“Creative” Liberties in Translation

Today I finally got to watch last Friday night’s “Nekketsu Taiga-su To-“ (Fervent Tigers Party) and they caught up with Matt Murton at Kansai International Airport. Murton was very frank and told things like they were. He even insinuated that the team is to blame for his not returning. I didn’t think a show like this would allow such comments on the show, but then when I double-checked with the subtitles, I could see that whoever does the translation work for the program took a few “liberties” in putting the man’s words into presentable, suitable Japanese. Here’s what he said, followed by what they wrote, and finally a proper translation of what they wrote:

He said: “You never know, I mean in sports and in life, sometimes things that you don’t expect end up happening. So we would be honored if we were given an opportunity to put on the uniform again. I just feel that based on the words they… what I’ve gathered from them, in addition to some other things, that more than likely, this will be our last year.”


 They wrote: スポーツの世界では思いがけないことが起こるので今後、私がどうなるのかは分からない。だがプレーをする中で今年が(タイガースで)最後になるのかなという感覚があった。

It means: Unexpected things happen in the world of sports, so I don’t know what is going to happen with me. But as I was playing this year I felt like it was going to be my last season with the Tigers.

I guess for the sake of the show, and for people who don’t understand English, their version is a neat little ribbon tied together and ending his time with the team, but… the translation leaves out the fact that he seems to want to come back, and that the team has given him indications that they don’t want him back.

I wouldn’t call it a poor translation, but it definitely lacks accuracy and completeness. 

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.