Polish Cabaret: Language Censure

April 11, 2009

The Polish Cabaret is something entirely different than the French one. It’s more like Monty Python or Rowan Atkinson’s stage shows. It’s full of cultural references and it’s a commentary on politics and the society. Poles love laughing at themselves, and approximately 90% of jokes are at their own expense.

Although it’s not easy to translate something so culturally specific, Maciej Stuhr’s “Lektor” should be understood to anyone who knows even very little of Polish.

Lektor in itself is particular. The majority of foreign films in Polish TV are neither subtitled or dubbed, but read aloud by a ‘lektor’.

This show parodies the fact that English swearing words tend to be omitted in translation, which, in itself, is a curious cultural occurrence, since Poles are much more lenient in censuring sex and nudity than Americans or even Brits, but much more strict when it comes to curses and violence.

(In case you need a translation from Polish it’s provided below.)

Translation:

– This show is dedicated to translators of dialogues in American movies.

– Brooklyn, NY, 11:48 pm.

– Gosh, man!

– What the heck are you doing here?

– Not your snotty business.

– Silence, silence!

– Go away.

– Terefere.*

– Terefere you too.

– &*V@! The text is unreadable.

* Terefere dudki is something children say in a silly banter about who’s right or wrong. Perhaps an English equivalent would be when someone puts one’s hands against one’s ears, saying “I can’t hear you”.

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2 Responses to “Polish Cabaret: Language Censure”

  1. island1 said

    Ah yes, Polish cabaret. My better half is in a cabaret (did very well in PaKa last year), which means I’ve seen an awful lot of them from rehearsal to stage.

    I despair of ever understanding.

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