Tip #1582: Four Approaches to Translating Films

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1582: Four Approaches to Translating Films

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Translation is an art, not a science.

Image courtesy of “Trope Talk.”

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Meg Shields, first appeared in FilmSchoolRejects.com. This is a summary.

Translation is an art, not a science. Sometimes the phraseology of one culture has no equivalent in another’s. And sometimes capturing the spirit of an evocative turn of phrase involves transforming things entirely.

The same, of course, holds true for movie title translations. In addition to properly describing a film and managing the expectations of a foreign audience, translated titles must also navigate a minefield that runs the gamut from cultural sensitivities to market preferences.

The core of this article is a link to a 12 minute video – called “Trope Talk” – that illustrates four different approaches to movie title translations, as seen in Chinese cinema. The methods are, briefly: (1) to translate literally; (2) to reinterpret; (3) to be poetic, and (4) to fudge the title to make it sell better.


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