Movie title in article: literal translation?
Thread poster: Ana da Silva

Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 13:57
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Feb 6, 2014

Hi there,

I've come across an untranslated movie title for the first time, in an article. The movie is only in PT right now and I've no idea if it will be translated into EN. I'm tempted to do a literal translation in case it does eventually get fully translated into English. What do you think?


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:57
English to Polish
+ ...
Leave original, add EN translation in brackets or as footnote Feb 7, 2014

In Poland, movie titles are mostly translated by distributors, not by subtitlers (apparently to enhance the marketing value of the movie). Humorous things often ensue, but anyway, my point is:
the title of the movie may be completely different than what we think, hence my advice as in the title above.

Best,
Pawel Skalinski


 

Arlete Moraes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:57
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Leave it in Portuguese Feb 7, 2014

Olá Ana,

I agree with PAS. I would also leave it in Portuguese and would add the translation in brackets or as a footnote.

Bom fim de semana!


 

Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:57
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Literal, yes Feb 7, 2014

...or as literal as possible: film titles are touchy anyway, and there's no point in sticking your neck out if you're not being specifically paid to.

So: Portuguese title ("English translation") is how I would go about it.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Give the original, but it can be tricky Feb 7, 2014

I would definitely keep the original title, and if it was straightforward, but not recognisable to target readers, translate it literally, as you suggest.

E.g. English readers might not immediately recognise Lille Rødhætte in Danish as Little Red Riding Hood, but the literal translation would be fine.

Other titles with allusions or subtle hints about the story could be difficult. I might try to suggest in the context that there was more under the surface, but as others point out, it would be a mistake to invent a name for a film which later became known by another name.

Space available, how important it actually is and various other factors might play a part too.

I feel that the Scandinavian passion for translating TV series literally gives a wrong impression in English, but it is hard to suggest anything better - I would simply go for something completely different from

Kingdom Hospital - though that is perhaps just odd enough to fit...

The Killing (literally The Crime)
The Bridge

And so on.

There is no simple answer!


 

Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 13:57
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Feb 10, 2014

I went with PAS' suggestion: Original Title ("Literal Translation")

It's what I'd do with a book anyway, not sure why I thought movies would be different icon_smile.gif


 

Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 13:57
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Makes me want to watch some Danish TV Feb 10, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

I would definitely keep the original title, and if it was straightforward, but not recognisable to target readers, translate it literally, as you suggest.

E.g. English readers might not immediately recognise Lille Rødhætte in Danish as Little Red Riding Hood, but the literal translation would be fine.

Other titles with allusions or subtle hints about the story could be difficult. I might try to suggest in the context that there was more under the surface, but as others point out, it would be a mistake to invent a name for a film which later became known by another name.

Space available, how important it actually is and various other factors might play a part too.

I feel that the Scandinavian passion for translating TV series literally gives a wrong impression in English, but it is hard to suggest anything better - I would simply go for something completely different from

Kingdom Hospital - though that is perhaps just odd enough to fit...

The Killing (literally The Crime)
The Bridge

And so on.

There is no simple answer!


 


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Movie title in article: literal translation?

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