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Added by karmacomatic on 27 Mar 2010 11:34
10573 Views 7 Comments
18
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Lost in Translation: German Titles

Sort by: Showing 27 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Zwei glorreiche Halunken (Two glorious scoundrels)
Two? At least they put only two of them on the posters for that movie so it will suit the absurd title.
karmacomatic's rating:
People who added this item 2976 Average listal rating (2051 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Hot Fuzz - Zwei abgewichste Profis (impossible to translate)
abgewichst is a word which actually no one uses. It sort of means cool or something but to be honest it's related to the verb wichsen which means to jerk off. Hot Fuzz - two cool guys jerking off. Thank you very much.
karmacomatic's rating:
People who added this item 240 Average listal rating (165 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 5.3
The Guru (2002)
Der Super-Guru
The Guru wasn't enough?
People who added this item 91 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 4.3 IMDB Rating 3.9
Black Eagle (1988)
Red Eagle
That makes perfectly sense.
People who added this item 1607 Average listal rating (1025 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Zombies im Kaufhaus (Zombies in the Mall)
Summarizing the story in three words...
karmacomatic's rating:
People who added this item 352 Average listal rating (243 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6
Dragnet (1987)
Schlappe Bullen beißen nicht (Floppy cops don't bite)
Ridiculous.
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5
Ein Papst zum küssen (A Pope to Kiss)
Popes don't die around here, you know?
People who added this item 1069 Average listal rating (675 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
Rache ist sexy (Revenge is sexy)
No one's dying actually.
People who added this item 260 Average listal rating (176 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
Nine to Five (1980)
Warum eigentlich... bringen wir den Chef nicht um? (Why don't we rather kill the boss?)
Yes, why?
People who added this item 756 Average listal rating (492 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Wir waren Helden (We were Heroes)
Not exactly the same thing, is it?
People who added this item 2039 Average listal rating (1419 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
Airplane! (1980)
Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug (The amazing journey in a crazy airplane)
Right, Airplane was hard to remember...
People who added this item 2453 Average listal rating (1648 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Taken (2008)
96 Hours
A fake english title, nice
People who added this item 3066 Average listal rating (1987 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Ich, beide & sie (I, both and she)
Both?
Wenn Brüder aufeinander schießen müssen (When brothers have to shoot each other)
That just sounds stupid.
People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 5.5
Mo' Money (1992)
Meh' Geld
While it's common to shorten up more into mo in some sort of slang it isn't in German. Really it isn't. No one would do it ever. They did though. Epic fail
People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.7
Agent Null Null Nix zu wenig). That would've been to easy I guess.
Ich glaub ich steh im Wald (I think I am in the woods)
To be fair this is a German idiom which means "Well, I'll be damned" or something like that so the whole woods thing is only absurd if you don't know the idiom. But still it is a stupid title which says nothing about that movie and makes it look like some ridiculous c movie.
People who added this item 2885 Average listal rating (1896 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Eiskalte Engel (Ice cold Angels)
This is not as bad as any of those posted before but it is still not really good either.
karmacomatic's rating:
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (142 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.8
An deiner Schulter (On your shoulder)
What?
People who added this item 3533 Average listal rating (2272 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Notebook (2004)
Wie ein einziger Tag (Like a single day)
This sounds like it came out of a randomizer for cliche titles for romantic comedies. At least pretend to make an effort.
People who added this item 221 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
Die unglaubliche Entführung der verrückten Mrs. Stone (The incredible kidnapping of the crazy Mrs. Stone)
Basically, they took the (already bad) idea from Airplane (see #11) and made it worse.
People who added this item 942 Average listal rating (589 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Accepted (2006)
S.H.I.T. – Die High School GmbH (S.H.I.T. - The High School Company)
What people should that title attract to watch this film? Brainless wankers is the only answer I can think of. Typical example for a comedy who doesn't have a chance in Germany because of its horrendous title.
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 10 IMDB Rating 5.8
Mr. Ricco (1975)
Was nützt dem toten Hund ein Beefsteak? (What's the use of a beef steak to a dead dog?)
Can anyone explain that one?
People who added this item 175 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Return to Me (2000)
Zurück zu Dir (Return to You)
Why?
People who added this item 328 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6
Crime is King
Another fake English title where a translation of the original title would have been fine.
People who added this item 921 Average listal rating (588 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Cellular (2004)
Final Call – Wenn er auflegt muss sie sterben (Final Call - When he hangs up she has to die)
Another fine example for everything that's wrong with German titles sometimes. Fake English title? Check. Unnecessary subtitle which explains the fake English title? Check.
People who added this item 619 Average listal rating (376 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Soylent Green (1973)
Das Jahr 2022. Die überleben wollen. (The year 2022. Those who want to survive.)
The plot is all about Soylent Green, this is what the movie is about. Why on earth would you change the title?

This list is a compilation of German titles for movies made in a foreign language. It was inspired by the great Lost in Translation: Portuguese Titles list.

Germans tend to do three different major mistakes when trying to transform a foreign title into German.
I Give an English title an alternative English title.
Right, so you assume people can't understand basic English but you still use an English title which has mostly nothing in common with the actual story.
II Give the original title a subtitle.
Best example would be Scream. Everyone who went to that movie knows what the word scream means. There's even a girl screaming on the poster! The German subtitle is of course Schrei which means scream. Instead of just taking the English title or the translation they used both. Clever, really clever.
III Make the title something ridiculous so that everyone thinks it is some sort of dumb comedy made by even dumber people.

While I know it's not the easiest job to translate titles and make them fit into the language it is rather astonishing to see how some movies never had the chance to become famous here 'cause the title would be either stupid or misleading.

I hope I can explain the major absurd things people did when translating titles. Those used are the titles given in Germany, they can differ in Austria and Switzerland so they may be better there.

Feel free to recommend more titles.

(to be continued)

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