The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 25

author was purposely using
a joke that's not funny for a
reason. It's important for the
translator to pick up on that.

The Bigger Picture:
When It's Not Just
About the Text
Depending on the type of
humorous content you're
translating, you might be
faced with an additional

qué esa cara larga? " ) that
has the double meaning of
being sad and literally having
a face with long features.
However, if your target
language doesn't have such
an expression, you'll need to
transcreate something that's
funny that can be connected
in some way to the image of
a sad horse's face.

visual references tied to it.

Pause for Laughter:
Timing and Humor

This is particularly relevant

It's widely known that

in all forms of audiovisual

timing is the secret to

translation. As a translator

comedy. Punchlines are

specialized in video game

especially important

localization, I see this

when delivering a joke, so

consistently: something that's

translators must be attentive

supposed to be funny but also

to this. We've all seen this

has an image connected to it

problem countless times in

that can't be ignored.

subtitles, when the punchline

challenge: the audio and

In this situation, we

appears on the screen before

Preserving Humor
in the Target Language

matter-it's the difference
between lightning and a
lightning bug. " Finding the
right words to preserve
humor in the target language
is an art form and is a serious
business, indeed.

The difficulty of translating
a joke lies in the fact that
humor is an integral part of
the culture in which it was
created. Perhaps the most
difficult jokes to translate
are those that rely on puns,
wordplay, or cultural factors.
Think of jokes like:
*	 " I meant to look for my
missing watch, but I could
never find the time. "
*	 " I wondered why the
baseball was getting
bigger. Then it hit me. "
*	 " Why does Peter Pan fly all
the time? He Neverlands. "
*	 " What happened to the
guy who sued over his
missing luggage? " Answer:
" He lost his case. "

can't disassociate text from

the actor delivers it. This can

the visual and audio. For

be a letdown for the audience

example, we can't transcreate

because it's essentially

the difficult task, dare I say

a joke such as " Why the long

ruining the joke. Translators

the responsibility, of making

face? " when it's tied to an

must be especially sensitive

such jokes work for the

image of a horse's face. This

to subtleties in timing. It's

target audience.

could actually be translated

not just about what words

in a straightforward manner

we're choosing, but also

difference between the right

in Spanish, since we have

when they are shown or

word and the almost right

the same expression ( " ¿por

delivered that matters.

word is really a large

www.ata-chronicle.online

As translators, we have

As Mark Twain said, " The

Marina
Ilari, CT is the
administrator of
ATA's Translation
Company
Division. An ATA-certified
English>Spanish translator
with over 15 years of
experience in the translation
industry, she is an expert
in translation tools and
managing projects in English
and Spanish. She has worked
as a translator, editor, and
quality assurance specialist
for many companies around
the world with a special focus
on creative translations and
video game localization. She
is the chief executive officer
of Terra Translations and
co-host of the podcast about
translation, En Pantuflas.
marina@terratranslations.com

American Translators Association

25


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The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021

Contents
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 1
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 2
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - Contents
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 4
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 5
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 6
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 7
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 8
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 9
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 10
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 11
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 12
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 13
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 14
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 15
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 16
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 17
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 18
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 19
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 20
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 21
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 22
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 23
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 24
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 25
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 26
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 27
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 28
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 29
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 30
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 31
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 32
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 33
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The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 35
The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 36
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