Backstroke of the West

In Chinese by Skritter

Last night we had guests over to the house and we viewed Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. We had all of course seen the movie before, in fact, I have seen it several times, but this viewing was special. About a year ago we learned of a subtitles track to the movie that was so poorly translated as to warrant a full viewing. The script had apparently been poorly translated from English to Chinese and then poorly machine translated back again. The title was translated as “Star War: the Backstroke of the West.”


It was very funny for all the Engrish but it was also fun to try and figure out how the heck a lot of the mistranslations occurred. It was a lesson in both English and Chinese! Here are some examples:


“Anakin” is translated as “.gold,” “Allah gold,” and “the peaceful.” Haven’t figured those out.


Anakin: “What kind of nonsense is this, put me on the Council and not make me a Master?!”
Allah gold: “I was just made by the Presbyterian Church.”
Explanation: “Jedi Council” -> 基督教 – Jīdūjiào: “Christianity” -> “Presbyterian Church.”


In other contexts, “Jedi” is translated as “hopeless situation.” You know, “hopeless situation warrior,” “hopeless situation elder.” Here “Jedi” -> 绝态 – Juétài: “desperate; hopeless” + “condition; situation” -> “hopeless situation.”


General Grievous: “Ahhh, Jedi scum!”
Space general: “Smelly boy”

Some of them were clearly impossible:
Count Dooku: “Good. Twice the pride, double the fall.”
the D: “You are a sacrifice article that I cut up rough now”

Anakin: “I don’t need his [Palpatine’s] help . . . Our baby is a blessing, not a problem.”
Allah gold: “I do not need the child’s help. Our baby blesses god’sly.”


Here are some easy ones:
Obi-wan: “Hello there!”
ratio .tile: “Everybody is good”
Here it was likely translated as 大家好 – dàjiāhǎo: “hello everyone”, but 好 then became “is good.”

They also translated “Mustafar system” as “wood method star,” first phonetically using 木 for “Mu” and法 for “far” (out of order), and then reverse-phonetically pulling in 星 for “sta.”


Some harder ones—if you can figure them out, post a comment:
Padme -> “the plum of I”
C-3PO: “Is there anything I might do for you, my lady?”
Padme: “Yes, make sure all the security droids are working. Thank you, Threepio.”
-> “Lady, have what can I help of”
-> “Have no, thank, blow the skin.”


Obi-wan: “He is like my brother … I cannot do it.”
ratio .tile: “He the my brothers in elephant is similar”


Of course, the final “NOOOOOO!” of Darth Vader (west host) becomes “Do not want” in a classic manner.

You can see some more screenshots here, including ones with foul language, from the Finder: http://winterson.com/2009/01/episode-iii-backstroke-of-west-redux.html

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