4 April 2012

The Artist (2011)

I recently went to the cinema to see "The Artist", recent Oscar winner for best film, best actor and best director, if I remember correctly, and famous for bringing the silent film genre back into the 21st century.

As such, I guess you're wondering what a translator would have to say about it. Well...

SPOILER ALERT! Continue reading at your own risk...

So, for those of you who have seen this movie, you know what happens right at the end: the actor speaks. But, not only does he speak; he does so in a French accent, thus solving all the narrative tension in a single, short sentence, the content of which is actually unimportant.

This is where my comments as a translator come in. I'd gone to the cinema with a couple of Spanish friends who were left unperturbed by the film. They had missed the nuance of pronunciation, the raison d'etre of this script. Accent for me is the deal-breaker in this instance, the key information to be communicated.

Subtitling of this film should have therefore been approached like subtitling for the hard of hearing, with "[French accent]" (in the corresponding language) preceding whatever the character actually says.

I wonder if, in this case, it was a general shortfall worldwide, a poorly managed international project, or if this has been a local failure that has only occurred in Spain.
Happy Easter!

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