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Carbon Copy

I am in the process of doing final quality control on the dubbing scripts of 10 episodes of a TV series that is going to be in its third season. The translation was done in Germany by one of the better known dubbing companies. As can be expected, there are many dialogs that have a heavy English flavor, and some that are very awkwardly translated. But there is one category of errors that I find very puzzling: misunderstanding the English original. I find it puzzling because the resulting translations often make no sense. Translators should notice incongruous sentences. That’s an important part of their job. But perhaps my expectations are too high? Here a first example of what could easily become an ongoing series:

Original (with a bit of context):

The body was depleting blood supply and draining brain function. What’s left of it. If I can keep his frontal lobe viable long enough, by pumping super-oxygenated blood through it, we could get a glimpse into his short-term memory. Increase blood flow to 1,000 cc’s per minute, 1 amp epi, and drop the pump temp to 34 Centigrade.

Translation (of the bold sentence):

Erhöhen Sie den Blutstrom auf 1000 Durchschläge pro Minute, eine Ampulle Adrenalin, und verringern Sie die Temperatur auf 34 Grad.

Even if the translators had no idea what “cc” was and picked the first solution offered on-line, “Durchschlag,” the absence of plausibility in the German translation should have prompted them to do a bit more research instead of just leaving the implausible solution in the the script.


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