We all love a (good) bad translation, don’t we? There a wealth of web pages and entire blogs dedicated solely to the joy that is the word gone wrong, and last time when we began delving into the beauties available in pop culture we looked at the titles of our favourite TV shows overseas. This time films get the same treatment: which have you already heard of?
Italian film translations of American titles are truly some of the most amusing out there. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind became the rather more sinister If you leave me, I delete you. The classic The Producers became Please Don’t Touch the Old Women, and Walk The Line, When Love Burns The Soul.
Tom Cruise fan? Someone has to be we suppose. If you want to watch Risky Business in Italy be sure to keep out for it as When the Old People are Away, the Sons Dance. Macaulay Culkin? Home Alone becomes Mamma, I Missed The Plane. Michael J Fox? Teenwolf in Italian is The Desire to Win.
And now for some classics. Weird Science is The Explosive Woman, The Seven Year Itch, The Wife is On Vacation, and potentially the best of the Italian mob bunch: The Sound of Music, which in Italy is titled All Together Passionately!. And why wouldn’t it be!
Chinese translations never fail to delight us with their eccentricity and though we wonder how, since there are some truly phenomenal Chinese language translators out there, we are very thankful for these little gems.
The Full Monty is now, somewhat cruelly, Six Naked Pigs, Boogie Nights, His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous, and As Good As It Gets the hilariously insulting Mr Cat Poop. The family friendly Junior is titled as Son of Devil, which says a lot about what the translator of the film thinks about male pregnancy perhaps. And while we’re on the subject of pregnancy, how about Knocked Up? Succinct, to the point, the translation tells it like it is: this film in China becomes One Night Big Belly.
Any Leon fans out there? Of course there are! This beautiful film that was probably the introduction for many of us to Natalie Portman, and a continued love of Jean Reno, is given a plot-ridden, spoiler-worthy title. How could you read This Hit Man Is Not as Cold as He Thought and not presume what is going to happen?
Some other favourites: Sixth Sense is He’s a Ghost! Sheesh. Talk about spoiler alert… Shawshank Redemption is Excitement 1995, Nixon becomes Big Liar - nothing political there then. American Pie is American Virgin Man, which, if you think about it, makes sense: who’s ever had a decent apple pie in Shenzhen that wasn’t homemade? And lastly, a more recent one. The new Ghostbusters overhaul which is, by the way, fantastic, in China has become Super Power Dare Die Team. Naturally.
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Israel has a couple of beautiful translated film titles for you. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (yes. That classic.) becomes It’s Raining Falafel, and Alien 3, The Eighth Passenger Three. And The Naked Gun becomes The Gun Died Laughing. Of course it does (did).
The French film translators have some of the best senses of humour out there, we think. Dirty Harry as Inspector Harry? An entirely different film comes to mind! The Matrix receives probably the best treatment, becoming The Young People Who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses. Jaws became The Teeth From The Sea, and Step Up, of course, Sexy Dance.
We would genuinely love to meet and shake the hand of the translator of some of Spain’s best movie imports. The Pacifier becomes A Supertough Kangaroo, and The Dark Knight is the Knight of the Night. But of course.
Home to quite possibly one of the funniest film title translations out there, Germany does not disappoint. Dragnet, the film made out of the TV series of the same title, becomes Floppy Coppers Don’t Bite. The lazy Sunday afternoon film K9 is translated as My Partner With The Cold Snout, and it appears that the TV reviewers of Airplane in Germany might have had something to do with the translation of this film, where it is The Unbelievable Trip In A Wacky Aeroplane.
Finally, since we’re spiralling even further into questionable territory, The Parent Trap is dubiously A Twin Seldom Comes Alone, which sounds like some incredibly inappropriate viewing to us. And Dodgeball becomes Full of the Nuts. What a way to end.
Now, obviously, with the multitude of films released year in, year out, this short list of some of the funniest translations is not even scratching the surface. You could even say this list is happily having a jig on the head of a pin alongside some of our favourite angels, but however you look at it, the source for hilarity when it comes to film title translations is truly bottomless. If you’d like to hear some more translation that will make you titter, let us know!