Subtitling is a delicate art, as I’ve mentioned before. It takes time, skill and an appreciation of language – at least two languages, in fact.
Amazon is currently trying to keep pace with Canal+ (France)’s airing schedule for the second season of Baron Noir. Kudos to them for trying. Still, at two episodes a week, I’m wondering if that’s too much for whomever they’re got as a translator*.
It started out fine. But as I noted when discussing the third episode this morning, since then it’s all gone to pot. Watching episode four, I’m finding words are missing, there are mistranslations, tenses are wrong, expressions are used incorrectly and more. There are no attempts a lot of the time to render certain useful terms into English: it might take the casual viewer a little time to work out what FN and SP/PS (they’re used interchangeably in the subtitles) are, for example – they’re the National Front and the Socialist Party respectively.
A lot of the time, the subtitles simply don’t make sense.
You can see there that someone doesn’t know that depuis in French doesn’t work like for/since in English. That’s GCSE level that is.
Similarly, tenses go a bit wild here, for example.
I reckon at least 10% of the subtitles have mistakes and about a third of those mistakes render them incomprehensible. It’s a shame because this season is a right cracker, too.
Not that Roku seems to want to let me watch all of it:
Who needs episodes 3 and 4, hey? Go straight to 5! (We can spoiler that for you, too, BTW)
Right back to my web browser for the rest of episode 4…
*UPDATE: A quick perusal of the credits for seasons 1 and 2 reveals that the contract has gone from TitraFilm Paris, where one Holly Diener did the subtitling, to VDM, whose shonky home page should give you a further idea of how good their English is. Amazon – rehire TitraFilm and Holly!