Three Ways Movie Titles Are Translated

Have you ever thought about how movie titles are translated across the globe? Titles are the first thing the audience comes across when movies are released, so it is vital that translated movie titles convey the message in a faithful yet catchy and creative way.

If you look at translated movie titles more closely, you will notice that it can be divided into 3 categories. Let’s look at English movie titles – which are frequently the source titles – with their equivalents on the French market:

The first method consists in leaving the English title as it is in the target language. This process is fairly simple but still requires some research to make sure it will mean something for the non-English speaking audience. Movies such as Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now are good examples, and you will notice that most titles left in English are short in length.

The second method involves a literal translation, meaning that the title is translated word by word in the target language. In France, movies like Le sixième sense (The Sixth Sense) and E.T. l’extra-terrestre (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) were translated like for like.

The last method is probably the most interesting from a cultural and creative perspective and consists in using a title that has nothing to do with the original. While it is not always easy to see the connection between both the English and the localised titles, this process involves watching the movie several times to see which catchy title would suit best to the local audience. In France, many translated movie titles are completely different to their English counterparts, including Jaws (Les dents de la mer, literally “The Teeth of the Sea”) and Home Alone (Maman, j’ai raté l’avion, literally “Mom, I missed the plane”).

Media companies regularly come to Today Translations to localise their audio-visual material to various audiences, from France to Japan and beyond. For this kind of projects, cultural understanding and creativity are just as important as linguistic expertise.

As a global translation company, Today Translations covers over 100 countries and 200 languages, allowing us to provide expert translation and Send Mail/website-localisation”>localisation services to convey the right message to local audiences. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us at +44 (0) 207 397 2770 .