History Main / TactfulTranslation

19th Jan '17 9:58:17 PM PatPayne
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* Double Subverted with the legendary response of General Anthony McAuliffe to German demands for the surrender of the 101st Airborne in Bastogne. McAuliffe's original reply, as reported, was "NUTS!" When the German representatives asked for clarification, they were told "The reply is decidedly not affirmative. If you continue this foolish attack, your losses will be tremendous." When the parley party returned to meet up with other German elements, bringing along a couple of American translators under safe conduct, another request for clarification was met with the reply "Du kannst zum Teufel gehen (You can go to Hell). If you continue to attack, we will kill every goddamn German that tries to break into this city." Originally, one of the translators wanted to say "take a flying shit," but it was realized this might be too UNtactful a translation even for the circumstances.
16th Jan '17 4:21:57 PM eroock
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* ''Film/{{Snowden}}'', when Snowden shows up at a bankster venue, a Russian diplomat addresses him saying that he is either a fool or a spy. Snowden doesn't understand Russian and the translator politely tells him "Mr. Debrinin asks your business card, please."
27th Dec '16 11:03:23 AM dmcreif
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* A notable inversion occurs in the final season of ''Series/TheWire''. After a prolonged behind the scenes political struggle, the new mayor of Baltimore Tommy Carcetti manages to get rid of Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell, who Carcetti long considered a hack but was unable to fire due to Burrell's political connections. When Carcetti gives a standard making nice political speech honoring Burrell, newspaper reporter and TheLastDJ Gus Haynes translates the speech into the truth. For example when Carcetti is mouthing polite comments about the working relationship between he and Burrell and how it grew stronger over time, Gus translates this as "He feared and hated me, and I merely wanted him dead." [[ActuallyPrettyFunny Even Gus' workplace enemies are amused]] [[http://youtu.be/MuVeHfPqOho?t=29s by the routine]].
-->'''Carcetti:''' I chaired the public safety subcommittee, and I called upon him (Burrell) many times. We worked closely together then, and when I became Mayor, we formed a strong relationship...
-->'''Gus:''' He feared and hated me, and I merely wanted him dead.
-->'''Carcetti:''' ...making Baltimore a safer city...
-->'''Gus:''' Don't stray from the Inner Harbor.
-->'''Carcetti:'''...I know that the criminal justice coordinating council need a new...
-->'''Gus:''' It took a while, but I finally put his ass out to pasture.

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* A notable inversion occurs in the final season of ''Series/TheWire''. After a prolonged behind the scenes political struggle, the new mayor of Baltimore Tommy Carcetti manages to get rid of Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell, who Carcetti long considered a hack but was unable to fire due to Burrell's political connections. When Carcetti gives a standard making nice political speech honoring Burrell, newspaper reporter and TheLastDJ the ''Baltimore Sun'' line edtor Gus Haynes translates the speech into the truth. For example when Carcetti is mouthing polite comments about the working relationship between he and Burrell and how it grew stronger over time, Gus translates this as "He feared and hated me, and I merely wanted him dead." [[ActuallyPrettyFunny Even Gus' workplace enemies are amused]] [[http://youtu.be/MuVeHfPqOho?t=29s by the routine]].
-->'''Carcetti:''' -->'''Tommy Carcetti:''' I chaired the public safety subcommittee, and I called upon him (Burrell) many times. We worked closely together then, and when I became Mayor, we formed a strong relationship...
-->'''Gus:''' He -->'''Gus Haynes:''' "He feared and hated me, and I merely wanted him dead.
-->'''Carcetti:''' ...
dead."
-->'''Tommy Carcetti:''' ...
making Baltimore a safer city...
-->'''Gus:''' Don't -->'''Gus Haynes:''' "Don't stray from the Inner Harbor.
-->'''Carcetti:'''...
Harbor."
-->'''Tommy Carcetti:'''...
I know that the criminal justice coordinating council need a new...
-->'''Gus:''' It -->'''Gus Haynes:''' "It took a while, but I finally put his ass out to pasture.
pasture."
3rd Dec '16 10:29:04 AM AriRockefeller
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* In ''VideoGame/{{Destiny}}'', when you're put up against a Fallen commander, who angrily shouts at you in his native (read: alien) tongue:
-->'''Variks''': That was commander of the Fang. He just called you a...well...it was an insult.
19th Nov '16 9:49:30 AM Nazetrime
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* ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'' has a complex LanguageBarrier and monolingual characters with a habit of BrutalHonesty, regularly giving translators an opportunity for this.
19th Oct '16 1:07:48 PM shokoshu
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* In the East German children book "Die dampfenden Hälse der Pferde im Turm zu Babel" by Franz Fühmann, one of the children protagonists fishes an X, a C and a Q out of a noodle soup ("blast, the hardest ones") and imagines Xerxes and Julius Cäsar meeting. The Q is a Quatschkopf [[note]](untranslatable mix of "fool" and "motormouth")[[note]], i.e. their translator, who cleverly derails their declarations of war by telling them outright lies. (Q and his player, who after all is named after Immanuel Kant and is the book avatar of reason, is not too happy with this and goes lengths to vindicate it before his conscience.)

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* In the East German children book "Die dampfenden Hälse der Pferde im Turm zu Babel" by Franz Fühmann, Emanuel, one of the children protagonists protagonists, fishes an X, a C and a Q out of a noodle soup ("blast, the hardest ones") and imagines Xerxes and Julius Cäsar meeting. The Q is a Quatschkopf [[note]](untranslatable mix of "fool" and "motormouth")[[note]], "motormouth")[[/note]], i.e. their translator, who cleverly derails their inevitable declarations of war by telling them outright lies. (Q and his player, who after all is named after Immanuel Kant and is the book avatar of reason, is not too happy with this and goes lengths to vindicate it before his conscience.)
19th Oct '16 1:05:56 PM shokoshu
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* In the East German children book "Die dampfenden Hälse der Pferde im Turm zu Babel" by Franz Fühmann, one of the children protagonists fishes an X, a C and a Q out of a noodle soup ("blast, the hardest ones") and imagines Xerxes and Julius Cäsar meeting. The Q is a Quatschkopf [[note]](untranslatable mix of "fool" and "motormouth")[[note]], i.e. their translator, who cleverly derails their declarations of war by telling them outright lies. (Q and his player, who after all is named after Immanuel Kant and is the book avatar of reason, is not too happy with this and goes lengths to vindicate it before his conscience.)
15th Sep '16 12:50:00 PM DrFraud
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* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8045114/35/A-Marauder-s-Plan A Marauder's Plan]]'' Remus, who as it turns out speaks flawless Bulgarian, is pressed into translation duty for Fudge and the Bulgarian Minister of Magic. At one point "Remus laughed at Bogdan's latest joke about Cornelius and turned to translate something funny but not related to the British Minister to the man in question."

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* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8045114/35/A-Marauder-s-Plan A Marauder's Plan]]'' Remus, who as it turns out speaks flawless Bulgarian, is pressed into translation duty for Fudge and the Bulgarian Minister of Magic. At one point "Remus Magic.
-->Remus
laughed at Bogdan's latest joke about Cornelius and turned to translate something funny but not related to the British Minister to the man in question."
6th Sep '16 1:38:03 PM Scorntex
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* ''ComicBook/TheSimpsons:'' A Scottish film the family watches on a plane has the actors' flowery insults translated into more polite and sophisticated phrases.
-->'''Man:''' Ach, ye wee soft jessies have spilt me wee larger! [Pardon me, sir, but you have spilt my adult beverage.]
-->'''Man 2:''' The lord take ye for a dimmock, ye airy tweezer! [We strongly condemn your harsh appraisement.]
31st Aug '16 4:24:41 AM Morgenthaler
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* Late in Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''WorldWar'' series, American physicist Max Kagan comes to aid the Russian nuclear program in making atomic bombs to use against the [[AlienInvasion Alien Invaders]]. When Vyacheslav Molotov (Stalin's NumberTwo) comes to check on progress after the arrival of Kagan, he is at first amused by Kagan's impertinence and fire, thinking he prefers it to how terrified most Russians are when dealing with him. Eventually, Molotov realizes that the Russian scientist translating between him and Kagan is doing a Tactful Translation and demands to know what Kagan is really saying. By the time the scientist finishes repeating what Kagan has really said, (an incredibly bold and sometimes profane denouncement of the Soviet way of running the program and general attitudes) Molotov is fondly imagining a day when the scientists won't be as indispensable as they currently are and he'll be free to kill them all.

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* Late in Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''WorldWar'' ''Literature/WorldWar'' series, American physicist Max Kagan comes to aid the Russian nuclear program in making atomic bombs to use against the [[AlienInvasion Alien Invaders]]. When Vyacheslav Molotov (Stalin's NumberTwo) comes to check on progress after the arrival of Kagan, he is at first amused by Kagan's impertinence and fire, thinking he prefers it to how terrified most Russians are when dealing with him. Eventually, Molotov realizes that the Russian scientist translating between him and Kagan is doing a Tactful Translation and demands to know what Kagan is really saying. By the time the scientist finishes repeating what Kagan has really said, (an incredibly bold and sometimes profane denouncement of the Soviet way of running the program and general attitudes) Molotov is fondly imagining a day when the scientists won't be as indispensable as they currently are and he'll be free to kill them all.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TactfulTranslation