October 21, 2020

The slippery Spanish neutral | Culture

The slippery Spanish neutral | Culture

Netflix's decision to subtitle (Y translate in the labels to the peninsular variant) the Spanish in which the protagonists of the successful talk Rome has jumped to the headlines due to the copies that are shown in the only five cinemas that project the film in Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. Because the service of streamingIt has been offering this option for a long time in many series and films in Spanish. But what in a computer, a telephone or a television is optional some viewers what They have lived in the halls as an imposition. Others, however, consider it an advantage. Be that as it may, the film by Cuarón, which defined the decision in EL PAÍS as "parochial, ignorant and offensive," reopens the debate about the existence of a neutral Spanish, while revealing the strength of a language that resists its uniformity.

Sergio Morera, from Verdi Cinema's Communication, Programming and Marketing team, yesterday gave some clue as to what happened: "We organized a private pass for Rome, where many people told us that they had a hard time following the movie. We decided that it would be best to have a subtitled version and so we asked Netflix. " Morera says that, once received, they verified that everything worked from the technical point of view, but did not analyze the content of the subtitles: "I do not think it has to do with colonialism. Of course, it was not the intention. If it has been perceived as such, we are sorry. We just wanted the majority of the audience to be able to understand the film, and that's why we always chose the original version. We do not intend to blur or cover it at all. "

Netflix declined yesterday again to make statements to this newspaper. In the catalog on-line of the company, there are two types of subtitles: those who literally record what the dialogues say and those who translate. These translations always seem to go in the same direction: from Latin American Spanish to Spanish, which is considered a "neutral Spanish". The main Spanish series, such as The paper house or Elite, allow you to add subtitles that reflect exactly what is said on the screen. On the other hand, the Peruvian film Single coveted, among others, has up to three versions of the same sequence. On the screen, three ladies bend over to dodge a fly. A scream: "Wait!" The subtitles in "Spanish" say: "Wait!". And if you choose what Netflix calls "Latin American Spanish", it appears: "Beware!".

The same sequence of the film 'Roma', with subtitles in Spanish from Spain.enlarge photo
The same sequence of the film 'Roma', with subtitles in Spanish from Spain.

Beyond the doubts it raises about Spanish as a common language, the defenders of the subtitles to approach remember that this has favored the triumph of the Spanish series, as The paper house or Elite, in the Latin American countries where they have passed. And the truth is that more times in the last two decades have subtitled Latin American or Spanish films in the halls of other Spanish-speaking countries. The Colombian women The seller of roses, the Mexican Amores Perros or Argentina Nine Queens are some of the cases. Although the main doubts, beyond the subtitles themselves, surround the choice to adapt them to the Spanish public.

In Filmin, another portal on-line With a large presence of Spanish and Latin American cinema, most of these films are presented in pure original version. There are exceptions, like Nine Queens, that offers subtitles, at Rome. And also in Filmin Latino, his Mexican arm, certain films have subtitles in Spanish. Although in your case it is often an economic choice: if you choose to include subtitles, opt for a single version. The translation, in any case, always depends on the producers of the films.

"Offering subtitles has always been done and if it allows more people to understand, it does not seem bad. I remember years ago, when I saw And Your Mother TooI would have appreciated them. And also in recent films like The club or The clan", defends Jaume Ripoll, co-founder and responsible for content and development of Filmin. And it expands the debate: in the 2011 Berlinale market, the film The Irish, English-speaking, it was screened with subtitles in that same language.

Translate through the centuries


Andrés Trapiello, who in 2015 published a translation of the Quixote to the current Spanish, he believes that anyone could see 'Roma' without subtitling – "the Mexican lexicon and Spanish are very close" – but he does not believe that the garments have to be torn: "The Mexican original is a delight, but the subtitles are a option that can accompany some viewers, like when you see a movie in a language that you do not completely dominate. I remember seeing an American musical in London that overpowered the parts spoken in American English because there were many street expressions. " Trapiello believes that the distance that exists between the Spanish of Spain and that of Mexico is smaller than that between the Spanish of the 17th century and the current one. Hence his version of the novel by Cervantes: "Some will say that he can read the 'Quixote' without a dictionary and without five thousand notes, so great, but there are parts that are not understood. Especially the most close to orality. The continuous sayings of Sancho, for example. What is "ordering popcorn in the gulf"? Literally it is to order tiger nuts at sea, that is, "pears with elm". Or "punish me my mother, and I trómpogelas", that is, "laugh my mother, one ear enters me and the other comes out".

"When someone asks you 'let's do neutral Spanish,' I wonder who speaks?", Explains Juan Pablo Villalobos (Guadalajara, Mexico, 1973), who stresses that he has never had to adapt his original writings to a Spanish on demand. "In Mexico we are very used to reading Spanish from Spain, from Argentina, from Colombia. The problem arises when the publishing or film industry try to make the language more transparent to eliminate slang. But it's no use changing 'asshole' for 'asshole'. It is a fudge to adapt, because there is no difference. " The reasoning of María Fernanda Ampuero (Guayaquil, Ecuador, 1976), author of Cockfight, who believes that in Latin America they are more accustomed to the slang of Spain because cinema is not dubbed. "There we do see films in the original language and we understand that there are people who speak differently. We consume Mexican, Venezuelan or Spanish television, "he says. Emiliano Monge (Mexico City, 1978) adds that "there are Spanish publishers that seek to clean certain books, make them more neutral". "As if neutral Spanish existed! On the other hand, the reverse has never happened to me, "he says.

These demands to strip the language of its particularities have traditionally been in the theater. There are many Latin American performers who for years eliminated any vestige of accent upon arriving in Spain, such as the late Argentine Hector Colomé, who recited verses from the Golden Age as if he had been born in Valladolid. But times have changed and the public does not seem to have a problem to follow a function performed by Latin American voices. Actors such as Héctor Alterio, Miguel Ángel Solá and Fernanda Orazi usually perform in Spanish productions without changing their accent. And one of the great successes of the last years coming from Argentina, The omission of the Coleman family, by Claudio Tolcachir, with dozens of expressions that are not used in the Peninsula, but never in the more than 10 years of this production, in which he has visited several Spanish cities several times, he has retouched: the context and the actors' own interpretation helps to follow the function without problems.

With information from Raquel Vidales Y Ana Roca Barber.


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