DISCLAIMER: any language mistakes or typos in this post are to be attributed to
a) the fact that I am not a native English speaker
b) Gaudere’s law
Seriously - zillions of dollars are spent in the production of movies like “Gladiator”. Authors research for years for their novels. I understand that Hollywood movies or novels are mostly not 100% accurate (historically or otherwise). But why are there so many mistakes when foreign languages are concerned?
Examples (just off of the top of my head)
- any German/Nazi background dialogue is usually gibberish
- shouts of Germanic warriors in the opening of Gladiator are incorrect German (not to mention that the Germanic people did not speak German)
- most of the German lines in Gary Jennings’ novel “Spangle” are at least partly wrong (and the guy is supposed to do a year of research for every book)
These are examples where German is used - since I only speak German and English (intelligibly, anyway) I can only talk about these languages. I am sure there are more examples for other languages.
Now my questions:
Why does this happen so often? Do moviemakers and writers simply not care? Do they not know whom to ask? Do they look stuff up in babelfish?
Should I just chill, because it’s no big deal or am I right in being peeved because of this sloppy research?
And what mistakes with foreign languages in a movie or book do you know?