I lucked out too, because unlike most French people who hate to read and like everything dubbed for them, FBF also likes to watch things in VO, voix originalle (original voice).
While trying to decide upon a movie to watch, FBF suggested Star Wars. I excitedly agreed, only to find out that the only copies of my beloved Star Wars movies he owns are dubbed. I decided to take one for the team, as well as attempt to improve my French, and we put on Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Movie posters for the American and French versions
We didn’t get too far into the film before I started having major issues with whoever did the translations. They were not doing the film justice. I tried my best to ignore the bad translations, which I did, until this happened.
Let me set the scene. Han Solo has just rescued Luke Skywalker from certain peril wandering around aimlessly on the planet Hoth. Han, Chewie, C3PO, R2D2, Luke, and Princess Leia are all in Luke’s hospital room. Han teases Leia and accuses her of doing this on purpose in order to get him to stay at the rebel base longer. Then she calls him some names! Some very specific, Star Wars-y names!! She calls him a scruffy-looking nerf herder.
Proof she calls him a nerf herder!
While I don’t, and didn’t, know the translation for scruffy looking, I expected to hear the word NERF. This word did not leave Princess Leia’s lips.
I immediately reached over and paused the movie.
I asked FBF, “est-ce qu’elle a dit ‘nerf herder’?” (did she say nerf herder?)
“Non,” he replied, “elle a dit, ‘Mon dieu, vous êtes si prétencieux, si imbécile, si mal fichu, si effronté.’” (No, she said, ‘my god, you are so pretencious, so stupid, so poorly presented, so shameless!)
As you can see, she did not make any allusions to nerf herding what so ever, and choose to instead ramble off some half-rate insults. I was visibly upset. In an effort to calm me down, FBF said, “….mais personne française ne sait quoi est un nerf herder,” (…but no French person knows what a nerf herder is).
I exploded. “NOBODY KNEW WHAT A NERF HERDER WAS!! THEY INVENTED IT FOR STAR WARS!!!”
Needless to say, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the rest of the film.