Monday, July 21, 2008

Translations, 2

[Versión en castellano]
[This might contain spoilers for Dark Knight]
Hello, and welcome to another issue of Who The Fuck Translates Movie Titles?, with your host, me. On tonight's episode, The Dark Knight or, as it's known here, Batman: El Caballero de la Noche. (Night's Knight. And yes, I can't let that pass without commenting on it, even if the comment is just on how I need to comment on it)

Now, before you say anything, I know that replacing "Dark" with "Night" isn't such big a deal. The intrinsic meaning of the phrase isn't lost. So why am I complaining? Is it because I have an such an obsession with translations being as close to the original as possible that even the slightest deviation hurts my inner sensibilities? Well, that's part of it. But there's a bit more to the story.

A big plot point in the movie is how Batman works as a sort of scapegoat. Gotham needs him to get rid of crime, but his methods are of questionable morality and unquestionable illegality. He has to do the dirty jobs, and he can, because in his own words, he's not a hero. Harvey Dent, meanwhile, was supposed to be the real hero, to act within the law and morality. That's why, when Dent crosses the line, Batman decides to take the blame. To become the hated pariah, so Dent's image can be used as a model for the kind of hero the city really needs.

This dichotomy between "the hero Gotham needs and the hero Gotham deserves" is stated outright many times, but it is also shown in two phrases. One, near the beggining, where Dent is described as a "white knight" (translated as "ángel" which, I'm sure you can guess what it means) and another one at the end, when Batman is described as a "dark knight".

Get it now? How hard would it have been to translate those two phrases and keep the contrast obviously intended by it? "Caballero blanco" and "Caballero negro" would have worked perfectly. They fit, and keep the meaning intended in the titular line of the movie, which one would think was important.

Well, this concludes tonight's episode, folks. Tune in next week* for more of my vaguely coherent ramblings on irrelevant topics.

*Not to be taken literally.

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