Lost in Translation

I was reading Afdlin Shauki’s blog when he mentioned about The Daredevil banning fiasco (can I use that word for this?). that moment (the banning) was one of the my worst memory of Malaysian movie industry.

For the uninitiated: The Daredevil movie (starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner; Directed by Mark Steve Johnson) was banned from local movie screening for 1 lousy, stupidy-dum-dum reason: the title have the word Devil in it. The government was showing off their strictness by disallowing any form of “devil” on mass media.

Oh come on!!!

At that time, I was thrown off my seat but the silliness of the matter. For one thing, the word daredevil didn’t even have anything to do with any devil. I was shouting (in my heart) “we didn’t elect you to be lazy to open up your dictionary. Daredevil, in a simple term, means a reckless impetuous irresponsible person. This daredevil person maybe a ‘devil’ to others, but nothing directly devilish about it. What were they thinking?

In a ripple effect, when I went to watch Hellboy after that, I couldn’t find the title in the ‘now showing’ column at the cinema. Yes, you guessed it right: they changed the title to Super Sapiens.

Now, if Hellboy was banned for the title, I can understand, since the word Hellboy refers directly to the boy from Hell. But the change of name makes it possible for us in Malaysia to watch it in local cinemas

In addition, I believe we need better translators or subtitle writers (what are they called?), or I’ll end up laughing at the title itself. Here’s a few examples:

Flight PlanRancangan Penerbangan
HellboyPemuda Neraka
The Day After TomorrowLusa
Home Alone 3Keseorangan Di Rumah 3
PaycheckCek Gaji
Cheaper By The Dozen Lelong Dua Belas
Revenge of the SithDendam Kumpulam Sith (inclusive of typo)
Finding NemoLautan Yang Luas (what the…!)
101 Dalmations101 Bintik
DaylightTerperangkap (kind of correct, right? Content wise, that is.)
The PunisherPenyeksa
Mr. & Mrs. SmithTuan & Puan Smith

To be fair, there are good translation works like when TV3 showed Shrek, the subtitles were perfectly done, not to mention that the movie was not ad-cut at all (ad-cut – I used this word defining the times when broadcasters cut the movie when showing advertisements. e.g: DiCaprio and Winslet was doing their famous “You jump, I jump” attempted suicide scene in Titanic, cuts to advertisement, then suddenly they’re dancing in the 3rd class passenger mass). Another good translation was Puteri Gunung Ledang, where I opted to read the English subtitle than trying to understand classical Malay. The subtitle was beautifully written, I felt like I was watching a movie-novel.