I. Introduction As we all known, film is an audio-visual art. This glamorous act is a magnificent gem in human history, which creates romantic stories and leads human into a marvelous land we have never come before. Looking back to the development history of film, we cannot deny that film reflects the society reality and the time spirit. As the cultural exchange between China and overseas become booming, film plays an important role as culture envoy. Film was entrusted with the mission to let more people from different cultural backgrounds to enjoy the entertainment and share advanced technology together.
This is an unavoidable trend in the world now. The film is an art, unlike other type of work, producing an effect on the human senses through a variety of information media. So the translation of film titles is also different from other kinds of translation. From its type, title translation belongs to special translation studies. English Translation of Movie Titles, Even though only a small number of domestic scholars did this research, title translation is beginning to attract people’s attention.
As we know, China has been more open for its movie market and its domestic movie industry is booming, an increasing number of overseas films come into Chinese big screens. Meanwhile, a great number of local movies have found their way to the international market. Films are not only a way of spreading exotic culture to the local audience, but also a significant approach to disseminate national culture for overseas people. Thus, translation in movies names is of great importance when both introducing foreign movies and selling domestic ones. Suitable translation can attract the public to enter into cinemas.
Local films can also benefit a lot from good translation as well when being publicized overseas. In recent years, it is indeed an amazing feat to study translation by analyzing the structure of communication, especially suitable for the translation of movie titles because the film itself is a mass media. Communication is the activity of conveying information. In the process of title translation, information conveying is more complicated as translation is a cross-cultural information dissemination. As a necessary part of culture, the movie name is inevitably reflected the characteristics of their respective cultures.
Although Chinese and Western cultures are different, we can still find many similarities between the two. Undoubtedly, movie title translation contributes a lot to cultural exchanges. If the title translation concern more about film name itself and cultural implication, it will receive an unexpected effect. II. The Importance of Movies Names Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. It is a process of creation which is based on certain culture implication and scientific knowledge. Therefore, the translation is re-creation.
Most movie titles have only a few words, however, it is the crowning touch to the film. This important role put forward higher requirements for the translation of film titles. Film is an audio-visual art. Instead of being displayed in the shelves as books and newspapers, it firstly appeals to the audience by its name. Thus, movies names are the key to affect the box-office receipts. In another words, to a movie, its name is being its slogan and advertisement. Therefore, each word and phrase in the movies names should be carefully weighed against the original language to ensure the fullest accuracy and clarity.
According to some reports, some producers in developed countries spare no effort to give perfect names to their movies. A movie may have several provisional names which could be revised more than once before it comes out in theaters. What is more, a movie may get no certain name even its whole photography process has been finished. For some Chinese well-known movie companies, they have established panels which are composed of many professional translators to make their movies’ names sound more international and let the foreign people know better about the movie before entering into the cinema. III.
Methods of Translation As title translation is of great significance, translators should try their best to make the movie names sound more popular and colloquial to increase persuasion and appeal. To deal with the cultural differences in intercultural translation, various skills can be adopted, including literal translation, free translation, adding translation, and explanation translation. The movie title is the unity of language and national culture, so the title translation should adopt a flexible method, and strive to impress the audience to achieve the same function with the original title. 1.
Literal Translation 1. 1. Characteristics Literal translation, or directed translation, is the rendering of text from one language to another “word-for-word” rather than conveying the sense of the original. Literal translation seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of movies’ names into our own language and as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and style. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and Chinese.
Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the public see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. Based on the language universals, literal translation can convey the origin content using the similar forms. 1. 2. Examples Some movies named by leading characters can employ literal translation to retain the intention and context. Britain film Jane Eype (???? ), American film Spartacus (??????? ), Sister Carrie (?????? ) and Dr. Edward (??????? ) are good examples of using this method. These names sound natural and are easy to remember.
There are also some films named by the nickname of the characters adopting literal translation. Taking the Rain Man(???? ) as an example, rain man is another saying of people with autism. Its Chinese name, an essentially literal translation, illustrated the subject of the film that the leading character Rain is having some emotional frustration. What is more, the Miner ”s Daughter, biographical film based on the life story of the famous American country music singer, Houluolita Lynn , was literally translated as ??????? ; An American in. of Paris, the 24th Academy Awards Good movie, was translated as??????????
; The Godfather, 45th Oscar Best Picture, was also translated as????. These good translation versions are consistent with the appearance, while maintaining the essence of the original name both in the form and in the meaning. 2. Paraphrase 2. 1. Characteristics The word “paraphrase” is defined as: under the limitations of the social and cultural differences in the target language, the translator had to abandon the literal meaning of the original form to match and the main language features. A paraphrase or free translation is a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words.
In contrast to the “essentially literal” translation, paraphrase have followed a “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word” translation philosophy, emphasizing “dynamic equivalence” rather than the “essentially literal” meaning of the original. A “thought-for-thought” translation is of necessity more inclined to reflect the interpretive opinions of the translator and the influences of contemporary culture. Paraphrase is another way that often used when translating because there is linguistic disparity between different countries.
When the ideological content of the original forms and expression of the translation are contradictory, translators would paraphrase them instead of using literal translation in order to maintain the names’ same meaning and linguistic function. The way to decide which content suits direct translation, or which content is suitable for free translation, depends on the comparative study of culture and linguistics between ancient and today. 2. 2. Examples The film adaptation of Robert James Waller novel, The Bridges of Madison County, was literally translated as????????.
This translation is unable to arouse the audience’s imagination, but the effect of another version as ?????? will be not the same. It not only strengthens the theme, but also appeals to the imagination of the audience, thus creating an artistic realm for them. In various types of construction, the bridge seems to be the best to lead to a romantic association, since ancient times, there have been a lot of touching love stories occurred at the bridge. “?? ” symbolizes the lingering thoughts from year to year; “? ” represents the pity and regret; “?
” tells us the love of the hero and heroine can only be a dream. Every word in the title can lead to endless thinking and a great deal of imagination. Whatever, paraphrasing should base on the content of the movie. Expressive form is the main difference between free translation and literal translation. The former needs to explain the meaning, on the other hand, the later translate the names directly. For instance, the move Gone with the Wind which is adapted from a well-known novel of the same title is translated as ?????? when it was released in China.
This vision is not only pleasing to the eye but also accord with the content of the movie. But if it is named as?????? , though having no language mistakes, is inferior. Another examples using this method are shown, such as Ghost (??????? ), The Wizard of OZ ?????? , Top Gun(?????? ). Apart from the movies mentioned above, there are also similar examples which should translate according to their accent but employ paraphrase such as Rebecca(????? )and Cleopatra(???????? ). 3. Transliteration 3. 1. Characteristics Transliteration is translating the title into another language based on pronunciation.
English movies, which are named after movie film hero’s name or place name, are commonly used transliteration without causing a distortion of the target language culture. The hit movie Harry Potter used the transliteration because people are already familiar with the hero Harry as the great scale to the original best-selling and movie pre-publicity. But many examples show that there are very few examples of pure transliteration since the title of the person’s name or place names are mostly familiar to the domestic audience, even incomprehensible.
In the translation of Chinese names, and other proper nouns, many contradictions of transliteration will arise due to the difference between native language and foreign language phonetic systems. Using transliteration is bound to affect the attendance of the film. At this time, the transliteration adding to paraphrase should be given to consideration in order to obtain satisfactory results. Such as Patton(???? );Forrest, Gump(???? );King Kong(?? )and so on. 3. 2. Examples Movie Ben-Hur which is based on the biblical story was translated as ????.
Ben-Hu is a film hero’s name; Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone wrote and performed the film Rocky won the 1976 annual Oscar Award for Best Picture. Rocky is name of the hero , transliterated as ???? ; taken in 1973, the American film Papillon translated as????? is a classic escape theme movie. The Papillon is French, meaning “butterfly” . In the film it refers to the actor because he has a chest stab butterfly tattoo; 16th Oscar best Picture Award, known as the “the greatest love the movie of shadow history ” Casablanca, translated as ??????? ,also uses the transliteration. It is well known that Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city.
Title using the example of the transliteration is simple and retains some “foreign flavor”. However, it should be noticed that some movie titles of the person’s name or place names are mostly familiar to the domestic audience such as Thelma and Louise. Thelma and Louise are the two heroines of the film. They encountered a series of sexual violence and sexual harassment during a simple trip. After the murder, they escaped. The film intends to convey a strong desire of the women to be the master of fate. And women’s equality and security of personal social are the movie’s themes. The film has been paraphrased as ??????.
This translation is very consistent with the film’s theme and content. And its Chinese title is neither subject to the restrictions of English language. 4. Adding Transliteration 4. 1. Characteristics Some English words do not have their Chinese counterparts because of differences between two languages. In this case, translators often add some words to make the movie title sound comprehensive among the domestic audience. Adding translation is a case of adding some words based on the content of the movie in order to meet the mental acceptance and cultural expectance of the audience.
4. 2. Examples For example, American movie Patton was translated as ??????. It is a story telling about things happened during the World War?. People who are interested in the history of war or military stories would be attracted by its Chinese name before they entering into the cinema. But if the name was translated without any alteration, Chinese people would never guess the content and some groups of audience may be lost. Another example is The Piano which was translated as ????? , if it was translated directly as ???? , most people would think it was just an educational movie.
However, translators added the word “? ” to its original name to let the viewers get a brief idea of the movie that it is a story about things happened in a piano lesson. There are another cases also used this method such as Seven(????? ), Deep Impact(??????? ), Sister Act(??????? )and so on. IV. Principles of Translation Although the translation of film titles has its own specialty, it has something in common with other genres of translation. The translation process should reflect the following four principles: 1. Informative value principle
Title translation should convey the information related to the contents of the original film, achieving the unity of title form and film content, which is also called the equivalent of the value of information. The emphasis of translation of is equilibrium. The process of English movie title translation should firstly be faithful to the movie information. That means the translation of film titles should convey the information in line with the original information of the movie to achieve the unity of the translation of the title and original movie content.
The word “faithful” refers to the translation must be accurate and truthful and the meaning can neither be free to distort, nor any increase or decrease. 2. Cultural value principle Translation is not simply the language conversion process, but also the social phenomena of cultural exchanges. Cultural values, reflected in the title translation to promote cultural exchange and understanding, is the important task of the translation of film titles. The movie title reflects the cultural value of film, which requires the translator to be not only a mere translator but also a cultural carrier.
So translators should have a deeper study of two kinds of language and culture. In the process of title translation, different languages have different conventions and codes. Then the translator is bound to follow certain cultural adaptation and take full account of cultural implication in order to better communicate cultural information through language. In the West, the social development history, geography and climate, history, political and economic values, customs, ethics are very different from Chinese.
Cultural values firstly reflected in fully understanding cultural information and accurately transmitting the original title culture. Let’s take a look at a famous 1995 psychological thriller “seven”. The film a strong visual impact and the dark background described a highly philosophical meaning of the crime story: a crazy murderer to consider themselves to God, around the Catholic seven capital offenses disciplinary one by one kill.
Seven capital offense refers to the seven men often commit the fault, namely: the gluttonous??, greed, ?? , ,sloth?? , lust ?? , pride?? , envy?? and rage wrath??. Seven, this mysterious figure in the religious (which is in the old “fullest: God created Adam using seven days, remove the Adam’s seventh ribs made the original body of Eve, Satan is the dragon of seven heads) in the film can be described as ubiquitous, seven crime seven penalty seven rain, the story takes place in seven days, or even ending by the offender set at 7 pm on the seventh day of the ubiquitous “7” imply that the fate of the Crime and Punishment.
However, it is conceivable that if the Chinese translation for a “simple, Chinese audiences will not produce the same cultural association and identity, so the movie screened, translated as” Seven “, pointing to the story line and the seven most major and religious meaning. It can be described as cultural values embodied in the classic example. Chinese translation of the film American Beauty, trouble is also the root cause of this. Popular translation – “American Beauty”, and earlier tacky little “American Beauty” is not accurate, it can be said too literally.
American beauty is the red rose of the U. S. production of flowering seasons. The roses are beautiful, holy, said the noble and sacred love, especially red roses, but also love gift to share. According to the myths and legends, a god of love to personally pick Rose took to give his lover, too eager mood, the action is some confusion, accidentally finger was punctured by the squid, the blood sprinkled on the petals of roses, originally The white petals dyed red.
Cupid holding a rose-red with their blood spent to give lovers and lovers to see, very excited, gratitude for a hundredfold return Cupid’s loyalty. After the red roses of pure love and firm, especially lovers favorite. Movie to spend Yu flower expressions, flowers and beauty, closer together. Taiwan’s well-known herein florid translation of the change translated as “heart? Rose Love” to China rose instead of the United States rose to reveal the spiritual connotation of the film, it touches do not have mood.
But the film also has a more direct and accurate cultural translation “American Beauty”. There is also a translation is called “Beautiful guilty” may be issued by the translator according to the story of lament! In addition, due to language and cultural differences, a form similar to the Chinese and British vocabulary, may refer to completely different content, such dubious often leads to disastrous mistranslation.
For example: First Wives Club, has been translated as “The First Wives Club”, not knowing the first wives in English refers to the first wife of the men, and the Chinese culture, the size of the wife and concubines concubine Yigai irrelevant. This fun-filled comedy, in fact, about a group of Zaokangzhiqi how to revenge yourself Xiatang Chen Shimei her husband and marries another new love. Now translated as “the first wife club,” the first wife club “is more accurate.
Another example: one hundred one of the classics of “the Third Man” is initially translated as “third party”, the Chinese audience mistakenly thought it was a marriage ethics film. In fact, “the Third Man,” referring to the film, the third car accident witnesses, the film changed translated as “personal” story translates as “living hell for the spirits of, I had stumbled on a DVD Title will be translated as the “third man”! Stick up down. Similarly, due to differences in cultural identity, vocabulary attached to the associative meaning it will miss is as good, Miao away.
Animal words, for example, most of the symbol, meaning one after another. To Yibi vivid necessary to correctly understand their meaning. This is not difficult to understand why the movie Dragon Heart, no, literally translated as “Dragon Heart”. Taking into account the “dragon” negative associative meaning in English (reminiscent of the cruel, devil), as well as Chinese culture the dragon respected (the Chinese nation, the emperor, a symbol of success), the film, plus a “magic word translation The Tarrasque legendary.
In addition, the title in the idioms, allusions to load a lot of cultural information, often not from the literal meaning of understanding, engaged in sloppy, Shuaier surgeon is bound to be mistakes, a laughing stock. For example, “Rambo: First Blood” has been translated as “First Blood”. Little do they know “the first the blood” is the English idiom, meaning “first battle”. Taiwan will be “One Flew, over the the Cuckoo’s Nest,” translated as “the cuckoo’s nest”, in fact, “the Cuckoo’s Nest” in English is a “mental hospital” means! The film was adapted from Ken?
Alexis (Ken Kesey, 1935-2001) according to himself experienced in the novel of the same name published in 1962, describes the brutal destruction of a mental hospital patient’s humanity and basic human rights, strongly criticized the yoke of the social system, video the last Indians to shake and lift extremely heavy stone and splashing the lens, as well as his brave out of the guard of the prison behind bars, it is film body Now the true meaning: seemingly can not shake the cornerstone of the system, as long as the consciousness of resistance cohesion to a certain moment and broke out the exciting force, will eventually break all fetters, to achieve the newborn.
Mainland translation Flew Over the Cuckoo “and therefore more accurate vividly embodies the true meaning of the original title and the film itself. Film interpretation of the cultural values, we should have the following consensus. On the one hand, you should see the title translation is subject to the target language culture. The target culture is bound to select the source culture, norms, and strengthen, exclusion and belittling, and attach their own cultural color.
Chinese translation of the English movie “Love with My Father,” “Wedding Night” for the “Family Fun” “wedding night”, obviously mixed up with the Chinese cultural flavor. On the other hand, should recognize that translation is a dynamic process of cultural exchange, and therefore asked to judge the historical perspective to measure. In one region or one times fluent and readable translations in some areas, the era is not necessarily a good translated.
Such as space bottling (Space Jim) “disappeared Pretty Woman (the Runaway Bride) in Hong Kong popular translation in Hong Kong, but inland the audience is very difficult to understand. The meaning of “bottling” in Cantonese is “playing basketball”, “runaway” means “escape”.
Speaking from a diachronic point of view, China’s current loose, cheerful social environment, the cultural mentality of the two-way communication, with the further attention of the people to the outside world and social and cultural conditions of the mature, but also will undoubtedly promote the excellent translations of more closer to the style of the original film presented in front of an audience.
Such as “Casablanca” (the Casablanca) has long been replaced by “Casablanca,” a domestic popular translation. “The Truman Show” (Trueman the Show translation: the drama of life, Trudeau door programs, etc. ) for a class in Britain a mixture of the title also has been increasingly accepted as part of the Chinese audience. 3. Aesthetic Value Principle The title of the translation of stress to get rid of the original word bound, depth grasp of the ideological and aesthetic content of the work and the ingenuity of the artist’s treatment of the original film, the new artistic creation.
The native language of the art form to convey the image of the original, emotional, and language arts, the aesthetic experience of conduction in the audience. First of all we must be the exact words and the aesthetic value. The choice of words should strive to sound both the United States, Italy, expressive and vivid. As Somerset Maugham said, “the word of its power, its sound, and its shape; only consider the sentence, in order to write eye-catching ear”. The exact words and emphasis on vivid. Language used to create a mood, atmosphere, concentrated source language audience’s feelings and conduction in the target language audience.
Compare the following three groups of titles in English translation, is not difficult to find the second translation can give full play to the Chinese advantage and choice of words precise and appropriate artistic conception, cutting theme of the Central Plains piece, and thus even better:
Ex1: You Can not Take It With You “translated a” you can not take away; “translated” Take It Ex2 has been engineered: A, Man, from the Snowy River “translation” from the Snowy River; “translation” Snowy River man As ex3: Ordinary People “translation” of ordinary people; “translation” mortal The exact words and emphasis on sound America.
Translator through rhythm, pitch, rhythm, so that the title to read catchy, beautiful sounds, only to convey the emotional meaning, but also enhance the aesthetic effect. Chinese is a tone language, pitch the level of severity, length, speed, and constitute a self-assured, high and loud music, accurately express the rich and delicate feelings.
Such as the Outland translated as “outer space” (cadence, rhyme), Courage, translated as “Under Fire, Life and Death of pride” (circumflex), translated as “Singing in the Rain” (rhyme) Singing in the Rain ‘, fully embodies the Chinese phonological . English as a tone language, its different tone, stress, light tone, accented arrangement constitute continuous fill the gap, the melody.
Such as the “green lawn (1987), translated as the Green Green the Grass of Home,” great cycle “translated as the Wheel of Life, successfully embodies the beauty of the melody of English. Alliteration and rhyming English title in order to achieve the sound of America’s method. Not uncommon in the title creation and translation.
English Title: Picture Perfect (now translated: purely fictitious) Rock and the Rule (now translated: Jesus Christ, Magic Star), Limelight (now Translation: career on the stage); English Translation Title: City Under Siege (formerly known as Chinese: siege ) Fight in South and North (Chinese original name: Civil war) and so on.
The exact words and emphasis on precise and appropriate and concise. Only a clear and concise title in order to attract viewers. Can be described as the culmination of many of our translators translated in this regard. Such as A Puzzlement of Love translated as “love confusion” and the Strange Tale translated as “strange tale” Intolerance translated as “partisan”, is lovely. The four-character phrase is often concise, sonorous sounds, expressive, heavily used in Title Translation, accounting for the Translation of title more than 60 percent.
Such as: “Dances with Wolves (Dances with Wolves),” Home Alone “(Home Alone),” Forrest Gump “(Forest, Gump,)” Entrapment “(Entrapment), The Fugitive (the Fugitive), retaining flower portrait (the Bodyguard), The Interpreter (The Interpreter). Another aspect of the aesthetic value is the use of rhetorical devices.
Translator copy or a creative way to use rhetoric to cause aesthetic pleasure to the audience. Such as simile Gaslight translated as “Lang heart, such as iron, repeated France A Few Good Man, translated as” good people only a handful of “antisense method True Lies translated as” True Lies “, the control of the Great The Great Gatsby, Old wives for New, Love Me Tenderly translated as “Great Gatsby” old pet new love, “” Hud Rouchang “are worthy of our study. 4. Commercial Value Principle
The film is both a cultural and commercial art, in the title translation, of course, need to take into account commercial considerations. This requires the translator to take full advantage of the cultural characteristics of the target language and aesthetic interests, to create out of the language the audience loved the movie title, causing psychological identity, stimulate aesthetic pleasure and viewing desires.
For example, according to Canadian writer Michael? Weng Dajie (Michael Ondaatje) best-selling novel of the same name adapted from the English the Patient, is the Second World War for the background of male and female for a period beyond the moral boundaries, romantic and poignant love story about.
The novel won the British Booker Prize for Literature, an international reputation, to retain the original novel title attractive to Europe and the United States audience. Hong Kong local audience know very little about the novel, if literally translated as “The English Patient”, but uninteresting, translator therefore another translated as “Do not ask who I am”, lyrical strong and fastened the entire film pursuing the life experience of the plot of The English Patient, by the local audience favorite. Taiwan translation of “The English Patient, VCD, translated” troubled love days “are fastened film Sad love theme, a strong poetic, after masterpiece.
Another embodiment of the commercial value is the title emphasize novel and eye-catching, good at creating suspense, rendering the atmosphere. For example, It Happens One Night Translated as “It Happened One Night”, translated as “Sister Act, Sister Act” the Net “network Cry”, it is very novel and fascinating.
Mainland translation of the thriller The Rock “The Rock”, Hong Kong translation of “The Rock, Taiwan translated as” Jedi task all tastes, and naturally apt, full of suspense, reflects the combination of artistic and commercial. To achieve the above two purposes, the commercial value reflected in the translation process requires bold and innovative, “carried away”, or even to change the title in the form to save the contents of the original title.
In specific operations, the translator often use to increase the word, minus the word, changing classes, and expansion to be translated, and thus play depth to convey the contents of the original film, and enhance the title role of infectious. Please observe the following translation of the cases: Blood and Sand, translated as “Treasure of the Sierra sand, plus lexical Piano plus the word translated as “The Piano” the Independence Day by the word translated as “Independence Day flames, the the Three Musketeers to increase word translated as “the pride of The Three Musketeers” She is So Lovely reduction translated as “pleasant child. In the heat of the Night less inflammation Night “. The paraphrase After Vivid, natural and appropriate.
Sometimes the literal translation, free translation is difficult to appropriately reflect the contents of the original film, to inspire the audience aesthetic pleasure: some post-translational obscure, nondescript; others are bland, no charm. Required to set aside the original title of the form and content, based on the original film content, reinvent the wheel, the source language of the eyes of the target language audience bland title, vividly reproduce the form of language that people loved.
Title translator in China in this regard there are many superior for beautiful choice of words, right, and vividly depicts the original film content. Such as Of Mice and Men the movie, adapted from the realist writer John? Steinbeck (John Steinbeck had 1902-2002) of the same name novel “Of Mice and Men” all resistance analogy farmers efforts are in vain, are able to escape to John?
The fate of the mole to describe the poetry of Donne ((John Donne) — hard making good house final inevitably destroyed by the rake of film titles did not copy the title literally translated, but the change to be translated as “living things” implicit in “Of Mice and Men” moral of the story to inspire the rich Chinese cultural associations (such as Buddhism in the face in the crowd the pain), but also reflects the commercial value, can be described as a rare good translation.
In addition, the Volcano is translated as “to fire Siege, Ghost translated as” Ghost “Patch Adams, translated as” Cherish the truth “; If Looks Could Kill translated as” Rear Window shade; the Shark Tale Shark Tale ” “Once Upon a Time” translated as Once Upon a Time in China, Guangdong and Hong Kong criminals “is translated as Long, the Arm of the Law,” Once a Thief “translated Once a in Thief are on the product. The above example, you can see, the title translation is not a simple machine to copy the content and form of the original title, but should retain the original value of information, cultural values, aesthetic values, and appropria.
Courtney from Study Moose
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