I am a fan of awful movie title translations. It is really common in Sweden and I am generally horrified by the results. Anyone got any horrendous examples from other languages? I can start the ball rolling.
They love “series” titles here related to female stars. Thus Goldie Hawn vehicles since Private Benjamin (The girl who did National Service) has had “the girl who” in the title. The girl who worked shift is another example.
They do the same Whoopi Goldberg, A Badass Sister and who could forget A Badass on Wall Street.
Bizarrely, they sometimes change the titles to completely different english titles! :eek: The Boogie Nights-style “historical drama” Breast Men (about the men who invented breast implants) was re-titled to Big Tits :eek:
Biggest loss in the opposite direction has to be when Fucking Åmål was given the title Show Me Love when given its worldwide release. Doesn’t do it justice at all.
So, what other countries are guilty of this awful habit?
One of my German professors (and a fan of Westerns) was once in Germany and noticed that a movie playing was Der Mann, der die Katzen tanzen ließ. Of course, he knew the original title The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing and, unlike the translator, that it refers to an American Indian name, not dancing kitties.
If you know German, this page(section 3) has some examples, including the one I mentioned.
They mention some overly-literal ones like :
Public Enemy -> Der öffentliche Feind
A Taste of Hell-> Der Geschmack der Hölle
(It’s hard to explain exactly how those are so wrong; the subtle differences in the meaning of the words just make them sound awful).
When Dr. No was originally going to be aired in Japan, the posters had translated the title to mean “We don’t want a Doctor.” The mistake was caught at the last minute.
There was also some debate as to how to translate the title of The Accused in foreign markets that had no neutral article, (ex: El Acusado / La Acusada), since the whole point of the film’s title is to infer that people are inclined to accuse the victim for “asking for it.”
How about England, which renamed Public Enemy’s Wife (1936) to G-Man’s Wife?
Hallelulah, I’m a Bum was renamed to Hallelulah, I’m a Tramp, though people from the UK can tell you why the former was unacceptable.
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break played in England as What a Man!.
My favorite mistranslation was in a French film dictionary, which indicated Fatty Arbuckle made “films de court métrage édjucatifs” – educational short subjects – after the Virginia Rapp case wrecked his career. The idea that anyone would have allowed him to make films for children is ludicrous. He did make films for Educational Films – a movie studio, but they were never educational.
Other French titles:
“Easy Street” (Chaplin) → “Charlot policeman”
“White Heat” (Cagney) → “L’enfer est à lui” (“Hell is his”)
“Mr. Bug Goes to Town” → “Douce et Criquet s’aimaient d’amour tendre” (not sure, but something like “Gentle and Cricket Like Tender Love” – Gentle is a name)
“Monkey Business” (Hawks version) → “Chérie je me sens rajeunir” (“Honey, I feel rejuvenated”)
“Monkey Business” (Marx Bros) → “Monnaie de singe” (“Monkey currency”)
“Room Service” → “Panique à l’hôtel” (“Panic at the hotel”)
“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” (W. C. Fields) → “Le cirque en folie” (“Circus of Madness” – sounds like a horror story).
Bionic Woman was presented to us Germans as “Die Sieben-Million-Dollar-Frau” (The Seven-Million-Dollar-Woman).
“Attack of the clones” became “Angriff der Klonkrieger” (Krieger = Warriors).
Once upon a time in the West = Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod (Play me the song of death)
“Home Improvement” even has two terrible translations. First it was called “Der Dünnbrettbohrer” (the thin-board-driller; out-of-date version of calling someone an idiot/jerk). Nowadays it is called “Hör mal wer da hämmert” (Hear who’s hammering, analogous to the movie “Look who’s talking”). Actually, most people only speak of it as “Tool time”.
“Star Trek” (TOS) was called “Raumschiff Enterprise”. I’m curious what they will call the new series (It’s not on TV yet).
“Buffy - The vampire slayer” = “Buffy - Im Bann der Dämonen” (Buffy - Charmed by demons) completly changes the meaning of the title.
There are lots more, that I can’t think of right now.
The Finns also have their share on bad translations. “Knight Rider” = “Ritari Ässä” (Knight Ace, or something - actually the original title is stupid, aswell IMHO). “Sex and the City” = “Sinkku elämää” (Single Life, well it makes sense, but I like the original better)
Home Improvement has two names here in Sweden too, but I can only remember one right now, Thumb in the middle of the hand (a phrase meaning you are un-handy). Maybe someone else can help me out with the other name?
It’s done in Japan all the time, and it’s really annoying. I guess they want the title to sound American but less confusing or easier to say than the original title. The change from The X Files to X File was understandable, but Jerry MaGuire turned into The Agent and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon into Green Destiny are going a bit too far IMHO.
I don’t think they have movie subtitles, but Engrish.com has bad English translations on Japanese products. The tshirts are really funny.
For some inexplicable reason, in Japan the film Army of Darkness was retitled Captain Supermarket. Which is bizarre because the hero doesn’t work in a supermarket – it’s a department store – and the only scenes that take place there amount to about 3 minutes of the entire movie.
“Hail to the king, baby!”
PRETTY WOMAN was changed to “I Married a Prostitute to Save Money” in China.
Heh, and here most people think the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorceror’s Stone change was unheard of.
I don’t know if this is apocryphal or not, but supposingly, the Spanish translation of “Psycho” was “Man Who Gets Dressed-up As His Dead Mother And Kills People.”