In Russia, Mystery Science Theater 3000 translates you.

In the city of St. Petersburg, Russia, there is a guy. A lone-wolf private math teacher on a mission. A fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 so dedicated to the world of art and comedy, that he’s bringing his favorite English-speaking things to the Russian-speaking world. His mission: to translate MST3000 into the Russian language.

Season 1 Joel and the bots yelling movie sign.

It’s movie sign!

Tim, no relation to Tim, is taking the transcribed subtitles that are already being created by The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Captions Project, and creating Russian language subtitles. He says that he will be taking the series on in order, because that’s how the Caption Project is tackling them– and he’s not a professional translator who can just do things by ear. He’d like to translate some later episodes like Space Mutiny, but the CP hasn’t gotten to it yet. So far, he’s only translated one episode: the very first Comedy Channel episode of MST3K ever broadcast — The Crawling Eye. Work was completed some time in February of this year. The resulting video was posted to a specially created YouTube channel (MST3k in Russian) on February 22, 2016. Work has begun on a second episode (The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy), according to the official forum for the effort.

When asked about his plans for the project,  Mr. Zubov (Tim, as previously mentioned) revealed that the endeavor is so time consuming and laborious (and filled with hard to translate cultural references and puns) that his translation hopes come to around four episodes a year. More episodes per year, maybe, could probably be translated if Mr. Z went nuts, quit his job, and put his nose to the grind stone to get things done in hog-wild fashion. But, right now, four is the number. Which means that it’s not practical to expect that he will be able to translate every episode by himself.

It also means that the famous “Russian MST3K” (Project Popcorn) may not get an English translation from Tim (or, Тимофей, if you предпочитатьany time soon. He does know about it. And, he’s interested in doing it. And, he’s been asked about doing it. And, he hopes to someday to be able to do it. But, he’s already doing the official episodes and there’s like, what, 170 something ish of those to get through. Doing the math (and he can, privately), that’s like 40 something ish years at his current pace; notwithstanding an infusion of donations or the help of others. What he’d really need, to get a Проект “Попкорн” translation off the ground, is an editor; some helpful MSTie to proofread and correct his (not yet existing) non-native English translation. No promises, though.

If you’d like to help him out, give him (A.K.A. Otmara) a ringy dingy on the YouTube, or sign up for an account on the The MST3K Caption Project forum and ring the appropriate dingies (A.K.A. OtmaraRus) over there. The “captions project” is also looking for help translating to other languages.

Larry and Clayton sing "la la la", in Russian.

The MST3K Caption Project puts the right subtitle near the right speaker. Science!

The captions project started off with one guy wanting to help his non-native English speaking wife make sense of who is saying what (on a television show where there’s a movie with people talking and three people watching the movie who are also talking over the movie). After a time, a few others joined up to create what the project claims are “100% complete and accurate captions for Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the deaf, hard of hearing and those who need and want them”. So far, the English arm of the project has posted eleven subtitled videos to its channel since the first one was uploaded over a year ago, giving an indication of how long things take. It takes about four people to get the English version put together at the current pace.

SubBot, the mysterious American who started the captions project in 2014, says that besides Russian, there’s also someone working on Spanish. (A Spanish translation of The Crawling Eye appeared on the YouTube a few days ago.) And, he’s ready for more translators to contact him to get MST3K subtitled in other languages. He mentions French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, specifically. But, he also says, “the more languages it can be translated to, the more fans it’ll pick up.” So, if you speaka those languages (or others), give him a toot through the venues already copiously mentioned for more information on how you can make MST3K more international.

And, remember: Это просто шоу, Я могу расслабиться здесь!




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  1. From Binding Polymer - June 22, 2016 on 22 Jun 2016 at 11:12 am

    […] of Russians, did you know that there’s a Russian language Mystery Science Theater 3000 subtitle project going on? They’re translating the entire series, in order. Today, they released a fully […]

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