January 10, 2010

All of my classes are starting to blend together.  The same day we talk about movies and tv shows translating to different societies and cultures, my World Lit. class also talks about how regionally specific literature tends to have a hard time translating for world literature.   Huh.

This article clearly presents the idea that careful and intelligent handling is needed for every medium of entertainment that is introduced outside of the country it was created, and it uses one of the most popular comedic shows – the Simpsons –  to make its argument.

I have not watched the Simpsons in years and I can only vaguely remember these characters that the article largely discusses.  Apu was quite distinct and one of my favorites had to be Groundkeeper Willy, but I prefer my satire in the subject of politics and in the structure of The Daily Show.  How long has the Simpsons been on the air?

I had already heard about Al Shamshoon, or at least the title, and I’m a little surprised the article didn’t go into more depth with how they translated the comedy of the Simpsons’ next door neighbor.  What is his name?  Flanders, right?  Since he was a mark of religious extremism – albeit the peaceful kind – I wondered if they had any trouble translating him over, or if they simply cut out his parts in the show altogether.

I guess Ferrari used Italy as a clearer and possibly less controversial example to explain the intricacies of translating one culture over to another for a show, but it would have been nice to hear about some other cultures rather than constantly going over the same details of how each secondary character made the translation.

Of course…Ferrari is an Italian name and so she simply used the Italian culture because she is likely most familiar with it.

One thing about translation, particularly of humor, is that the Daily Show does not seem to have difficulty translating to other cultures and worlds. Maybe this is because we all happened to be united under an extreme dislike of Bush, but The Daily show sent correspondent Jason Jones. There are no actual news articles covering this, but in the middle of one of Jason Jones’ interviews a random passersby he was asking questions said, “Oh the Daily Show? With Jon Stewart?! Hello! I’m a fan!”

Viacom hates Youtube, so this clip is from the Daily Show’s official website: Watch out for commercials


One Response to “Translation”

  1. Cynara M. Medina said

    The grading criteria are posted on blackboard, so you might want to look them over and re-visit the post. As for the author, it is a female, and I was also surprised that there is no mention of Flanders.

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