The dubbed versions of Hollywood films created by Dmitry Puchkov—known as Senior Police Detective Goblin, or Goblin for short—are much sought after by connoisseurs of Russian swearing, according to this story in the Moscow Times.
Damn, shoot, darn, hell.
Watch the standard Russian translation of Guy Ritchie’s 2001 crime caper “Snatch” and you’d think that these are the foulest words known to gangsters in London’s criminal underworld.
But watch Dmitry Puchkov’s Russian translation of the same film and you’ll hear an array of expletives that would make a sailor blush. Puchkov even changed the Russian title—”Bolshoi Kush,” or “Big Score”—to an extremely crude, if justifiably accurate, variant: “Spizdili.”
While sex and violence are accepted components of Russian movies, profanity is still a major taboo. Puchkov’s unique obscenity-laden translations of English-language movies have made him one of the hottest commodities on Russia’s gigantic pirate movie market.
But he doesn’t limit himself to translation in the strict sense:
By far, the Goblin films most in demand are Puchkov’s farcical translations of the first two “Lord of the Rings” films. He has translated the first film, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” as “Bratva i Koltso,” or “The Posse and the Ring,” and the second film, “Two Towers,” as “Dve Sorvanniye Bashni,” or “Two Toppled Towers,” a play on a Russian expression meaning to go crazy.
Puchkov sets J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale in Russia and re-christens several characters with comical Russified names. For example, Frodo Baggins is renamed Fyodor Sumkin (from the Russian word sumka, or bag), and Gollum is renamed Goly, the Russian word for “naked.”
The films feature some obscene banter, conversations about newly built McDonald’s restaurants and a soundtrack including songs from Tatu and Zemfira, among others.
He is, needless to say, likely to be sued, and he admits his activities “may come to an end soon, assuming a studio doesn’t decide to hire him to translate the movies for which it has legal distribution rights.” I just hope I get a chance to experience the fruits of his genius. (Thanks to Taccuino di traduzione, the new translation blog of Isabella Massardo, for the link.)
Update. See this digenis.org post for further developments (as of May 2005).