Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Gold Frappe"?

Looking for the band "Gold Frappe"? Hard to find--because the name is actually "Goldfrapp." Goldfrapp's latest CD is called "Supernature."

The band takes its name from the singer's surname, but it seems whoever translated it for the Taiwanese pressing didn't realize that. In Chinese, they're called 冰金樂團--"Ice Gold Music Group." They must have thought the band name referred to some kind of metalic coffee drink.

I found some more bad Chinese translations of band names:

The Buzzcocks= 吵鬧公雞樂團 "The Noisy Rooster Music Group"
Badly Drawn Boy= 塗鴉男孩 "Graffiti-Writer Boy"
Basement Jaxx= 地下室混音小子 "Basement Sound-Mixer Little Guys"
Deftones= 盲音合唱團 "Blind Sound Choir"
The Cure= 怪人合唱團 "Weird People Choir"
Dirty Vegas= 賭城老千 "Gambling City Cheater"
N.E.R.D.= 永生樂團 "Eternal Life Music Group"
We Are Scientists= 自然科學家樂團 "Natural Scientists Music Group"

I remember that Radiohead was 電台司令 "Radio Station Commanding Officer," but according to the Chinese-language Wikipedia entry, it's also (better) translated literally as 收音機頭.

The most famous Chinese names for Western artists have to be 貓王 "Cat King" for Elvis and 瘦皮猴 "thin monkey" for Frank Sinatra. I have heard those used but ones like those above seem to be used only on the CD packaging. I guess anybody who'd listen to that kind of music in Taiwan would be at least familiar enough with English to be comfortable using the English names.


Matt said...

That's like one of those fake e-mail humour things, only real!

Are these used instead of phonetic representation, or as explanatory supplements?

28481k said...

Matt, these interesting translations of bands are preferred over phonetic representations as it is more meaningful to use such translation, even it can be misleading.

Another good example would be the Beatles (披頭四) and the Carpenters (木匠樂隊)。

amida said...

matt--though I do wish that Pretty Woman really were translated into Chinese as "I Married a Prostitute to Save Money"!

I always thought 披頭四 was pretty clever since it is both phonetic and explanatory (roughly, "the Wild-haired Four," as in they let their hair down).

For better or for worse, Chinese has no katakana. At first I liked the fact that Japanese could just deal with such things through transliteration, but then again, transliterated names are totally meaningless (rather than, er, wrong).