Sunday, January 13

Lost in Translation

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

Do you know the meaning of the expression “lost in translation?”

A word or phrase has many nuances* of meaning in the original language.

*nuance = a small difference that is difficult yet important to notice

Sometimes when we translate from one language to another – for example, by using translation software – we lose the nuances and the original word or phrase changes meaning. We can’t recognize the original expression anymore. This also happens when we do literal (exact) translation, so the new expression becomes wrong – or even strange.

This is what we mean when we say "lost in translation." 

Understandably, the culture or community where the expression first came from is different from another culture or community. Their languages also have big differences.

This is why a good translator is careful to avoid mistakes like these.

A very common example where we can see examples of meanings that are “lost in translation” is the cinema. Many movies from Hollywood, for example, when they get shown in other countries in the world, use different titles – sometimes very different. 

These changes in titles become noticeable and frustrating if you have foreign friends and you try to talk about the same movies you’ve seen. You won’t know if the two of you are talking about the same movie because the title in your own country is different from that in another country.

These differences are also interesting and quite funny.

Here’s a short list of (21) movie titles that have changed in other countries:

Hollywood Title

Foreign Title

#1. Alien 3

Death: The Final Solution A végső megoldás (Hungary)

#2. Army of Darkness

Captain Supermarket Kyaputien supamaketto (Japan)

#3. Being John Malkovich

Malkovich’s Hole Malkovich no ana (Japan)

#4. Confessions of a Shopaholic

I Love Shopping (Italy)

#5. Cruel Intentions

The Temptation More Beautiful Than a Love (South Korea)

#6. Die Hard

Hard to Kill Duro de matar (Argentina/ Mexico/ Peru/ Brazil)

#7. Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Die Hard – Mega Hard (Denmark)

#8. Down with Love

Bye Bye Love (France)

#9. Grease

Vaseline Vaselina (Mexico)

#10. Hellboy

Super Sapiens (Malaysia)

#11. Legally Blonde

Cutie Blonde (Japan)

#12. No Strings Attached

Sex Friends (Belgium/ France)

#13. Ocean’s Eleven

The Big Swindle La gran estafa (Colombia/ Peru/ Venezuela)

#14. Resident Evil

Biohazard (Japan)

#15. Star Wars

Galaxy Wars La guerra de las galaxias (Argentina/ Chile / Colombia / Mexico/ Panama/ Peru/ Venezuela)

#16. Tangled

Rapunzel (Belgium/ Singapore)

#17. The Fast and the Furious

Wild Speed (Japan)

#18. The Hangover

Very Bad Trip (Belgium/ France)

#19. The Hot Chick

The Body Isn’t Mine ¡Este cuerpo no es el mío! (Spain)

#20. The Incredibles

Mr. Incredible (Japan)

#21. Up!

Mr.Carl’s Flying House (Japan)

Of course these are just the titles. There are many other changes when it comes to the translation of the dialogue and even the names of the characters.

How about you? Have you noticed any changes in movie titles in your own country? 

Keep on learning !

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