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Gerald Erichsen

Get Lost in Spanish

By March 24, 2010

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The folks at the ABC television series Lost are known for paying attention to detail, and it paid off on the episode seen yesterday in the U.S. -- nearly half the show was in Spanish, and it was spoken well enough to make the setting believable.

As it turns out, one of the show's recurring characters, Richard Alpert (portrayed by Nestor Carbonell) is of Spanish origin. He has been one of the show's mysterious characters, as he doesn't age, and now we've learned why. The opening scenes of the show take place at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where the character was known as Ricardo, and the creators of Lost deserve credit for not having the characters speak accented English as might happen on other shows.

The Spanish wasn't perfect -- most of the accents heard sounded more Latin American or Caribbean than they did as being from Spain -- but it all was good enough not only to be understandable but also to be credible.

Of course, most of the Spanish is subtitled, often with loose translations (for example, "ˇAyuda!" at one point is translated as "Down here!" which is close enough in the context). What's left untranslated is of little consequence; for example, while being threatened with death, one character shouts, "ˇNo lo haga!" or "Don't do it!"

The episode -- only the first half of which would make sense to those who haven't seen the show -- can be seen at ABC and Hulu. And, of course, you can learn more about this episode from Lost at About.com.


March 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(1) Mimi says:

I am a big critic when I watch a TV show with Spanish script. I haven’t seen this one but CSI is another show where they usually get it right. I hate it when when someone is suppose to be from Mexico and they sound like they’re form Puerto Rico. It’s like having an Australian play a Texan, it doesn’t work.

March 31, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(2) Paul says:

“ˇNo lo haga!”… es correcto? Pensé que seria “ˇNo lo hagas!”

April 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm
(3) ignacio says:

I understand the Spanish spoken in the Canaries is not and has never been Castillian. The Canaries were conquered. The Spanish spoken is supposed to be the Spanish of southern Spain which is not Castillian but closer to Latin American Spanish.

April 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm
(4) Spanish Guide says:

And I’m sure that the accent of the mid-19th century would be different than it is today as well.

April 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm
(5) Spanish Guide says:

Paul — You might be right.

April 14, 2010 at 4:56 am
(6) Khin Khin says:

Hola, Gracias por tu lecciones diario. Yo estoy estudiendo desde Myanmar.

Khin Khin

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