More French translations of English titles into… English.

Part 2/2

In part 1 you saw 23 examples of movies with an English title for the French market. What's unexpected about these is not that the title stayed in English, but that it actually is a different English title than the original. And that's pretty common too. 

We promised you 56 movies, here are the other 33:

#24 Get Him To The Greek

While several French expressions could have fit this title's spirit (including one with the word "Greek" in it), the translation team chose a more direct "American Trip". Again, this choice was helped by the fact that the word "trip" is used in French conversation.

 

#25 Me And Earl And The Dying Girl

Having someone dying in the title was probably not marketing-friendly enough. Nevertheless, we feel the new title lost a bit of the emotions stirred in the original one.

 

#26 Runaway Bride

Okay, we decided to include this one, even if it is technically "Frenglish" with the addition of the French text in parentheses. It shows how much audiences are used to seeing the words "Just Married" in US movies. You might even see at weddings in France. Still an English expression though.

 

#27-28 Wild Things and No Strings Attached

Maybe it was the pronunciation of "wild" or the fact that it isn't that common for French people to know. With a title like "Sex Crimes", all doubt is removed. Both words look almost identical to their French equivalents. 

For the second movie, the reasoning might have been the same. "No strings attached" it too obscure an expression. The solution proposed is the same though. The consensus in our translation team is that a little subtlety wouldn't hurt though.

#29 The Other Guys

The original title hinted at the guys who get picked last on your team. They're not the best, they're the other guys. Maybe they're just "very bad". The French version takes all the guesswork out and goes straight to the point.

 

#30-31 Phonebooth and Heathers

Maybe the use of "Game" in French dates back to the "Gameboy". Maybe not. Nevertheless, it seems common enough now to include it in movie titles. At least it's easier than the words "phonebooth" and "heathers", though they could have just translated those to avoid giving too much color to the titles.

 

#32 Enough said

Again, it might have something to do with the pronunciation of "enough". It also reminds us of "All About My Mother" by Almodovar, although they translated that one into French.

 

 

 

#33 The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

This one was a clever way to shorten the title and make it more relatable to French audiences. The title "Super Size Me", the documentary that made Morgan Spurlock famous, stayed in English for French audiences. Why? There is just no "super size" option at fast-food places in France. "Super Cash Me" is a callback to that first success, which also works well to motivate audiences to go see it.

#34 This Means War

If you are confused about this one, ask a French person. "This" and "War" are ok. The problem was with "Means" and how it often confuses students learning English.

 

#35 Killers

For once, we see an English title that's more condensed and clear-cut than the French translation. It's interesting to note that a lot of languages just kept the title in Italian, but that the German localization team made the same choice as the French one too.

 

#36-37 Happy-Go-Lucky and Youth In Revolt

Good movies invite you to reflect and act. These two chose to give you their message in the form of orders. Well, we all put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists sometimes, don't we?

#38 Black Mass

Maybe marketing wanted to stay away from titles hinting too much at a religious theme. After all, the movie is more about crime than going to mass. Why not.

#39 Into The Storm

In part 1, we theorized that too many prepositions in "Up In The Air" might have been the reason for a change of title. This still seems to be the case here, where translators replaced "into" with the adjective "black". We understand that choice, as "into" can be a tricky preposition to master for non-natives.

 

 

#40 Made in Dagenham

Dagenham is a large suburb of London. It also has an industrial past, and was linked to the equal-pay movement. The original title hints at all of that with the "Made in..." that has become famous worldwide on all manufactured products. With the French version, we lose the historical link with the place. But the main plot is crystal clear.

#41 The Man Who Wasn't There

The "man who wasn't there" was a barber. It was also the title of a book, which is translated into French. Maybe they needed to keep the title short. And avoid confusion with the book?

 

#42 Anger Management

Not a common term in France, "Anger Management" wouldn't speak to French audiences. "Self control" however, is almost a French expression now. 

 

#43 Mistress

Hollywood is famous around the world. France is no exception. It immediately brings up images of superstars and the movie industry. Which is probably why they added it to the original title. It sets the stage for where the movie takes place.

And keeping it in English avoids any possible confusion between the homonyms "Maîtresse" (mistress) and "Maîtresse" (female teacher).

#44 Short Term 12

Not sure why this film title became "States of Grace" in French. Maybe because the word "twelve" was written as a number, and that people would instinctively read it in French even with the first two words in English. That, and the fact that we're seeing the movie through the eyes of a girl named Grace.

#45 Run All Night

Another simplification of a title. "Night Run" in French does not have the same connotation as in English.

#46-47 Step Up 3D and Shortcut to Happiness

We're seeing a pattern here. How about you? Well, to be honest, the translation of "Step Up" is just following the first two movies of the series. They even added "The Battle" in the French version. Most people from the target audience know about "music battles" anyways.

 

#48 You Got Served

The link with the law disappeared in the French version of this movie title. It just does not work the same way. The dancing part is clear though.

#49 Pain & Gain

This one has gotten us scratching our heads. Did the localization team think the full sentence was more familiar to French audiences? Maybe making the link with training clearer? Let us know what you think.

#50 Freeheld

If there's one thing most non-native English learners will agree on, is that past participles can be tricky. The past participle of "hold" being "held" is probably the reason why the localization team decided to remove it completely. 

 

#51 Triage

This one is funny. The word for "triage" in French is... "triage". It's origin is French. It's even pronounced the same way. But maybe too obscure of a link with photography. In "Eyes of War", we have that, plus a hint at action (if you've never seen the poster, that is.)

#52 The Boat That Rocked

"Good Morning, Vietnam" was a massive success. This obvious hommage gets the point across: the movie is set in England, and there will be radio. It works until you watch it, but we lose a bit of the "rocking the boat" and the link with the iconic rock-and-roll music. 

Where things get interesting, is that its title in the USA changed to: "Pirate Radio." So it's not only French people doing it.

#53-55 Visioneers, Why Him? and Any Day Now

Not much to say here without repeating ourselves ad vitam. These three titles all have in common a simplified, more direct title in the French version.

#56 La Cara Oculta (The Hidden Face)

This one is a doozy. Its original title is not in English, but it's too interesting to omit. This Spanish movie's title literally means "The Hidden Face". That's what it's called in English too.

We're not sure why, but the French localized version uses both an English translation, and one that is different from the original meaning. Maybe because of the past participle. But still, if someone knows why the English was chosen over the French or Spanish here, we'll gladly listen!

 

 

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