在电影产业中，影片名称翻译不当的情况时有发生。某些国家在引进海外影片时甚至干脆换个新的电影名称。比如，在菲律宾，电影《Never Been Kissed》（中译名：一吻定江山）的名字被替换为“Because She’s Ugly”（意为“皆因她相貌丑陋”）。在法国，电影《The Hangove》（中译名：宿醉）的名字则变为“Very Bad Trip”（意为“倒霉之旅”）。有些国家对某些影片名称的翻译仅考虑字面意思甚至穿凿附会。比如，电影《G.I. Jane》（意为“大兵Jane”）在中国被翻译为“魔鬼女大兵”，《Army of Darkness》在日本被译为“Captain Supermarket”（意为“超市队长”）。
影片名称的翻译质量可能未必决定影片最终的成败，但是政治活动中的错译往往更令人难以容忍，并导致当事人长期陷入窘境。英国广播公司文化频道（BBC Culture）最近的一篇文章描述了这样一则“旧闻”：美国前总统吉米•卡特(Jimmy Carter)在 1977 年访问波兰期间曾表示对波兰有着浓厚的“性”趣。当然，这只是因错译而造成的“国际玩笑”，事实上，Jimmy Carter 的愿意是他希望了解波兰人们对于“未来的渴求”（desires for the future）。此次波兰之行，他的翻译官屡屡错译，导致这位美国前总统成为波兰人的笑柄。
Why Translation Matters
A translation, no matter how good it is, may still fall flat in a different cultural context. That’s why good marketers know, when adapting messages for an international audience, they have to do more than just translate. They need to perform “transcreation,” the process of adapting the message, design and overall package to cater to a differently cultured audience. This process is crucial in a setting where cross-cultural communication is involved.
In the movie industry, for example, film titles have often been poorly translated in some languages. In some countries, some titles are not even translated, but are changed into another English-language title altogether. In the Philippines, for example, the film Never Been Kissed was promoted as “Because She’s Ugly,” and in France, the movie The Hangover is given the title “Very Bad Trip.” In other countries, some translations are too literal or don’t make sense at all. In China, for example, the movie G.I. Jane is translated as 魔鬼女大兵 (móguǐnǚdàbīng), which literally means, “Satan Female Soldier,” and the movie Army of Darkness in Japan was released as “Captain Supermarket.”
While a poor title translation may or may not affect the success of a movie, in the world of politics, a mistranslation can be quite unforgiving and lead to long-lasting embarrassment. A recent article published by BBC Culture details an incident in which President Jimmy Carter appeared to express carnal desire for Poland in 1977, but what he meant to say was that he wanted to learn about the Polish people’s “desires for the future.” His interpreter made so many other translation blunders during that trip that he became the punch line to many Polish jokes.
So when preparing for a global product, localization efforts shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, it’s just as important as the work that was put in by your marketing team when they prepared your brand for your home audience. You should weed out linguists like Carter’s interpreter and instead recruit professionals who are passionate about their work and always have their target audience in mind. The goal of every localization team should be to retain the impact of the original message while transcreating so it will hit home with any audience.