On translating titles

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Starscream
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On translating titles

Post by Starscream » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:11 am

Growing up in a pretty Hispanic neighborhood, taking a Spanish-language class was mandatory in elementary school (age 6-13), and along with that came reading of various novels from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. I never gave too much thought to the specifics of the titles, until I would eventually browse around in bookstores to find the books completely translated (not unexpected; I'd imagine English speakers would have a hard time reading something in Spanish)...ALONG with the title.

Now, I'm not to sure where I stand on this fence. On the one hand, I feel that a work of art - be it a painting, a musical piece, even a novel - should keep its title in its original language, with a subtitle or parenthetical note translating it into the English. On the other, I often condone or even prefer that shows/comics from Japan have their translated titles kept, especially if the creators provide one; for example, I refer to "Den-O" as "Masked Rider Den-O" because that's what the creators call it, and I like "Pretty Soldier/Guardian Sailor Moon" for similar reasons. It's quite a conflict, hypocritical or otherwise, and I'm still trying to decide where my feelings on this truly lie.

After that large rambling, I'm still interested in hearing others' opinions on the matter: what do YOU think about translating or keeping the original language titles of various works of art? I'll go out on a limb and include comics and television shows into this category, and save the debate about that for another day :D
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Post by Tiff » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:41 am

I never quite understood why some languages change titles upon translating them. And sometimes it's a complete re-write of the title completely. I can see how translating certain words can be hard (for example, I've noticed that particularily in Japanese-to-English....some things just CANNOT be translated), but sometimes it just seems really random and unncessary.

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Post by Banana » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:39 pm

I heard the Land Before Time's Spanish title is "Little Feet in Search of Big Valley" or something. 0___o

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Post by Senshi_of_Vision » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:30 pm

Im kinda iffy on this one, on the one hand if a title and certain things are changed so that it makes more sense to the country I dont mind. But if its only done to culturally change the story to fit another countries standards then I dont think it should be done. If a certain show or book or work of art is from another country then it should be displayed as such. Then if a demand for things like subtitles of translations is requested it should be done where none of the original countries cultural references are taken out. If you want an Americanized, or Germanized or Latinized story to fit your lifestyle or countries beliefs, then have someone from that country rewrite the story using the plot scheme and different references. I dont need someone taking a story set in spain and resetting it for New Jersey just so I can feel close to home. If the world is going to expand and truly grow people need to learn to appreciate other cultures and try to learn what they can about them. But thats just my opinion on that.

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Post by Jusenkyo no Pikachu » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:09 am

Banana wrote:I heard the Land Before Time's Spanish title is "Little Feet in Search of Big Valley" or something. 0___o
And why not? That tells us a lot more about the movie now, doesn't it?

ETA: my favourite example is one of the few that actually has a reason for a change: Fucking Åmål (AKA Show Me Love).
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