The Universe of Discourse

Mon, 19 Apr 2021

Odd translation choices

Recently I've been complaining about unforced translation errors. ([1] [2]) Here's one I saw today:

picture of two cows in a field.  One has a child-sized toy plastic car
on its head.  The cow with the car on its head is saying: “БИП-БИП ВАШ

The translation was given as:

“honk honk, your Uber has arrived”

“Oleg, what the fuck”

Now, the Russian text clearly says “beep-beep” (“бип-бип”), not “honk honk”. I could understand translating this as "honk honk" if "beep beep" were not a standard car sound in English. But English-speaking cars do say “beep beep”, so why change the original?

(Also, a much smaller point: I have no objection to translating “Что за херня” as “what the fuck”. But why translate “Что за херня, Олег?” as “Oleg, what the fuck” instead of “What the fuck, Oleg”?)

[ Addendum 20210420: Katara suggested that perhaps the original translator was simply unaware that Anglophone cars also “beep beep”. ]

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