When movie titles change around the world

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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:44
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
"Mama, There's a Man in Your Bed", Apr 4, 2012

...in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders in the renaming of film titles; this one was originally "Romuald et Juliette" (France, 1989), a wonderful romantic comedy (it is too far good to fall into that dire genre of the "rom-com") and there are no prizes for guessing where the original title is drawn from either.

The article is interesting and I would assume that huge amounts of time and money are invested into titles in both the source and target languages (no doubt justified by the ROI). Not films, but in general when translating, particular more arty/literary stuff, I tend to leave the titles/headings until the end to make sure they reflect the content and how it would appear to/be understood by whoever it is I am translating for (the audience in my head).

Given that Aardman is a British company, and the references in the article to how British films are viewed abroad, I think it also raises an interesting question about the perception people have of dominant/lesser cultures - is more adaptation needed for British/Irish/Australian films than American ones, for example? I know they subtitle English accents sometimes in the US. Does this happen in other big film industries, like in India or China?


[Edited at 2012-04-04 13:08 GMT]


Jing Nie
Local time: 15:44
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
This killer is not too cold Apr 4, 2012

This is the Chinese translation of Léon (1994).

Your topic is very interesting, I also found the same amazing problem in China.

In China, the Chinese titles of foreign films are often not related to the original name.

Matrix (1999) is translated as "Hacker Empire".

Inception(2010) is translated as "Steal Dream Space".

Taken (2008) is translated as "Hurricane Rescue".


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes it's necessary Apr 4, 2012

Aisha Maniar wrote:

... one of the worst offenders in the renaming of film titles...


[Edited at 2012-04-04 13:08 GMT]

Spain is notorious for off-the-wall translations, but sometimes there is a reasoning to justify the changes/choices.

For example, the Billy Connolly movie "Water" was translated as "Loca Juerga Tropical" (Crazy Tropical Binge/Party), probably because in Spanish "wáter / "(g)=
a (inodoro) lavatory, toilet
b (Esp) (cuarto) bathroom (esp AmE), lavatory, toilet


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When movie titles change around the world

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