Star War The Third Gathers: The Backstroke of the West (often referred to as Star War Episode III: The Backstroke of the West or shortened to Backstroke of the West) is a bootlegged version of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The bootleg contains hilarious English subtitles translated poorly from Chinese. Due to the language barrier, many of the words and phrases were translated either literally or with alternate meanings, and thus the original meaning was lost. Most likely, the broken English is the result of being machine translated from the Chinese script. Curiously, the subtitles were translated from a Chinese translation when the original English script could have been used.
The film became the subject of an Internet phenomenon when one American living in China who purchased a copy of the DVD put up a website containing various screenshots from the film with the humorously translated subtitles. Amongst the most quoted lines is "Do not want", the translation of Darth Vader's already widely parodied "Noooooo!" at the end of the film.
Opening Crawl SubtitlesEdit
The majority of the characters' names were backtranslated from the Chinese transliterations, such as "Dáxī Wéidá" (Darth Vader) meaning "Reaching the west of reaches".
- Senator Padmé Amidala: The Plum Of or It Gets the Rice
- Chinese: One of the characters in Padme's name is most certainly 梅 (méi - "plum"). Perhaps it is 帕的梅 (Pàdeméi - "the plum of a handkerchief"), though it is unusual to use a grammatical particle like 的 as a phonetic. The normal Chinese transliteration of her name is 帕德梅·艾米达拉 (Pàdéméi Àimǐdálā).
- C-3PO: Blow the skin
- Chinese: 吹皮欧 (Chuīpíōu) - 吹 means "blow", 皮 means "skin", 欧 is a phonetic character used in transliteration.
- Chewbacca: Drag along
- Chinese: Normally his name is written as 丘巴卡 (Qiūbākǎ) or 丘百卡 (Qiūbǎikǎ) but the relationship to "drag along" is uncertain, unless one of the characters used is 拖 (tuō - "drag") or its synonym. However, 揪 (qiū), which could also have the meaning of "drag", could be a plausible candidate to relate the syllable with the back-translation.
- Count Dooku: The (Obi-Wan calls him Drop in the mistranslation of "You won't get away this time, Dooku", which is translated as "You this time ran to do not, Drop"). This is debatable; there is no real solid evidence that this is how his name translated into Chinese and back, although the mistranslation of the beginning scroll ends with "the", while General Grievous' line, "But we lost the", replacing "But... the loss of Count Dooku..." makes this likely. However there is a fundamental problem with this as a proposed back-translation: Mandarin Chinese has no word for "the". He is also referred to as "a Big". 杜库伯爵 (杜库 Dùkù 伯爵 Bójué - "Count") is how the name is normally written in Chinese.
- General Grievous: Space General
- Chinese: presumably 太空将军 - "space general". His name in Chinese is variously written as 格里弗斯将军, 葛里维斯将军, or 葛瑞菲斯将军. It is most likely that in the original English-to-Chinese translation, "Grievous" was deemed too hard to translate, and the translator simply invented the name "Space General" instead. Ironically, this would make it one of the only names to be accurately backtranslated.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi: He is called The Willing to Compares or Ratio the Tile and just Ratio Tile throughout the movie, but is also called Ratio Prosperous during the opening scroll, General Grievous also calls him Section ratio general before their lightsabre duel on Utapau, which seems to mean "General Kenobi" and Bail Organa calls him "Section pulls the ratio", which seems to mean "Master Kenobi"
- Chinese: 欧比瓦·肯欧比(Ōubǐwǎ Kěnōubǐ). 欧 is a phonetic character used in transliteration, 比 means "ratio" or "to compare", 瓦 means "tile", 肯 means "willing". The rendering of 欧比旺 (Ōubǐwàng) is more standard; 旺 means "prosperous". In Taiwan his name was rendered as 歐比王 (Ōubǐwáng - "King Obi") in the non-pirated version of this film. "Kenobi" is more commonly transliterated as 肯诺比 (Kěnnuòbǐ).
- Supreme Chancellor Palpatine: Mr. Speaker or Speaker D, also sometimes just called D
- Chinese: 议长先生 (Yìzhǎng Xiānsheng "Mr. Chancellor", "Mr. Speaker", "Mr. President"). Also, 帕卜丁 (Pàbǔdīng "Palpatine"), where 丁 is the fourth Heavenly Stem. The Heavenly Stems are often used for enumeration purposes, similar to the way the letters of the alphabet are used in English for enumeration. In this case, 丁 is equivalent to D.
- R2-D2: R2 or Reach the Man. Although "Artoo" is the more accepted spelling, this is nonetheless the only correctly translated name in the film. However, other astromech droids in the film, such as R4-P17, are also referred to as "R2". However, Artoo (and R4-P17) are occasionally referred to as 'Reach the Man'.
- Anakin Skywalker: The Peaceful is Willing To or Allah Gold (often shortened to "Gold")
- Chinese: 阿纳金 (Ānàjīn) is the standard transliteration of Anakin. Perhaps in this rendition, the name was transliterated as 阿拉金 (Ālājīn) or 安拉金 (Ānlājīn), both translated as "Allah gold" if it is separated into two terms - 阿拉 and 金, or 安拉 and 金. Additionally, 安 can mean "peaceful".
- Darth Vader: Reaching the west of reaches
- Chinese: 达西·维达 (Dáxī Wéidá) 达 means "reach", 西 means "west", 维 has a number of meanings, including "dimension". The normal Chinese rendition is 达斯·维达 (Dásī Wéidá).
- Luke Skywalker: See me
- Chinese: 看我 (translated from a Mondegreen—"Luke" misheard as "look", which translates to "看" in Chinese.) "我", or "I" in English, was added to make the phrase "看我". It was then translated back into English as "see me", although a more correct translation would be "look at me".
- Yoda: Vanquish is or Particularly Reach the Master (尤达 Yóudá, his standard Chinese name, literally translates to "particularly reach"). Yet another usage of "达" as the "da" sound.
- Tarfful: See again
- Sith Lord: South Host. Palpatine also warns Obi Wan and Anakin that Count Dooku is "a big". Obi Wan reassures Palpatine: "Mr. Speaker, we are for 'the big'."
- Chinese: "Host" presumably comes from 主人, meaning "master/lord" but also "host", depending on the context.
- Sith: West & The Big
- Chinese: 西斯 (Xīsī) - a transliteration of "Sith". 西 means "west", 斯 is a phonetic often used to transliterate the "s" sound or to approximate "th", a sound that Chinese does not have.
- Jedi Council: Presbyterian Church, Hopeless Situation Presbyterian or Hopeless Situation Parliament.
- Chinese: 长老会 (literally "Council of Elders") or perhaps 长老教会 ("a religious gathering held by the elders"). The Presbyterian Church is ruled by "presbyters", or "elders". Therefore, it is in fact "a religious gathering held by the elders."
- Jedi Knight: Hopeless Situation Warrior; "Hopeless Situation" or just "Hopeless" for short. In the later videos, they are referred to as Hero's Ground.
- Chinese: 绝地武士 (Juédì wǔshì - Jedi warrior) - Literally, 绝地 means "end ground". It is used to describe battles with no possible retreat, hence "hopeless situation" and "hero's ground".
- 绝态 (Juetai) also means "hopeless situation")
- Jedi Temple: Hopeless Situation Temple
- Galaxy: Milky Way. Star Wars is not set in our galaxy, so this would not technically make sense in English.
- Chinese: 银河系 - In Chinese this term means "silver river system", referring to the Milky Way. The term can be used loosely to refer to any galaxy, however the more appropriate term would be 星系 ("star system").
- Spacecraft: Airship. Just about every form of spacecraft, be it a mothership or a small fighter vessel, is referred to as an "airship".
- Chinese: 空船
- Buzz droids: Airship robots.
- Escape pods: First aid
- Chinese: 急救 - "emergency rescue", also meaning "first aid" in Chinese.
- The Force: Wish power, Original Dint
- Chinese: 原力，原 means original, 力 means Dint. 願力 ("wish power") may have come from the translation of "may the force be with you" ("the wish power are together with you").
- Dark side of the Force: Dark World & The Black Influence
- Chinese: 黑暗世界，黑暗势力
- Sand People: Pathetic people
- Chinese: 哀伤人们 - "Sand" having been misheard as "sad" (哀伤), with people being 人们.
- Confederacy of Independent Systems/Separatists: Abruption doctrine, or just "doctrine." The droid army commanded by the Separatists is referred to as "the alliance."
- Chinese: 独立派- 派 means "doctrine", 独立 means "to separate" or "to become independent." "Abruption" is an overly formal term meaning "separation"; a Separatist is literally "one who subscribes to the doctrine of separation."
Other words and phrasesEdit
- Do not want (Nooooooooooooooo!)
- 不要 - Chinese has no word for "no"; instead, the verb would be repeated in the negative. 不要, literally meaning "do not need", also means "don't", "do not want".
- good elephant (seems like/it seems/apparently)
- Chinese: 好象[sic]. The character 像 (image/likeness) is often colloquially (and strictly speaking, incorrectly) replaced by 象 (elephant) in Simplified Chinese. This causes the translation of 好像 (looks like / seems) as "good elephant".
- smelly boy (scum)
- Chinese: 臭小子 - "stinky boy", equivalent to "brat".
- strong and big (powerful)
- Chinese: 强大 - 强 means "strong" and 大 means "big"; the two characters together mean "powerful," but were translated into separate words.
- on the hoof (this phrase is used every time someone is supposed to say 'alive' i.e. 'Is the baby on the hoof?' or 'And I guarantee to you as long as he is on the hoof the Parliament will support the war by voting.')
- But we can will account, and then account (spring the trap)
- I think that I can then extracation he to (I sense Count Dooku)
- Resemble the last time? (Next move?)
- We must go out, we must be everywhere in search of (We dont want to get out, we want to get moving)
- R2, telephone quickly the steps is here (R2, activate elevator 31174)
- Pull the name of the gram republic with the space (In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic...)
- The disgusting thing came! (Flying is for droids!)
- Our Dichotomy opens the combat! (Let them pass between us!)
- I feel far from good. ( I have a bad feeling about this.)
- This is your own masterpiece (You have done that yourself.)
- Pregnancy? Pregnancy. (Premonitions, Premonitions.)
- Then his land killed him to let him going to bed (Then his apprentice killed him in his sleep.)
- The geography that I stands compares you superior (I have the high ground.)
- He is in my behind (They're all over me.)
- Good kind of (In the name of...)
- We cant throw down him (His fate will be the same as ours)
- Chinese: 我們不能把他丟下。Literally, "we can't throw him down". It is more properly translated as "we can't leave him behind".
- He big in nothing important in good elephant (He seems to be alright)
- Chinese: 他好象[sic]沒有大礙。 Literally, "he good elephant no have big important problem". Once again, the "misspelling" of 好像 (like) as 好象 (good elephant) gives us a classic line. The more appropriate translation would be "it doesn't look like he's seriously injured".
- This is really too stick. (That's wonderful.)
- Chinese: 这真是太棒了。太棒了 is the Chinese idiom for "awesome". The characters individually spell out "too" (太) and "stick/club" (棒).
- The wish power are together with you (May the force be with you)
- Chinese: 願力與你同在。Literally word by word, "may force with you together". The characters for "may force", 願力, form the word meaning "the power of wishes". Note that "force" is usually translated as 原力 ("the original force"). "May the force be with you" is usually translated as 願原力與你同在. The Chinese translation missed a character.