Subtitles are great when you want to watch foreign movies that when dubbed in English become slightly awkward. Audiences want to see authentic movies and the only way to do so is through the use of subtitles. However, when it comes to language translation for films, it isn’t always possible to perfectly translate a quote, or in some cases even a movie title. Language services provider iTi (Interpreters & Translators Inc.) helps clients to understand the written and spoken word for all languages, so that hopefully the next time you see a foreign movie you can understand it perfectly.
Whether its subtitles or a movie title, incorrect language translation can not only leave audiences confused but can harm the integrity of a film. Take these examples into consideration:
The Full Monty – Six Naked Pigs (Chinese Translation)
The Parent Trap – A Twin Seldom Comes Alone (German Translation)
Knocked Up – The Date That Screwed Me (Israel Translation)
Home Alone – Mom I Missed the Plane (French Translation)
Die Hard With a Vengeance – Die Hard: Mega Hard (Denmark Translation)
These titles may be comical to read, but can become an issue not only for audiences but for production companies trying to promote their films. As the first thing that viewers see, it’s important to get movie titles accurate, but more importantly the subtitles used in a film.
For a major motion picture like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you would expect exceptional language translation. Not the case. Not only did the Latin American subtitles change “The Sorcerer’s Stone” to “The Philosopher’s Stone,” but when Professor McGonagall says, “You’ll be punished,” to which Draco replies, “I’m sorry, I thought I heard you said ‘the four of us’?,” it simply makes no sense.
The Swedish translation for The Lord of the Rings was the subject of much controversy when J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to the translator stating his work was both “puzzling and irritating.”
The list could truly go on and on when it comes to errors in language translations for movies, making it more apparent that the more people learn to understand each other the better translation will be. Consult the professionals at language services provider iTi so the next time you see a film you can understand it even without the subtitles.