Movie titles and posters usually get changed to suit different markets, even between English speaking countries, but sometimes the original meaning gets skewed in the most ridiculous, or brutally literal way… and hilarity ensues.
Check out some of the movie titles we found that seemed to have been lost in translation. I have no doubt this knife cuts both ways…
1. JAPAN: Bring It On → Cheers! (チアーズ!)
The title Cheers would have never worked in the US due to its association with the hugely popular long running TV show of the same name. It is odd that the Japanese version felt the need to use almost the same font though...
2. JAPAN: Napoleon Dynamite → Bus Man (バス男)
The title “Bus Man” was decided on as there was a very successful TV franchise making headlines at the time of its release, and Fox Searchlight Pictures figured the film could ride on its coat tails. Fox are reissuing the DVD this year with the correct title “Naporeon Dainamaito” along with the apology banded on the case.
3. MALAYSIA: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me →
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Behaved Very Nicely Around Me
The original US title was obviously too crude for a Malaysian audience and it makes perfect sense to alter it... that or it's hilariously sarcastic!
4. JAPAN: You Only Live Twice → 007 Dies Twice (007は二度死ぬ)
I think I'd be disappointed at the ending with a title like this...
5. CHINA: American Pie → American Virgin Man
The original title was obviously too ambiguous.
6. JAPAN: Despicable me → Mysterious Thief Gru’s Moon Theft 3D (怪盗グルーの月泥棒 3D)
The Japanese movie title might not seem as catchy to English speaking audiences, but in Japanese anime and pop culture, long descriptive titles aren't that uncommon. It probably makes perfect sense!
7. THAILAND: Meet the Parents, Little Fockers → Zany Son-in-Law, Zippy Grandkids, Sour Father-in-Law
This title sounds like the mutterings of a sour father-in-law.
8. JAPAN: As Good As It Gets → A Romance Novel Writer
9. CHINA: As Good As it Gets → Mr. Cat Poop
Title of this movie was translated as "Mr. Cat Poop" in Hong Kong. Apparently it came from the name "Melvin" which is pronounced very similarly to the Cantonese colloquial word for cat poop.
10. THAILAND: Due Date (Leave Your Comfort Zone) →
Odd Couple, Wacky Trip, Go Together In Time for Birth
The Thai title reads almost like the synopsis that the original film was pitched with!
11. JAPAN: The Notebook → きみに読む物語 (Kimi no Yomu Monogatari / The Story I Read to You)
The Japanese title fits in again with their style of writing: description over allusion, but it does take away from the sense of mystery a little...
12. CHINA: Knocked Up → One Night Big Belly
Says it all really! Although it could also refer to overeating at a restaurant one night...
13. JAPAN: Being John Malkovich → Malkovich’s Hole (マルコヴィッチの穴)
Without seeing the movie, this title sounds a bit rude! But we can assure you, the "hole" or tunnel is an integral part of the plot.
14. CHINA: The Sixth Sense → He’s a Ghost!
What a way to give away the ending's twist without even seeing the film.
15. JAPAN: Ratatouille → Remy’s Delicious Restaurant (レミーのおいしいレストラン)
You can understand how a name like "Ratatouille" wouldn't have directly translated with all its intended connotations. You’re off the hook this time Japan!
16. JAPAN: Up → Grandpa Carl’s Flying House (カールじいさんの空飛ぶ家)
Again with the literal exchange! A deliberate choice here too: "Up" is definitely a word that could have been directly translated.
17. CHINA: The Full Monty → Six Naked Pigs
I wonder how the cast felt about this title translation?
And lastly... here’s an ironic one.
The movie Lost in Translation (partly about the cultural differences between Japan & the US) was actually lost in translation by the Portuguese. They called it: “Meetings and Failures in Meetings”