Translating The Social Network

Sunday November 21, 2010

I finally got to see The Social Network, which was released 2010 October 1 in the US but not until 2010 November 18 here in Korea.  I don't know why there was such a lag.  It's tempting to guess it's for subtitling or something like that, but some other movies have been released on the same day in the US and Korea.  Anyway, let's take a look at the American and Korean posters.

The American poster says "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies."  The Korean poster says "5억명의 온라인 친구 / 전세계 최연소 억만장자 / 하버드 천재가 창조한 소셜 네트워크 혁명!"

Interestingly, the Korean poster is nothing like a translation of the American poster. It says, roughly "500 million online friends / The youngest billionaire in the world / The social network revolution that was started by a Harvard genius!"

Especially as I'm working on some subtitling right now, it is interesting to me how different these are.  The American poster focuses on the personal drama that the movie actually tries to deliver, and that American audiences presumably want to see.  The Korean poster emphasizes the financial success and prestigious college association of the lead - explicitly accessing Korea's twin obsessions.  It may also be attempting to provide more background information for a Korean audience that is less familiar with facebook.  But it also totally removes mention of interpersonal conflict, which Korea certainly has but doesn't like to talk about so much in public.

Of course these are just the posters.  Watching the movie I noticed mostly that the subtitles really summarize a lot.  It's like reading an abstract of the film.  It may be particularly the case for The Social Network because a lot of the characters talk really fast, but there was a lot of simplifying between the original script and the subtitles that Korean audiences were reading.  Something I may take into consideration as I write some subtitles.

The movie itself was fun.  I really enjoyed all the references to computer stuff that I used to be into.  It was cool to know what they were talking about with all the "Linux Apache Perl MySQL emacs root" stuff.  I've installed/used/had all those things!  The early scene where Zuckerberg is "hacking" for pictures was pretty fun.  Made hacking/blogging seem pretty neat.  Even though the "hacking" was really just finding quick ways to download photos that were already publicly accessible on the web.

I didn't know that Napster guy had any involvement in Facebook - or that he was played by Justin Timberlake. Huh.

The movie also kind of made me feel like I should quit doing a normal job and take over the world somehow.  Yeah!  Innovation!  Breaking the mold! Yeah!

This post was originally hosted elsewhere.