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Bedtime Stories - Tales from Our Commmunity

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Elijah Bailey
Elijah Bailey

The Capture Subtitles English S02E02 High Quality


  • Asian Animation For the Animated Adaptation of the Chinese novel Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, the official English subtitles by Tencent sometimes simplify or ignore certain cultural terms due to the difficulty of explaining them to international audiences. The subtitles usually avoid translating or keeping Chinese honorifics and name terminology, such as omitting the "A-" honorific, simplifying martial sect titles to other terms (such as shishu or "martial uncle" to just "uncle"), and replacing most sibling titles with the character's name. This loses some nuance of certain relationships between characters, such as Wei Wuxian's admiration for his martial sect friend and sister figure Jiang Yanli (whom he calls Shijie which translates to "older martial sister", and is more respectful than what the official subtitles "Yanli" imply).

  • In his backstory the wanted criminal Xue Yang secretly "befriended" his blind enemy Xiao Xingchen, who once captured him and had previously demanded for his execution. To avoid being identified by his voice, he spoke the Sichuan dialect around the latter and successfully convinced him that he was someone else. The subtitles don't make any indication of this, leaving oblivious international viewers wondering why an intelligent cultivator such as Xiao Xingchen would not recognise his voice.

  • A tavern waiter once mistakenly refers to Wei Wuxian as "Wei Wuqian", leaving the latter unamused. While it just looks like to international audiences that he's annoyed at his name being mispronounced, the joke that got lost in translation and goes unexplained by the subtitles is that "wuqian" means "no money", and it's a Running Gag that Wei Wuxian is poor.

  • In Happy Heroes, the green-colored, narcissistic Superman is named something along the lines of Flowering Heart Superman, which is a reference to him being hopelessly in love... with himself, and may be a pun on how he also has Magnetism Manipulation powers (since magnets attract each other). The Lookus English dub opts for the name "Smart S.", which doesn't fit this personality at all.

  • Mechamato: In "A Sore Winner", Champbot shows that he can compete in a relay race alone by detaching his arms and pelvis from his torso to act as 4 runners. In the Malay audio, upon doing so, he says "Tengok kaki lah [...]!" which is a Malaysian figure of speech to say one is capable. It directly translates to "look at my feet" which is a pun referring to his detached legs. In the English audio, this gag is absent as Champbot says "You haven't seen nothing yet!" instead.

  • Simple Samosa: In "Doctor D", Samosa, Jalebi, and Vada sing Dhokla a song where they spell "dost" (Hindi for "friend") using the first letters of various words that fit him. The original English dub of the episode changes the lyrics of the song so they spell "friends" in English instead, but the "dost" that appears on-screen during this scene is left in, creating an inconsistency between the audio and the visuals. The second English dub, as well as all the non-English dubs, don't have this inconsistency.





The Capture subtitles English S02E02



  • Live-Action TV Word of Honor: Many of the cultural references, subtext and poetry are lost in the translation, as many English words failed to bring the true meaning. The YouTube subtitles add notes for some of the poetry quotes, but not for all of the other references. Several Chinese fans on Tumblr have explained and translated some of the references for overseas fans.

  • Game of Thrones: A lot of official translations fail to recognize the difference between a "wight" (a re-animated corpse) and a "White Walker" (the ice demons who create them). Admittedly, the same applies to many English-speaking viewers since it hasn't quite been explained yet.

  • The Spanish subtitles for the R1 DVD release of Wonderfalls suffered from this here and there because English-language TV is able to be a tad crasser than is really acceptable in Spanish. Unfortunately, this meant they could not quite capture the same rude, crude, outright crass flavor of the English idiom "my ass" (a somewhat obscene variant of the idiom "my foot" - or for those not fluent: "That's an obvious lie, so shut up" - that uses a ruder synonym for one's bottom), as used by a bitchy, self-absorbed tourist in the pilot episode. The closest they could find translates as "to the devil with you". Incredibly, undeniably rude, particularly in Spanish if you use it in conversation with a stranger? Yes, but downright classy in comparison, and thus lacking in a very subtle bit of characterization (it is, however, incredibly hard to find a better phrase that would have been acceptable language in Spanish anyway). They also killed a joke in the second episode, by translating Jaye's dad's deliberately, ridiculously silly, nonsensical, innocuous choice of words "Those sons of biscuits!" (an oath he didn't need to mince, since his daughter is in her 20s) as... "those lazy loafers!". This probably happened because the phrase it was a pun on in the original English - "Those sons of bitches" - is a lot more offensive in Spanish than it actually is in English, but alas, the oddly childlike minced oath that was so funny and cute and strange and characterizing in the original is lost in the process.

  • Cuatro, a TV station from Spain has decided to translate Primeval as Invasión Jurásica (Jurassic Invasion). This would be a great title if not for the fact that there isn't a single Jurassic critter in the whole damn series. Possibly carrying on the tradition of Cretaceous Jurassic Park.

  • In Latin America, Kid Sitcoms and cartoon dubs state that the language everybody is supposed to be talking is Spanish in instead of English. As a result children couldn't understand why in the Lizzie McGuire Movie characters were saying "Sorry I can understand you I speak Spanish" when an Italian character was saying something that sounds so alike in Italian and Spanish that a 5 years old could understand it.

  • The French dub for the show 'Allo 'Allo! suffered heavily under this, especially since most puns involved French townspeople (who, since it was a British show, spoke English obviously) not being able to understand British pilots/police officers

  • A Running Gag in Doctor Who is people asking "Doctor Who?" whenever the main character introduces himself as the Doctor. In French, the series is still called "Doctor Who", but the question is translated literally as "Docteur Qui?", which not only loses the joke, but also sounds rather awkward in French (people would more likely ask "Doctor How?" or "Doctor of what?"). The Japanese subtitling for the episode The Doctor Dances translates Father Christmas literally as クリスマスのお父さん or "the father of Christmas".

  • The Supernatural episode title "Jus in Bello" translates (from Latin) as "justice in war". But from dialogue, it's clear that the intended meaning had more to do with "the rules/laws of war", which would be "leges belli".

  • In-universe example: the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok", the Tamarians, a race that the Enterprise encounters, speak entirely in allegories referencing their people's historical events. For example: when Picard and the Tamarian captain Dathon are transported to a nearby planet, Dathon tosses a knife to Picard while brandishing one of his own, saying "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra". Picard initially thinks Dathon wants to fight him, when Dathon is actually proposing cooperation.

  • In Kamen Rider Gaim, one of the lesser Armored Riders is named Gridon, which is an anagram of "donguri," the Japanese word for acorn (upon which his armor is based); it's supposed to be an Atrocious Alias and is treated as such In-Universe. Fansub group Æsir tried to preserve the meaning and avert this trope by renaming the character "Ornac," particularly because in the run-up to Gaim's debut some Western fans had already latched onto Gridon as an awesome name. It didn't quite work, because there were still some fans who complained about the name change and wanted Æsir to stick with Gridon because it sounds cooler.

  • Root into Europe: A lot of comedy occurs because Mr. and Mr. Root only speak English and thus are unable to understand what the foreigners they meet mean or say. For instance, in Brussels, they meet someone from Antwerp who doesn't understand what they are saying. Afterwards Mr. Root assumes he is "probably a Walloon". note Wallony is the French speaking part of Belgium. The man speaks Flemish, so he is from Flanders.

  • Stargate SG-1: The French dub seriously mangled the infamous "Jaffa joke" in episode "Seth", by confusing a "Horus Guard" with a "Horse Guard". The joke itself is an in-universe example, as it's apparently hilarious to Jaffa but meaningless to Earth humans lacking the cultural context.

  • The dubbing of The Big Bang Theory for Latin America has drawn heavy criticism for many reasons, but among others; simply disregarding the source material and making up jokes, using too many Mexican local expressions (generally voice actors in dubbing tend to avoid that and use standard Spanish) and changing the meaning of some jokes apparently thinking that the Latino viewer is not going to get it. For example, when the guys bought a replica of the machine used in The Time Machine, the Spanish dubbing changed the jokes to make references to Back to the Future. Like no one in Latin America knows what The Time Machine is.

  • The English dubbing for the Spanish series El internado: Las Cumbres sometimes bowdlerizes the language. For example the scene where a teacher chews out three students caught making out under a stage. The original Spanish had him call the one girl "marimacho" (a pejorative term for a masculine girl). The British dub tones down the homophobia in his speech by just calling her "so unladylike".

  • The rather well done French dub of Charmed (1998) has one surprising quirk: it does not have a translation for, of all things, "the Charmed Ones". The protagonists are referred to as "the Halliwell sisters" instead, and the lines using the term to refer to their powers or status were rewritten.

  • The French dub of Buffy the Vampire Slayer changes Xander's name to Alex (as it's a more common short for Alexander). As a result, in the episode "Tabula Rasa", an amnesiac Dawn calling to Xander with the name "Alex" loses its significance.

  • Paris Police 1900: Marguerite's derogatory nickname, "Pompes Funebres", is translated in the English subtitles as "Deadly Lips" (she accidentally gave the French President a fatal heart attack with her mouth). The actual French meaning is an untranslatable pun between "pompes funebres", the French word for an undertakers/morticians, and "pompe", which literally means "pump" but is also a slang expression for fellatio.

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