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UK/US Translations: Every Planet Has an Atlantic


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#1

La Guardianista

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Posted Mar 7, 2006 @ 8:02 PM

This thread is for the translation of any dialogue from British to Generally Understandable, and the explanation of particularly British concepts or references that may come up during the series.
Of course, any joyful worship of the diverse wonder of our English language that occurs whilst this happens is more than welcome.
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#2

cutecouple

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Posted Mar 7, 2006 @ 8:51 PM

Cool. In Ep. 1-9 "The Empty Child" - Rose keeps imploring the Doctor to 'give me some Spock'. I'm guessing this is Cockney or slang for high tech. Am I right?
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#3

La Anah

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Posted Mar 7, 2006 @ 8:58 PM

I think that's just a Star Trek reference.
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#4

EllycatinOz

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Posted Mar 7, 2006 @ 9:52 PM

Cool I thought up this concept!!!!

Yes La Anah I beleive that is correct. I love how on television shows everything on television a) exists and b) is "only television". Therefore if you assume that Rose is from our universe EXCEPT that she meets an alien called the Doctor (which sadly we will never do) then she will have at least heard of Mr Spock from Star Trek.

I am really curious to see what questions pop up here and what I cannot at least in my head answer even though I'm from the Land DownUnder not Cardiff.

Also - umm how will we arbitrate as to who is correct?!!!! Eg do you have to be British to be right?

Edited by EllycatinOz, Mar 7, 2006 @ 9:58 PM.

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#5

Jacob

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Posted Mar 7, 2006 @ 10:00 PM

I just wanted to thank Lady G for the thread and the idea. You have no idea how helpful this will be for me personally.

#6

RavenaS

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:04 AM

Well some things that came up in the OG discussions last year:

beans on toast = British delicacy/comfort food akin to our mac-n-cheese
swanning off = leaving unceremoniously
jumper = slang for a sort of sweater/knit shirt
A Levels = SATs, precursor need to get into college/university
Estate Housing = Projects
Chips = steak fries (as in fish-n-chips) not the flat kind we get in bags
"the North" = Northern England such as Manchester, Liverpool, York
Match = sports game
Downing Street = White House (home of the sitting British Prime Minister)
MP = Member of Parlaiment (akin to a Congressmen)
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#7

cutecouple

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:14 AM

Continuing then, does Estate Housing in the UK carry negative connotations similar to those associated with the Projects in the US?
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#8

Demetrios

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:46 AM

Cutecouple - from what I understand, there are some minor negative connotations, but nowhere near that of the "Projects" here in the US.


Not quite equivalents, but a quick primer on some pertinent UK geography, mainly to help answer "What's that?" when mentioned and/or seen to those who don't have a large-scale map of the UK in their heads:


Cardiff - the capital of Wales. Considered a bit parochial (almost the "boonies"), by some of the more London-centric folk. The Welsh think otherwise.
Ipswich - a city somewhat to the east of London on the coast.
The Isle of Wight - An island right next to the mainland of Britain. Think like Long Island, although not next to a big city.
The "Gherkin" (30 St Mary Axe) - the odd pickle-shaped skyscraper you can see in certain shots of London. Yes, it's real, and not some futuristic add-on!
The London Eye - the gigantic Ferris wheel in the center of London.
10 Downing Street - as RavenaS said, the residence of the British Prime Minister.

Edited by Demetrios, Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:46 AM.

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#9

Tirtzah

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 1:17 AM

beans on toast = British delicacy/comfort food akin to our mac-n-cheese


No matter how much I love the UK, I will never understand the desire to eat baked beans on toast. And as a breakfast food no less. Oh and pickled eggs (as seen in "World War Three"), that one grosses me out too. I'm generally cool with most British food, but I'll never understand those two.

And could someone please explain to me what Rose calls her dad in "Father's Day" it sounded like "dell boy" or "dough boy". This is one of the few terms I don't know. (Yes I could look up the correct spelling on my dvds if I turned on the subtitles, but I'm lazy.)
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#10

ThirtyHelens

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 1:37 AM

Oh and pickled eggs (as seen in "World War Three"),


Are those considered English?! Could have fooled me, I grew up on 'em. ;-) The French dip sandwich institution Phillippe's in LA does them with beet juice so they look like something a Who alien laid, LOL. But they're quite tasty.

"the North" = Northern England such as Manchester, Liverpool, York


Best line of the series:
"Why does he have a Northern accent?"
"Lots of planets have a North."
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#11

lastro

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 2:08 AM

it sounded like "dell boy" or "dough boy"

Del Boy [Wiki] was the main character of the BBC comedy "Only Fools and Horses" who was known to be

"a streetwise chancer, always looking to make a fast buck."

Mmmm Vitex. :)

Edited by lastro, Mar 8, 2006 @ 2:09 AM.

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#12

La Guardianista

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 3:46 AM

To answer cutecouple's questions I'd say yes.
They're often more fully described as "council estates" - social housing built between the end of WW2 and the 1980s. Generally lived in my the poorer end of society so therefore subject to snobbery. But they are racially mixed, and here in South London I can only think of 2 I would seriously consider not going into (out of hundreds).

Oh, and Jacob, thanks for the praise, but the idea was someone elses. I just thought the thread title was ok so started it.

Edited by La Guardianista, Mar 8, 2006 @ 3:52 AM.

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#13

Nuallain

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 4:38 AM

"the North" = Northern England such as Manchester, Liverpool, York


It should probably be pointed out that Northeners stereotypically view Southeners as soft, weak, overly liberal intellectuals who are far too concerned with manbags and are probably homosexual. Naturally, Northerners view themselves as 'salt of the earth' types who do an honest day's hard work. The North is where a lot of the agriculture and heavy industry is located.

Southerners, meanwhile, stereotypically view Northerners as poorly educated and backward and as still living in the 1930s, and incredibly mean and miserly with money. They view themselves, naturally, as cultured and sophisticated. The South is where most of the government, major universities, museums and media are based.

And, as usual with regional stereotypes, both sides are talking utter nonsense. But, for Americans, every time there's a crack about the North or the South just flip them. In terms of stereotypes, UK North = US South and US North = UK South.

Edited by Nuallain, Mar 8, 2006 @ 4:39 AM.

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#14

cutecouple

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:50 PM

This isn't related to any TV episode, but to something I read about the Big Finish audio "The One Doctor". What exactly is a Christmas Pantomime?

Edited by cutecouple, Mar 8, 2006 @ 12:55 PM.

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#15

B. Will

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 1:08 PM

What exactly is a Christmas Pantomime?


It's a traditional form of theatre that (generally speaking) turns up during the Christmas season. They used to start on Boxing Day, but they've been starting earlier and earlier lately.

They're based on traditional stories like Cinderella and Aladdin, and feature slapstick, gender reversal (men dressed as women and vice-versa), and audience participation, often raucous. There's always an arch-villain, lead girl, and lead boy.

There's a bit more to it than that, but that's more or less what a panto is.

Edited by B. Will, Mar 8, 2006 @ 1:09 PM.

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#16

gallimaufry

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 5:48 PM

I don't know if I'd say 'swanning off' means leaving 'unceremoniously' exactly. More 'in the manner of a swan', carelessly, distantly. As with all slang, it may vary in usage.

Some of these translations are astonishing. Does "beans on toast" really need translation? For what it's worth, I loathe beans on toast, but it survives because... well, it's very, very cheap. So it's a good staple. Mask the flavour with vast quantities of grated cheese.
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#17

zombygirl

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:14 PM

Cheapo Borito sounds like to me.
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#18

Demetrios

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:27 PM

Does "beans on toast" really need translation?


Actually, yes it does. We Americans would never think to put baked beans on toast - not because the idea is inherently repulsive, but because... well... because they're just two things that we would never think to throw together! You wouldn't believe the number of people who asked exactly what it was in other Doctor Who forums...

Edited by Demetrios, Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:27 PM.

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#19

ThirtyHelens

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:34 PM

We Americans would never think to put baked beans on toast - not because the idea is inherently repulsive, but because... well... because they're just two things that we would never think to throw together!


Oh, come on, Yanks, think about it. It's beans and bread. Bean burrito? Is beans and bread. It's not THAT outrageous. ;-) And before you say anything, I am American, so there. Neener neener!

Seriously, the thing to bear in mind is that their baked beans are very different from ours - it's basically just white beans in tomato sauce, vs. lots of brown sugar and smoky bacon bits and the like. Try it - grate some cheddar cheese and crack some fresh black pepper on there and it's damn tasty, I promise.

Now, marmite I'm with the home crowd on. Foul, foul stuff.
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#20

Bear

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:37 PM

Jumper isn't a slang word! It's the standard word for a wool sweater.

And I agree with gallimaufry that "swanning off" suggests leaving as though you didn't have a care in the world - even in a time of stress or trouble. It's often used to refer critically to someone's actions. So to give an example, you'd be annoyed if you were trying to clean your house before the landlord called round and your housemate went swanning off to the shops.

Damn, it looks weird and wrong written down! I've only ever used it in speech before...

Also, I love beans on toast, but I am a culinary freak because I only like them when the beans are on the side - they make the toast all soggy if you pile them on top. Many people disagree with me on this one, though...

Edited by Bear, Mar 8, 2006 @ 6:38 PM.

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#21

La Anah

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 7:57 PM

Jumper isn't a slang word! It's the standard word for a wool sweater.

But in American, a jumper is a garment that looks something like a cross between a skirt and overalls, that is it has straps, but not enough of a top to make it a dress. Therefore, a translation is very much needed.
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#22

Adjamemnon

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 8:46 PM

Re: Beans on Toast

Americans are also not going to be dead certain when a phrase is literal and when it is some sort of cockney slang. For all we know, "beans on toast" means a cup of coffee. ("toasted" coffee "beans" you see :) )

So we're going to ask rather than presume, since there are other phrases that we know aren't literal. For example, Americans really hope that "toad in a hole" is not an actual toad in an actual hole. We also know that "bangers and mash" has nothing to do with people getting naughty on a 70s sit-com set in the Korean Conflict.
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#23

ThirtyHelens

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 11:38 PM

they make the toast all soggy if you pile them on top. Many people disagree with me on this one, though...


Well, and it also really depends on the fortitude of your bread. Many breads simply don't hold up. Get a good whole grain or rye bread and toast it well and you're working with quality hardware. ;)
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#24

EllycatinOz

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Posted Mar 8, 2006 @ 11:55 PM

Now, marmite I'm with the home crowd on. Foul, foul stuff.


Ah as an Australian I think I am the best placed to advise on this. See the problem with trying marmite and vegemite (the Oz version - better by the way and yes them's fightin words!) in America and Canada (I lived in one worked in the other so I do know) is that Can-Am bread is sweeter than Australian and English bread. The sugar clashes with the saltiness of the spread.
So I suggest this before you write it off completely. Try a rye bread toasted to how you like toast then spread a nice amount of butter and then the barest trace of the vegemite/marmite. You should barely see the brown stuff! That's how it should be eaten.

Now culinary excursions aside...It's an extremely salient point that Adjamemnon made. It is almost impossible to realise exactly what is local knowledge and what is universal knowledge as you all live the life you live and take things for granted all the time. Plus English English is notorious for weird little expressions and archaic usages that the rest of us allegedly english-speaking world have no idea about. So yes it is better to ask than to wonder.

Please please be careful with this thread particularly answering. What may seem as obvious to you as beans on toast is a deep a mystery to others as some dark deep mystery of the universe. So DONT patronise!!!!
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#25

atropos116

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 12:01 AM

I love this thread. I just spent my last semester in London, and had to decode economics and politics through thick Scottish and English accents, respectively. One thing has never been properly explained to me: Bob's your uncle. I get the gist of it, but...how did this originate? Or is that as obscure as asking why "piece of cake" also means "easy"?
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#26

PatrickH

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 1:46 AM

'Bob's your uncle' means 'and then you are done' and like most interesting phrases, there exists a folkloric explanation as to it's origin, but most likely this is an example of retconning a definition to a popular phrase. I have seen this explaination in multiple places, though, so perhaps there is more truth to it than I suspect.

Indeed, as you surmised it is much like asking for the origin of piece of cake.

With any of these kinds of folkloric items, you can find plenty of evidence for the incident of creation one way or another and sometimes pretty persuasive evidence comes along, but it does not appear that either of these have that kind of definitive explanation as to their origins. Suffice it to say, when most people say 'Bob's your uncle.', they are not thinking of a particular account of historical nepositism in British Parliament.

Edited by PatrickH, Mar 9, 2006 @ 1:47 AM.

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#27

RavenaS

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 1:57 AM

A few others I just thought of:

school swat = nerdy smart kid (swat is slang for getting smart about something... "to swat up" means "to study")

License Fee = the TV License Fee all British are obligated to pay by law if they want to own a TV set. The License Fee goes to fill the BBC coffers in a sort of higher-funded public television service. BBC can afford to make Doctor Who because the License Fee payers give them the money. It's not a subscription but a tax. Much debate surrounds the TV License law, debate that has somewhat been silenced by the quality and popularity of Doctor Who.

Big Ben = the clock tower attached to Westminster (home of the British government). It's directly across the Thames from the London Eye. Try GoogleEarth to see where these notable locations are, then you know why the production team decided to include them on the series launch.

Edited by RavenaS, Mar 9, 2006 @ 1:56 AM.

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#28

Demetrios

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 2:00 AM

Big Ben = the clock tower attached to Westminster (home of the British government).


*waits for the inevitible post by a Londoner to tell us that Big Ben technically isn't the clock tower*
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#29

RavenaS

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 2:10 AM

Well, I'm going for the general American translation rather than the crushingly boring yet minutely detailed explanations. :)

Which reminds me, explaining what "beans on toast" is or more importantly what they symbolize (cheap comfort food) is important for us Yanks. Some things are understood differently when you know the cultural significance.

Oh and Shepherd's Pie is a casserole made with ground beef (or mutton), vegetables (peas, carrots, onions), mashed potatoes and cheese. Very tasty and universal like American meat loaf.

I assume we Yanks also realize that:

telly = television
ring (as a verb) = phone (as a verb)
Mum/Mummy = Mom/Mommy

Oh any Brits care to explain "Young Farmer"? Or shall we wait until that crosses our path.

Edited by RavenaS, Mar 9, 2006 @ 2:17 AM.

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#30

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Posted Mar 9, 2006 @ 3:08 AM

A 'young farmer' is essentially exactly what it sounds like; the offspring of a farmer (but more your landed gentry, Mr Manyacres type of farmer than a guy with a pig and a cow). But it's also something like a youth club for the offspring of farmers once they get into their teens. Lots of drinking, smoking, drug taking and sex - Young Farmers are WILD.
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