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Subject: Translation
Question: When a book, film or TV program is translated into another language, what do translators do when puns, anagrams or other wordplay is involved? To use one example, one mystery story I read had the solution hinge on the homophone floorless/flawless. When translated, this would 'break' and the premise fails. Another example is the movie Sneakers. The plot hinges on an anagram 'Setec Astronomy'/'too many secrets'.
Reply: I suspect you've noticed that floorless/flawless are not homophones for most speakers on the west side of the Atlantic. so the problem of translation exists across dialects as well. In much the Southern US, idle/addle are homophones. I found this out when teaching in Georgia. I had used "addle" as an example of a verb that narrowly limits its subjects. Generally only brains and eggs can addle. When I said that, a student from Memphis, TN, said, "But my car addles every time I stop for a stop sign!"
Reply From: Herbert Frederic Stahlke      click here to access email
Date: 07-Oct-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Translation    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (08-Oct-2013)
  2. Re: Translation    Nancy J. Frishberg     (08-Oct-2013)
  3. Re: Translation    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (13-Oct-2013)
  4. Re: Translation    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (07-Oct-2013)

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