Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lost in Translation: Languages

This segment is a great warm-up activity when the topic is languages, how different they are from one another, or any other aspect revolving around language learning.





I. Work with a partner and check how much you know about foreign languages. If you don't know the answers, make a wild guess.


1. Portuguese

2. Thai


3. Arabic


4. English


5. Hebrew


6. Greek


7. Latin


8. Lithuanian


( ) It is the ancestor of the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romanian) and has also deeply influenced many others, including English.


( ) It is the language of the Muslim religion and of the Koran. Its spoken form varies from country to country but its classical form has remained unchanged since the 7th century.


( ) Its modern version dates from 1453 and it refers to the 5th stage of the evolution of the language: Mycenaean, Classical, Hellenistic, Medieval and Modern or Romeika. The vocabulary of the modern language is essentially that of ancient times.


( ) It is considered the oldest surviving Indo-European language and is thought to have retained some features of Proto-Indo-European such as pitch-accent and a complex inflexional case system.


( ) It ceased to exist as spoken language about the year 250, but it was reborn in the 19th century. Today, it is written and spoken in almost the same way it was over 2000 years ago.


( ) It is a tonal language, which means that different intonations distinguished words that otherwise would be homonyms. Orthography is complex. It has 44 consonants and 32 vowels.


( ) It is the official language of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Principe, Mozambique and two other major countries. It is also co-official with Cantonese Chinese in Macao.


( ) The language has the largest vocabulary in the world.


Answer Key: 7, 3, 6, 8, 5, 2, 1, 4

II. Discuss these questions with a partner:
1. When did you start learning English? How did it happen?

2. Do you think it is easy to learn a foreign language? Why (not)?


3. What is the best way to learn a foreign language?


4. How would you compare your native language to English? Which one is easier to learn?


5. How many languages can you speak?


6. What languages do you like or dislike the sound of?


7. Does language make the personalities of each nationality different? Explain it.


8. Can one learn a language without learning about its culture? Why (not)?


9. Do you think that one day there will be just one language in the world? Would the world be a better place?


10. What do you think of languages that are dying? Do you think they should be preserved? Why?


11.Do you think English should become an official language in your country? Why (not)?


12.What three languages would you really like to speak, and why?



III. Watch the segment from the movie Lost in Translation and discuss the questions:



video

1. Describe the scene.

2. How would you describe the American actor, Bob? What about his personality?


3. How would you describe the Japanese director? What about his personality?


4. What is so unusual about the scene?


5. How does communication take place?


6. How do you compare the English and Japanese languages?


7. How do their languages reflect their cultures?


8. How accurate do you think the translation is?


*Thanks to my reader Kseniya who provided me with the tapescript of the dialog. 


9. What do you think about English? How difficult is it?


10. How long have you been learning English? How do you like it?


11. What is the hardest part when it comes to learning English?


Translated Suntory Scene


Translated dialog from the hilarious Suntory Time whiskey commercial scene from the film Lost in Translation. 

Bob is lost. And without subtitles, so is the audience. Here, translated into English, is what the fulmination is really about. 


DIRECTOR (in Japanese to the interpreter): The translation is very 
important, O.K.? The translation.

INTERPRETER: Yes, of course. I understand.

DIRECTOR: Mr. Bob-san. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then 
there is a bottle of Suntory whiskey on top of the table. You 
understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the 
camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the 
words. As if you are Bogie in "Casablanca," saying, "Cheers to you 
guys," Suntory time!

INTERPRETER: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?

BOB: That's all he said?

INTERPRETER: Yes, turn to camera.

BOB: Does he want me to, to turn from the right or turn from the left?

INTERPRETER (in very formal Japanese to the director): He has prepared 
and is ready. And he wants to know, when the camera rolls, would you 
prefer that he turn to the left, or would you prefer that he turn to 
the right? And that is the kind of thing he would like to know, if you 
don't mind.

DIRECTOR (very brusquely, and in much more colloquial Japanese): 
Either way is fine. That kind of thing doesn't matter. We don't have 
time, Bob-san, O.K.? You need to hurry. Raise the tension. Look at the 
camera. Slowly, with passion. It's passion that we want. Do you 
understand?

INTERPRETER (In English, to Bob): Right side. And, uh, with intensity.

BOB: Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than 
that.

DIRECTOR: What you are talking about is not just whiskey, you know. Do 
you understand? It's like you are meeting old friends. Softly, 
tenderly. Gently. Let your feelings boil up. Tension is important! 
Don't forget.

INTERPRETER (in English, to Bob): Like an old friend, and into the camera.

BOB: O.K.

DIRECTOR: You understand? You love whiskey. It's Suntory time! O.K.?

BOB: O.K.

DIRECTOR: O.K.? O.K., let's roll. Start.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! (Then in a very male form of 
Japanese, like a father speaking to a wayward child) Don't try to fool 
me. Don't pretend you don't understand. Do you even understand what we 
are trying to do? Suntory is very exclusive. The sound of the words is 
important. It's an expensive drink. This is No. 1. Now do it again, 
and you have to feel that this is exclusive. O.K.? This is not an 
everyday whiskey you know.

INTERPRETER: Could you do it slower and ?

DIRECTOR: With more ecstatic emotion.

INTERPRETER: More intensity.

DIRECTOR (in English): Suntory time! Roll.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! God, I'm begging you.



MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - LOST IN TRANSLATION

18 comments:

  1. Great posts Claudio. I love the Bill Murray scene it's very funny.

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! I've used it with my students and they enjoyed both the discussion questions and the movie clips. Thanks a lot, Claudio, for your excellent work!

    Veronica

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Veronica. I'm glad your students enjoyed it. See you around.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, Another great post on languages, which I used in my Authentic English class this week to discuss languages. It functioned as a great base, and I added my own variations. I decided to laminate and cut up all the languages and definitions, and did a class mingling action to match it together. I also laminated and cut all the questions up and used it as a surprise question activity, in which the questions lay face down in the centre of the table, the students would pick a student randomly (spin the bottle type) and then pick up a question at random. It all worked very very well, thanks. Keep up the good work.

    Also, on an unrelated note, I have my own blog, but i dont have anywhere near as many followers and have only hit 10,000 visitors in 8 months. Do you have any hints and tips to attract more of a following?

    All the best.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Jamie,
    Thanks for your words. The idea of this blog is that teachers may use parts of the lesson plans, according to their group's needs and time availabilty. What you did with the activity is exactly the purpose of the blog.
    Well, my blogs started slowly too. If you have good ideas it will eventually get known. 10,000 visitors in 8 months is not few, on the contrary. Why don't you send me the link so I can see what it is like and about. If it has to do with the idea of my blogs, I may provide a link to it. It might help promoting it.
    Thanks for the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Claudio,

    Thanks for replying to my post. Life has been pretty hectic and I forgot to check back. My blog is at http://culturalzeitgeist.blogspot.com/ although it is a primarily academic approach to film. There havent been many posts of late as i'm currently writing articles set to be published in the US and conference papers to present in Australia and the US, in addition to teaching English to pay the bills. So i must say, this blog is a great timesaver. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. haha I remember this scene. The translator in the Lost in Translation is absolutely USELESS!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Totally agree. I LOVE\THIS SCENE.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Claudio, I was not able to find the relation with Avalon. Where is the videoclip, could you tell me? The activity seems to be linked only with "Lost in translation". Thank you for your attention. Thiago

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry, Avalon's video is not working. I had to remove it temporarily. Sorry about that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you, Claudio! Sincerely, Thiago

    ReplyDelete
  12. Claudio, greetings from Peru! :)
    This is one of my favorite movies, I will use it today in my class. I changed the guiding questions a bit, though, since the topic is nationalities, but the scene is so useful. Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Claudio,
    I'm your site fan and fan of "Lost in translation". I've stumbled across the Japanese part translation (in case you haven't). Also the question I'd love to ask: how do you find time not only wath all these movies, but also create thesewonderful tasks? Thank you!
    Kseniya.

    Translated Suntory Scene

    Translated dialog from the hilarious Suntory Time whiskey commercial scene from the film Lost in Translation.

    Bob is lost. And without subtitles, so is the audience. Here, translated into English, is what the fulmination is really about.


    DIRECTOR (in Japanese to the interpreter): The translation is very
    important, O.K.? The translation.

    INTERPRETER: Yes, of course. I understand.

    DIRECTOR: Mr. Bob-san. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then
    there is a bottle of Suntory whiskey on top of the table. You
    understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the
    camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the
    words. As if you are Bogie in "Casablanca," saying, "Cheers to you
    guys," Suntory time!

    INTERPRETER: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?

    BOB: That's all he said?

    INTERPRETER: Yes, turn to camera.

    BOB: Does he want me to, to turn from the right or turn from the left?

    INTERPRETER (in very formal Japanese to the director): He has prepared
    and is ready. And he wants to know, when the camera rolls, would you
    prefer that he turn to the left, or would you prefer that he turn to
    the right? And that is the kind of thing he would like to know, if you
    don't mind.

    DIRECTOR (very brusquely, and in much more colloquial Japanese):
    Either way is fine. That kind of thing doesn't matter. We don't have
    time, Bob-san, O.K.? You need to hurry. Raise the tension. Look at the
    camera. Slowly, with passion. It's passion that we want. Do you
    understand?

    INTERPRETER (In English, to Bob): Right side. And, uh, with intensity.

    BOB: Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than
    that.

    DIRECTOR: What you are talking about is not just whiskey, you know. Do
    you understand? It's like you are meeting old friends. Softly,
    tenderly. Gently. Let your feelings boil up. Tension is important!
    Don't forget.

    INTERPRETER (in English, to Bob): Like an old friend, and into the camera.

    BOB: O.K.

    DIRECTOR: You understand? You love whiskey. It's Suntory time! O.K.?

    BOB: O.K.

    DIRECTOR: O.K.? O.K., let's roll. Start.

    BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

    DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! (Then in a very male form of
    Japanese, like a father speaking to a wayward child) Don't try to fool
    me. Don't pretend you don't understand. Do you even understand what we
    are trying to do? Suntory is very exclusive. The sound of the words is
    important. It's an expensive drink. This is No. 1. Now do it again,
    and you have to feel that this is exclusive. O.K.? This is not an
    everyday whiskey you know.

    INTERPRETER: Could you do it slower and ?

    DIRECTOR: With more ecstatic emotion.

    INTERPRETER: More intensity.

    DIRECTOR (in English): Suntory time! Roll.

    BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

    DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! God, I'm begging you.

    Posted originally in NY Times

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Kseniya,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wll add the transalation to the post as well. About finding time, it is wonderful to see my students enjoying the classes. Everything for them. But I do wish I had more time for all the preparation. See you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Claudio! I'm so pleased to find the translation published, happy to make this little contribution to your wonderful site. I forgot to mention the source, it': http://www.weareawake.org/suntorydirector.htm in case you wondered. I hope it's pretty accirate since it was published in NY Times. I understand very well your feeling about your students enjoying your work. Yes, the amount of work done is so impressive that seems almost impossible. Your students are really lucky to have you. Greetings from Ukraine, Kseniya.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for your kind words. I will provide the link. See you.

    ReplyDelete