MAGAZINE, March 1999. VOL. 6 ISSUE
by Mia Shanley
Hollywood often deems itself the end-all of everything. People
in tinseltown are flawless, see -- or so they think so. I will begin
this column with a disclaimer: I am not a fan of Hollywood. In fact,
I believe that some of the world's most obnoxious people reside
in the city of dreams where, I believe, the population of restaurant
waiters waiting for callbacks outnumbers actual working actors.
But those who manage to make it to the big leagues -- be it with
acting, writing or directing talents -- usually make a very pretty
penny. A student graduating from my university's film program sold
his senior thesis -- an action-packed script -- to the Hollywood
gods for one million dollars. He also got a very large gold plaque
placed on the wall of the communications department bearing his
name and I assume that he paid off his student loans the year he
received his diploma.
Fact is, people in Hollywood make good money to use their creative
energies. Hollywood pays teams of people big dollars to research the "effectiveness" of every movie title that hits the
screen. Hours of work are put in to those one, two, three or four
words which are scripted to steal the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Good movie titles can bring box offices big money.
What horror those teams, those executives, those actors would have
if they took a walk through a Blockbuster in Taiwan and saw what
their golden titles had been translated into. It's the same thing
that happens when a 6.0 document gets flushed through Notepad and
returns, or worse, when Big 5 Chinese touches English Windows and
makes a trip back to its point of origin.
ocuments of text transform
mysteriously to Greek. Movie titles, when they leave Hollywood and
hit the screens in Asia, often make such transformations.
The New York Times recently reported that in Beijing, the movie
"Babe" had been translated to "The Happy Dumpling-To-Be
Who Talks and Solves Agricultural Problems." It then reported
that "Batman and Robin" had been twisted to "Come
to My Cave and Wear this Rubber Codpiece, Cute Boy."
The Times eventually ran a correction, saying that it had mistakenly
quoted fake titles from a humor website. Though false information
had been provided, the report was inspiration enough for me to hit
the local Taichung Blockbuster with a Chinese friend to see what
English titles flushed through Chinese and back to English had become.
Most names remained the same. Hercules, Cinderella and Bambi kept
their own names. The Titanic stayed the Titanic and Casper remained
the friendly ghost. Here are just a few approximations of what I
saw. Keep in mind that these make much more sense in Chinese than
they do as they are flushed back to the English language.
||Rich in the Future
||Satan Destroys Everything
||Success in Love
|Good Will Hunting
||Inside Your Heart
||The Best Couple
||Mr. Crazy/Mr. Clumsy
||A Planet Will Hit
||The End of the World
|City of Angels
||A Very Powerful
Whale Runs to Heaven
||Satan Female Soldier
|My Best Friend's
|| The Bride is not
||Just Send Him to
And finally, I checked out the pig movie, just for the record.
The real translation of "Babe" turned out to be "I'm
Not Stupid So I Have Something to Say."