Lost, in translation

I am an upstanding member of the community and would never do anything wrong. But if, theoretically, I had decided well into the season that I wanted to see the deserted-island drama Lost and had downloaded or was currently downloading the first eleven episodes, then what follows is what I would think of the episodes that I had seen (but of course, you understand, it's completely hypothetical because I would never ever download TV shows from the Internet):

Alfie and I were watching episode 3 today and noticed that the supervising producer is Javier Grillo-Marxuach. I love it when his name pops up in the credits for things because he went to my high school. He's about 11 years older than me so I've never met him, but I'm still somehow proud of him.

In Episode 2, the crash victims find that there's a sixteen-year old distress signal being transmitted in French. One member of the group, who spent a year in Paris ("Drinking, not studying!") is called upon to translate the distress call. She translates it almost completely in that the gist of the message is communicated, but what is odd is that she translates every sentence wrong. The translations don't match up with what the French woman is saying.

"Il est dehors..." ["He* is outside."]
"She's saying 'Please.'"
"Veuillez nous aider..." ["Please help us."]
"She's saying 'Please help me. Please come get me.'"
"Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci..." ["If anyone can hear this..."]
"I'm alone now."
"... je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au rocher noir." ["... I will try to go as far as the black rock."]
"I'm on the island alone."
"Veuillez nous aider." ["Please help us."]
"Please, someone come."
"Ils sont tous morts." ["They are all dead."]
"The others, they're..."
"Ils sont morts." ["They are dead."]
"They're dead."
"Il les a tués." ["He killed them."]
"It killed them."
"Il les a tués tous." ["He killed them all."]
"It killed them all."
"Je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au rocher noir." ["I will try to go as far as the black rock."]
(battery dies)

Uh, I hope this mysterious black rock isn't important, because it didn't make it into Shannon's translation at all!

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* "Il" can mean "he" or "it," but I think think that since there's no context, my first thought would be to translate it as "he".

srah - Thursday, 23 December 2004 - 6:35 PM
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Comments (4)

gravatar Noor - December 24, 2004 - 12:41 PM -

Your highschool is home of the river rats?

gravatar alfie - December 24, 2004 - 6:19 PM -

Yes. It's a long story. And there are many different versions.

gravatar katie - December 29, 2004 - 9:44 AM -

#1: I disagree. For someone with such poor French skills as this lady obviously has, 'he' seems to be the obvious choice, since it is the opposite of 'elle' and we all learned how to translate for 'il/elle'.

#2: Why did she translate as 'he' in the beginning and then 'it' two times later on? Answer: Plot device.

#3: What was the point of the script translating the message if she gets it so horribly wrong? Are they trying to insult us? Yes! Yes they are!

#4: Maybe that was a plot device too.

#5: If you had, hypothetically, downloaded all of these episodes, would you be willing to, hypothetically, email them to me?

gravatar srah - December 29, 2004 - 10:26 AM -

#1: I know, that's what I said! Because she had no context she would have said "he"!

#2: She said "it" the whole time. The things in brackets are my translations for the non-French speakers in the audience.

#3: The script didn't translate it! I did!

#4: No, it was me.

#5: Hypothetically, it is taking years so I only have episodes 1-3 and have pretty much abandoned hope of the other ones. 6 and 7 are on tonight!

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