Sunday, February 27, 2011

baejjang = cran = grit

Na Suho vindicated:

Why we haven't started a French/English/Korean translation service is beyond me.

(Folks who are not Charles: see comment thread here to understand what's going on in this post.)

NB: The Korean subtitling under Mattie Ross seems to be saying "They say you've got a lot of grit" as opposed to "They tell me you're a man with true grit." The French rendering, "On m'a dit que vous aviez du cran," also loses something in the translation: "They told me you had grit." Maybe there's something strange, to the French ear, about saying "du vrai cran" as opposed to "du cran." All in all, I feel the Korean subtitle is more faithful in spirit to the English than the French rendering is.



Charles said...

Well look at that. I didn't even think to check the Korean trailer. And I'm glad you got a screenshot of the crucial moment, as my retarded phone cannot take photos (just the way I like it).

배짱이 두둑하다 is indeed generally translated as having "a lot of grit/guts." It's a typical Korean collocation. Being the stickler for subtlety that I am, I might be inclined to consider "have plenty of grit" as an alternative, drawing on the subtle distinction between a simple quantitative measurement and sufficiency.

My command of French is not nearly good enough to comment on how well the French version does in conveying the English sense, but I can say that the Korean is a decent effort, and probably the best translation all things considered (i.e., how it sounds to the Korean ear). The problem is that, as in the French, we're missing the "true" (there's that pesky truth again) from "true grit." It's one thing to say that someone has a lot or plenty of grit, but it's another to say that they have "true grit." We're not commenting on quantity or even sufficiency here, but quality.

The question, of course, is whether or not a more "accurate" translation would be as natural, and I suspect it wouldn't. For starters, you can't say something like 진정한 배짱, and even 진짜 배짱 (as I think I posited in the first comment thread on this) is weird. The first thing that pops into my head in terms of making sense is, amusingly enough: 배짱이 장난 아니다. The problem there is that this seems a bit light compared to the weightiness and... well, grittiness of "true grit." So even though 배짱이 두둑하다 might not capture everything from the original, it's probably the best option considering the medium.

"Why we haven't started a French/English/Korean translation service is beyond me."

Indeed. Although, if we could figure out a way to get people to pay us to sit around and write page upon page about translation subtleties and issues, we'd never have to work again.

(Word verification: pasto

I got nothin' here, but I cannot help pronouncing this like those people who pronounce "pasta" as "pæst ɐ")

Kevin Kim said...

I'm not sure why, but your comment somehow ended up in Blogger's spam folder. On other, non-Blogger blogs, this normally happens if the commenter has tried to add a link inside the comment, but Blogger-- as far as I know-- doesn't normally care about that. So something else triggered the shunt into spam hell, and I don't know what it might be.

(Not that you'd have known any of this had I said nothing.)

I like "배짱이 장난 아니다," by the way. As for this:

"The question, of course, is whether or not a more "accurate" translation would be as natural..."

I think the same applies to the French, which is why we don't see "du vrai cran." That phrase, when Googled with quotation marks, produces only 30 results. It's a phrase that pops up merely as an explanation for the English locution, not as something the French naturally say.

hahnak said...

i also like "배짱이 장난 아니다". but im not a native speaker... (maybe that says something too?)

Kevin Kim said...

Your blog makes me hungry, Hahna.

Charles said...

HJ went and saw it last night, and we both really enjoyed it. The acting was superb on all counts, and the dialogue was classic Coen Brothers. I don't think most of the audience really got most of the dialogue, as there is something about it that just cannot be translated. I mean, yes, you can get the message across, but to truly capture the writing is, I believe, an impossible task. The best you can do is come as close as you can and hope that the rest comes through in the interaction of subtitles with the actors' performances.

At any rate, I thought it was a great film, and enjoyed it immensely. And now I will admit that I have only just read your review in detail now--I kind of skimmed over it originally because I was planning on seeing it. My reaction pretty much mirrors yours, and I agree with you about the "shot/killt" line.

I did not even recognize Barry Pepper as Ned Pepper. Excellent acting there as well. In fact, I wonder if that was why Brolin's performance stood out. Like you, it didn't bother me as much as Dr. Steve, but if I had to pick a weak link in the cast it would be Brolin--only because everyone else was fantastic.

Did you see "The Fighter," by the way? The actress in that won the Oscar for best supporting actress, and I was curious how her performance compared to what I thought was a phenomenal turn from Steinfeld (who apparently is the same age as Mattie Ross--amazing).

hahnak said...

kevin- ha. basically what you used to see on fb. but i certainly wouldnt call it a "blog".

Kevin Kim said...


I haven't seen "The Fighter" or any other recent release aside from "True Grit," but yeah, I heard that that actress (Amy Adams?) was quite good.

Steinfeld was easily Oscar caliber, so it was good to see that she had at least been nominated.

"I don't think most of the audience really got most of the dialogue, as there is something about it that just cannot be translated."

I agree. Line deliveries are dripping with cultural significance. I sometimes wonder how much I was missing while watching "The Great Queen Seon Deok."


Well, please keep them pics a-comin'. I can't stop staring, and one day I'm probably going to eat my monitor. BECAUSE OF YOU!

Charles said...

Ah, I forgot to mention that I did pick up a pamphlet at the cinema. Most of it is effusive praise for the film and stars (which, despite being a natural part of the marketing, does not strike me as overstated in any way), but there is a phrase included twice on the pamphlet that seems to be an attempt at translating the original title: 진정한 용기. It appears twice, once on the front of the pamphlet as the tagline (which is actually visible in the image above, I just noticed... derp):

그들이 보여준 젓은 복수가 아니라 진정한 용기였다!

And once in the blurb under Mattie's entry in the cast and characters section on the back:

...헤일리 스타인펠드는 아버지의 원수를 찾아 나서는 '매티'를 연기해 '진정한 용기'를 보여줄 예정이다.

It seems pretty apparent that this is in fact the intended equivalent for "true grit." Even though I don't think 용기 quite captures the full gamut of meaning in grit, it strikes me as a fairly reasonable (or at least understandable) rendering. It also helps explain in part why they decided to go with "더 브레이브," although it doesn't really explain why they didn't just go with "진정한 용기" or "트루 그리트."

Anyway, I think this horse is sufficiently dead now. (Poor Little Blackie! *sniff* That was heartbreaking.)

Now, two days after seeing the film, I know that this is one I will want to see again, just to bask in it.