The Word on Movie Translations

If you grew up watching Kung Fu movies, you know about movie translation. What was probably meant to be unique and helpful for understanding a plot has turned into cult-classic sentimentality. For many people, the best thing about those films is the way in which the mouth movements and the words coming out of them are completely unaligned. It makes for a fun movie-watching experience.

Not-So-Fun For Real

Most of the time, you want to watch a film and understand just what is being said through the ever-helpful subtitle, or even the voice-over that is done by people in the studio. But how does the translation add up when it comes to saying the right phrase when it’s important that the viewer connect to the point? Sometimes, not very well, according to Movie Plot.

Take for example the translation in the last Avengers movie, Age of Ultron. A phrase uttered by Captain America goes, “You get hurt, you hurt ‘em back. You get killed…walk it off.” The translation of this in Chinese is, “Run fast if someone tries to kill you.” Not exactly the same point is made. Then there’s the problem that comes when there are no words to describe in another language what the actor is saying in American English. Take the famous line, “I am Batman.” In German, if the original is translated it would become “I am the flying mouse man.” Doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it!

The Importance of a Good Translator

When companies hire translators who are not well-trained, it shows.

When companies hire translators who are not well-trained, it shows. It takes a highly-trained professional to translate properly and these professionals take the time to study the film that they are working on. Knowing the context of the film is essential to knowing how to translate a particular phrase, and therefore only someone who takes their time to understand the plot and material can make a good final product, not to mention the crucial knowledge one must have of the source and target cultures.

Movie title madness

Translating movie titles has its own set of challenges, depending on the country. For example, Movie Plot explains the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was renamed in Malaysia, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Behaved Very Nicely Around Me to avoid the taboo of the original. And recently, there has been a lot of talk about the latest Star Wars installment currently in production.

It was announced in the U.S. that the official title of the next film would be Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This seemed very ominous and had fans wondering exactly who the last Jedi was going to be. As the title was released in the foreign markets, a strange thing happened. According to ComicBook.com, the translations in the majority of countries showed that Jedi was actually plural meaning that there would be more than one. This got the fans wondering and questioning even more, but it goes to show how one translation can change the face of a movie’s plot; and quickly.

You might not be in need of a movie translation, but at ITC Translations, we can help you with just about anything you need to keep your business going and growing. We are a woman-owned business that can help you find a way to say “Hear me roar” in languages from Arabic to Ukrainian and everything in between. Contact us today!

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