Monday, August 13, 2012


I fly to Germany in less than a month.


I've been to Europe before, but I was coddled and cared-for during that trip. I arrived to a house already set up for me, I was over-oriented to everything you could imagine about a new city, and I was there with a bunch of other Americans. Plus, it was England. The only difficult part about the language in England was fighting to keep the dreamy expression off my face every time someone spoke. When I visited my great-grandmother's family in Germany I went to bed at eight every night, worn out by the constant mental translation. I don't want to be a ninety-year-old woman this time around.

I'm training to avoid the fatigue by watching Disney(ish) movies dubbed in German. The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Emperor's New Groove, and Beauty and the Beast are fabulous. Pocahontas is a little bit of a historical mind-game and Aladdin isn't funny at all. Robin Williams makes that movie. Dialogue tends to be a direct translation, but the songs are very different to fit the meter and rhyme of Disney tunes. Armed with a childhood knowledge of the music in English, I muddle through and understand the whole thing far better on the fourth repeat.

Some song differences:
"I'll fight this into order, straw into gold" instead of "we're gonna turn this sow's ear into a silk purse" (Mulan)
"I'd like to mention, I'm not just talking lion-Latin" instead of "but thick as you are pay attention, my words are a matter of pride" (The Lion King)
"In my world" instead of "a whole new world" (Aladdin)
"Time writes the myth" instead of "tale as old as time" (Beauty and the Beast)

And possibly my favorite translation: The Emperor's New Groove is called A Kingship for a Llama