We all know that words aren’t a precise science; translation is a delicate balance of art and meaning. But sometimes translations (and subsequent re-translations) can go so wrong that it’s hysterical. Here are a few funny movie mistranslations to keep you chuckling…
Funny Movie Mistranslations
The Dark Knight: Spain: Night of the Knight; Because homonyms are fundamental; though maybe that particular construction doesn’t re-translate either.
Free Willy: China; A Very Powerful Whale Runs to Heaven; Pretty sure that, contrary to this instance of funny movie mistranslations, Michael Jackson doesn’t have a place on the soundtrack for getting into heaven. Even if you are a very powerful whale.
Die Hard: Germany: Die Slowly; I suppose “slowly” could be a hard way to go…
Die Hard with a Vengeance: Germany: Die Slowly, Now More than Ever; Okay, that’s just over-kill. Get it? Now more than ever?
Die Hard with a Vengeance: Denmark: Die Hard: Mega Hard; Maybe this doesn’t fall into the category of “Funny Movie Mistranslations” so much as “AWESOME Movie Mistranslations“.
The Full Monty: China: Six Naked Pigs; While that’s not a very nice thing to say about this movie’s line-up of star actors, it’s definitely more than a little hilarious.
The Matrix: France: The Young People who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses; While technically true, this piece of funny movie mistranslations seems a bit verbose to communicate its point.
Army of Darkness: Japan: Captain Supermarket; Oh, Ash… you should start putting this on your business cards.
Lost in Translation: Portugal: Meetings and Failures in Meetings; Something definitely seems to have been lost in this exchange; perhaps that irony makes it one of the most funny movie mistranslations.
Risky Business: China: Just Send him to University Unqualified; This relic of funny movie mistranslations is particularly awesome because it reveals something about the cultural differences between the movie’s progenitor and the movie’s viewing audience.
The Naked Gun: Israel: The Gun Died Laughing; Part of the joy of funny movie mistranslations is when the mistranslation only makes half sense. This one is pushing half…
Grease: Argentina: Vaseline; Perhaps one oily lubricant is as good as any other, but it’s a bit tough to believe that Danny Zuko’s hair would have been quite the same if it had been”vaselined” up for prom night.
Knocked Up: Peru: Slightly Pregnant; Maybe this instance of funny movie mistranslations can be blamed on idioms not quite crossing the language barrier… but I’d still like to know how you become only “slightly” pregnant.
American Pie: Hong Kong: American Virgin Man; Again, what makes funny movie translations even more funny is when they’re true… this one couldn’t possibly be more so.
Jaws: France: The Teeth From the Sea; I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that shark was more than just teeth.
Leaving Las Vegas: Japan: I’m Drunk and You’re a Prostitute; Sometimes, there’s nothing funnier than something that’s about as literal as anything could possibly be.
The Producers: Italy: Please Do Not Touch the Old Woman; Couldn’t have said it better myself; lay off, Bialystock, nobody wants to see that!
The Sixth Sense: China: He’s a Ghost!; Talk about the world’s biggest spoiler!