- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 29/09/2016
- good movie title translations, movie title, traduction
It is quite telling that if you do a Google search for movie title translations, what comes up most often are results that talk about how bad the translations are.
Even if you search for “good movie title translations” (try it) you get things like:
- 51 Hilariously Bad Translations of Movie Titles
- 33 American Movies With Hilarious Foreign Titles
- The 37 Worst Translated Movie Titles Ever
- The 28 Funniest English-Spanish Movie Title Translations
- Is it humanly impossible to translate a movie title well
I could try to defend translators everywhere by pointing out, for the umptenth time, that marketing departments – not translators– have the last word when it comes to deciding on the titles that are used to market a film abroad, but I really don’t feel like it.
Instead, I’d like to highlight a really good English translation of the title of a recent film by Raúl Arévalo “Tarde para la ira”. In English, the title became “Fury of a Patient Man”, taken from an oft-quoted verse by the English poet John Dryden, from his poem Absalom and Achitophel (1681): “Beware the fury of a patient man.”
A similar strategy was used for the title of Almodóvar’s film “Los amantes pasajeros,” which lifted its English title, “I’m So Excited”, from the popular Pointer Sisters song of the same name.
The strategy is effective because the title sounds natural to the audience in the target country, and it links the film to familiar and well-known cultural references, which is what the people responsible for the film’s internationalization are aiming for.
At the end of the day, taking linguistic quality as a given, the success or failure of a translation depends on whether it lives up to the client’s expectations.