[OT]: Title translation, was Re: Intro

Britta Koch bkoch at rz.uni-osnabrueck.de
Tue Jan 4 02:57:25 EST 2000


On  3 Jan, Jacob Proffitt wrote:

> Osnabrueck sounds familiar.  Where is that?  I spent two years in Germany,
> but was mainly in the north (farthest south I got was Goettingen).

It's in the North-West, near Muenster and the Dutch border...

> Translation of titles is always interesting.  I've often wondered why a
> straight translation doesn't seem to be very popular.  I noticed it mostly
> with Movies ("Ferris Macht Blau" being the worst example I can think of for
> a stupid movie title translation), but I've seen it with books, too.  I've
> noticed it isn't universal, though.  The titles for David Edding's books are
> pretty straightforward, for example.

The most stupid recent translation of a film title was "Sinn und
Sinnlichkeit" (sense and sensuality) for "Sense and Sensibility" - they
loved the alliteration so much, they differed from the title of the
book ("Sinn und Verstand", sense and common sense/brains/...). And the
most different translation was "Austin Powers - Spion in geheimer
Missionarsstellung" (spy in secret missionary position) for "The spy who
shagged me" - though "nice" words for shag would probably sound way too
stupid...
But 60s film titles are sometimes even worse (though I have no examples
handy), and titles for cheap American films on TV.

About book titles: I'm sure "Fire and Hemlock" isn't called "Feuer und
Schierling (?)"in German, though I'm not certain what it _is_ called.
The good thing is that most translated books somewhere say the original
title.

Oh, and the best overall translation, in my opinion, is "The Lord of the
Rings" - not so much because of the language (can't remember much about
it), but because they translated the (Hobbit) names, as well (Bilbo
Baggins became Bilbo Beutlin, Hobbiton Hobbingen etc.). The overall
worst tarnslation I kown of is "Hello Mr. God, this is Anna" - they
even left bits out! It's not as lively and loses a bit of its magic,
too, IMHO.

Greetz,

Britta

Oh, and the movie "Copycat" became "Copykill" in German... I suppose I
could go on and on about this...

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