Subtitling… Again

A while ago I wrote this

Still, people’s first reaction when I tell them what I do is usually: Nice, you get to see all the new movies!

And then I have to tell them that it’s cool, it’s relatively easy but still it’s not all fun and games. That’s one reason I made this…



[Very] Small Talks

Hala (حلا) is a 3 year-old girl who redefines the word “perspective”

Me: Hala, what color is your dress?

Hala: purple…

Me: wow, purple! And you shoes?

Hala: Purple… (points to her white socks) and this is yellow

Me: no, this is white

Hala: No it’s yellow, mom said it’s yellow

Me (to her mom): Did you tell her that is yellow?

Mom: No… but it’s okay she’ll pin it on me by default

Me: Okay Hala, what color is your hair?

Hala: white!

Me: No Hala, your hair is yellow and your socks are white

Hala: No!

Me: okay, what color are your eyes?

Hala; Black, like yours!

Me: No Hala, your eyes are blue

Hala: No! They are black

Me: has this girl ever looked at herself in a mirror?

God help us…

The Sport CommentatorESS

I’mnot sure what was I thinking that led me to this idea but it sure reminded me of  Rand’s Post. What if there was a sport women commentator? I know many girls, including Rand, could do a great job, so the following imaginary commnentary is only meant as a joke that’s not to be generalized, so all the female football fans out there are advised to take it with a pinch of salt…

“Hello everyone, lovely day here at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, we’re here for the long awaited match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Lovely weather today but of course you decided to stay home to watch the game, and I know that this might be annoying to your ladies but here’s a tip, a shopping spree could just get you off the hook, if you ask me I sometimes forget I’m even married when I go shopping! so whip out those credit cards if you really wanna enjoy this! [to someone beside her: Okay okay I can see the teams entered the field I was just making a point] ihem, so as you can see the teams are in and OH! Look at those cute kids standing in front of them, I think my uterus just skipped a beat! I have two lovely boys of my own, 7 and 2, the younger looks just like that cutie pie standing in front of Ramos, and look at that girl holding Puyol’s hand, isn’t she precious? I would kill to have a little girl like her, well, not literally of course but, you know what I mean…


So, the game kicks off, the ball is with Messi, you know speaking of Messi I’m not a fan of long hair but it really agrees with his face, he passes the ball to Xafi, great season for Xavi, I really want to like this guy but he reminds me of my ex who was a total jerk! Raul cuts him off but again Iniesta manages to… what! Wait wait, this is all happening so fast! Okay, now it’s with Ronaldo, and you know that shampoo he promotes? Well, the director here is hushing me, okay I’m not gonna say anything commercial!  But you know I wonder when will football players get into the movie scene, it’s weird we don’t see much of that, right? I mean it could be a way to get more women and Americans to watch football, but then I think that.. what? Okay, it seems that someone scored, I think it’s Barcelona and I daresay it’s… Messi, yes it’s definitely Messi! Okay, so here  we go again… 

Scam Mail Dissected

I really don’t know how many of those I’ve received so far. It’s almost impossible to keep count…


Hello, precious!
My name is John Nicol, I am the regional manager of the International
Commercial Bank kumasi branch Ghana.

(of course you are!) I got your information during my
search through the Internet. (I get that all the time! If I didn’t know any better I could’ve been running out to get a lottery ticket right now) I am 48years of age and married with 3
lovely kids. (Which rules out the secret admirer theory but at the same time makes me trusts you blindly Mr. Family man) It may interest you to hear that I am a man of PEACE (Yes, it may. Strangely enough, it doesn’t!) and don’t want problem. But i don’t know how you will feel about this, because you might feel that its scam (No! Why would anyone think such that?) yes there are many scammers. (Bummer!) but am telling you that this is real (It must be, if you say so) and you are not going to regret after doing this transaction with me. (Without a blink!) I only hope we can assist each other. (A man can dream)
But If you don’t want this business offer kindly forget it as I will
not contact you again.

(Maybe your alter egos will do that for you)

I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us (Get out! How would it benefit YOU?) as the regional manager of the International Commercial Bank; (Which is absolutely true because professional bankers tend to list the help of random people from the internet, who for all they know could be psychopathic hackers or  homicidal maniacs on the run) it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra-Ghana at the end of each year. (And I translate white trash shows about some brats looking for the girlfriends of their dreams, but I don’t go around sending emails to perfect strangers telling them that) On the course of the last year 2007 end of year report, I discovered that my branch in which Iam the manager (As you mentioned a million times so far)  made Three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollar [$3, 750.000.00] (too much information) which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. (Way too much information) I have since place this fund on what we call SUSPENSE ACCOUNT without any beneficiary. (Weasel!)

As an officer of the bank I cannot be directly connected to this
money, (Because you might be hauled into jail where you belong) so this informed my contacting you for us to work so that you can assist receive this money into your bank account for us to SHARE. (Which I will ABSOLUTELY do if I was the dimwit you’re taking me for) While you will have 40% of the total fund . (Of course I will!)

Note there are practically no risk involved, (Obviously) it will be bank to bank
transfer, all I need from you is to stand claim as the original depositor of this fund who made the deposit with our branch so that myHead office can order the transfer to your designated bank account. (Piece o’cake!) If you accept this offer to work with me, (Which is a no-brainer) I will appreciate it very much. (Oh, how sweet! You know that’s all I need, APPROVAL. now I can sleep at night)

As soon as I receive your response (Don’t hold your breath) I will details you on how we can achieve it successfully. (I’m not holding my breath either) I will want you to reply me through my private email address (Which you might as well shove down your throat)

Best Regards
Dr John Nicol

Even better regards

Queen Elizabeth

Originally Posted on Monday, November 10, 2008 on

Bombed in Translation

As translators, much more subtitlers, we come across many weird/funny translations all the time. It’s not only because doing quality checking is a part of our work, but also because the nature of our work doomed us to focus on the subtitles while watching any movie or TV programme. Believe me sometimes it’s so annoying that you can’t enjoy the movie unless you switch them off. So, if you’re at the cinema and suddenly hear people shouting: NOOO! Don’t jump to conclusions about someone being harassed, it might as well be a group of translators who spotted a wrong line.

It has to be said that by writing this I’m not excluding myself or anyone from making these mistakes. We all might have made stupid mistakes whether or not we were aware of them. It happens all the time, I write something then I realize it’s utterly ridiculous and I wonder how I could’ve possibly written such a thing.

So, being exposed to all kinds of translation and translation mistakes, I tried to remember some of the funniest mistranslations that I came across, whether those I or another translators spotted before being shown on TV or those that were actually seen on the screen. Enjoy these…

Flea market:  سوق البراغيث

4 wheel drive: سيارة بأربع عجلات

Brand new: جديد خرنج

Which of these ties sucks less?:  أي هاتين الربطتين تمتص أقل

I made you a cow: جعلتك بقرة

Do you have pot (Marijuana)? هل لديك مبولة

It’s a school night: إنها مدرسة ليلية

Dumbass: مؤخرة غبية

I’m on board! (count me in): أنا على متن القارب

Spelling bee: نحلة التهجئة

Soap opera:  إعلانات الصابون

Now we’re talking!: إننا نتحدث الآن

The sensible way: الطريقة الحساسة

First aid: المساعد الأول

Tell me about it!: أخبرني عن الأمر

Douchebag: كيس الزبالة

Zipper: الزمام المنزلق

TGIF: تي جي آي إف

ربيع الأول: Spring I

قبل أن يسلم الروح: Before he gave up the ghost

تغييرات: Changements

Those are the ones I have for now, and mind you; I’m not making anything up…

هذه هي الوحدات التي لدي الآن، واعقلوا أنتم، إنني لا أصنعها إلى أعلى…

Ok, that last sentence was obviously a joke 😀

Originally Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2008 on

The Curious Case of the Perfume

Generally, I’m not a perfume person. I don’t use them that often and even if I do, I make sue to wear as little as I could so no one can smell it, so it’s like a personal touch of freshness. That’s why I don’t buy them, because I’m simply not willing to pay 50 JD’s for a luxury I don’t enjoy that much. You might assume by now that perfumes are not among my favorite gifts. Ironically, I like to receive perfumes as gifts, because I like to use some from time to time without thinking that I paid all that cash for something I use occasionally.

Anyway, a while ago someone brought me a nice perfume that I use from time to time. But, it turns out someone found another good use for it; for I was awed by the sight of my little brother spraying some of it on one of his Play Station CD’s and wiping it off. I wondered how many times he did that or if it was the first time. Anyway, I told him not to do that and that he can use the other perfume I don’t like or the Fantasy body splash. In fact I don’t mind it because that thing stays like forever and when you smell the same scent for so long it starts to stink in your nostrils. Anyway that was few months ago and I supposed he stopped doing it.

So, this morning I felt like wearing some perfume. I looked for it but I couldn’t find it. I didn’t give it much thought and went to work.

I got back from work and I was having lunch when I heard my little brother yelling from the room, “Mom, where is the perfume I use to clean my CD’s?”

It didn’t take me more than a few seconds to make the connection. My mom told him she didn’t know what he was talking about. So, with an air of desperation, I said as calmly as I could:

“I know what perfume he is talking about. Keep it away from him”

Interesting definition! My best perfume is now called the perfume he uses “to clean his CD’s” His Pirated CD’s!

It’s amazing how kids undermine the sophistication of everything. Mobiles are game boys, diet cheese is a snack, they don’t even hear about calories until they’re well into their adolescence… Everything is THAT simple!

Well, you can stop reading now and stop waiting for me to make a point because I tried and I couldn’t. It’s pointless…

Originalyy Posted onWednesday, February 27, 2008 on