Peaky Blinders #4
Context: Tommy says legitimate business takes priority. John (not shown) asks, “Since when?”
Original English: Since my [expletive] wife took a bullet meant for me.
Spanish subtitle: Desde que mi esposa recibió una bala que era para mí.
ISSUE #1: Desde Vs. Desde Que
The default meaning of “que” is “that”.
But the next most common meaning of “que” is nothing.
This happens for several reasons, but here, “que” acts as a ‘connector’ between two ideas--even though one of those ideas isn’t there =)
Context matters... kinda.
Tommy said legitimate business takes priority. John asked, “Since when?”
When Tommy answered, “Since my wife took a bullet meant for me.”--he was really saying, “Legitimate business takes priority, SINCE my wife took a bullet meant for me.”
So the “que” is connecting two ideas (sentences, phrases or clauses):
1) Legitimate business takes priority
2) My wife took a bullet meant for me
That’s why “que” is so often a signal to use the subjunctive!
Because sentences with the subjunctive tend to have multiple ideas in them (by nature).
And one of “que’s” main jobs is to connect them!
ISSUE #2: TOOK = RECIBIÓ
The used “recibir” (to receive) instead of “tomar” (to take) because “recibir” is the default verb for “receiving” a bullet =)
Plus, his wife didn’t literally TAKE a bullet (she didn’t carry a bullet from one place to another).
ISSUE #3: PRETERITE VS. IMPERFECT
They put “recibir” in the preterite form (recibió) because it’s what happened--not how things were.
What happened? She took a bullet? Go with the preterite.
ISSUE #4: MEANT = SER
Tommy used “meant” as “intended”. We say “to mean” like that a lot in English.
In Spanish, “to mean” is “significar”. But using that here would be weird, so they didn’t directly translate.
In English, that could be said another way: Since my wife took a bullet that WAS for me.
With “was” now.
And “was” is from “to be”. “To be” in Spanish is “ser”. And “era” comes from “ser”.
BOOM! That’s how they went from “meant” to “was”.
ISSUE #5: SER VS. ESTAR
It’s “ser” (not “estar”) because “was” refers to the intention of the shooter or the destination of the bullet--both of which are PERMANENT facts in history that can’t ever change.
And usually for permanent stuff (except location)--go with “ser”.
ISSUE #6: PRETERITE VS. IMPERFECT
“Era” is from “ser”. It’s the singular, third (and first) person conjugation in the imperfect tense.
“...a bullet that WAS for me.”
The bullet WAS for Tommy--it WAS intended for him from the moment it was fired, until the moment it was “received” (or from the moment the idea was conceived).
It’s how things were (background information) when something else happened (the bullet was “received”).
ISSUE #7: POR VS. PARA
The “for” is clearly an ARROW in this scene. They’re literally talking about targets!
The bullet was FOR Tommy. When “for” is an arrow, “para” is the way to go.
ISSUE #8: EXPLETIVE OMITTED
Tommy said the f-word before “wife”. But even though there’s lots of swearing in this show, the subtitlers opted for nothing here.
Because in Spanish they would never use the f-word (or any word like that) FOR THEIR WIFE!
I mean, it is kinda weird we say the same word for our loved ones AND our enemies!
They just wouldn’t swear there, that’s why it’s omitted.
ISSUE #9: VOCABULARY
my = mi
wife = la esposa
a = una
bullet = la bala
me = mí