As a Lithuanian, I often find myself baffled by the way we translate foreign movie titles. In our country, Superbad became Hard NutsEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was transformed to The Power of Feelings, and This is the End was renamed to Christmas Cakes, Drugs, and Sex. Turns out, we're not the only ones doing this.

Even though the task of translating a movie title to a local audience seems like a fairly simple one, handled by one of those fancy types who speak more than one language, it's really complex. So much so that it sometimes makes the story sound like a totally different thing. Continue scrolling this list by Bored Panda and see for yourself.

#1

Vaseline (Argentina)

Vaseline (Argentina)

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Vic
Community Member
1 year ago

As long as it's slippery..

Diego Gorzalczany
Community Member
1 year ago

Not true, This movie was always Grease in Argentina. probably in Spain or other south american countries was "Vaselina"

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 year ago

Vaseline lightening, doesn't quite have the same ring to it. 🤨

Martz Migraña
Community Member
1 year ago

In the dubbed movie for Latin America their refer to the car just as "lightning" 😅 and the song is kept in the original English, with subtitles. I mean, that's much better than dubbed the song and sing "vaseline lightning" indeed! Haha

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denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago

I mean...they aren't wrong.

Marigen Beltran
Community Member
1 year ago

Vaselina in Mexico.

glowworm2
Community Member
1 year ago

Sounds like a parody.

Ale Díaz
Community Member
1 year ago

In México is Vaselina, that is the generic name for grease.

Oskar vanZandt
Community Member
1 year ago

Hmmm... considering the "grease" is meant to relate to the hairproduct liberally used by the fellas in this film. There is of course petroleum jelly in many hair greases so I suppose it isn't too far off the mark. Wonder if Unilever gets any royalties for the use of their product? (just scanned this interesting Wikipedia entry- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaseline

julia
Community Member
1 year ago

completely unrelated but i’m from argentina!! 😊

Carito alias La Cototina
Community Member
1 year ago

In Chile was Grease Brillantina

Martz Migraña
Community Member
1 year ago

In Mexico it's also called "Vaselina" 😂

Cybele Spanjaard
Community Member
1 year ago

all about hair goo..and car lube!

Sam T Godfrey
Community Member
1 year ago

90 Weight ~ In auto repair, that's the glop that goes in your rear end.

Rebecca Surette
Community Member
1 year ago

That would be the "X" rated version?

Susan Mercurio
Community Member
1 year ago

"Auto grease"!

EJN
Community Member
1 year ago

Close enough

Jane Alexander
Community Member
1 year ago

'Grease' also includes the car kind in that movie; "Go Greased Lightning" song, building the 'rod, the drag race...

Mónica Elisabeth Sacco
Community Member
1 year ago

The title should've been "Brillantina" or "Fijador", translations for hair "grease". I don't know what kind of idiot translated "Grease" into "Vaseline". In Argentina, vaseline is used mostly as a laxative.

Jette Wang Wahnon
Community Member
1 year ago

NO WAY !!? IMG_1069-6...a05210.jpg IMG_1069-6068ff2a05210.jpg

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Max L.
Community Member
1 year ago

It would take a bad route among here

Katarína Žúborová
Community Member
1 year ago

In Slovakia we call it Pomáda, which is just posh word for hair gel :)

Acacio Lima
Community Member
1 year ago

In Brazil "The era of brilliantine"

Daniel Marsh
Community Member
1 year ago

Spare me the dry humor.

RoseTheMad
Community Member
1 year ago

Vaseline Lightning!

I I
Community Member
1 year ago

KY

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As one linguist said, while the practice of translation is always a work of adaptation, it is much more so when it comes to translating movie titles. For instance, how should the Russian villain in a typical Hollywood production be presented in Moscow cinemas? And what do we do about cultural references?

In addition, there is the fact that the title of a movie is supposed to summarize and condense a two-hour story. Therefore, the translator must rifle through nuances, overtones, examples of polysemy, as well as a number of other approaches.

#2

Big Liar (China)

Big Liar (China)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

Truer words have never been spoken.

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#3

Meth Dad (Slovakia)

Meth Dad (Slovakia)

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A.M. Pierre
Community Member
1 year ago

It sounds like the sitcom version of the show. “Next week on ‘Meth Dad’: Can Walter handle drug dealers, watching his kids for a day, AND his nosy neighbor? Find out on ‘Meth Dad’!”

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What makes it even more difficult is that the reader has no context to understand the translated title of the film; a title should be evocative and should work with no other references than its own semantic values and connotations. The translator can't use contextual elements to supplement or clarify the meaning.

The translation of movie titles involves not only retaining/giving it meaning, but there are also rhythmic constraints (in this case, this comes closer to literary translation and more specifically, poetic) and commercial ones (bringing us closer to marketing translation). It's a minefield.

#4

It's Raining Falafel (Israel)

It's Raining Falafel (Israel)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

Why? Falafel does not contain meat.

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#5

Die Hard: Mega Hard (Denmark)

Die Hard: Mega Hard (Denmark)

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Daria Zozula
Community Member
1 year ago

Polish: Glass Trap

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#6

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Behaved Very Nicely Around Me (Malaysia)

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Behaved Very Nicely Around Me (Malaysia)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

The original title sounded too x-rated for Malaysia.

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#7

Santa Is A Pervert (Czech Republic)

Santa Is A Pervert (Czech Republic)

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I I
Community Member
1 year ago

Czech title is on the money

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#8

Mom, I Missed My Plane (France)

Mom, I Missed My Plane (France)

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Emma_Aitana yay
Community Member
1 year ago

I mean, it's not wrong.

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#9

If You Leave Me, I'll Erase You (Italy)

If You Leave Me, I'll Erase You (Italy)

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Vic
Community Member
1 year ago

Italian version: Try it, I dare you..

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#10

My Partner With The Cold Snout (Germany)

My Partner With The Cold Snout (Germany)

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Karel Parth
Community Member
1 year ago

It's same in Czech

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#11

The Urban Neurotic (Germany)

The Urban Neurotic (Germany)

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
1 year ago

Sums it up nicely

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#12

Super Power Dare Die Team (China)

Super Power Dare Die Team (China)

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Vic
Community Member
1 year ago

Sounds like a catch phrase a power ranger would use..

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#13

The Unbelievable Trip In A Wacky Aeroplane (Germany)

The Unbelievable Trip In A Wacky Aeroplane (Germany)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

Which explains the entire plot.

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#14

Rita Heyworth, Key To Escape (Finland)

Rita Heyworth, Key To Escape (Finland)

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Wyn Williams
Community Member
1 year ago

Works both ways, a Finnish film called girl you will be a star was translated to English as beauty and the beast :) the translator also changed a lot of what was said as apparently he didn't like the movie

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#15

Knight Of The Night (Spain)

Knight Of The Night (Spain)

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willi santiago
Community Member
1 year ago

The Spanish title is better

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#16

My Boyfriend Is A Psycho (Russia)

My Boyfriend Is A Psycho (Russia)

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 year ago

To be fair, they're both kinda crazy.

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#17

This Hitman Is Not As Cold As He Thought (China)

This Hitman Is Not As Cold As He Thought (China)

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denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago

As much as I lol'ed at this, I prefer the original.

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#18

Six Naked Pigs (China)

Six Naked Pigs (China)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

This sounds a bit condescending.

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#19

Son Of Devil (China)

Son Of Devil (China)

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 year ago

So...Arnie gave birth to the antichrist?

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#20

The Hole Of Malkovich (Japan)

The Hole Of Malkovich (Japan)

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 year ago

Was this the porn parody title?

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#21

If You Drink, Don't Marry! (Brazil)

If You Drink, Don't Marry! (Brazil)

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kathoco
Community Member
1 year ago

France: Very bad trip (so the title is changed but it's still in English, not French)

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#22

His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous (China)

His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous (China)

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Candace Fitzpatrick
Community Member
1 year ago

"Powerful device" 😂

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#23

Dimwit Surges Forth (Thailand)

Dimwit Surges Forth (Thailand)

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Stephanie Keith
Community Member
1 year ago

I mean a dimwit did surge forth.

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#24

A Supertough Kangaroo (Spain)

A Supertough Kangaroo (Spain)

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Emma_Aitana yay
Community Member
1 year ago

ok?

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#25

The Teeth From The Sea (France)

The Teeth From The Sea (France)

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Jihan Kim
Community Member
1 year ago

poetic

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#26

Captain Supermarket (Japan)

Captain Supermarket (Japan)

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I I
Community Member
1 year ago

yep , Black Friday shoppers

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#27

Pigs And Diamonds (Mexico, Spain)

Pigs And Diamonds (Mexico, Spain)

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JuJu
Community Member
1 year ago

Germany too.

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#28

The Gun Died Laughing (Israel)

The Gun Died Laughing (Israel)

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Premislaus de Colo
Community Member
1 year ago

Polish: Shooting with laughter

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#29

American Virgin Man (China)

American Virgin Man (China)

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I I
Community Member
1 year ago

ask the pie if hes a virgin

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#30

Full Of The Nuts (Germany)

Full Of The Nuts (Germany)

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Nela Rothenbach
Community Member
1 year ago

Well, more like "full on the nuts"

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