line doesn’t make any frickin’ sense, there is actually a play on words in there: The company who made this games is called Alcachofa Soft, while there is another Spanish software company making point-and-click adventures called Péndulo Studios. So, this line is a gentle nudge against a competing games company.

Once again, the Italian translation is the only one that got the joke, as is obvious from the fact that they left “alcachofas” untranslated:

“Non mi piacciono i penduli. Preferisco gli alcachofas.”

On a side note, the German version somehow turned this line into, “I don’t like pendulums. I prefer bitch slaps.” WTF?

I could spend days rattling down all the mistakes the various translations (except the Italian one, of course) have made. Arrgh, why are game translations always so horrible?

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criezy
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Post by criezy »

I cannot speak for the German version, but the original French translation was so bad it was laughable. Even Google Translate would have made a better job. I cleaned the spelling and grammar but since I don't speak Spanish (or Italian) I had to base my work on the English version. This is far from ideal but at least now you don't have a spelling mistake every two words.

If you have the energy for it I would suggest you improve the English and/or German translation. I can even explain how to do it. I for one would be happy to have a good English translation so that I can finally get all the jokes (or most of them anyway :) ).

Tom S. Fox
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Post by Tom S. Fox »

criezy wrote:If you have the energy for it I would suggest you improve the English and/or German translation. I can even explain how to do it.
I can’t tell you how much I would like this. One question, though: Are those translations that come with the game official or are they fan translations? Because that would explain a lot.

Edit: Oh, and something else: Could you make it so that you can choose freely between the English and Spanish voices, regardless of the subtitle language?

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LordHoto
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Re: Drascula translation review

Post by LordHoto »

Tom S. Fox wrote:Another example is when Hacker is tied up under a swinging pendulum. If you look at it, he will say, in the original Spanish, “No me gustan los péndulos. Prefiero las alcachofas.” This literally means, “I don’t like pendulums I prefer artichokes.” And that’s also how it was translated (except that they used the wrong plural “pendulae.”) However, as should be clear from the fact that this line doesn’t make any frickin’ sense, there is actually a play on words in there: The company who made this games is called Alcachofa Soft, while there is another Spanish software company making point-and-click adventures called Péndulo Studios. So, this line is a gentle nudge against a competing games company.
This sounds like a classic example of a pun which is untranslatable for most languages. It's not really surprising that most translations fail here. In fact I wouldn't say the Italian translation is that good either here, leaving words untranslated to keep a pun isn't really that nice IMHO.

Tom S. Fox
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Re: Drascula translation review

Post by Tom S. Fox »

LordHoto wrote:In fact I wouldn't say the Italian translation is that good either here, leaving words untranslated to keep a pun isn't really that nice IMHO.
Except that the literal meaning of the word doesn’t matter.

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criezy
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Post by criezy »

My understanding in that these translations are not fan translations, but I might be wrong. The English, Italian and French translations in the freeware version we have on our download page were improved by us however.

maff.brush
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Post by maff.brush »

criezy wrote:The English, Italian and French translations in the freeware version we have on our download page were improved by us however.
correct, I was part of the team who helped improving the Italian translation.
Tom S. Fox wrote: and made the pleasant discovery that the Italian translation is absolutely excellent.
I can assure you the original one was real crap.
(oh, and thank you :wink: )
LordHoto wrote: leaving words untranslated to keep a pun isn't really that nice IMHO.
I agree, but in this case we chose not to translate "alcachofas" since it's quite close to its Italian translation (I even remember an Italian spot that used the Spanish word for a liqueur made from artichokes)

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criezy
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Re: Drascula translation review

Post by criezy »

Tom S. Fox wrote:I said earlier that I don’t know French very well, but I still know that the French version got this line wrong, too. Let’s take a look at it:

“Alors, je vais me préparer le po… la potion.”

Now, if you look in a French dictionary, you will find that the French word for “joint” is either simply “joint” or “pétard.” So it’s obvious they thought von Braun simply used the wrong definite article at first and didn’t question why.
By the way it looks like you looked at the original French translation and not the one I improved. In the improved one, the text is:
"Ah! Très bien! Je vais préparer le pét... la potion."

So it looks like I got that one right at least :)

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