Game of Thrones: Hodor Translation

One of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones is Hodor, the so called "gentle giant" although there are more nameworthy giants in GOT aswell. Hodor is only able to say his name, but as actor Kristian Nairn statet, he has found 70 different ways to do so. But, to be honest, his leaked script does not emphasize the one or the other way to pronounce it.

In the course of the show it became revealed, that Hodor was not always simple minded but that some incident in his past changed the stable boy to the Buddha-like Hodor we know. What happend, was revealed in Season 6 Episode "the Door". If you don't know it yet and don't want to be spoilered, you should avoid reading about GOT in the web. Otherwise you can see here a nice example of a classical translation problem: A word (the name "Hodor") reveals a hidden meaning a long time after you used it the first time so you have had no possibility to adapt the word in a way that allows to reveal the hidden meaning adequatly in the target language aswell - and now you've got to deal with this. How could one ever know, that "Hodor" is kind of an abbreviation of "Hold the door"? For languages similar to English as German, it was a comparatively easy task as the word "Hold" in German is "Halt" and the word "Door" may be translated with the related word "Tor" (which actually means "gate" but it may be tolerable to be used for doors aswell), so you can make "Hold the door = Hodor" to "Halt das Tor = Hodor" without problems. Other languages as Russian have had bigger issues with this, as you may see in this interesting overview or even hear in this "language test". 


Image: Kristian Nairn speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California by Gage Skidmore