Friday, August 15, 2008

Lost in translation... for real

Let's talk about Italian translations of American film titles. Now mind you, we translators have very little say in this, by the time a film reaches us for translation, the title has usually already been decided by the production/distribution.
I realize that some titles are difficult or impossible to translate, so why not leave the original title instead of inventing something random? Some titles are overly-translated and basically give away the plot of the film, some titles simplify the movie, and some titles are just downright stupid! Here are some of my "favorites" in no particular order:

1) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Se mi lasci ti cancello (If you leave me I'll erase you)

2) The Outsiders
I Ragazzi della 56a strada (The kids from 56th Street)

3) Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Non mi scaricare (Don't dump me)

4) Vertigo
La donna che visse due volte (The woman who lived twice)

5) Lost In Translation
L'amore tradotto (Love translated)

6) Adaptation
Il ladro di orchidee (The orchid thief)

7) Road to Perdition
Era mio padre (He was my father)

8) Reservoir Dogs
Le Iene (The hyenas)

9) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Non aprite quella porta (Don't open that door)

10) Intolerable Cruelty
Prima ti sposo poi ti rovino (First I'll marry you, then I'll ruin you)

11) Runaway Bride
Se scappi ti sposo (If you run away, I'll marry you)

12) The Break-Up
Ti odio, ti lascio, ti... (I hate you, I'll leave you, I'll...)

13) Waitress
Ricette d'amore (Love recipes)

14) Total Recall
Atto di forza (Act of force)

15) Hide and Seek
Nascosto nel buio (Hidden in the dark)

16) The Cave
Il nascondiglio del diavolo (The devil's hiding place)

17) Jeremiah Johnson
Corvo rosso non avrai il mio scalpo (You won't get my scalp, Red Crow)

18) Dude, Where's my Car?
Fatti, strafatti, strafighe (Stoned, super-stoned, super-hot)

19) The Hudsucker Proxy
Mister Hula Hoop

20) Brokeback Mountain
I Segreti di Brokeback Mountain (The secrets of Brokeback Mountain)

21) Dirty Harry
Ispettore Callahan: il caso Scorpio è tuo (Inspector Callahan: the Scorpio case is yours)

22) Leatherheads
In amore niente regole (Love has no rules)

23) The Science of Sleep
L'arte del sogno (The art of sleep)

24) Coming to America
Il principe cerca moglie (The prince is looking for a wife)

25) The Hunger
Miriam si sveglia a mezzanotte (Miriam wakes up at midnight)

26) Things We Lost in the Fire
Noi due sconosciuti (We're two strangers)

27) Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Onora il padre e la madre (Honor your mother and father)

28) Click
Cambia la tua vita con un click (Change your life with a click)

29) Home Alone
Mamma ho perso l'aereo (Mom, I missed the flight)

30) The Legend of the Fall
Vento di passioni (The wind of passion)

31) Knocked Up
Molto incinta (Very pregnant)

32) Frankie & Johnny
Paura d’amare (Afraid to love)

33) Walk the Line
Quando l'amore brucia l'anima (When love burns the soul)

34) Rebel Without a Cause
Gioventù bruciata (Wasted youth)

35) Hurlyburly
Bugie, baci, bambole & bastardi (Lies, kisses, dolls & bastards)

36) Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Un biglietto in due (One ticket for two people)

37) The Holiday
L'amore non va in vacanza (Love doesn't go on vacation)

38) My own private Idaho
Belli e dannati (Beautiful and damned)

39) Reality Bites
Giovani, carini e disoccupati (Young, cute, and unemployed)

40) Eastern Promises
La promessa dell'assassino (The assassin's promise)

Feel free to add your own favorites.


Monika said...

Ha, these are funny. Love the one for 'Intolerable Cruelty'...

Emmina said...

I've noticed in general - and in your list (which is great by the way!) that they have an obsession with using words like 'love', 'marriage', 'heart' etc. when the original title has nothing to do with these subjects. I have a really hard time getting my OH to watch certain films, as he won't watch anything soppy and refuses to believe me when I say it's not. Walk the line is a perfect example - interesting, gritty, not at all soppy. The Italian title doesn't do it any justice!

J.Doe said...

I always wondered how they got titles so different from the original titles!

Romerican said...

Monika- RIght? They've summarized & simplified the entire plot in one title. It's ridiculous.

Emmina- YES! You hit the nail on the head. From what I understand, it's all about trying to market the film. Italians feel titles with love, marriage, etc will be catchier as opposed to the real title. It's pretty misleading, I don't blame your OH ;)

J.Doe- The mysteries of Italy... I really wish they'd reform their title-translating ways though! Their titles are so far from the original and often stir up an entirely different (and wrong) image. Best example: Eternal sunshine = "If you leave me I'll erase you". First, they've poorly summarized the plot in the title, second they also tried to market the film as a straight-up Jim Carrey comedy because the Italians didn't think an Italian audience would pay to see him in anything but a comedy. So this film, which has so many different levels, was reduced to crap just through the title. Sad....