10 Hilariously Bad Translations Of Classic Movie Titles

The famous Cuban novelist and screenwriter Guillermo Cabrera Infante (G. Cain) once said: “Titles are not only important, they are essential for me. I can’t write without a title.” Well, he would have had his work cut out if his starting point were some of the hilarious, mistranslated titles that have filled movie history with little bilingual giggles.

Translation is not an easy task. It is not simply a question of exchanging words for their direct foreign equivalent; that’s not how languages ​​work. That’s why fiction translators have their own awards. And that’s also why I have a friend who has a hard time reading foreign books because he can’t escape the nagging feeling that the words aren’t exactly what the author intended.

However, sometimes the translators have gotten it so wrong that their work serves as a spoiler, an insult, a weird verbatim synopsis, or something that just misses the mark. And he wouldn’t have it any other way: the more absurd, the more laughable. Therefore, below we have selected the most humorous or puzzling that we could find. Enjoy.

10 Hilariously Bad Translations Of Classic Movie Titles:

Full Monty – Six Naked Pigs (Porcelain)

In what seems like a completely unnecessary and unprovoked attack on Mark Addy, China went overboard when he called on the brave men who carried it all in Full Monty, Six Naked Pigs.

It’s hilarious, I mean I can’t make you mad about it, but the insult seems totally out of character with the fairly wholesome movie. Understandably, the colloquial phrase ‘The Full Monty’ might not make sense there, but resorting to fat men man-shaming in a fairly normal way is a crazy move by the Chinese film authorities.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind – If you let me, I will remove you (italy)

This very literal synopsis lends a sinister tone to Jim Carrey’s torturous situation, making the film something of a reverse. Taken. For a nation renowned for its art, the lack of nuance here is surprising.

The original title is a bit of poetry that contains crowds, even if it seems a bit unbearable (like one of those bastard ‘O’ titles). However, this punchy alternative is a tonal mismatch akin to farting at a funeral.

Thelma & Louise – An unexpected ending (Mexico)

This one doesn’t even relate to anything specific about the movie. In general terms, the goal of a movie is to have an unexpected ending, or at least about a million of them apply this plot strategy. It’s like this is the translation that landed on someone’s desk at 4 o’clock on Friday.

The only other possible explanation for such a vague title is that a canny Mexican was trying to induce a mass performance of Abbott & Costello-style comedy routines. Someone would say: ‘Do you want to go to the cinema to see ‘An unexpected ending’?’ and the other says, ‘Yeah, what movie do you want to go see?’ And so on and so on.

Boogie Nights: His powerful device makes him famous (Porcelain)

Nobody’s spam javelin should ever be called a ‘Powerful Device’; It’s downright toxic behavior. However, you must grudgingly hand this one over to the Chinese and admit that it is a pretty demanding depiction of Paul Thomas Anderson’s porn-based drama.

The official film came with the tagline: “In 1977, sex was safe, pleasure was business, and business was booming.” So perhaps the Chinese picked up on this premise and thought they would follow suit.

Grease – Vaseline (Argentina)

In the 1950s, the ‘Greasers’ were clean converts from early rock ‘n’ roll with enough grease in their hair to make sure it stayed slicker than a penguin’s back, even during a storm. Vaseline, however, was still Vaseline.

In fact, Vaseline has always been Vaseline, you know, the lubricant you put on cuts, scrapes, and dry skin. This is one of the rare occasions on the roster where a similar substitution was not on the cards. God knows what kind of dark innuendos the Argentine public thought this title implied regarding the wholesome teenage musical.

Leaving Vegas – I’m drunk and you’re a prostitute (Japan)

The Japanese don’t leave much room to read between the lines with this one. The title presents the same foregone conclusion as ‘I am thirsty and you are a glass of water’. It touches on the premise, but doesn’t really portray the tortured tension that made it an Oscar winner.

John O’Brien’s original novel comes with poetic lines like “Together they caress the silence” and “The purity of the execution will only add to the artistic aspects of the whole mess.” That kind of prose doesn’t fit half as well with the frankly comical title, I am Drunk and You are a Prostitute.

The Waterboy – Dimwit arises (Thailand)

I’m not sure why exactly I included this one on the list. This is definitely one of the rare occasions when the translated title is actually superior to the original. The poetic Thai title perfectly sums up this story of a simple boy’s rise to football glory.

Not to exaggerate, but from every angle, it’s superior. He arises in the field, through the hierarchy of life, and he is indeed a fool. In fact, this is not a mere title; this is a religion!

The sixth sense: it’s a ghost (Porcelain)

Which creepy clown came up with this spoiler in China? In the manner of an 11-year-old in school who has seen the movie and isn’t content to keep it to himself, one crazy maniac has figured out the most concise way to ruin a movie in history.

In just three words, they’ve undone M. Night Shyamalan’s best twist to date, and that’s saying something, considering he has more twists than Michael Flatley. Imagine the maudlin lack of suspense leading up to the tidy ending in theaters there.

Knock Knock who’s there? (Poland)

As the classic phrase goes, “Polish humor is no laughing matter.” It’s a great line from a nation of great line lovers. This ideal pun is a beautiful thing. It may not say much about the thriller/horror starring Keanu Reeves, but really, who cares?

It’s like they said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to laugh at this bunch of Todd movies,’ and I, for one, totally support that. It’s a title that almost has its own meta-art: it doesn’t belong on this list, but I’m happy to draw your attention to it.

Shawshank Redemption – The Fugitives (France)

In the latest spoiler translation, the French gave away the only diegesis moment in the entire script from the start. Granted, the reason the movie doesn’t have a lot of twists or turns is that it’s all about the journey, but as a gift you know you’re going to receive, it’s nice to have wrapped.

They might as well have called it: I’ll see you in Zihuatanejo. Other rejected titles may well have been, Breaking through Rita Hayworth Y Rock Hammer by Andy Dufresne. The only ambiguity that the French allowed is that pluralizing it implies a mass escape.

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