Translating HurtLocker in Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon, and Tagalog

Genevieve L. Asenjo

Hurt is sakit in Kinaray-a, the politically-correct name of the language spoken in variants all over Antique and towns outside Iloilo City. It is the considered mother tongue of Hiligaynon, primarily spoken in the cities of Iloilo and Negros Occidental, the western part of Visayasin the Philippine map. So similar, this is sakit, in Hiligaynon, and Tagalog. Masakit, it hurts, that does not only conjure pula (red), as indugo (blood), like when you accidentally cut your finger while chopping onion. Napilas (wounded), like those soldiers in battle fields we always see in movies, and news, and perhaps if you are unlucky – under your sky of country. So you bleed, in pain, more so that which cannot be readily seen by the eyes. Therefore we know that hurt, sakit, does not only manifest in the physical realm, but also in our perception and attitude of the self, of the other, of the world; concretized most often in speech and deed. Indeed, so masakit – how painful, how hurting.Aguy,ouch. 

Add Cebuano and you still get sakit. How interesting that across islands of this beloved archipelago we got the same word for this English hurt. It appears it knows no race, class, and gender. Same pain for all currency; does not change colour or smell. So you lock it.Cerrado, that is Spanish, and we have 300 years and more of Hispanic-Philippines. Sarado in Kinaray-a, same in Hiligaynon, and so it is in Tagalog. What changes is the conjugation, as it assumes tense, characterized by repetition: ginsarado (closed), ginasarado (being closed), saraduhon (to be closed) both in Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon.

What you have in Tagalog are: nagsara, nagsasara, sasara. But could also be sinara or sinarado, sinasara or sinasarado, sasaraduhin or isasara. That might be now your Filipino, in Visayan-flavor* - legitimate on its own. Who owns language, anyway, but its users. The Queen of English is far away, anyway, if not dead. So never mind, does not matter. Postcolonial theorists here and there, after all, are proclaiming we now have englishes. Look at India, Korea, and China. But of course, they still have not heard about us, Filipinos, say in and for Nobel Prize in Literature. That truly hurts, right. Masakit, it haunts our soul.

Nuff said. Hurtlocker then. This is where the tricky business of translation begins. But first, let me credit this movie that won Oscars for Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director, Mark Boal for Best Original Screenplay, and defeated Avatar for Best Picture. 

Hurtlocker. Translation 1: (Kinaray-a) Manugsarado kang sakit.(Hiligaynon) Manugsarado sang sakit. (Tagalog) Tagasara ng sakit.Prefix manug and taga indicates an actor, doer of an action. In the movie, we see a bomb disposal team. American soldiers in Iraq. To disarm, to diffuse, to stop explosion as possible, so no one gets hurt. Containment. Filtering. What we see are amputated arms and legs. Then broken families brought by estrangement; broken dreams due to mind, heart, and soul in pain. Circle of pain that goes beyond the diameter of the bomb as rendered by no other than Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Sakit becomes malady. Dis-ease. Disease itself, like H1N1, and other airborne viruses, and if you are into conspiracy theory, said to be a state apparatus to sow fear and paranoia for control and domination. There’s such a thing as depopulation, for instance. 

Ah, I’m digressing, and quite a topic, isn’t it? Masakit sa dughan(heavy/painful to/for the heart). That if you read movie reviews, Bigelow is praised for its tender and subtle craftsmanship of such sensitive and complex narrative. Besides, people no longer want to think much these days. We like to believe giyera, war, only happens in news and movies. World I War and II are kasaysayan (history) you study in school. Maragtas, in the old-world Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon. These kasakit kang/sang kabuhi (hardships of life) we have to batas(endure), after all, we are known as resilient people. What a wasteland, said T.S. Eliot, “this earth of mankind,” said Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Okay, this is easy – go, google.

Translation 2: (Kinaray-a) Taraguan kang kasakit. (Hiligaynon)Talaguan sang kasakit. (Tagalog) Taguan ng sakit/pighati. What we see this time is an image of a vault. Baul (wooden chestbox). USB. Like Pandora’s box in Greek mythology, this must not be open lest you want disasters of epic proportions. Evil in the name of dark, painful memories. Kasakit. But who wants to keep painful memories forever? There’s clinical help, life coaching, for sadomasochists and survivors of almost all kinds of nature and man-made’s explosions. For those who gone numb and stoic, you have to knock lovingly, endlessly, on that vault. Goodluck. 

Translation 3: (Kinaray-a) Tagabukas kang sakit. (Hiligaynon)Tagabukas sang sakit. (Tagalog) Tagabukas ng sakit. In both hindsight and foresight, could very well be tagasara kang/sang/ng sakit. Close-open. Open-close. We come full circle with the first version. We see here not only an image of open and puff – gone, but a moment of catharsis and the promise of hope – redemption. At the end of the movie, we see the characters in their respective new lives after Iraq. Wounded but we are made to believe that they have become better persons; because they had witnessed and experienced the horror and agony of war, now they understand and value tenderness, beauty, love, peace – more than ever.

And so we sara, close, on this liberating note.

Notes in Translation: 

Non-native speakers of Tagalog will conjugate differently, and thus, the variations in spelling. All these variations (Filipino) are generally used, recognized and accepted.

"What you have in Tagalog are: nagsara, nagsasara, sasara. But could also be sinara or sinarado, sinasara or sinasarado, sasaraduhin orisasara. That might be now your Filipino, in Visayan-flavor - legitimate on its own." GA

Here, Ilonggo and Kinaray-a removes the prefix "i". Note also that it uses sasaraduhin instead of sasaraduhan, but

Tagalog "in Tagalog flavour" will be

  • [mag-verbs] Magsara, nagsara, nagsasara, magsasara
  • [i-in verbs] isara, isinara, isinasara, isasara or isarado, isinarado, isasarado
  • [han-an verbs]saraduhan, sinasaraduhan, sinaraduhan, sasaraduhan

However, Pure Tagalog (taal na Tagalog) will be: pinid(closed/locked); ipinid (close/lock [it]); ipinipinid (closing /locking [it]); pumipinid ([it is] closing/locking); pipinid (will close/will lock)