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When you tune in to Game of Thrones every week, your mind may not immediately turn to translation and localization. Game of Thrones translation references are pretty remarkable and much of the power dynamic in the plot has to do with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures. Game of Thrones translates the script in order to capture the context and meaning in an effort to resonate with a worldwide audience.
Game of Thrones die-hard fans are from all over the world. There are an estimated 5.5 million fans and New York Magazine’s Vulture.com declared GOT as having a larger following then Star Trek, Star Wars and Twilight. Only a third of its 5.5 million fans are located within the United States.
Game of Thrones fans are aware of Daenerys’ sidekick Missandei, freed from slavery and now her right hand. Missandei’s character often acts as an interpreter and has played an integral role in Daenerys’ rise to power. Her ability to interpret for people of other cultures within the show has proved to be an integral asset for Daenerys to convince whole societies to follow her on more than one occasion.
Producers of the Game of Thrones series have had some interesting challenges in having the script make sense in a variety of other languages. In episode 5, “The Door,” fans learned that “Hodor” is a shortened version of the phrase “hold the door.” Older current-day Hodor holds a door (pictured above) to allow Bran and Meera to escape the white walkers, while we see flashbacks to young Hodor’s brain short-circuit in Bran’s vision. That tragic moment played out beautifully … in English. But what about other languages?
Some versions tweaked the wording to produce the right sounds. For instance, the French translation means “Don’t let them get outside,” while the Turkish version is “Stay there.” Here are a few other examples:
Name: Hod Zatvor
Hold the Door Translation: Hod Zatvori which translates to “shut the entrance.”
Name: Obs Dor
Hold the Door Translation: Obstruye el corridor which translates to “block the passage.”
Hold the Door Translation: Orada dur which translates to “stay there.”
Hold the Door Translation: Blocca l’orda which translates to “block the horde.”
Translation and transcreation can give an audience inside access to information that they may not have considered before – a window into a new world created by your product, your service, or maybe even your humor! A well-translated technical document, movie subtitle, or marketing campaign reveals new information that a distractingly bad translation may make opaque or confusing. Game of Thrones is a great example of a show that took it upon themselves to provide quality translation so the script is able to transcend into a global audience.
Just as translation is large part of the Game of Thrones series, it is a large part of our everyday lives. In our globalized world, we are constantly connecting with individuals from different cultures who may not speak the same language as we do. Translation and transcreation services progress our communication as a global community, and help us connect to new regions, ideas, and opportunities for business. Language service providers, like Dynamic Language, bridge the gap between global companies and their audience.
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