First Edits


I wrote the following entry more than a month ago, but I just realized that I never posted it. So it’s not quite up-to-date, but it will provide some contrast to my final blog:

After about a month and a half, I’ve translated the script and edited it once. The translation turned out to be not as difficult as I had anticipated but I’m finding the editing process to be a little rough. I have the language skills to understand and roughly translate the script but it’s harder to create a less elementary and more cohesive translation. At this point, the script has a lot of awkward phrasing because I translated very literally. However, as I understand it, the grammar/vocabulary structure that Insausti uses is a lot more loose than it would be in a novel or article. The purpose of the script (when it’s not dialogue), is description and the sentences provide background, not literary mastery. As a result I’m struggling with identifying which parts of my translation sound unnatural and which reflect the writing style of film scripts.

As I finished my first edit yesterday, I realized that I have been so focused on the sentence-by-sentence translation that I’ve missed picking up on some of the plot details. The movie traces the lives of three jazz musicians of different generations and their relationship with an beloved jazz club in Havana. Each musician is prodigy at their instrument (saxophone, piano, and bass) and each struggles with drug addictions, relationship problems, and a certain detachment from the world – music creates vibrancy in their lives but also ruptures their ties with people and eventually life. The stories are not difficult to follow but I do have a few questions for Esteban. Some parts of the plot seem to have some disconnect, probably because I can’t pick up some of the subtle twists that are obvious only in the dialogue. For example the character Leo in the final story is subject to the hatred of his fellow musician, Lazaro, who somehow causes his downfall. Leo has a successful opening night at the jazz club and the audience appears to like him more than Lazaro, but shortly after, Leo has completely broken down. The cause of his emotional degradation is unclear to me. I’m planning on reading through the script and outlining the entire plot, so that when I edit again, I have a very clear picture of what the dialogue and descriptions are trying to achieve.