I’ve always wondered why subtitles don’t always say what is being said. Now I realize it’s very cultural based. 

I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls and the Norwegian subtitles are hilarious. With so many cultural references I find it really interesting in the choices they take in translating things. Some are understandable like “valedictorian” is translated as “best student” as they don’t have that in Norway. And “lifetime movie” is “Wednesday movie”. “Rice a roni” is “grandiosa” (a popular frozen pizza). 

Some are just ridiculous like this sentence: “in stars hollow, everything has a hello kitty stamp.” is translated into: “…everything is made in Taiwan.” What the hell? I understand that they want to explain the references they make but in this instance, why Taiwan? Isn’t hello kitty Japanese?

It’s all very interesting, finding the cultural equivalence of words and phrases. In Gilmore girls’ case, it’s actually easier to follow along with everything they say. Because some of the references are explained to you, you don’t have to think about it a lot to actually get the references. I guess that’s what second viewings are for…

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