The naming of interational moives, groups etc. suck

:fume: I was asked by a teacher to use a segment from Doofinshmirtz Daily Dirt about the musical group called one direction to give our high school students a break from our book. It’s a great piece about the literal meanings of pop bands. So I’m prepared and ready to go. Except… the name of the pop band One Direction is not “One Direction” in Chinese. Even my Chinese friend/colleague did care to tell me. She did not pay attention to the Chinese name of the band. So, when I incorporated some “direction” excercises, I ended up with a little egg on my face. The name in Chinese for One direction is “Generations” (世代).

Been here so long and am very sick and tired of not being able to figure out the Chinese name of a group, movie, or song or whatever. Many of you who are here for any length of time learn that trying to come up with the Chinese name of a movie is fruitless and you are forced to just print out pictures of DVD covers to find the movie you want to rent.

Well… the question is… if Chinese really care so little about the names of movies or songs, why do they go mucking up names with crazy translations that make no sense.My friend and a few other English speaking locals just ignored the Cinese name altogether, yet the students only know the Chinese name.

I am going to find out who the guy is who named One Direction and ask him or her why they came up with such a name for this group. I’m an international movie fan as well as an anime fan. Each incarnation for each language of the films I like seem to follow a logical based on whether the meaning is important to the story (Usagi - Japanese, Bunny -French )or if they can keep the orignal name, be it French, German Japanese or what not. But not Chinese… They go their own way when it comes to these things… Why…

Some of it is because direct translation of English band or movie names sometimes comes out meaningless in Chinese.

Take One Direction, translating it to 一個方向 is plain and simply not very meaningful. Though they could have translated to 方向 which would be a lot cooler.

Same goes for movies, there are rare occasions when they would just translate the title of the movie, like Titanic 鐵達尼 or Avartar 阿凡達, but it has something to do with the company that releases the movie in Taiwan. If those two movies were given to another publisher to release in Taiwan, maybe they’d be changed to 鐵船情緣 and 神鬼星戰 type of rubbish…

Some movies have one word names, those are especially hard to direct translate into Chinese, because it usually comes out meaningless.

You need to relax. Just because people do things differently from what you’re used to and what you expect doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong. You need to get used to it, and a big part of learning Chinese in Taiwan is figuring out your favorite movie titles. It’s fun and easy – just go to Wikipedia, look up the movie in English, and switch over to the Chinese page. Problem solved.

I’m going to give you a list of translated titles in English and you’ll see immediately why, if they want people to actually watch/play/read, they need to change the name for the simple truth of marketing potential. We’ll start with Japanese crap since you say you’re a fan.

Literal: “Beautiful Girl Warrior Sailor Moon” (美少女戦士セーラームーン) / English: “Sailor Moon”
Literal: “Bursting Dragon Battle Squad Aberanger” (爆竜戦隊アバレンジャー) / English: “Power Rangers: Dino Thunder”
Literal: “Real, Three Kingdoms Unrivaled” (真・三國無双) / English: “Dynasty Warriors.”

Those titles are ridiculous and nobody would take them seriously if they were rendered as a “literal” translation. Every now and then you can translate a title like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but while this phrase makes immediate sense to a Chinese person, Westerners were left scratching their heads as to what it means.

Chinese is not very well suited to transliterating sounds, and even if you do do this, it sounds boring and utterly unappealing to people. Imagine what Pocahontas (officially 風中奇緣, roughly “Romance in the Wind”) were translated as 波卡亨塔斯 (Pokahengtasi). Not only is that impossible to remember and hard to read, it means nothing to people because nobody even knows who she is. There is an endless list of examples I can raise, so I’ll leave it at that.

You’ll be happy to know that “Snakes on a Plane” is called 飛機上有蛇… literally… “There are Snakes on a Plane.” Unsurprisingly it underperformed at the box office here.

PS, I just thought of two points I want to add:

One – a movie is not “internaitonal” by virtue of being American. A band is not “internaitonal” because it comes from the UK. Being “international” has absolutely nothing to do with country of origin and everything to do with reach, reception, and content.

Two – you may prefer the way that China or Japan translate movie titles. “The Day After Tomorrow” in Taiwan was given a rather nice-sounding title: 明天過後 (After Tomorrow Has Passed), whereas in China it had the ridiculous name “后天.”

And what was it called in Japan? “Dei Afutaa Tumorou” (デイ・アフター・トゥモロー). Yes, that’s really how Japan translates movie titles. Facepalm.

Here’s something short on the topic that I wrote a while ago:
http://blog.rti.org.tw/english/2013/02/03/some-of-my-favorite-movie-titles-in-chinese/

In Italy we got it as “The Tiger and the Dragon” (La Tigre ed il Dragone). Much simpler and appealing, imo.

Hate to say but Snakes on a Plane itself was a pretty silly movie, that probably had more to do with its poor box office performance.

Fixed that for you.

I saw one of my favorite movies here, so I don’t really know it as “Love and Other Drugs,” but as “愛情藥不藥”, which I think is also a pun.

In order to find the Chinese name of a movie with an English title, I Google 電影 英文 (English title of movie), which produces Chinese sites that talk about the movie, including the Chinese name. It’s never failed me.

Note: Make sure you look at a site with traditional characters. Simplified characters means a mainland site, of course, and the Chinese title may be very different from the Taiwanese version.

I just look it up on Funshion or an analogous site.

To be honest, they also do that with their own movies. Try finding the English name for Wuxia/Dragon/Fighter or House of Flying daggers/Lovers, etc… Just a couple of examples.

Basically, yeah. My thesis (which should be finished by tomorrow!!!) is on Liaozhai Zhiyi 聊齋誌異 (there’s a wikipedia page for it) and its English translations. You have to ask yourself, which would you rather read: a book called “Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio” or a book called “The Liao Studio’s Records of Strange Occurrances.”

Chao Yun-fat’s classic detective action movie Hardboiled could have been translated literally as “Hot-handed God of Detectives,” but would you really go watch a movie with that name???

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]Basically, yeah. My thesis (which should be finished by tomorrow!!!) is on Liaozhai Zhiyi 聊齋誌異 (there’s a wikipedia page for it) and its English translations. You have to ask yourself, which would you rather read: a book called “Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio” or a book called “The Liao Studio’s Records of Strange Occurrances.”

Chao Yun-fat’s classic detective action movie Hardboiled could have been translated literally as “Hot-handed God of Detectives,” but would you really go watch a movie with that name???[/quote]

Oh, I understand not having a literal translation, but several English titles… not good for marketing.

You need to relax. Just because people do things differently from what you’re used to and what you expect doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong. You need to get used to it, and a big part of learning Chinese in Taiwan is figuring out your favorite movie titles. It’s fun and easy – just go to Wikipedia, look up the movie in English, and switch over to the Chinese page. Problem solved.
.[/quote]

First I really want to compliment you on your Chinese and since you can type Japanese as well, your Japanese ability. Where do you find the time to study?

I’ve been here a long time, and know very well how to find the correct titles. Use wikipedi or just print of the DVD cover.

What got me angry was that my colleague who saw me watching Doofinsmirtz Daily Dirt, really liked the logic he presented and asked me to teach that lesson to the class. I teach a story class at this school and she is their counselor teacher. Anyway… I get sent in there and she did not mention… by the way… the band you are going to talk about is not one direction in Chinese. It’s not just her. I’ve been put in similar pickles before.
I think it’s about has something to do with a strange disconnect people have when talking to foreigners. They think that we are always English teachers even if we are a spouse, colleague or friend.
Example… I’m sent out to buy something. I ask what the heck I’m going to buy and they tell me in English. I’m looking at the damn thing… I know what it is. But I have to asked like two times before I get the Chinese name of what I’m trying to buy in a place where no one is going to speak English.

Also… when trying to describe a film. I can describe both in basic Chinese and English asking them to recall it. It is a common film. I describe the details. It’s obvious. They go … "no I don’t recall, no I don’t recall. THen I show them a picture. You see a light bulb. One, they know the movie, then their face changes as they realize that they knew each detail I was trying to explain.

Thanks for the compliment. I took Japanese for around six (!!!) years combined in high school and college, but I can’t speak a word of it. Reading is easy for me because you just need to know the two -kana systems and some basic grammar, and then I rely on Chinese characters (and no small amount of guesswork) for the rest. But I have no clue how to actually pronounce the Kanji, so oral communication is nigh-impossible for me. (As for Chinese, I’ve been learning that since time immemorial, plus I’ve been here for five years which has helped out a lot.)

I can’t help but think you’re getting a little too worked up over being kept in the dark that the Chinese name is often totally different from the English one. I’d say it’s not terribly relevant to teaching about One Direction unless you teach your class in Chinese. Just explain to the students what “one direction” means, and ignore whether or not they know the Chinese name and even whether or not they’ve heard of the band. After all, if they learn “One Direction” and associate it with 一世代, they may quickly forget the English name.

BTW, I just checked and apparently their mainland Chinese name is “单向组合.” Facepalm.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]

BTW, I just checked and apparently their mainland Chinese name is “单向组合.” Facepalm.[/quote]

OP, you’re lucky to be studying Chinese in Taiwan. The level of Chinese is generally higher – more literary and artistic. If you recall the recent Apple ad for the introduction of the iPad Mini as an example:

English: There’s less of it, but no less to it.

China: 減小,卻不減少。

Hong Kong: 小了,但沒少了。

Taiwan: 簡,而未減。

Which one do you like?

A good discussion can be found here (in Chinese)

in the discussion, I think 小,而未少 is more accurate, though 簡,而未減 is still much better because the word 簡 invokes 極簡 (minimalism).

Chinese translation by the actual Chinese is usually horrendous.

[quote=“hansioux”] 簡,而未減 is still much better because the word 簡 invokes 極簡 (minimalism).

[/quote]

Also because they’re pronounced the same.

[quote=“BAH”][quote=“Hokwongwei”]

BTW, I just checked and apparently their mainland Chinese name is “单向组合.” Facepalm.[/quote]

OP, you’re lucky to be studying Chinese in Taiwan. The level of Chinese is generally higher – more literary and artistic. If you recall the recent Apple ad for the introduction of the iPad Mini as an example:

English: There’s less of it, but no less to it.

China: 減小,卻不減少。

Hong Kong: 小了,但沒少了。

Taiwan: 簡,而未減。

Which one do you like?

A good discussion can be found here (in Chinese)[/quote]

Well, that’s not an issue of Chinese-level but an issue of translation strategy. Mainland translators are much wore willing to accept “foreignized” translations that read like English, whereas it’s not quite so common in Taiwan. That being said, I think the average Taiwanese person’s Chinese level isn’t all that high. I have tons of friends who write well enough, but use 半形 punctuation, as just one example.

If you want to see REALLY bad Chinese translation, check out the New York Times Chinese version.

This story for example:

And the original:

I would have very little idea what point was trying to be made if I only read the Chinese. NYTimes translators take things, well, very literally.

So the question is, how do I go the other way around?

Lets suppose I need to translate names of places, items, quests into English, and I get things like:

薩拉德

亞坦尼茲王國

How do I turn it into English so that it sounds good? I feel that it’s done differently in each games and the problem is, translation agencies/clients have their own expectation and if you give the wrong answer, it’s good bye…