Special Sub-Topic: US TV Series Lost in Hebrew Translation
|"Cases in the Dark"?|
The X-Files. Officially "The X-Files" is a Canadian series but the fact that its production is American-Canadian allowed its entrance to this quiz.
The origin of this translation probably deserves its own "X-Files" episode. I mean, I could have tried to explain it to you, but the truth is way out there in this case.
The wrong options of this question received a decent Hebrew translation.
|"Over Taste and Over Smell"?|
Diff'rent Strokes. This one has some logic behind it. The translation is part of a Hebrew proverb which has a similar meaning to the original name.
"King of Queens" was translated "King of the Neighborhood" so as not to bother the natives neither with the name of the NY borough nor with the king/queen word game.
|The Hebrew name of "Queer As Folk" omits the reference to the homosexual community.|
f. Mainly due to their similar sound, the word "gay" was hebraized to "ge'eh" (which is Hebrew for "proud"). The Hebrew plural is "Ge'im".
So "Queer As Folk" became "Hakhi Ge'im SheYesh" which literally means "Proud As Can Be", or figuratively "Queer As Can Be".
|"A Voyage Between the Stars"?|
Star Trek. In early TV days the tendency was to stay as close as possible to the original, yet minimizing usage of non-Hebrew words. You will see how that changed as this quiz goes by.
I have no doubt in my mind that if the original "Star Trek" was made in recent years they would simply call it here "Star Trek", but in order to stick with the original translation all the "Star Trek" sequel series kept the original Hebrew name (plus the translated sequel name).
|"Detectives At Night"?|
Moonlighting. A rare case of common sense. The English name involves a slang term which does not exist in Hebrew. So the translated name lifts off from the literal nocturnal part ("moon") and lands at "night" which is not far-fetched. "Detectives At Night" ("Balashim BaLaila") is also a local pun on the Hebrew slang "Khakhamim BaLaila" ("Smart At Night") which refers to people who are not the sharpest pencils in the drawer.
Series which include names were usually left as is throughout the years. The wrong options are three such examples.
|"Birds Die In Hiding"?|
The Thorn Birds. The TV guys did not have much options in this case. As a matter of fact they have a good excuse as the dirty job was already done by the Hebrew translator of the book.
"The Thorn Birds" was broadcast on ABC in 1983 and was at the time the second highest rated mini-series ever (after "Roots"). In 1996 ABC broadcast a sequel which failed to provoke public interest.
|"Blues for the Men in Blue Uniform"?|
Hill Street Blues. Lost in translation all the way through. A classic case. They omitted the locale, and, as if to compensate, over-translated the "Blues" part.
"The Blue and the Gray" was literally translated.
"NYPD Blue" was simply called "NYPD" here.
"Pacific Blue" was left as is.
|"Encounters of the Personal Kind"?|
3rd Rock from the Sun. I hope you got it right. The number 3 should have helped. This is a very clever adaptation. The movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was translated here to "Mifgashim MeHaSug HaShlishi" ("Encounters of the Third Kind"). The person who hebraized "3rd Rock from the Sun", transformed "Mifgashim MeHaSug HaShlishi" to "Mifgashim MeHaSug HaIshi" ("Encounters of the Personal Kind").
Now, you may frown and ask why do all this in the first place rather than simply translating the name?! Well, to save a 200 pages long explanation all I will say is - don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.
|The Hebrew word for "Babylon" is "Ba'vel". But still, "Babylon 5" was called here "Babylon 5" rather than "Ba'vel 5".|
t. An interesting choice which may stir a healthy argument on language preservation.
The same approach was implemented by Israeli distributors of the "Babylon 5" movies.
Additionally, the 2006 UK TV series "Hotel Babylon" received the same treatment.
|"The White House"?|
The West Wing. Plain patronizing on the broadcaster's part here. It is one thing to assume that the natives are not familiar with the architecture of the White House, the decision to perpetuate it is yet worse.
"Little House in the Prairie" received a fair literal translation.
"The O.C." was left as is.
"House, M.D." got truncated here to "House".
|"Murder from Red to Black"?|
Homicide: Life on the Street. There must be an explanation, but does it also mean that there is a valid excuse? You tell me, should this lame translation be forgiven and forgotten?
"Miami Vice" sets a good example to the change in translational approach: while the TV series (1984) was literally translated (i.e. the word "Vice" was translated to Hebrew), the name of the movie (2006) was left as is in Israel.
"Sesame Street" was literally translated. The Hebrew (and Arabic) word for "sesame" is "soomsoom".
|"Twin Peaks" was left as is in Israel. But, they could have been more creative and called it "Givata'im" since in Israel there is a city called Givat'aim which translates right back into "Two Hills".|
t. In Hebrew "Giv'a", in English "Hill". The suffix "aim" is a duplication suffix derived from the word "Shta'im" ("Two").
Thus "Givata'im" means "Two Hills", or "Twin Peaks" in a more picturesque language.
|"Deep in the Ground"?|
Six Feet Under. They kept it simple here. There is not much sense in sticking to the word "feet" or translating it since Israel has always used the metric system and a literal translation may certainly have led to a confusion. Not to mention the difference in burial methods stemming from the different religious customs of Christianity and Judaism.
"Quincy M.E." was truncated here to "Quincy".
"Married With Children" became "Married Plus".
"Cheers" was transformed into "Free on the Bar", a local slang which has nothing to do with the series except a feeble tangent point - the bar.
|"Kill Me and That's It"?|
Just Shoot Me. A slight adaptation in order to conform to the Hebrew version of the phrase. Still makes sense though.
"My So Called Life" was deformed to "These Is My Life".
"That 70s Show" was translated to "Shnot Ha'Shiv'im" ("The 70s").
"E.R." was left as is.
|"Nip/Tuck" was left as is.|
t. As I mentioned earlier, as years went by the urge to find Hebrew phrases and parallelisms gradually dwindled and in recent years the broadcasters have an easy life. They hardly get lost in translation, because they hardly translate in the first place.
But worry not, we still have the wonderful and frightening world of Hebrew movie name translations. In this realm every second movie automatically transforms into a horror movie due to the way the Israeli distributors choose to translate its name. Talk about crimes against humanity!
Anyway, I really hope you had a good time playing this quiz. Cheers.
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