November 14, 2003

Lost in Translation

My little boy is six years old, and heavily into Pokemon. The show, the cards, and made-up games; a day won't go by without some discussion of what evolves into what.

We don't currently have cable TV, but I still have some tapes I made of Saturday morning "Kids' WB" from a few years back, including, of course, Pokemon episodes. In addition, I've been collecting the fansubs of the currently-airing Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation, and watching those with Owen on the computer. (We've previously watched Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar and Angelic Layer and Earth Defense Force Mao-chan, as well.)

Team Rocket winds up with a Pokemon named "Sonansu", which is named "Wobbuffet" in the English version. The thing is, "So nan 'su" is a slangy way of saying "Sou nan desu," which means "that's the way it is." In the show, Sonansu constantly pops up after one of Team Rocket's pronouncements and echoes, "So nan 'su!" -- but in English, the same Pokemon echoing "Wobbuffet!" makes no sense.

I have to think (or hope) that if whoever was in charge of changing (or not changing -- I think the decision to retain Pikachu's name and voice acting was critical to the show's success) the Pokemon names for the English version had known ahead of time of this one's role, he or she would have picked "Yubetcha" or "Yahdatzit" for the name...

Posted by elthar at November 14, 2003 08:51 PM


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