A Scandal in Belgravia – Ein Skandal in Belgravia

Okay, wow. Zapping (German) prime time TV yesterday evening I was absolutely shocked by stumbling over A Scandal in Belgravia on ARD (Channel 1, so to speak). How could I have missed that? Actually, quite easily, because German TV is extremely negligent in promoting Sherlock. Why, I have absolutely no idea.
Anyway, I decided to be brave and see what they had done to the script during translation, and whether or not my ears would be bleeding by the voice actors’ dubbing…

German dubbing is really not bad, usually. Technically speaking it’s almsot always done very well, but I imagine finding a suitable voice actor can be very difficult at times, seeing how you do not only need someone with a similar tone of voice but definitely an actor in his/her own right. And they really tried, I think…
But, let’s face it, it must be damn hard to find a substitute for Benedict’s original voice; and I have to tell you, they just didn’t. The actor did a good job, though, pronunciation and inflection and all were alright, I was not suffering the entire time 🙂
The voice actor for Martin was much closer to the original. But: I was rather having difficulties keeping Sherlock and John apart!! And I REALLY can’t see that happening in English to be sure.
Well, I was not too surprised that Andrew Scott’s voice, or rather his particular way of speaking, were not really captured in German, either. Since he has not THAT much screentime in SiB it was not all that annoying but I’m afraid of watching Reichenbach now…
The only voice actor who really got on my nerves was the one for Mark Gatiss. Especially in the Buckingham Palace scenes, his voice was SO… non-posh… Completely off somehow.
Una’s voice was very well done though 🙂

I was already wondering how they were going to translate some of the puns and jokes when I watched in English for the first time, because there are several in this episode that simply don’t work in German (or most other languages, I imagine).
This problem got most conspicious in the Buckingham Palace scenes: There’s NO WAY to get “I’ll be mother.” “And there’s a childhood in a nutshell.” across. NONE. They tried to emulate something but I was like: Erm, wasn’t this supposed to be a joke at Mycroft’s expense…?? The German version went not at all in that direction.
Another good, or bad, really, example of translation problems was “Caring is not an advantage.” which was turned into “Compassion is not and advantage” (in German, of course), and again I have to say: That’s NOT the same thing and not at all what Mycroft was saying. It’s exactly that little bit beside the REAL statement to make me grit my teeth…
But what was worst, by far, was John and Irene meeting in that disused factory. And this time there’s really no decent excuse for a translation this LAME. Apart from the fact that in German you can’t use ‘gay’ for homosexual women, which they did, this entire dialogue was SO BADLY translated that I kept pestering my poor co-watcher about how that wasn’t at all what it SHOULD say, and what there should have been said…
Really, how do you even get the idea to make “Look at us both.” into something along the lines of… I can’t really translate back what they used, actually. But it’s NOT saying the same thing, believe me. And there wan’t even a need to not do it verbatim, because that would have been entirely possible in this instance…

For those who really can’t watch Sherlock in the original this was quite alright, I guess. And it could have been MUCH worse (I just mention the plain horrible job SuperRTL has done of Merlin… You wouldn’t believe it, the voice actors are SO BAD) but still…
Sorry, enough of a rant for now. But I had to get it out of my system 🙂


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