in a non-English dialogue: "No problem!"

Hikee

Senior Member
Polish/English - bilingual
A character in an independent short film I'm translating into English exclaims "No problem!" as a response to another character. Should I acknowledge this somehow in text form? Translated dialogue list looks like this:

She has great taste. Got me so much stuff!

You know what? At least zip up your coat, kid.

(and then)

So, you won't get mad if I don't walk you?

No problem!

Everything else except for "No problem!" is spoken in Polish in the film. What do you think about adding:

single quotation marks...'No problem!'
double quotation marks..."No problem!"
or italics? No problem!

Or do I just leave it be?

<Edited by moderator (Florentia52) for readability>
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Do you have any sort of style manual that you must follow as you write your transcriptions, Hikee? This is the sort of question that style manuals can typically answer for you. They vary in their advice, so anything anybody suggests in here may not accord with the guidance given in a house style manual.
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    Problem is I don't have a style guide. This is a graduation film by a student so there is no 'house' to have a 'house style manual.' Really just curious for others' persepctives on this.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If I were writing this transcript for my own amusement and didn't have to worry about following suggested rules, I'd use italics to highlight the fact that the comment was made in a foreign language.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    In a script, if you think it is important, I might write something like [English] against it. If this seems too obtrusive, then the usual convention of placing foreign words in italics looks best to me.

    What would you do with something spoken in German, for example? I think translated scripts usually leave foreign terms (foreign in the original language) untranslated in italics, maybe with a translation in brackets alongside.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    A few English expressions are used by speakers of other languages. "No problem!" is one of those.

    I would probably use double-quotes, when writing in English. Double-quotes tell the reader that you are quoting the sounds or the words, not the meaning. That is appropriate for something that is said in a foreign language.
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    > What would you do with something spoken in German, for example?

    Depends if what's spoken is meant to be understood by the audience. If yes, then I would use the [IN GERMAN] tag followed by a translation. If no, I would leave the German phrase/sentence intact and judging from your answers so far, probably put it in italics or quotation marks.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Our Polish toolmaker tells me that "yeh, no problem" has been incorporated into the Polish language. At the very least he would use it in conversations in Polish.

    I'm not sure of the spelling of "yeh" or "yeah" or "ye", but he said it was always used with "no problem".

    If the word is thoroughly integrated with the spoken language, then no quotations marks would be my call.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you would write [IN GERMAN] for something originally spoken in German but translated into English, then to me it makes most sense to write [IN ENGLISH] here. In both cases you are identifying the original language. However if, as Packard says, "no problem" is now regarded as part of the Polish language, then there is probably no need to identify it at all.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If you would write [IN GERMAN] for something originally spoken in German but translated into English, then to me it makes most sense to write [IN ENGLISH] here. In both cases you are identifying the original language. However if, as Packard says, "no problem" is now regarded as part of the Polish language, then there is probably no need to identify it at all.
    I hear often enough "no problemo" when "no problem" would make more sense. I don't know why Anglo-English speakers have adopted that in American English but I hear it often enough that I know it is no accident.

    I do wonder if there is an adequate term for "no problem" in the native Polish language. Perhaps the "ye, no problem" has been integrated out of necessity.
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    > If the word is thoroughly integrated with the spoken language, then no quotations marks would be my call.

    > However if, as Packard says, "no problem" is now regarded as part of the Polish language, then there is probably no need to identify it at all.

    Yes, many people use it and it has sort of become integrated into Polish, but the thing here is that the actress delivering the line attempts English pronunciation...
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    > If the word is thoroughly integrated with the spoken language, then no quotations marks would be my call.

    > However if, as Packard says, "no problem" is now regarded as part of the Polish language, then there is probably no need to identify it at all.

    Yes, many people use it and it has sort of become integrated into Polish, but the thing here is that the actress delivering the line attempts English pronounciation...
    So how does attempting English pronunciation alter the need for punctuation?
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    Because of the circumstances. Characters are speaking Polish and the subtitles are an English translation of Polish speech. One character says something in English, so what appears in subtitles, I think, should infrom the viewer that what that character said was not said in Polish. Even if it seems obvious.

    I get what you're saying, though. It does seem a little contrived when you put it like that. I still think I should convey the information somehow.

    Say the phrase was actually Chinese. You wouldn't put Chinese signs in the subtitles. You would visually inform the viewer about the Chinese phrase, either with a tag [IN CHINESE] or punctuation.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Both 'No problem!' and 'No problemo!' are often heard in British English, if that's any help. They are relatively recent in the sense that in my youth, 50/60+ years ago, we said "That's not a problem". Where the -o ending comes from, I'm not sure. Many Brits are familiar with Spanish expressions. Maybe it's a pseudo 'foreign' term.

    I have no idea how such subtleties, when they are known and describable in English, might be translated into another language in such a way as to give the full flavour and special impact of their use, if there is one.
    It's a little different, but consider the French word Voila!, which means something like the very idiomatic 'And there you are!', depending on the context. I think most British people know it, but who exactly uses it and why? Or, who doesn't use it? I speak very good French, but I'd never say 'Voila!' when talking to native English speakers.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My instinct would be just to leave “No problem” as part of the script, set in the same way as the rest of the dialogue, letting it speak for itself as a line said in English rather than Polish.

    Having said that… if I was reading a script in a foreign language and came across a single line in English, I think I would wonder why it was in English. And if it were in quote marks or italics, I’d probably be all the more confused. My own solution, therefore, would be an asterisk and a note.
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    Thanks everyone for your answers!

    I'm leaning towards italics, but what Packard said is growing on me, so I might just leave the phrase be and let it speak for itself.
     

    Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I watch an assortment of subtitled European crime dramas on SBS (an Australian broadcaster) and on Netflix. When they use English (as a lingua franca, for example, between Danish police and German police) there are usually simply no subtitles.

    I recently watched The Break (La Trêve), a French-language Belgian crime drama subtitled into English. On the few occasions Flemish was spoken the subtitles just said “[Flemish]” with no translation, which I found very annoying and seemed to rudely suggest, “this is gobbledygook that nobody needs to understand”!
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    Both 'No problem!' and 'No problemo!' are often heard in British English, if that's any help. They are relatively recent in the sense that in my youth, 50/60+ years ago, we said "That's not a problem". Where the -o ending comes from, I'm not sure. Many Brits are familiar with Spanish expressions. Maybe it's a pseudo 'foreign' term.
    It's not Spanish, so it would not be used by Brits familiar with Spanish expressions. The Spanish word is problema, although it is a masculine noun. Pseudo-foreign, as you say.
     
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