Thursday, August 26, 2010

The five stupidest ways movies and TV deal with foreign languages
From Cracked

‘Star Trek’ only whipped out the universal-translator mike once in the original show; most of the time everybody just spoke English.

To be fair to Red October (entertaining book) it handled this well, having the actors try to speak Russian at first (like the jokey beginning of Mel Brooks’ remake of To Be or Not to Be: ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ in Polish), then the camera zooms in on somebody’s mouth and when it zooms back out everything is in English for our benefit (like the reason you don’t put on Chekhov with Russian accents; the characters would be speaking the same language anyway so it would only be a distraction). Then when the American submariners and spies board the Russian sub, the crew ещё раз говорят по-русски: a hatch opens and a sailor yells to the strangers, ‘Сюда!’ (‘Over here!’)

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