4 Funny Movie Titles Botched Due to the Lack of Professional Translation and Localization Services

Hilarious Movie Title Translations Fails Caused by Ignoring the Importance of Translation and Localization Services

There have always been issues regarding how producers translate their films into different languages. There are new movies coming up every week and everywhere around the world. Importing new movies outside the host country means employing the use of localization and business translation services from reputable language services providers. 

But when a film is going to be distributed internationally, the movie title is the very first item that must be considered. The host country will ask: Should we translate it, adapt it or just keep the original title? A good movie title will create a buzz, but bad movie translations may result in bad sales of that movie in that country. Using professional localization and translation services is the best way to come up with a culturally and linguistically appropriate movie title. Language Connections takes a look at some humorous translations of English movie titles in foreign countries. 

 

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) | Title Translations Fails

Each country incorporates its own interpretation and cultural perspective into a movie translation.  Often, this can result in entirely different titles or even meanings. For instance, the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” is a 2012 American romantic comedy.  It’s the story of a former teacher who moves back in with his parents, starts a new friendship, and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. In France, the movie translation is titled “Happiness Therapy” in French.  In Taiwan, the Chinese version of the movie translation is called “Pat’s Happiness Playbook.”

 

Warm Bodies (2013)

The storyline behind this American paranormal romantic comedy is about a zombie who saves a girl from a zombie attack.  This leads to their eventual romantic relationship. The original title “Warm Bodies” also has the following the subtitle “He’s still dead but he’s getting warmer.” In Taiwan, movie translations kept the English subtitle, but added another one in Chinese which means “How could a zombie be so handsome?” Of course, this has nothing to do with the original meaning! This could be an unfortunate (yet funny) result of skipping out on professional translation and localization services from the movie studio/corporation responsible for the Chinese translation of the movie!

 

My Little Princess (2011)

The French-Romanian drama called “My Little Princess” in English also has an interesting Chinese title. This controversial movie, written and directed by the famous Parisian actress and photographer Eva Ionesco, was inspired by her relationship with her own mother. Her mother, the well-known artistic photographer Irina Ionesco, also created some noise when she published pictures of her young daughter in the 1970’s. Chinese movie translations were titled “The Goddamn Princess.” This title was eventually banned for obvious reasons! Although literally the title means “Her Mother’s Princess” (later changed to “Her Mama’s Princess,” in Chinese), the word for “Mama” can also be taken to mean “Goddamn.”

 

Movie Translations for Sinister (2012) | Title Translation Fails

The supernatural horror film titled “Sinister” also has a funny translation in Chinese. The film is about a true-crime writer who finds a box of 8mm home movies in his attic that eventually put his family in danger.  The interesting part of the translation is not the meaning of the word itself. Rather, the sound and tone of the title in Chinese are amusing. The meaning of the Chinese title is indeed the same as the English one “Sinister.”  However, the funny thing is that it also sounds just like the word “bra” in Chinese! Although the two words are spelled differently in Chinese, the pronunciation is exactly the same.

 

Sources:

In France, They Call It ‘Happiness Therapy’

http://www.imdb.com/

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