Created By: Bisected8 on April 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on April 27, 2011
Troped

Redundant Translation

When a translator translates words that were already in their own language

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Needs a Better Name

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A subtrope of "Blind Idiot" Translation and a relative of Recursive Translation. This is when a work in one language uses a word from another language, but when the work is translated into the language which it borrowed that word from, the translators are thrown off and try to translate it (even though it's already in their language) instead of leaving it as is. There are a few possible outcomes;

  • In the case of loanwords, they might remain untranslated even if they're used differently in the work's original language.
  • The phrase might be reworded either because the translator fails to realise that its a word from their language or is determined to translate every part of the script whether necessary or not.
  • If the word is a loanword or has roots in another language entirely (for example French phrases like "coup de grace" or Greek and Latin suffixes like "phobia" are both used in English often enough to be treated as a part of the language) then it's translated from that (for example phobia becomes "fears" and "coup de grace" becomes "blow of mercy"). This makes even less sense than the above, as it requires that the translator realise they're dealing with a word that's supposed to be foreign.
  • Finally (and possibly more benevolently), the translator might translate words in the original script which are in the language being translated into the language of the original script to Keep It Foreign or just apply a Translation Correction if the script's original implimentation of the translator's language was badly done.

When someone demands something be translated from a language they speak anyway it's Completely Unnecessary Translator, if they simply took something in the original language that would be too rude for native speakers it's Tactful Translation, for when the "same" language actually does need translating it's Separated by a Common Language.
Examples;
  • I've Seen It a Million Times but (the case tends to be whenever I write a YKTTW) I can only recall the example that made me think of it.
  • Some fansubs of the Soul Eater anime translate "Arachnophobia" (the name of the antagonists' organisation) from the Japanese script into "Fear of spiders" or "Fear of Arachne".
  • Jorge Luis Borges initially named one of the volumes of his collected works with the English The Maker, which he then translated into Spanish as El hacedor. The first English translators were unaware of Borge's intentions, and were unsure how to translate "hacedor", so they just sidestepped it and named the book Dreamtigers (after one of the stories from the book).
  • In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Professor Aronnax recalls an expedition to the Nebraska badlands, which he gives in the original French as les mauvaises terres du Nebraska. Some English translators have failed to recognise the term, resulting in translations like "the disagreeable territory of Nebraska".
  • A small one shows up in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. In one scene Kyon says a few words in Japanese, then in English. The dub and some subs he does the opposite.
  • The Simpsons has this train of though take place.
    "Vendetta?!"
    "... and vendetta is italian for...?"
    "Vendetta!?"
  • The Other Wiki does occasionally; for example, their article on Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater gives the Japanese "name" in katakana, and then romanizes it to "Metaru Gia Soriddo Suri Suneku Ita".
  • IMDB has similar issues sometimes.
  • Requiem for a Dream has a brief scene between Marlon Wayans and a deaf drug dealer. The drug dealer uses sign language while a member of his gang translates. At the end of the conversation, the drug dealer finally says something, "You fuck me, I kill you!". The translator begins to repeat it anyway but Marlons Wayans cuts him off and says, "I got that."
  • This quote from X-Play reviewing Gladiator the game:
    Young Augustus Ceasar (thinking): "'Et tu, Brute...' And you, Brutus...."
    Morgan: "That's right: He's translating Latin -- to himself!"
  • Ann old Soviet comedy The Diamond Arm used an inversion. Some foreigner screams at a character invectives that don't need any translation (like "cretino! castrato!"), then the dub voice, very deadpan, says: "...untranslatable wordplay".
  • Parodied in Excel Saga: At one point there's an English text scroll, so there are Japanese subtitles. The English version then provides a hilariously inaccurate translation of those subtitles.
Community Feedback Replies: 51
  • April 17, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    This may also result in Translation Correction, if the target language is incorrect in the source text.
  • April 17, 2011
    Bisected8
    Good point, I've added it to the OP.
  • April 17, 2011
    RickGriffin
    You might want to clarify upfront which of the X Y and Z is the original language and the translated-to language. This might take some explanation.
  • April 17, 2011
    MetaFour
    • Jorge Luis Borges initially named one of the volumes of his collected works with the English The Maker, which he then translated into Spanish as El hacedor. The first English translators were unaware of Borge's intentions, and were unsure how to translate "hacedor", so they just sidestepped it and named the book Dreamtigers (after one of the stories from the book).
  • April 17, 2011
    Bisected8
    I've tried replacing "language x", "language y", etc with made up language names and made sure it explains which is which clearly. Does that make it easier to follow?
  • April 17, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    About about:

    This is when a work in one language uses a word from another language, but when the work is translated into the language which it borrowed that word from, the translators are thrown off and try to translate it (even though it's already in their language) instead of leaving it as is.
  • April 17, 2011
    Bisected8
    ...you know what. That would probably work a lot better.

    *Places 50p in the idiocy jar*
  • April 17, 2011
    chihuahua0
    This needs another name. Redunant makes me think of "people die when they are killed."
  • April 17, 2011
    PaulA
    Not sure if this is an example, but it seems close enough to be worth suggesting:

    In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Professor Aronnax recalls an expedition to the Nebraska badlands, which he gives in the original French as les mauvaises terres du Nebraska. Some English translators have failed to recognise the term, resulting in translations like "the disagreeable territory of Nebraska".
  • April 18, 2011
    Belfagor
    Not sure if this could fit in:

  • April 18, 2011
    RickGriffin
    ^That sounds more like Bind Idiot Translation

    Possible names: Loanword Translation, Lonwaado Translation (or however romanizes from the Japanese), Doubleback Translation, Incestuous Translation, Circuitous Translation (I prefer this last one)
  • April 18, 2011
    Bisected8
    Yeah, that's just Blind Idiot Translation, unless the word agenda's used in Japanese (which I presume it isn't).

    I like Incestuous Translation, but it might be taken to mean something else. Lonwaado Translation's clever, but a bit too clever; you couldn't tell its meaning just from the title....

    Circuitous Translation works pretty well based on both meanings of the word "Circuitous" though. What does everyone else think?
  • April 18, 2011
    Madrugada
    We could go for utterly boring and clear: Translate The Loanwords Too.
  • April 18, 2011
    Bisected8
    It's descriptive, but it's also a little clunky....
  • April 18, 2011
    Game_Fan
    A small one shows up in The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya. In one scene Kyon says a few words in Japanese, then in English. The dub and some subs he does the opposite.
  • April 19, 2011
    Chabal2
    • There's a Yu Gi Oh card by the name of Sanda Boruto (in Japanese and English), depicting three thunderbolts.
      • In the Yu Gi Oh manga, one monster summoned is called Ribaiasan instead of Leviathan.
  • April 19, 2011
    Bisected8
    Any other thoughts on a title?
  • April 19, 2011
    chihuahua0
  • April 20, 2011
    Bisected8
    I'd still prefer something snappier, but it looks like I'm about to be outvoted anyway. XD
  • April 20, 2011
    Bisected8
    So do you all think this is ready to launch, or does it need some work?
  • April 21, 2011
    Fanra
    Averted in Real Life with the names of places. For some really stupid reason, a place name can be different in different languages. Wien is the capital of Austria. Yet for some dumb reason it is called Vienna in English. The actual name of Austria [English] itself is really Osterreich [German]. A great many names of places are altered solely for what seems to be the desire to create confusion.
  • April 21, 2011
    bluepenguin
    ^ Exonyms are not really related to this trope.
  • April 22, 2011
    Bisected8
    Yeah, a language having its own name for countries and settlements is pretty much standard. They aren't really being translated as much as having a localised name.
  • April 23, 2011
    Bisected8
    I think this is ready to launch, but I could do with some reassurance.

    If no one has any objections I'll launch it Sunday evening....
  • April 23, 2011
    Rolf
    Dunno would suggest more examples, enough to be sorted into media, and for Wiki Magic to happen.
  • April 23, 2011
    RodrigoVega
    The Simpsons: Vendetta?! ... and vendetta is italian for... Vendetta!?
  • April 23, 2011
    Sceptre
    The Other Wiki does this all the time; for example, their article on Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater gives the Japanese "name" in katakana, and then romanizes it to "Metaru Gia Soriddo Suri Suneku Ita".
  • April 23, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Rolf: Sorting examples is something I usually do after launching. It gives me a chance to spot mistakes I missed while editing the OP.

    Right now we have 2 anime, 2 literature, 1 tabletop game, 1 web original and 1 Wester Animation.
  • April 23, 2011
    Rolf
    yeah? ok. :) I usually sort even with single example.
  • April 23, 2011
    Ryusui
    FYI, whoever contributed the Yu-Gi-Oh! examples doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

    The two cards are サンダー・ボルト and リバイアサン, which are how the names "Thunder Bolt" and "Leviathan" are rendered in Japanese - there is rarely a one-to-one relationship between English and Japanese phonemes, so yes, they do come out as "Sandaa Boruto" and "Ribaiasan", but unless someone's claiming there's a fan translator out there stupid enough to ignore the proper romanizations and just mechanically converts the katakana into English, it's not this trope.

    The actual U.S. names of these cards are more problematic. Whether to dodge trademarks or simply to Keep It Foreign, they are "Raigeki" ("lightning strike") and "Kairyu-Shin" ("ocean dragon god") in all English-language works. Adding to the confusion is that the Japanese card for Leviathan actually says 海竜神, with リバイアサン written above: several cards, in fact, have their names written natively in Japanese but with furigana indicating the intended reading, most notably the famous 青眼の白龍, whose name is meant to be read as ブルーアイズ・ホワイト・ドラゴン or "Blue-Eyes White Dragon".
  • April 24, 2011
    Bisected8
    OK, I've removed the Yu Gi Oh example.
  • April 24, 2011
    Bisected8
    Well that's 6 examples. I guess I'll wait another day to see how things go.
  • April 24, 2011
    AP
    This may or may not count.

    Requiem For A Dream has a brief scene between Marlon Wayans and a deaf drug dealer. The drug dealer uses sign language while a member of his gang translates. At the end of the conversation, the drug dealer finally says something, "You fuck me, I kill you!". The translator begins to repeat it anyway but Marlons Wayans cuts him off and says, "I got that."
  • April 24, 2011
    bluepenguin
    Regarding The Other Wiki example, I think IMDB does that too.
  • April 25, 2011
    Thebes
  • April 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    @AP: I'd say it counts.
  • April 25, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I remember a quote from X-Play reviewing (I think it was) Gladiator the game:

    Young Augustus Ceasar (thinking): "'Et tu, Brute...' And you, Brutus...."
    Morgan: "That's right: He's translating Latin -- to himself!"
  • April 25, 2011
    shadowmagus
    I vaguely recall one episode of West Wing where they had a visiting dignitary from another country and had to find a translator. Problem was, they couldn't find a translator from English directly into the dignitary's language, so they had to set up a string of translators to get the message across. After trying to have a conversation like this, the dignitary revealed he could speak English just fine.
  • April 25, 2011
    bluepenguin
  • April 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^Plus the "chain of translators" portion of Fun With Foreign Languages (which should be its own trope).
  • April 26, 2011
    Stratadrake
    No, that sounds more like Gossip Evolution (a.k.a. the Telephone Game).
  • April 26, 2011
    TBeholder
    • Ann old Soviet comedy The Diamond Arm used an inversion. Some foreigner screams at a character invectives that don't need any translation (like "cretino! castrato!"), then the dub voice, very deadpan, says: "...untranslatable wordplay".
  • April 26, 2011
    Premonition45
    I've been developing a YKTTW of my own called El Nino Is Spanish For The Nino, which is similar to this.
  • April 26, 2011
    Topazan
    Premonition45 - As I said on your YKTTW, I think the key difference is that this about situations where no translation is necessary, your trope is about situations where a translation is necessary, but the one provided is incomplete and unhelpful.
  • April 26, 2011
    Premonition45
    So we're cool? We aren't creating the same trope?
  • April 26, 2011
    dotchan
    Parodied in Excel Saga: At one point there's an English text scroll, so there are Japanese subtitles. The English version then provides a hilariously inaccurate translation of those subtitles.
  • April 26, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Premonition45: I've seen your YKTTW already. Yours is pretty much an inversion of this trope; a loanword being "translated" and left the same.

    Whomever launches second will have the responsibility of adding their trope to the other trope's list of related tropes, though. =P
  • April 26, 2011
    Thebes
  • April 26, 2011
    Thebes
    Separated is spelled wrong.
  • April 27, 2011
    Bisected8
    ...so it is.

    Anyway, I think this looks about ready to launch. I'll do so this evening if there are no objections.
  • April 27, 2011
    Bisected8
    Launching at 00:00 GMT+0....
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