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Can I completely change the name of the play?
Thread poster: linadia
linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
Jul 13, 2004

Hello all,

I've translated a French play and the title translation does not look good to the reader of the target language (Arabic).

Can I complletely change it to another title of my own creation, that would be more attractive to the Arabic reader or this would be a violation of the auther's rights, as the title is a key-identifier of any literary work?

Thanks a lot


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:21
English to Hindi
+ ...
creative license Jul 13, 2004

I'm sure you can change the title of the play. But yes, it would be good if you can keep it very close to the original but if you can't because it appears wooden in the translation, go ahead and change it. And feel happy about it. There are no copyright or other problems involved here.

Roomy


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:51
German to English
Can I completely change the name of the play? Jul 13, 2004

linadia wrote:

I've translated a French play and the title translation does not look good to the reader of the target language (Arabic).

Can I complletely change it to another title of my own creation, that would be more attractive to the Arabic reader or this would be a violation of the auther's rights, as the title is a key-identifier of any literary work?

Thanks a lot


Hi linadia,
I don't know about the legal ramifications (maybe you'd need the author's consent) but I can tell you that translated literary works are routinely given titles that are not even close to the original title. In other words, it wouldn't make sense to translate a title literally if it didn't convey the idea of the play or poem or novel, etc. to the target audience.

The German title of the American novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" is "Wenn die Nachtigal Singt" - when the nightingale sings. There are no mockingbirds in Germany (they're lovely creatures) so the translator chose a bird that Germans would be familiar with.

The German title for Tennessee Williams' "Streetcar Named Desire" (a masterpiece) is Endstation Sehnsucht - last station desire.

Cheers, Kim

[Edited at 2004-07-13 23:41]


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
German to English
+ ...
I don't see why not Jul 14, 2004

I once translated a play called Bluthochzeit in German, Lune de Guerre in French and (my title) Shotgun Wedding in English - I still featured the theme of the wedding in my title, but seeing as the script was about a shoot-out at a wedding, added to the fact that the two were getting married because the woman was pregnant (in English a shotgun wedding also means a marriage forced or required because of pregnancy) my title seemed rather appropriate - I think that it's vital that titles sound good in the target language as part of their purpose is to attract attention and arouse interest.

I guess, failing all, you could always ask the author if it's OK - if the title is good, he benefits.

Good luck!

Sarah

[Edited at 2004-07-14 00:14]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jul 14, 2004

It's done all the time. One good example is the movie "West Side Story", which in Spanish was rendered as "Amor sin Barreras" (Love without Barriers).

A literal translation of "West Side", understood by Americans to refer to New York City, would make no sense to a Spanish-speaker. Therefore they went directly to the theme of the story, which involves a romance across ethnic groups; hence, "Love without Barriers".

Of course, it could also have been "Romeo and Juliet in NYC", but it never was.


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linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I will change the title Jul 14, 2004

Roomy Naqvy wrote:

I'm sure you can change the title of the play.

Roomy


Hi Roomy,

Thank you for the reply, I will make a slight change, as the title itself is closely related to the theme of the play. I made up my mind after thinking of lots of other different titles.

The original title is a question which will look misleading in Arabic, I will change it to a simple indicative phrase.

nadia


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
A too literal title may even be a mistranslation! Jul 14, 2004

By all means, let the title be meaningful to the reader in the target language, not a literal translation of the source language title. The comedy film "Big Fat Liar" was released in Spanish as "Gordo mentiroso." Apparently the translator misunderstood the title, for a "big fat liar" is a person who tells big, fat lies, not a fat person who is a liar (which is the meaning of "gordo mentiroso)."

[Edited at 2004-07-14 13:50]


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linadia
French to Arabic
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TOPIC STARTER
You're right Jul 14, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

The German title of the American novel \"To Kill a Mockingbird\" is \"Wenn die Nachtigal Singt\" - when the nightingale sings. There are no mockingbirds in Germany (they\'re lovely creatures) so the translator chose a bird that Germans would be familiar with.

The German title for Tennessee Williams\' \"Streetcar Named Desire\" (a masterpiece) is Endstation Sehnsucht - last station desire.

Cheers, Kim

[Edited at 2004-07-13 23:41]


Hi Kim,

You\'re right. I\'ve read many translated books with titles different from the original. They do the same thing with movies too. However, I remember reading about \"Streetcar Named Desire\" when I was a teenage and I remember not quite understand what it meant as the Arabic translation kept the original title.

Thank you

nadia


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linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the examples Jul 14, 2004

Thanks to Sarah and Henry,

The examples that you have mentioned are very enlightening. However, in the play which I’m translating the main theme is mythical and Greek myths are somehow alien to the common Arabic reader, that's why I wanted to look for a title that would be both attractive and comprehensible to the Arabic reader, because it's a very good play and if the title is bad, the whole play can be rejected.

nadia


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linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This reminds me of a bad translation of Animal farm Jul 14, 2004

GoodWords wrote:

By all means, let the title be meaningful to the reader in the target language, not a literal translation of the source language title. The comedy film "Big Fat Liar" was released in Spanish as "Gordo mentiroso." Apparently the translator misunderstood the title, for a "big fat liar" is a person who tells big, fat lies, not a fat person who is a liar (which is the meaning of "gordo mentiroso)."

[Edited at 2004-07-14 13:50]


Hi GoodWords,

(nice nickname by the way)

What you said reminds me of an Arabic translation I saw lately to Orwell's Animal farm. It's disastrous, a model example of literal translation. I'm talking about the whole novel, not the title, as there was no problem about it.

Best regards

nadia


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Go for it! Jul 14, 2004

One of the constant challenges of our profession is creativity. (Coke, the spark of life = Coca-Cola, la chispa de la vida, American Airlines, doing what we do best = American Airlines, haciendo lo nuestro mejor) In our line of work, if you lack this quality, more often than not, you might feel overwhelmed by the demand for cultural equivalents that sucessfully convey the meaning of the original.

To corroborate our colleagues' opinions...the Spanish translation of the film "JAWS", is "TIBURÓN". When it first came out I was flabbergasted (but then again, I was 17? or so...). NOW it not only makes sense, but I also believe it's the best translation they could come up with. It's a single word title which manages to instill the same terror and fright of the original!

Cultural adaptation is a highly significant factor we must deal with on a daily basis.

Cheers and happy translating!

Belkis


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linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes it's all about creativity Jul 14, 2004

Belkis Díaz-Vidaillet wrote:

One of the constant challenges of our profession is creativity. (Coke, the spark of life = Coca-Cola, la chispa de la vida, American Airlines, doing what we do best = American Airlines, haciendo lo nuestro mejor) In our line of work, if you lack this quality, more often than not, you might feel overwhelmed by the demand for cultural equivalents that sucessfully convey the meaning of the original.

To corroborate our colleagues' opinions...the Spanish translation of the film "JAWS", is "TIBURÓN". When it first came out I was flabbergasted (but then again, I was 17? or so...). NOW it not only makes sense, but I also believe it's the best translation they could come up with. It's a single word title which manages to instill the same terror and fright of the original!

Cultural adaptation is a highly significant factor we must deal with on a daily basis.

Cheers and happy translating!

Belkis


I totally agree with you. Translation of literary works takes as much creativity as knowledge of the source and target language.

By the way, what does the Spanish title mean?

Thanks a lot

nadia


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RafaLee
Australia
Local time: 11:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
the meaning of tiburon Jul 15, 2004

it means "shark"

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linadia
French to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In Arabic Jul 16, 2004

RafaLee wrote:

it means "shark"


Thank you for the translation. In Arabic, we used "Fak moftaress" i.e. The killing jaw.

nadia


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Falling in love with love... Jul 17, 2004

When Hollywood makes a film from a novel, you may find they not only add a love interest which wasn't in the book, they like to put the word "Love" in the title too.
For example, Han Suyin's novel about China, "A Many Splendoured Thing", was filmed as "Love is a Many Splendored Thing".
Erich Maria Remarque's novel "Zeit zu Leben und Zeit zu Sterben" was translated as "A Time to Live and a Time to Die", but the film was called "A Time to Love and a Time to Die".


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