in the movie Welcome to The queue – Your daily distraction from curated video content from across the web. Today we’re looking at a video essay that outlines four different approaches to translating movie titles.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of learning another language, you know that translating is an art, not a science. Sometimes the language of one culture has no equivalent in another. And sometimes it means capturing the spirit of a powerful twist, completely transforming things.
The same applies, of course, to the translation of film titles. Not only do translated titles correctly describe a film and manage the expectations of a foreign audience, but they also need to navigate a minefield that ranges from cultural sensitivities to market preferences.
The results are weird at times. In Danish Die hard with a might (1995) becomes the equally bombastic Die Hard: Mega Hard. In Italian, Eternal sunshine of the flawless mind (2004) becomes more literal If you leave me, I’ll delete you. And Arnold Schwarzenegger’s male pregnancy comedy in Mandarin Junior (1994) is probably the not so distant son of the devil.
Speaking of China, let’s take a look at the following video essay, which introduces four different approaches to translating movie titles as seen in Chinese cinema. The methods are brief: (1) translate literally; (2) reinterpret; (3) be poetic; and (4) falsify the title so that it sells better.
Armed with plenty of examples ranging from hilarious to revealing, the essay offers plenty of explanations to underscore the strategy and thought process behind seemingly random translations of movie titles.
Clock “Trope Talk: Translations of movie titles | April Fool’s Day Essay“:
Who did that?
This movie title translation video was created by Accented cinema, a Canada-based YouTube video essay series focusing on foreign cinema. Here you can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads. You can follow them on Twitter here. This video is told by Naomi SV, whose own account you can check out here.