Have you ever heard when people use foreign words, such as “feng shui” or “faux pas,” but they completely change the pronunciation to where you’re left wondering if they just made up a word? As a bilingual caption editor at Aberdeen, I come across this situation pretty often while working in multi-language projects.
Just picture a car infomercial in Spanish: Spanish-speaking people trying to sell you cars that have English, German, and sometimes even French names. I mean, “craisler taun an contri” might not really mean anything to you but when you look at the screen you can clearly see they are selling a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. More recently I started captioning a sports TV show in Spanish that follows the American Football games. At first I thought the challenge would be that I’m the farthest thing from a sports fan there is, but I found out that my challenge, once more, is the fact that the football teams and players use English pronunciations for their names, but the show is in Spanish. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a sports’ fan, but when the sports commentators throw in names like “Chan Li” or “Imarco Mur” at 500 words per minute, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely not “Sean Lee” or “DeMarco Murray.”
Despite these challenges, I enjoy working with these types of shows because I know that after thorough research, I’m able to present captions that even the biggest football fan will be able to enjoy. So the next time you stumble upon a Spanish-speaking show on TV, you might want to turn on that CC button and find out if the captions are selling you a “bosbaguen yi-ti-ai” or a “Volkswagen GTI.”