'The Good, Bad, Ugly' incorrect subtitles for Italian lan. track


(Toscano) #1

Has anyone else noticed the following…
A few years ago, although I’d already purchased the Region 2 ‘GBU’ Sp. Ed., I bought the Region 1 version as well - simply so that I could watch the movie, and listen to the original Italian language track (not on reg. 2).
Although I am practically unable to understand any Italian, I noticed immediately, that the English subtitles - apparantly on-screen to translate what is being said on the original Italian mono track - were incorrect.
The English subtitles - rather than literally translating what are actually being spoken in the Italian language - are simply reproducing exactly what is said on the original English language version…In other words, the subtitles are not an accurate re-production of what is really being said on-screen.

For example: In the English language version, LVC’s character, is known as ‘Angel Eyes’. If you listen carefully to the Italian track, he is referred to as ‘Setenza’ (or ‘Sentenza’)…which is the name that he is referred to in the spin-off novel written by Joe Millard many years ago. This name is completely missing from the English sub-titles…
There are other instances throughout the film that I could discuss, but I thought it might by nice to hear if anyone else has noticed the glaring problem of having the orignal Italian language track (which, to my knowledge, varied considerably from the English version), accompanied by the English sub-titles…and not by a literal translation of the original Italian - which is why I bought the Region 1. disc in the first place!


(Reverend Danite) #2

[quote=“Toscano, post:1, topic:1195”]Has anyone else noticed the following…
… I noticed immediately, that the English subtitles - apparantly on-screen to translate what is being said on the original Italian mono track - were incorrect.
The English subtitles - rather than literally translating what are actually being spoken in the Italian language - are simply reproducing exactly what is said on the original English language version…In other words, the subtitles are not an accurate re-production of what is really being said on-screen.[/quote]

Regarding another film - The Great Silence - the opposite appears to be true, in this case.
Not being bothered once to get the right settings - I ended up with English language audio plus English subs. It seemed to me that the subs are translations of the Italian and are a hell of a lot different to the English being spoken (I also don’t understand Italian but can tell it fits better).
One hilarious bit is where the spoken word stops short, for modesty’s sake, when Loco/Tigrero stops for a ‘call of nature’ … when asked “What for?” by Wolff’s sheriff, he replies “I have to.” whereas the subs follow the Italian language and carry on … “… take a shit.”


(Yodlaf Peterson) #3

Quality :smiley:


(scherpschutter) #4

[quote=“Toscano, post:1, topic:1195”]Has anyone else noticed the following…
A few years ago, although I’d already purchased the Region 2 ‘GBU’ Sp. Ed., I bought the Region 1 version as well - simply so that I could watch the movie, and listen to the original Italian language track (not on reg. 2).
Although I am practically unable to understand any Italian, I noticed immediately, that the English subtitles - apparantly on-screen to translate what is being said on the original Italian mono track - were incorrect.
The English subtitles - rather than literally translating what are actually being spoken in the Italian language - are simply reproducing exactly what is said on the original English language version…In other words, the subtitles are not an accurate re-production of what is really being said on-screen.[/quote]

Language tracks usually differ considerably. The lip movement has to match, more or less, the words that are spoken on the track, therefore it’s not always possible to use a literal translation of a quote. I think on one of the extras of GBU r2 there’s some disccussion about this. A simple example: the translation of the Italian ‘piu forte’ is ‘louder’, so one word, where the Italian uses two.

If you want a literal (or nearly literal) transcription of a text, you have to look for (in English) the addition HOH or, in Italian NU (= non udenti) : those transcriptions usually stay rather close to the spoken texts, still sometimes quotes are ‘abbreviated’; the reason for this is the ‘reading capacity’ of the viewer: if you make a translation for a movie, the number of words you’re allowed to use in a space of time is limited. People can speak faster than they can read! So very often, as a viewer, you have the idea that something is wrong. There’s nothing wrong per se, there’s simply missing something. But if this info wasn’t missing, you wouldn’t be able to read the full sentence.

Angel Eyes: his Italian name is Sentenza, which means judgement, sentence. I guess the name refers to the beginning of the movie, in which it is made clear that the Bad always does what he has been paid for, so an assignment is in fact a ‘sentence’, a death sentence so to speak.


(Stanton) #5

Contrary to the subs made for cinema, DVD subs are mostly trying to reproduce the complete dialogue.

On german DVDs we have two options:

  1. The subs reproduce the german dub

  2. The subs are a translation of the original language version, which often, and especially by SWs, differs considerably from the german dub.

Koch Media mostly translates the italian version, and I’m always checking the dub.
Sadly only a few german dubs were trying to stay close to the original.

Unfortunately Koch’s new La resa dei conti uses the same subs like the old box version. Same goes for Kinowelt’s Django.


(scherpschutter) #6

[quote=“stanton, post:5, topic:1195”]Contrary to the subs made for cinema, DVD subs are mostly trying to reproduce the complete dialogue.

On german DVDs we have two options:

  1. The subs reproduce the german dub

  2. The subs are a translation of the original language version, which often, and especially by SWs, differs considerably from the german dub.

Koch Media mostly translates the italian version, and I’m always checking the dub.
Sadly only a few german dubs were trying to stay close to the original.

Unfortunately Koch’s new La resa dei conti uses the same subs like the old box version. Same goes for Kinowelt’s Django.[/quote]

Very nice of mister Koch

In the case of spaghetti westerns it’s maybe possible to reproduce the entire dialogue, but try to imagine a Fellini movie, with five people talking at high speed and at the same time. I have never made any translation for DVDs, but quite a few for television, and in most cases you have to compromise quite a lot. The space you have for your translation, is indicated, scene for scene, with a little white line (like this: | ) you may not pass. If you pass the line, you have to skip words or occasionally even leave out entire sentences

If you write for example:

Let’s take the train to Paris, make a walk in the Luxemburg Park, have dinner at Pierre’s, take a few photos at the Moulin Rouge, then take a deep | breath and go home by plane without buying souvenirs for wife and kids

You know your text is far too long
In this case I would drop ‘Luxemburg Park’, ‘Pierre’s’ and ‘take a deep breath’

So the text would be:

Let’s take the train to Paris, make a walk, have dinner, take a few photos at the Moulin Rouge, then go home by plane without buying souvenirs for | wife and kids

Still three word too many, but I’d settle for it


(Stanton) #7

Yes of course, but most DVD subs are nevertheless trying to have as much dialogue as possible.

The only limitations seem to be if all talk simultaneously, or if the talking is very fast, otherwise they only skip a few words here and there.

For cinema the subs were always a compromise between the content of the dialogue, which was therefore abridged, and the idea that the audience should also have time to see a film, not only to read it.