Pony Thought of the Day: Translating Puns

I’m impressed with the way the Japanese dub handled a couple of puns in “Applebucking Season.” Translating puns is really hard, so I’m glad they pulled off these two:

  • When Pinkie Pie asks for a cup of flour, and Applejack misinterprets that as “cup of sour” and goes for lemons, in the Japanese it relies on the similarity between Japanese words for “flour” and “yellow,” so she adds the lemons on the grounds that they’re yellow. Fits the visuals, and works perfectly in the context, keeping the spirit of the pun intact without losing the sense of the scene. Well played!
  • Later, the “baked goods”/”baked bads” pun is replaced with a pun based on the similarities between the Japanese words keeki (cake) and keiki (condition), to have Pinkie say something like “We ate the cake, and it gave us this condition.” Again, keeps the flow of the scene and the fact that there’s a pun there, but puts in something that actually works in Japanese.

I continue to be really impressed with the quality of the Japanese dub.

0 thoughts on “Pony Thought of the Day: Translating Puns

  1. Yeah, a lot of people feel that puns and wordplay are some of the hardest things to translate besides cultural idioms like “fly off the handle” or “worth their salt”, as you either need to change it to either an equivilant saying or just give the literal meaning.

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