In Russia the new Steve Jobs movie is called “Empire of Temptation”, making it sound like an erotic thriller. Translating titles isn’t easy but, Jamie…
|Scooped by Charles Tiayon|
The problem goes deeper: film titles are routinely translated into Russian quite bizarrely, twisting the meaning of the original title and misrepresenting the film. Can you guess the true identity of The Drunkest County in the World, Sexaholic, and Isle of the Damned? They certainly sound like very different films from the English-language originals — Lawless, Solitary Man and Shutter Island.
Granted, translating the titles of films and books can be hard, especially when they’re allusive or punning. (It's nicely meta that Lost in Translation is pretty untranslatable — in Russian it's called The Difficulties of Translation.) But whoever is in charge of “localising” foreign titles seem unafraid to produce versions that are misleading, patronisingly spoilertastic or just plain wrong.
First, the errors. Tarantino’s overlooked grindhouse schlockfest Death Proof is not,pace Russian translators, about finding the Proof of Death (Dokazatel'stvo smerti), but about being unkillable. I guess they couldn’t be bothered to sit through it. But translating retro film noir The Black Dahlia as The Black Orchid (Chernaia orkhideia) smacks of real laziness. Sure, maybe your average Russian on the street doesn’t knows which flower a georgina is (the Russian for dahlia), but it’s not as if dahlias are a common topic here in the west.