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Movie Title Translations

June 24, 2009 5 Comments »

Bad Santa — USA

A Not so Saintly Santa — Argentina

Santa is a Pervert — Czech Republic

With such a straight forward original title, is such a liberal (and odd) translation of a movie title necessary? Marketing research and recent trends say yes. The title may be changed to account for cultural differences, remove a double entendre or pun that doesn’t work in translation or, more commonly, for reasons apparently unknown…

Translations of movies can be quite vexing to someone more familiar with the original title. Here are a few examples of the more confusing, both translated into Spanish and into English

Movie Titles in Spanish

“Con la Muerte en Los Talones” (North by Northwest)

“Sonrisas y Lagrimas” (The Sound of Music)

Movie Titles in English

“Vanilla Sky” (Abre los ojos)

“Pan’s Labyrinth” (El laberinto del fauno)

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5 Responses to “Movie Title Translations”

  • Commented on November 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I remember reading a story about awkward film title translations. In one country the film “La Cage Aux Folles” was known as “Night of Screams and Feathers.” I found that rather amusing.

  • Commented on November 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I remember reading a story about awkward film title translations. In one country the film “La Cage Aux Folles” was known as “Night of Screams and Feathers.” I found that rather amusing.

  • Gabriel
    Commented on April 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I got so disturbed when I came to America and I found out that the real name of the movie is “The Raiders of the Lost Ark” which is so much more appropriate than “The Hunters of the Lost Ark” as they translate it into Spanish! Therefore, it should not be: “Los Cazadores del Arca Perdida” but “Los Usurpadores del Arca Perdida”. Or just because “usurpadores” is not a frequently used word do they think people would not understand what they mean??
    Similar case of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, they translated it as “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Perdition” which refers to a spiritual state of sin, as if Indiana was induced to some form of sin just by entering the temple. SO the movie should not be called “El Templo de la Perdicion” but “Indiana Jones y el Templo de la Condenacion” which refers more to some form of punishment for entering the temple, more accurate with the original.

  • Commented on June 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

    […] Movie Title TranslationsTranslations of movies can be quite vexing to someone more familiar with the original title. Here are a few examples of the more confusing, both translated into Spanish and into English… […]

  • kamajan
    Commented on January 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Just a heads up… VANILLA SKY IS A REMAKE OF ( ABRE LOS OJOS) which also starts Penelope Cruz … its a Spanish movie and same out about 4 years prior to vanilla sky. And since Tom Cruise was doing Penelope at the time. She started in it. Vanilla sky is the dumb translation here. Cause “abre los ojos” means “open your eyes” get it the hole movie is a bad dream.