Author Topic: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch  (Read 6817 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

killingtime23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« on: February 25, 2013, 10:38:07 am »
Hello Everyone, (or rather M'ath!)

I emailed David J. Peterson asking for resources to help translate a short comedy sketch into Dothraki. One, he emailed me back, which was awesome, and two, he suggested I join the forums and see if anyone was interested in helping me with the project.

I write comedy sketches with a small group in Los Angeles, and I decided to combine the Seinfeldian discussions of nothing with the unique Dothraki style of speech... and their rather divergent way of life compared to the trivial conversations often seen between George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer.

It's just a two page sketch and only the dialogue needs to be translated.  I started with the nouns, but conjugating verbs has proved to be difficult.

Would anyone be interested in helping?  Moreover, if anyone lives in the Los Angeles area and would like to come on set when we shoot it and be my language consultant, I would totally pay for your lunch.  (...yep, I'm poor, and it's super low budget..lol)

Thank you a ton, and let it be known my intention with this sketch is to please the true fans of both Seinfeld and Game of Thrones. I'm not concerned with what's the broadest comedy or how many hits it will get. 
It's fan art essentially.

-mark

(I attached the pdf, which is the script in English only)

Qvaak

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +29/-0
  • someone
    • View Profile
    • qvaak-dot-kuutikkaat
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 11:52:47 am »
Hello.

Half the world away from there, I'm not the one to come to LA, nor have I ever watched Seinfeld, but I'm always happy to help and puzzle some challenges, and this one is on the heavy-weight category as challenges go. As to whether it's possible to make the translation depends on the lot of things. If you want dialogue that sounds like plausible Dothraki speech and has something do do with the original, we can absolutely manage that. Making a text that is really the English script translated into plausibly grammatical and cultural Dothraki is much harder, of course. Take a look around here and see, how I comment on other translation attempts, and you'll notice at least I tend to see problems and questions everywhere.

Did you get any words from David? There are bunch that we need to dodge or invent, if not.
Is it OK to post dialogue discussion straight here on the forum or would you prefer more private channels?
Will the endproduct have English subtitles?

I bet you'll soon find that correctly declining nouns isn't much easier than conjugating verbs... :)
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

killingtime23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 12:06:20 pm »
Thanks for the response.

David just directed me here, but didn't discuss any translations. 

"Raptrimony" is just an attempt at a joke.  If we can find something similar, that'd be great.  Words like loincloth I just translated to khogar, which should be fine, as long as the callback joke at the end matches when Jerhum says "...and you wanted to be my loincloth salesman."  Not sure about "coin toss," "interference" and "premo."  Premo can just be premium or "fine," something to denote its superiority to other clothing.

Also I just guessed with creating names similar to Jerry and George.  Suggestions for changes to names are welcome.  And when I post this video I will be giving credit to the forums and all of your help, so thank you again.

It's totally okay to post dialogue discussions here.  And yes, the end product will have English subtitles and likely a homemade Dothraki laugh track with gruff, hearty laughter, pounding of a table, accessories jangling, etc.

thanks! :D


Qvaak

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +29/-0
  • someone
    • View Profile
    • qvaak-dot-kuutikkaat
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 12:35:17 pm »
Quote
Also I just guessed with creating names similar to Jerry and George.  Suggestions for changes to names are welcome.
We have rules for making regular Dothraki names (http://www.dothraki.com/2012/05/mahrazh-oma-chomokhoon/), so turning "Jerry" and "George" to Dothraki ortography and then male-namefying them gives us ~ Jerro ['d͡ʒe.ro] and Jorgo ['d͡ʒoɾ.go].

So let's try to tackle some problems and make some executive decisions. Looking at the first line
This loincloth has to go.
A big problem is already apparent. The dialogue is full of snappy idiomatic expressions ("has to go"). These don't translate easily. It's pretty safe bet, that Dothraki does not use the same expression, so we can
1) take a comedic licence and translate idioms literally, making the text funny gibberish, as far as Dothraki are concerned. In this way we at least get results. The line would be Jin khogar eth ee. ~ "This clothing must go"
2) deconstruct the idioms, resulting in much less snappy dialogue, but achieving sensible Dothraki that we might well also manage to produce. We don't seem to have any word for "discard", so the line would still be a bit hard, but something like Anha'th varanak jin khogar ~ "I will have to drop this clothing" might come close.
3) try to really puzzle out, how this thing might be expressed in the same snappy conversational fashion as in English. This is really hard and will inevitably demand a lot of speculative creations, so the result would probably be extramely iffy. The line might be, dunno - almost anything - say, something like Jin qemmoimon ethem alleye ~ "This belt-cover must be made lost"

A second, related but a lot fuzzier problem is made more apparent come the second line
It's the tearing
There's a terribly much in this conversation that must be read from implications; peculiar convetions on how to parse the text play a big role, and I don't think much of that is straightforwardly transferable. Unfortunately this is such deep stuff that we know nearly nothing about how Dothraki deal. I bet David has at least some general guidelines thought out. The options are pretty much the same as above, though. 1) Me athgendar ~ "It's the tearing" 2) perhaps Jini haji athgendaroon ~ "This is because of the tearing".

Also, puns are terrible to translate. Tearing + Velcro amounts in a bit of a meta pun, I guess, but that probably does not work as well in Dothraki, though perhaps isn't completely lost either.
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

Hrakkar

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 446
  • Karma: +24/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 12:48:48 pm »
I'm glad to see Qvaak is helping you with this. He is IMHO, the best person for doing this.

If I wasn't so crazy busy, I'd take a crack at this, as well.

Raptimony? Interesting.... Without looking at the script, this brings up visions of something like kolverkemo 'eaglemarry'.
Don't tell Khal Drogo I am here ;)

ingsve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: +9/-0
  • Student of the stars
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 03:08:27 pm »
One suggestion for "has to go" might be to use a variation on Es havazhaan basically means "get lost" or literally "go to the sea".

Jin khogar eth ee havazhaan.
"I just need to rest, that’s all, to rest and sleep some, and maybe die a little" – Samwell Tarly

killingtime23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 07:06:03 pm »
I really like Jerro and Jorgo as names. I've already changed them. 

For "loincloth has got to go," I think option 1 will work best for keeping somewhat true to the language, while allowing the actor to rattle off a Jerry Seinfeld-like intonation. The other options get too long and complicated.

And the same goes for "the tearing."  So again, I imagine option 1 is the best way to go forth.

Imagine you are watching a comedic parody of this sort.  Would you want the translation to be absolutely spot on perfect? Or would you appreciate the writer making the closest translation possible without over-complicating the dialogue? 

I'm comfortable with option 1, but do you think fans of Game of Thrones and Dothraki language enthusiasts, specifically, would be content with it?

Thanks again for the help thus far.




Qvaak

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +29/-0
  • someone
    • View Profile
    • qvaak-dot-kuutikkaat
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 06:29:46 am »
Quote
Imagine you are watching a comedic parody of this sort.  Would you want the translation to be absolutely spot on perfect? Or would you appreciate the writer making the closest translation possible without over-complicating the dialogue?
Dunno. My thought processess would be pretty multi-layered. Throw in well pronounced Dothraki lorem ipsum and I'm still damn impressed and entertained (though other factors may alter the entertainment value).

Quote
I'm comfortable with option 1, but do you think fans of Game of Thrones and Dothraki language enthusiasts, specifically, would be content with it?
I think that the audience that know enough to pick the problems in the translation is less than ten strong. Some linguists might ask hard questions and there might be some GoT/ASoIaF hard core fan that might cry foul, if you specifically told them about the compomises you allowed.
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

killingtime23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 06:58:29 pm »
Alright, well I hope to at least please those 10 in some capacity.

The producer has given me a shoot date of March 9th.

Is it possible to get the rest of the dialogue translated by then?  As I mentioned earlier, I did some very basic translation of nouns, but many words were not available in the Dothraki-English dictionaries I found online, so I'm missing a great deal.


Qvaak

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +29/-0
  • someone
    • View Profile
    • qvaak-dot-kuutikkaat
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 03:04:07 pm »
Whelp, I did some sort of translation run-trhough:

Nesas, anha laz fichak yeraan athjerar davra qisi loy khogari kherikhoon oqeti adavranaza. ~ Know, I can bring to you a good trading about some best sheep skin clothes.

Anha'sh aqorak haz athjerar ha yeroon. Vek anha athshilohilezaraan ma Irrisoon she ajjalan shilokhi. ~ Perhaps I will seize that trading from you. I *will go* to a sex-meeting with Irri on the night of tomorrow.

Yer jano! Fini qisi Jhiqui? ~ You dog. What about Jhiqui?

*some grunt* ~ eh.

Fini? Asti anhaan meyer vovvethi nhizoes maan save. ~ What? Say to me that you will fly her a raven again.

*some grunt* Me adakha chen hrazefoon ma qorasoon sindarine. ~ Eh. She eats horse's liver with (her) left hand.

Yer tokie. Jini disse m'anha vil ezak chiories fin azha anhaan aqqisolat mae k'athqorasokemari ~ You are crazy. This only, that I manage to find a womal who allows me to take her near marriage-rapingly.

*some grunt*, Fini yer nesi? ~ ahh, what do you know?

*some grunt*, Anha nesak. ~ Ohh, I know.

*some grunt*, Rekke fonikh ee. Yer zimeme anna. ~ ahhh, there the game goes. You distracted me.

*some grunt*, Anha vos afonak mae. ~ Well, I won't chase it.

Voj eth ta haz. ~ Person has to do that.

Acchorkat tolor? ~ To roll bones?

Sek. ~ Fine.

Hazi ojila. Athzinakher. ~ That is incorrect. Malstop.

Yer vos ast athzinakheri. ~ You didn't say about malstop.

Finak asta athzinakheri qisi athacchokar tolorri? Me assokh ven ershe ven Mai Krazaaji. ~ Who says about malstop about throwing of bones? It's an instruction as old as Mother of Mountains.

Vosecchi. Yer vos ast mae. ~ No. You didn't say it.

Sek, sek. Anha afonak mae, vosma athacchokar tolorri nem ogach. ~ Fine, fine. I'll hunt it, but the throw of bones was unsolved.

Vezhof ish akkelena k'athesinazari. ~ The Great Stallion might judge differently.

Ma yer zal meyer jerak khogari ha anhaan. ~ And you wanted to be a clothes merchant for me.



It's mostly on the "dumbed down" literal translation track we more or less decided to take, but I guess I ended up a bit all over the place. And since it's done almost at once, there are bound to be some straight out errors. Still, it's something, and if anyone wants to make it better, there's still a bit of time. I think more important than getting a pitch perfect text is to read it well. The above is certainly close enough that it should sound perfectly Dothraki, if read right. Have you read about pronunciation of the letters (http://wiki.dothraki.org/dothraki/Phonology#Standard_Ortography) or stress (http://wiki.dothraki.org/dothraki/Phonotactics#Stress) or listened to sound sources (http://wiki.dothraki.org/dothraki/Audio_sources)?

I think I can throw the stress marks in (just not today), but the full IPA I probably can't do, let alone a recorded read through. ...and my pronunciation wouldn't be any good anyway and your actors probably don't read IPA either.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 07:45:30 am by ingsve »
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

ingsve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: +9/-0
  • Student of the stars
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 07:49:28 am »
I could do a recording of it if you like.
"I just need to rest, that’s all, to rest and sleep some, and maybe die a little" – Samwell Tarly

ingsve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: +9/-0
  • Student of the stars
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 08:12:24 am »
The only parts I would change would be to use the ki "NN" construction for saying malstop rather than the topic verb class. So:

Yer vos ast ki "athzinakher".

Finak asta ki "athzinakher" qisi athacchokar tolorri?
"I just need to rest, that’s all, to rest and sleep some, and maybe die a little" – Samwell Tarly

Qvaak

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
  • Karma: +29/-0
  • someone
    • View Profile
    • qvaak-dot-kuutikkaat
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 08:40:07 am »
Quote
I could do a recording of it if you like.
I for one would appreciate that  :D

Quote
The only parts I would change would be to use the ki "NN" construction for saying malstop rather than the topic verb class. So:

Yer vos ast ki "athzinakher".

Finak asta ki "athzinakher" qisi athacchokar tolorri?
We might have an interpretation difference. I took "You didn't call interference." to mean "You didn't demand the interference rule to apply before we threw the coin." It looks to me Jorgo actually calls "interference" as it happens, but that's not good enough for Jerro, and the fight isn't about if Jorgo said it too late.
The original English text isn't too easy to follow. I'm still a bit unsure, if I really get the "It's the <i>tearing</i>," or if I my reading of a "bedding date" as a jokular made-up term is right.
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

ingsve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: +9/-0
  • Student of the stars
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2013, 09:28:19 am »
Quote
I could do a recording of it if you like.
I for one would appreciate that  :D

Quote
The only parts I would change would be to use the ki "NN" construction for saying malstop rather than the topic verb class. So:

Yer vos ast ki "athzinakher".

Finak asta ki "athzinakher" qisi athacchokar tolorri?
We might have an interpretation difference. I took "You didn't call interference." to mean "You didn't demand the interference rule to apply before we threw the coin." It looks to me Jorgo actually calls "interference" as it happens, but that's not good enough for Jerro, and the fight isn't about if Jorgo said it too late.
The original English text isn't too easy to follow. I'm still a bit unsure, if I really get the "It's the <i>tearing</i>," or if I my reading of a "bedding date" as a jokular made-up term is right.

Ah yes, I see what you mean.
"I just need to rest, that’s all, to rest and sleep some, and maybe die a little" – Samwell Tarly

killingtime23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dothraki Fan
    • View Profile
Re: Translating a short (Seinfeld-Dothraki) comedy sketch
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2013, 06:31:35 pm »
This is all very helpful.

And a recording of the proper pronunciation would rule!!  Although I will consult the aforementioned resources as well.

As far as the coin toss goes, when kids bicker (and Jerry and George often act like kids in Seinfeld) they'll say you have to call a rule at the beginning of a game. Otherwise, everything goes.

But this brings up a good point.  Would rolling of bones or dice be more appropriate for the Dothraki rather than flipping  a coin? If so, I'm cool with changing that. (As long as there's a way for there to be a concise winner whereby the interference of the dice/bones hitting the rock would screw it up.)  As it is, I forgot to have Jorgo say "heads" or "tails" after he responds with "Fine" after Jerro offers to "Flip a coin?"

And yes, bedding date was just a term I made up to basically mean sex date. This whole line comes out pretty long. Is there any way to potentially simplify it?

"It's the tearing" was a whiny complaint uttered by Jerry's father said about Velcro. I figured Jerry or Jerro in this world would possibly have the same issue/complaint.

And I'm sort of confused in regards to the word 'malstop.'  Is this a term for 'interference' or rules?

Quote
Nesas, anha laz fichak yeraan athjerar davra qisi loy khogari kherikhoon oqeti adavranaza. ~ Know, I can bring to you a good trading about some best sheep skin clothes.

Lastly, is it possible to simplify the above line?

Again, thanks a million. This is great.