I mentioned it in one of my earlier posts on this blog and it has become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine: dubbing.
Dubbing is described as
“the post-production process of recording and replacing voices on a motion picture or television soundtrack subsequent to the original shooting […]. The term most commonly refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen by those of different performers, who may be speaking a different language. […]
Foreign-language films, videos and sometimes video games are often dubbed into the local language of their target markets to increase their popularity with the local audience by making them more accessible” (from Wikipedia)
Most of my English speaking readers, you probably won’t understand what the big deal is, because you don’t do dubbing in this country. Which, I would like to emphasize, is very smart (for the most part). You use subtitles.
Germans are lazy and to read subtitles is strenuous, so somebody decided that it would be a good idea to dub movies. Did you know that Germany is the effin’ capital of dubbing in Europe? It’s embarrassing, really.
“Dubbing films has been and is still tradition and common practice in the German speaking area since subtitles are not accepted and used as much as in other European countries. According to a European study, Austria is the country with the highest rejection with regard to using subtitles, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany.”
In Germany, Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland, practically all films, shows, television series and foreign soap operas are shown in dubbed versions created for the German market. (from Wikipedia)
Oh, it irritates me like nobody’s business. I mean, just imagine, when I came to the US and watched a lot of movies that I had previously seen dubbed in German and finally heard the original voices of some of the actors, I felt like “Uh, ah, cover your ears, this sounds terrible” only realizing a minute later that those were, in fact, the actors’ real voices and that I had completely different voices associated with the actors and actresses. It’s quiet disturbing to be honest, but I guess the following explains it:
“Famous foreign actors are known and recognized for their German voice and the German audience is used to them, so dubbing is also a matter of authenticity.” (from Wikipedia)
What bothers me though is that the German voices often don’t resemble the original voices of the actors/actresses. I give you a (really bad!) example.
As some of you might now, I am a big Sex and the City fan. I’ve only started watching it when I came to the US (and I have watched all seasons, some of them more than once!) and therefore only know the original voices of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.
I know, SATC is not everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that. I still was very surprised when I talked to a friend in Germany, who told me that she really had no idea why I liked this series, that she found it to be horrible and annoying.
Later I found out the (possible) reason for her distaste and here is why: the dubbed German version is absolutely appalling. Not only is the translation of the dialogs really bad, but the dubbing companies didn’t even bother to try and find anybody whose voices would resemble those of the girls’.
Carrie’s original voice for example is pretty unique and kind of rough. Her German counterpart is high pitch and squeaky and absolutely annoying to listen to. I cannot for the life of me understand who in the world was responsible for giving Sarah Jessica Parker this squeaky German voice. Miranda’s voice is totally off as well. No wonder people are turned off by it.
Besides that, another thing that just simply sucks about dubbing is how much content is lost between the two languages. Yes, fine, I understand that there is no one-to-one translation for a lot of things and with dubbing, you also have to deal with limited time frames to match the lip movements with the substituted voice. But for heaven’s sake, do a better job already or don’t do it at all.
(The same applies to the reserve process as well – even though foreign films are usually not dubbed here, only subtitled, the subtitles are sometimes really really bad translations from the original. Even J has noticed that before when we were watching a German movie and the subtitles didn’t quite measure up to what was actually said/conveyed in the scene.)
But then, I also read that …
German dubbed versions sometimes diverge greatly from the original, especially adding humorous elements to the original. In extreme cases, like The Persuaders!, the dubbed version was more successful than the English original. Often it also adds sexually explicit gags the U.S. versions might not be allowed to use, like in Bewitched, translating “The Do-not-disturb sign will hang at the door tonight” to “The only hanging thing tonight will be the Do-not-disturb sign”. (from Wikipedia)
I guess there can be an upside to everything after all :)
This morning I was hit with one of the meanest headaches that I’ve ever had – a side effect of a certain female monthly event that hits me every once in a while (sorry for the TMI).
It felt like I had some screws being tightened on my brain, making it ready to pop. Pair that with some abdominal cramps, backache, and heaviness of the legs and you’ll understand why I was ready to pull the blanket over my head and just sleep the day away.
I called emailed in sick.
I never call in sick. I mean, you just cannot call in sick for a effin’ headache in this country. I am really not an oversensitive person and I do believe that sometimes you should just get over yourself and go to work. However, it’s kind of disturbing to me that for example in spite of a back injury, my boss has been coming to work on painkillers for the last, .. oh just 10 months or so.
And I am staying home with ‘just’ a headache (and some minor other pains). What’s wrong with me?
No, actually, I seriously ask you: What’s wrong with you?
Why are you coming to work when you should be staying home, letting heal whatever needs healing?
I can’t for the live of me understand why being sick is – obviously – considered something that you can “plan in advance” (what with the numbered sick days per year).
It strikes me – and my European mind – as odd that people that are sick or not feeling well are not encouraged to fully recover before they come back to work.
I seriously contemplated a) if I should just get over it and go to work and b) if this was a legitimate reason to stay at home. This is what a few years in this country will do to you.
Then my European part of the brain took over and told me: Hell yes, this is a reason to stay home. How productive do you think you’re going to be today? Are you going to waste your employer’s time and money by showing up at work feeling completely miserable and achieving close to nothing during this work day? You don’t have many days off as it is (ok, I had yesterday off and that was nice, but I was planning to make up for it by working tomorrow, which I’m still planning to do! And anyway, who could have known that I was going to feel so horrible today – as aforementioned, you can’t plan when you’re going to feel sick), so just take this day for yourself and get some rest.
Believe me, I am the last person on this planet that would call (pre)menstrual symptoms a sickness, but I dare all of you who never had (P)MS to ridicule the pain and agony that can go along with the monthly hormonal changes.
I just couldn’t go to work today. And I shouldn’t feel bad for staying at home. I honestly think my boss should stay at home, too. His back will only get better if he gives it some rest (and maybe some physical therapy), not if he moves around all day just masking the pain with the painkillers.
Don’t you agree?
In Germany, you can take up to 6 weeks (that is, 30 days) of sick time per year, before your salary is being impacted (not cut!). This means you’ll be paid your full salary for the 6 weeks that you’re sick. Your health insurance picks up 70% of your salary, if you’re sick for longer than the 6 weeks.
I mean, seriously. What a relief. This alone makes me want to move back to Germany immediately. The last thing you want (or should) worry about when you’re seriously sick (besides getting well) is how you’re going to pay for rent, food, and such, let alone the medical bills that will inevitably pile up in your mailbox.
I am sorry, I am going off on a tangent here (and as you might have guessed, I could write about my bother with the US health care system all day)… how did I get here again? Oh yes, my (P)MS… my “petty” splitting headache.
I am feeling slightly better by now, thanks for asking.
I just know, I needed this day off and I won’t let anybody tell me that I can’t stay at home when I feel miserable like that. Period.
The day of travel was a little chaotic, to say the least.
My Dad took me to Düsseldorf airport around 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday and when we arrived, there were LONG (and I mean, really long!) lines at the Lufthansa Check-Ins.
I was able to check in my luggage and then said a quick goodbye to my Dad. (Thank God my sister didn’t come to the airport, that would have been a disaster because she ALWAYS starts crying and then I start crying, too, and then my Mom can’t hold back the tears either. It’s a rather wet matter). I made it through security only to hang around the gate for over an hour.
Lufthansa had a worldwide computer system failure and everything had to be done manually (can you imagine?). Needless to say, my plane was late and I landed in Frankfurt right around the time the flight to Houston was supposed to take off. Luckily, because of the system failure, the flight was delayed as well and I made it to the different terminal in time to board. Mind you, I was soaked in sweat when I arrived at the gate, but who cares to sit next to me for the next 10 hours, right?
Then, the next bummer: because of the system failure, every passenger had to identify their luggage before it could be loaded on the plane, but my luggage (a suitcase and a sports bag) wasn’t there. I was the only one on the platform eventually waiting for my luggage and by the time I boarded the plane, my luggage still hadn’t turned up.
I learned that it was possible held up when it was being transferred from the DUS-FRA flight to the FRA-IAD flight and that I should complain to Lufthansa if my luggage isn’t there once I get to Houston (IAD).
The flight was long and at least I got lucky and could switch seats, so that I had an extra free seat next to me. I tried to sleep as much as I could. The meals were also pretty decent – considering that airplane food is never something to write home about. I had Nürnberger Rostbratwürstchen with Sauerkraut und mashed potatoes for dinner and Beef Geschnetzeltes with rice and zucchini shortly before we landed, and both dishes weren’t bad at all.
When I got to Houston (with a 2 hour delay) my luggage was indeed not on the plane. Bummer! I also had missed my connecting flights to Sacramento, so I went over to the Lufthansa counter and was told that they had rebooked me already. On the same flight FOR THE NEXT DAY!
Waaaah! I didn’t have my luggage and they were going to put me in a hotel for about 24 hours? No way! I told them that I really wanted to go home and that they’d better find a seat on another plane for me.
Eventually, they were able to rebook me on a Continental flight (thank God!) for 8 p.m., but they couldn’t give me any information about the whereabouts of my luggage.
I got into Sacramento around 11 p.m. and an impatient hubby was awaiting me already. Thankfully, I was “only” 2,5 hours delayed from my originally anticipated arrival.
We went to the Lost & Found Center to let them know that my luggage got left behind and to arrange delivery for once the bags got there and then all I wanted was to go home and fall into my own bed.
I need to mention that Houston gets “two thumbs up” for a very good airport experience.
I’ve gone through many, many airports on my back-and-forth travel to Germany and I have rarely had such a good impression of an airport. The personnel was very friendly (although I am still not sure why the immigration officer a) didn’t crack a joke about my last name (they always do!) and b) asked me so many unnecessary questions) and what impressed me the most was that drinks and food were not – against all expectations – outrageously overpriced.
I paid $1.61 for a 20oz bottle of soda and $3.25 for a big serving of Chow Mein at Panda Express.
I mean, seriously, name one airport where you can have dinner for under $5!
All that was missing was the free Wi-fi! :)
I had originally planned to go to work again on Thursday, but for obvious reasons (getting home very late, no luggage, being exhausted), I decided to stay home and recuperate.
Luckily, I received a phone call in the a.m.’s letting me know that my luggage was on route and that it was going to be delivered in the evening.
I received my bags shortly before I was about to go to bed and, thank God!, it looked like customs/immigration didn’t even inspect my “single traveling” bags and the goodies that I brought back from Germany were all there :)
Wow, and now I’ve been back home for a whole week again already.
I came across this article in the New York Times this morning and I wondered: Why is nudity, even of children, such a big deal in the US?
Let’s all remember Janet Jackson’s little “wardrobe malfunction” (or whatever it was) at the 2004 Superbowl Halftime Show and the public outcry that followed, shall we? I am thinking: RIDICULOUS. Don’t have people more important things to do and talk about than a little boob flash on TV?
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell commented following the incident “We all as a society have a responsibility as to what the images and messages our children hear when they’re likely to be watching television.”
But I seriously ask you, what harm do you think could this 9/16th of a second of breast exposure have done to a child? I am not even sure a kid would have necessarily noticed or thought much of it, if it hadn’t been for the parents and/or media that completely freaked the *eff* out.
I honestly believe that the hype that surrounded this incident had a much bigger impact on children than the incident itself. I for one found the whole story slightly amusing and not at all “outrageous” or “a sign of decreasing morality in the national culture”. Why is nudity in public such a HUGE issue? Or was it the sexual implication that went along with the boob flash? I mean, come on. What about the suggestive moves and the very explicit lyrics? Isn’t that much worse than a little bit of extra skin?
Comparing nudity and sexuality is like comparing apples and oranges. They are two completely different things. To come full circle, I know, you might be wondering what the boob flash incident has to do with kids running around naked.
It has nothing and everything to do with it.
To kids things are only a “big deal” if adults make them a big deal. If someone has a problem with seeing young children running around naked, it makes me think that they have a hang-up of some sort. There is nothing wrong with kids being naked and for God’s sake, please don’t make it anything sexual. It is not. Even when kids touch themselves or other kids, it’s totally natural up to a certain age (it’s called natural development)… unless adults make it out to be something else (and that’s where all the distorted sexual ideas in children and teens come from, IMHO).
In Germany, nudity is not a big issue. My parents let me run around naked at the beach, in the backyard and at home until I was maybe 4-5 years old, topless until I was maybe 10. After all, I didn’t have any breasts back then. And, at the risk of making your jaws drop, I’ve always got to see my parents naked as well. I mean, to heck with it, I still see them naked occasionally. In case you fear my family is a bunch of hippies and we all hang out naked when we get together, that is not the case :)
But when I visit home and they happen to get out of the shower in the morning – well, let’s just say they don’t wear bathing suits or shorts to shower.
Also, there is nothing “immoral” about seeing you parents naked after the age of 5 or being seen by them.
It is also very normal that women (and guys, respectively) shower in a communal shower area after working out. After all, there is nothing to see that one hasn’t seen before ;)
I know that I can only speak for myself and about how things were done in my family, but I do believe that kids that grow up accepting nudity as something natural, which you don’t have to be ashamed about, are much more relaxed and comfortable with themselves and others. And Janet Jackson’s boob flash wouldn’t raise much more than an amused eyebrow with them (as it did with most Europeans when the incident was broadcasted a day after it happened).
Most people were actually thinking “‘What’s all the fuss about over there”?
I am sure you’ve heard it on the News. It’s really something that you couldn’t avoid hearing about these last few days.
Can Barack Obama keep his blackberry or does he have to surrender it?
They cannot seriously make that an issue for people to discuss on the radio. Or can they?
I am so confused.
Why in the world would he have to give up his personal cell phone? If one president needs it, then it’s him.
I’ve heard he wants a desktop computer in the Oval Office as well.
More power to you, Barack!
Security issues? Oh pluh-ease!
I am pretty sure the Secret Service and CIA have the technology to make those kinds of communication safe. At least, for the president of the US of A, if not for anybody else.
Sometimes I really wonder if they don’t have more important things to talk about. Well, I guess, I am a hypocrite, because I am talking about it on my blog, but to be honest, I really did not have anything else to write about for today.
I’ll promise I’ll be more entertaining tomorrow!
I really, really don’t want to point fingers or even make generalizations, but to be honest, it’s a miracle that I have not been involved in an accident yet.
So far I was convincedÂ that bad drivers are my worst enemies on the street. They don’t use their turn signals, slam on their breaks, can’t make up their minds where they want to go and change directions in the last minute or drive nonchalantly through a red light through an intersection with afternoon rush-hour traffic. I live on a one-way street and I have even witnessedÂ the occasional driver turning rightÂ into the one-way street against oncoming traffic. Really, I’ve seen it all. More often than I wish I had.
Even worse than drivers in the other cars though: Bicyclists.
Now, I have to make a distinction here between the ‘serious bicyclist’, who is professionally equipped and dressed in sports gear, helmet and such, and who usually knows the rules,Â and the “leisure bicyclist’, who rides a cruiser bike which in most cases is not even roadworthy. Those are the worst.
As a reminder: I come from a country where bike training was required in elementary school, where we had to pass a test to be certified as “roadworthy bicyclists” (not that anybody would ever ask you about it, but whatever – although police will stop you if you ride your bike unsafely) and where we learned how to signal correctly, how to read street signs (yes! they also apply to people on bikes!) and which side of the street to ride on.
That does NOT seem to be the case in the US.
People don’t stop for red lights, they ride on the wrong side of the street against the traffic (ha! consider riding on the sidewalk a trifle now!), they don’t give hand signals or any other indication of where they’re going and are generally unpredictable. And don’t even get me started onÂ the non-existing head- and tail-lights (which pairs up nicely, or not!, withÂ almost non-existing street lights,Â which equals “no chance whatsoeverÂ ofÂ being able to seeÂ a bicyclist at night”).
I alsoÂ find it quite the challenge to pass a person on a bike without running the risk of hitting him or being hit by him.
Maybe I am a little bit overreacting. Just maybe.Â After all, I haven’t been involved in an accident. Yet.
But even if you didn’t have the proper bike education in school (which I guess can simply not be assumed everywhere in the world), what about being a little ‘street smart’ here? Just a little.
So, I have kind of an odd question for you: what language do you speak when you’re around other Germans?
Your answer is probably going to be: German. Duh!
But this is a serious question and I’ll tell you why.
It has happened to me several times that when I encounter other Germans at work or elsewhere [as always – the exception proves the rule!], it feels like in no case whatsoever do they want to speak German with me.
I understand that just out of being polite, we keep conversing in English when non-German speakers are around and I always do that, but I can’t understand for the life of me why some people stubbornly keep speaking English with me, when a) they know that I am German, b) I address them in German and c) there is nobody else around.
Do they think “Well, we’re in the US, therefore we should speak English at all times”? Do they believe that they’re “cool” if they exclusively speak English no matter what? Are they so used to speaking English all day that they’re unable to switch back to German when the situation calls for it? Or is this personality-related and they don’t even think about it twice?
I am at a loss here. I personally find it a tiny bit awkward to speak English with someone who shares my mother tongue. I know we do it online all the time, but that’s different, because it’s meant to be for a broader audience to read and understand and therefore we picked one “common” language for the WWW.
But when you meet another German in person, don’t you instantly feel a connection? Doesn’t saying a few things in German to each other just feel good? [At least for me, it does].
I am really curious about your experiences and insights into this strange phenomenon. Maybe it’s just my “bad luck” with some people and they don’t want to feel connected with me ;)