Subtitles

Hey! That's Not Funny!

One of my first experiences with translating humor came in a college class when a professor took dialogue from The Simpsons and put it into an electronic translator from English to Spanish. The results were hilarious, but not because the Spanish captured the carefully-crafted wittiness of the original. Quite the opposite: the phrases were laughable because they made no sense.

Clearly, using a machine is no way to translate movie subtitles or dialogue, but how hard can it really be for a human? It's not exactly rocket science, right? Actually, it may be more complicated.

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