纽约时报文摘 | 电影名字迷失在翻译之中


PARIS—Friends will sometimes ask if you’ve seen a movie. You will say no. They will tell you what the plot is, and you will immediately realize that you have in fact seen the movie, just with a different title.

In France, where something like half of the movies released are American, movie titles in English are often translated (for example, “The Iron Lady” was “La Dame de Fer” in French, “The Ides of March” was released as “Les Marches du Pouvoir”), but recently, a number of films have been released with an English title—but a different one from the original. “Date Night” became “Crazy Night” “The Hangover” became “Very Bad Trip,” and “Get him to the Greek” was released as “American Trip.”
法国上映的电影中,大约有一半来自美国;在法国,英文的片名常常会翻译成法文(比如《铁娘子》[The Iron Lady]翻译成La Dame de Fer,《总统杀局》[The Ides of March]翻译成Les Marches du Pouvoir),但是最近,很多电影在上映时还是会使用英文名字,只不过跟原来的片名不同。比如《约会之夜》(Date Night)改成了《疯狂之夜》(Crazy Night),《宿醉》(The Hangover)改成了《惨痛旅程》(Very Bad Trip),《前往希腊剧院》(Get him to the Greek)则改成了《美国式旅行》(American Trip)。

The most recent film confusing Anglophone Frenchies is “Silver Linings Playbook,” which in France is called “Happiness Therapy.” Cécile Dehesdin, a writer for Slate.fr,  called English title translations into simpler English her pet peeve. “Happiness Therapy” is her latest heartache.
这些电影让说英语的法国人傻傻分不清楚,其中最新的一部就是《乌云背后的幸福线》(Silver Linings Playbook),它被冠上了另一个英文名《幸福疗法》(Happiness Therapy)。Slate.fr网站的撰稿人塞西尔·德埃斯丹(Cécile Dehesdin)说,把本来的英文片名翻译成更直白的英文这种做法让她感到气恼,而《幸福疗法》就是最近让她讨厌的一个。

The curious trend leads a person to believe that the French public would rather the title remain in English to keep its American cool, but that producers seek a more understandable title.

“It’s a true debate,” said Stéphane Réthoré, head of marketing at Universal France. “Every time we have a foreign film it’s a question we study carefully.”
“这个问题真的是很伤脑筋,”环球法国公司(Universal France)的营销负责人斯特凡纳·雷托瑞(Stéphane Réthoré)说:“每次接到外国电影,我们都会认真研究这个问题。”

Giving the movie a French title could risk losing its “cool” because the English language still carries cachet, he explains. A French translation runs the risk of giving the film a ridiculous image and be counterproductive. A literal translation of “Silver Linings Playbook,” for example, would be incomprehensible to the general French public. Ms. Dehesdin conceded the translation would be complex.

I’m not saying it’s easy. The title, “Silver Linings Playbook” is relatively opaque even for English speakers.… A literal translation into ‘Mode d’emploi du bonheur’ (Guide to Happiness) would be very cringe-worthy.
我倒不是说这很容易。就算是对那些讲英语的人来说,“乌云背后的幸福线”的意思也不是那么显而易见......逐字翻译成的Mode d’emploi du bonheur(幸福指南),又感觉非常雷人。

Google Translate proposes “Playbook doublure argentée.” Probably not the best option either.
用谷歌翻译(Google Translate)翻的Playbook doublure argentée似乎也不怎么好。

Henri Ernst, head of distribution at UGC in France, has been responsible for many translations. He saw “Silver Linings Playbook,” a funny-sad love story about a man who returns home after a stay in a mental institution, at the Toronto film festival last autumn. “First thing I thought was, how on earth will they translate that?” he said in a recent phone interview.
亨利·恩斯特(Henri Ernst)是法国影片总公司(UGC)法国区的发行负责人,很多外国电影的片名都是他翻译的。去年秋天,他在多伦多电影节上观看了《乌云背后的幸福线》,这是一个既搞笑又伤感的爱情故事,讲述男主角在精神病院住了一段时间后返回家中发生的事情。“当时我脑海中想到的第一件事,就是他们究竟会如何翻译这个片名,”恩斯特在最近的一次电话采访中说。

When his team starts planning the distribution for a movie, there are five key elements to the package they need to create: the title, the synopsis, the photos, the poster and the trailer. “With foreign films, the title is the first thing we think about; it’s the first thing people say and it’s extremely important,” he said.

“We have three options when we get a foreign film to distribute,” he explained. “Translation, adaptation or just keeping the original title.”

When they translate, they have to be careful to avoid a cheap and heavy result. Take Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” about a sex addict, for example, it could’ve never become “Honte” ; “it just doesn’t work,” said Mr. Ernst. The word “honte” is more about embarrassment; “shame” can carry a seedier connotation. They stayed with “Shame.”
在翻译片名的时候,他们必须小心避免用词过轻或者过重。举个例子,史蒂夫·麦奎因(Steve McQueen)的《羞耻》(Shame)讲述了一个性上瘾者的故事,它绝不能翻译成法语中的“Honte”。“这样翻是不行的,”恩斯特说,“honte”的意思更偏向于“尴尬”,而“shame”这个词的“不道德”意味更浓,所以他们保留了这部电影的英文原名。

When the distributors adapt, they need to be careful to maintain the buzz that is already created around the movie on the Web, which argues for keeping the original title when possible. Today, release dates are also much closer together internationally than they were a decade ago. So a film that creates a buzz when it’s released in the United States will be talked about in Europe. Marketing campaigns have to be much more global, which is one of the reasons so many titles remain the same, or at least stay in English.

“Today, before they come out, films already have a life online. So distributors have to keep that in mind when they come up with the marketing package,” said Mr. Ernst.

It never used to be like that. Foreign films released in France had thought-out titles in French. “All titles used to be translated, and a lot of effort was put into it,” said Mr. Réthoré, giving the example of “High Noon,” which is known in France as “Le Train Sifflera Trois Fois.”
这样的情况以前从来没有出现过。以前,在法国上映的外国电影都会冠以精心翻译的法语片名。雷托瑞说:“以前所有的片名都会翻译成法语,工作人员为此投入了大量精力。”他举了一个例子:《正午》(High Noon)在法国的译名是《三声火车汽笛》(Le Train Sifflera Trois Fois)。

But now, even franchise films that used to carry French translations are retaining their American titles.

“We’re seeing films like ‘Die Hard,’ of which the first film that came out in the ’80s was translated into ‘Le Piège de Crystal,’ go back to their original title and come out today as ‘Die Hard 4,’ even in France. Or ‘Star Wars’; in the ’80s, we knew ‘Star Wars’ as ‘La Guerre des Étoiles,’ but now the younger generation knows it as ‘Star Wars.’ ”
“像《虎胆龙威》(Die Hard)这样的电影,第一部上映时是上世纪80年代,当时它在法国被翻译成《水晶陷阱》(Le Piège de Crystal),现在它又倒回去使用英文名了,这个系列最新的一部即使在法国也被称为《Die Hard 4》。还有《星球大战》(Star Wars),在上世纪80年代,我们用法语的‘星球大战’(La Guerre des Étoiles)称呼它,但现在的年轻人叫它《Star Wars》。”

In an online poll the Web site Newsring recently asked its readers if they were pro or con film title translation; 78 percent responded against.

In 2003, Mr. Ernst was in charge is distributing Stephen Frears’s “Dirty Pretty Things.” “It was a difficult decision,” he said. “It was the author’s title, and a beautiful one, so we didn’t want to change it. It was also quite easy to understand.”
2003年时,恩斯特负责发行斯蒂芬·弗雷斯(Stephen Frears)导演的《美丽坏东西》(Dirty Pretty Things)。“这是一个艰难的决定,”他说,“电影的名字是导演想出来的,而且它也很优美,所以我们不想改动它。何况这个名字也很容易理解。”

In the end, they went with the same title, but with “Loin de chez eux” (Far From Home) as a subtitle.
最后,他们保留了原来的片名,但是加了一个副标题:“远离家乡”(Loin de chez eux)。

And sometimes, keeping the English titles, as complicated as it may be, works out fine. The perfect example: “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind,” which kept its mysterious title and did very well at the French box office.
有时候,就算英文片名很复杂,保留原名的效果也不错。《美丽心灵的永恒阳光》(Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind)就是一个极好的例子,它保留了故弄玄虚的原名,也在法国获得了很高的票房收入。

But the approach depends on the genre. “You won’t think about a title the same way if you have an auteur movie in your hands, or one about alien terrorists attacking the White House,” says Mr. Ernst. Mark Wahlberg’s next movie, “Pain and Gain,” about the bodybuilding culture will be released in France under the name “Big & Bad,” and “No Strings Attached” was simply translated into “Sex Friends.” No chance anyone won’t know what those films are about.
但采用何种处理方法是由电影的类型决定的。恩斯特说:“如果你接到的是某位个性导演拍摄的作品,或者是外星恐怖分子袭击白宫的电影,你不能用同样的方式去考虑它的片名。”马克·沃尔伯格(Mark Wahlberg)的新作《痛苦与收获》(Pain and Gain)是一部关于健身文化的电影,它在法国上映时会改名为《又大又坏》(Big & Bad),而《爱情无线牵》(No Strings Attached)在法国则改成了直白的《炮友》(Sex Friends)。每个人都知道这些电影讲的是什么了。

Children’s films are another story. The are almost always translated.

“Kids go and see films their mothers will allow them to see, and using an English title leads the mothers to believe it’s too grown up for their kids.”

That is how “Up” became “Là-Haut,” “Despicable Me” became “Moi, Moche et Méchant” (a title Mr. Réthoré’s team came up with) and how “Finding Nemo” became “Le Monde de Nemo.”
所以,在法国,《飞屋环游记》(Up)变成了《在天上》(Là-Haut);《卑鄙的我》(Despicable Me)变成了《我,丑陋而悲惨》(Moi, Moche et Méchant)——这是雷托瑞的团队想出的名字;《海底总动员》(Finding Nemo)变成了《尼莫的世界》(Le Monde de Nemo)。

But then France’s film market is a very particular one. According to a European Commission study from 2011, France is the only European country to offer showings of a foreign film in both a dubbed version and in its original language.
但是,法国电影市场是一个非常特别的市场。2011年欧盟委员会(European Commission)的调查显示,法国是唯一一个在上映外国电影时既提供译制版又提供原音版的欧洲国家。

“Our country has a very specific cinema public,” says Mr. Ernst. “We have a very cinephile audience who have a good American movie culture. They’re fine with some titles being in English.”