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Posted on23 October 2012

Children's TV programmes

You’d think that it would be straightforward translating the scripts children’s TV programmes, right? Watching Bob El Constructor, Tomas y Sus Amigos, and Bananas en Pijamas recently (yes, that’s what I do all day…) I noticed that there were many subtle and not so subtle language changes. Even in the American versions, a see-saw was a teeter totter, the Fat Controller is only known as Sir Topham Hatt – and it’s narrated by Alec Baldwin!

Apparently in Dutch, Thomas is “Thomas de Stoomlocomotief”, and in French, Sir Topham Hatt is “Monsieur Gédéon Gibus.” Who knew Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends were quite such a global brand – see for more fascinating facts.

Finally in the Scottish Gaelic language version, Bob the Builder is called “Calum Clachair” (Bob the Stonemason)!

A good example of how there’s a lot more to translating than just putting one word into another language.

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