content has been exactly the same but the entire voice track has
been replaced with local equivalent and thus we have Patrick McGoohan
and his fellow actors apparently able to speak several languages. Well,
that's not quite what happens of course. Each country employs a
translator and voice director. The scripts are translated into the
local language and the voice director hires a team of actors who
overdub the English voice track. This is a very common practise
in the television and film
industry and I'm sure that most of us
have at some time turned on the TV in our hotel on the Costa Brava
(or whichever foreign clime get the vote that year) and been treated
to an incomprehensible half hour of what we were certain was "Coronation
- EINE LINGUISTISCHE LANDPARTIE
SYNCHRONREGISSEUR JOACHIM BRINKMANN
The German version of THE PRISONER was called NUMMER SECHS (credits:
NUMMER 6), literally "Number Six", and for those
of you giggling at the back who didn't do your German homework,
"sechs" is pronounced "zeks".
The translation of the scripts was by Joachim Brinkmann, who was
also voice director. Patrick McGoohan is dubbed by German actor
Horst Naumann and does a remarkable job in reproducing the McGoohan
intonation and cadence.
However, what's interesting about the German version of THE PRISONER
is that there are some significant differences in the script and
it's apparent that Joachim Brinkmann took a certain amount of liberty
in his translation and worked some variations of his own into the
original concepts. This is over and above the difficulty which all
translators would have with phrases that just don't translate word
for word from one language to another. This is because such phrases
are idiomatic - they only mean something in the original language
and just translating the words into another language doesn't mean
that it would mean the same thing or even understood in the same
an diesem beitrag ist der blick von außen auf die "native" sprachversion,
wie wir sie kennen. Auf der PRISONER Convention desselben jahres 2004
wurde Larry Halls videofeature zu eben diesem thema präsentiert. Als deutscher muttersprachler mutet dieser beitrag mit den vielen szenenausschnitten in synchronisierter fassung einigermaßen paradox an insofern man "weiß", dass es sich um die wiedergabe einer, aus britischer sicht, fremdsprachlichen version handelt, die, das ist bemerkenswert, uns nicht selbstverständlich sein sollte.
pivotal phrase "Six of one, half a dozen of the other"
is a good example as there is no direct German equivalent. So, when
Number 6 says "I'm not a number, I'm a person", instead
of replying "Six of one, half a dozen of the other", Number
2 says (in German) "The one doesn't necessarily preclude the
other". Just think what that does to the title of The Prisoner
hook or by crook" is another phrase that just doesn't cross
over, and this necessitated a rewrite of the opening titles:
"We want information, information, information.
You won't get it.
By hook or by crook, we will."
problem with the last line is that it's based on a concept, and
the words themselves don't mean anything in isolation. Therefore,
translating the last line into German results in gibberish and there's
no alternative but to look for a phrase that, although the words
would be different, means much the same thing. In this instance,
we have our script alteration, which becomes:
"Wir wollen informationen, informationen, informationen.
Ich sage nichts. - I'm saying nothing.
Sie werden sprechen, so oder so. - You will talk, one way or
when you translate "so oder so" back into English,
that doesn't mean anything either. The trick obviously is to know
what it means, not necessarily what it says.
greater interest are the instances where Brinkmann injected his
own ideas or took the opportunity to add new twists to concepts
within the established framework. When Number 6 asks, "Whose
side are you on", for example, the answer is not "That
would be telling", but "We are on the right side".
Perhaps the most significant of these script departures was to totally
remove references to The Village and make Number 6's incarceration
even more mysterious by simply referring to it as "Here"
or "this Place". I'm capitalising the "P"
to denote the strength of the word in the context that it's used.
Tanslating "Village" to the German equivalent "Dorf"
would have been easy enough, so it would seem a deliberate decision
to substitute "Place". It certainly alters things
because while "Village" conveys the impression
of a small community, "this Place" imposes no boundary
and arguably adds an extra ingredient of mystery. Just how big is
"this Place"? How small? Can it expand or contract
and adapt to changing requirements? Not allowing Number 6 the luxury
of at least identifiable prison walls increases his confusion and
adds to his disorientation. Mind you, it does mean that some treasured
dialogue gets trashed. Take the question and answer sequence in
the standard opening titles:
"Where am I? - In the Village." This becomes:
- "Wo bin ich? - Where am I?
- Sie sind da. - You are there."
(This can also be taken to mean "You are here" which sounds
better to English ears.)
around any mention of the Village occurs many times during the course
of the series. Using "Die Glocken von Big Ben" ("The
Chimes Of Big Ben") for the following example, we have the
conversation between Nadia and Number 6 when Nadia says she doesn't
know where she is. Number 6 echoes the line in the episode opening
sequence - not "In the Village", but "Sie sind da."
- "You are there/here."
And again, when they talk about transportation: Number 6: "Taxis
- local service only." becomes "Es gibt taxis. - Sie
fahren aber nur hier im Ort." - "There are taxis,
they only drive here in the Place."
Village with Place sometimes sounds odd to English
ears. Again, it's something which sounds fine in German because
the language is very precise and formal but it doesn't translate
back into English in quite the same way. Take these further examples,
again from "Chimes":
Number 2: "Can I give you a lift back to the Village?"
becomes "Wollen Sie mit mir zurück in den Ort fahren?"
(into the Place).
Number 6 (replying to Colonel J's question about Number 2): "Chairman
of the Village." becomes "Der boss da, von diesem Ort."
(the chief there, of this Place).
addition to losing the Village, we also lose various grades of Alert.
When the supervisor orders "Yellow Alert", it indicates
that there's a potential threat or a possible escape attempt in
progress. "Orange Alert" means that the situation
has escalated and requires the service of Rover.
reason for the various colours is rooted in the military alert system
accorded to the degree of threat existing at any given time. A Code
Red security alert represents the highest threat, usually reserved
for imminent military action, and there are "cooler" colours
allocated to less threatening situations down to Code Black when
it's safe to break out the tea and crumpets. "Red Alert"
was also used in the STAR TREK series to indicate that it was time
to arm the proton torpedos.
Brinkmann decided not to use any of the colours and whenever Rover
shows up we hear "Weißer Alarm" which means
"White Alert". It sort-of makes sense but comes over more
as a reaction to Rover rather than a dramatic escalation of events.
Therefore, as Nadia swims out to sea in her early escape attempt,
Number 2 watches her progress and then pushes the button to call
up Rover with the words "Weißer Alarm".
with "Chimes", Nadia reveals her origin as Bulgarian rather
than Estonian as she is in the English version of the story and
there is a drastic reshuffle of the geography surrounding the Village.
Normally she tells Number 6 that they are in Lithuania and she muses
on the probable escape route they must take. "Lithuania, on
the Baltic. That means making for... West Germany, Denmark..."
However, Joachim Brinkmann chose to resite the Village some
way across the world to Bulgaria. Number 6's musing now becomes:
"In Bulgaria. On the Balkans. That means making for Greece,
into Turkey..." The sea escape to the Polish border therefore
has to be altered and our dynamic duo make instead for the Turkish
border towards the village of Wradjye (not Branyevo). Interestingly,
Wradjye is referred to as "ein kleines dorf" (a small
village) which indicates that only the Village needs to have
the anonymity of being a "Place".
the story, they meet up with Nadia's contact man who usually confirms
their route to London as "By sea, Gdansk - Danzig - you know.
By air, to Copenhagen. By air, again, to London." Except that
they're now elsewhere, so the route becomes "Boat Turkey -
Istanbul - understood. Then plane Athens. Plane again Paris, then
me that world atlas, I'm starting to lose my sense of direction!
also...; lesen Sie
Joachim Brinkmann chose to make these changes to the established
script is unknown. *
Vincent Tilsley who wrote the original script for "Chimes"
confirms that he wasn't consulted on any such changes and it would
seem that Brinkmann simply decided to put his own spin on the basic
concept, over and above a simple translation job. There are certainly
some interesting ideas.
STRAIGHT FORWARD TRANSLATIONS
Effectively, what we have in the German episodes of THE PRISONER
are alternate versions not straight forwards translations although
some episodes have significant changes, some only quite minor ones.
It doesn't ultimately make any difference, Number 6 still doesn't
get away, but it all adds a number of interesting twists to the
Mr. Brinkmann was contacted in May 2006. In a brief telephone conversation
he regretted that, after 40 years, he wasn't able to contribute
anything substantial. Thus, no details on his work were discussed.
beitrag wurde 2004 für das SIX-OF-ONE-mitgliedermagazin "Free
For All" verfasst.
Eine deutsche übersetzung existiert (noch) nicht.