How Translation Effects the Viewing Experience

A discussion on Shrek and Encanto

If you speak more than one language, you have likely enjoyed a film in a particular language over the other(s) you speak. This is an experience I have had several times, and there are some movies that I prefer in Spanish while others I prefer in English. This is the case for Shrek and Encanto, which are iconic movies that are available in both languages. Despite watching Shrek in English several times, there is an indescribable sense of nostalgia that makes me prefer the Spanish version.

 One reason for this is definitely the fact that I grew up watching the Spanish version. Moreover, I feel many of the jokes are much funnier in Spanish. This is especially the case with Donkey, who is voiced by Eugenio Derbez. For example, there are many references made to some of Derbez’s works. These references involve Donkey saying things like “preguntame” and “fue horrible,” which are allusions that contribute to the humor in the movie. Since he does not voice the English version of the movie, these references and the jokes behind them are lost. On the other side of this situation, there are also other movies that I think are more enjoyable in English. This is the case with Encanto, which is actually a film that features Latin American characters. As a result, one might assume that the movie would be best enjoyed in the first language of the characters.

However, given the fact that one of the most enjoyable parts of the film are the songs, the movie sounds much better in English. That is not to say that the Spanish version of the songs were bad. They were still very good songs, but I feel like they do not sound as good as the English version since some of the rhymes and jokes do not translate perfectly. In addition to the English songs sounding better, I also feel that the effect of “Dos Orungitas” is much more powerful when listening to the movie in English. This is due to the fact that the Spanish song is unexpected, given the fact that most of the songs in the movie are in English. As a result, the lack of anticipation that a Spanish song was going to be introduced makes the effect of the song more impactful. After all, who can resist such a heartbreaking song when it punches you right in the chest?

Written by: Saraleim Mozqueda Saldana

Graphic by: Saraleim Mozqueda Saldana

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