Are Movie Titles Lost in Translation?

We all know that sometimes movie titles differ greatly to their original source when they are translated. The reason for this is not clear. Sometimes depending on the need to be localized, but others…Who knows? Here’s a look at a few examples of famous movies which have some interesting translations worldwide.

The Full Monty, a British film about six laid off steel workers who form a male striptease act to try to make ends meet, was translated to Six Naked Pigs in China. The term “full monty” makes reference to a British slang phrase meaning “everything which is necessary” so the Chinese translation seems a bit peculiar.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in Italian was translated to If you leave me, I delete you which is a good description of what happens in the 108 minutes of the movie. In Spain it was simply known as: Forget me!

Being John Malkovich, a movie about a puppeteer who discovers a hole which acts as a portal to John Malkovich’s head, in Japanese was translated to The hole of Malkovich whilst in Latin America it was translated to Who wants to be John Malkovich?

The movie Knocked up – about a woman who becomes pregnant after a one night stand, was translated to a very literal One night big belly in Chinese,  A little big pregnant in Russian, Slightly Pregnant in Brazil and Very pregnant in Italy. We all get the point…

Macaulay Culkin’s most famous movie Home Alone was for some reason translated to My poor little angel in Spanish and to Mom, I missed the plane in Canadian French or the equal Mamma Ho Perso L’Aereo in Italian.

One of my favorites and a classic, Grease, was left as Grease in many countries. Yet Mexicans wanted a word that would perfectly capture the meaning of the word. It was translated to Vaselina (for Vaseline).

As good as it gets starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt was translated to Mr. Cat Poop in Chinese – I won’t even try explaining that one…

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