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Gained In Translation: 40 Overly Literal Translated TV Show Titles

By Nadia Chaudhury | Seriously Random Lists | April 4, 2014 | Comments ()


tvtranslations_breakingbadsixfeetunder_main.jpg

Note: Translations are as close as I could get ‘em.

Arrested Development
tvtranslations_arresteddevelopment_italian.jpg
Chilean: Sacrifices of Family
Danish: Family for Life
French: New Poor
Hungarian: The Verdict: Family
Italian: Arrested Development: Meet the Parents
Portuguese: From Bad to Worse
Swedish: Company Monkey Business & Construction
Slovenian: Weaned Relatives

30 Rock
Brazilian Portuguese: A Crazy on TV

Beverly Hills 90210
tvtranslations_bevelryhills90210_brazil.jpg
Brazilian Portuguese: Barred From the Dance
Spanish: Feeling of Living

The Big Bang Theory
Finnish: Spectacles Fogged Up

Boardwalk Empire
Lithuanian: Dry Law: The Birth of the Mafia

Breaking Bad
tvtranslations_breakingbad_russian.jpg
Bulgarian: In the Shoes of Satan
Hungarian: Total Suckage
Russian: All Lengths

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Japanese: Buffy: Beloved of the Crucifix

Burn Notice
Portuguese: Spy Out Of His Game

Community
Finnish: Back to the Desk
Hungarian: Left Brakes

Curb Your Enthusiasm
German: Lass is Larry!
Portuguese: Quiet, Larry!
Swedish: Curb, Larry!

Desperate Housewives
Finnish: The Perfect Women

Dexter
Vietnamese: Dexter Bloodthirsty Angels

Doctor Who
tvtranslations_doctorwho_chinese3.jpg
Chinese: Mysterious Professor
Hungarian: Who Are You, Doc?

Freaks and Geeks
Vietnamese: Peculiar and Eccentric

Friday Night Lights
Hungarian: Friday Night Lights: Pure Heart Football

Full House
tvtranslations_fullhouse_hungarian.jpg
Spanish (in Argentina): Three for Three
Brazilian Portuguese: Three’s All That
Danish: Hands Full
French: The House Party
Hungarian: Is the House
Italian: Fathers Borrowed

Game of Thrones
Vietnamese: Kingship Game

Gilmore Girls
Polish: Dear Trouble

The Good Wife
Brazilian Portuguese: The Good Wife: On the Right Start

Hart of Dixie
Finnish: Heart Countries

How I Met Your Mother
Finnish: At First Glance
Portuguese: So What Happened Was

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Hungarian: Cloudless Philadelphia
Portuguese: It Never Rains in Philadelphia

Justified
Estonian: Limb of the Law
Polish: Justified: Unforgiven
Spanish: Justified: Raylan’s Law

Mad Men
Brazilian Portuguese: Mad Men: Inventing Truths
Russian: The Crazies

Married…With Children
tvtranslations_marriedwithchildren_hungarian.jpg
Croatian: Matrimonial Waters
Estonian: Pigeons
Hungarian: A Terribly Nice Family
Polish: World According to Bundy

My So-Called Life
Croatian: And That to Me is a Life
French: Angela, 15 Years
German: Welcome to Life
Japanese: 15-Year-Old Angela’s Days
Spanish: It’s My Life

New Girl
Polish, Portuguese: Jess and the Boys

The O.C.
Brazilian Portuguese: The O.C.: A Stranger in Paradise
Polish: Life on the Wave
Portuguese: The O.C.: In the Land of the Rich

Parks and Recreation
Hungarian: Urban Development Department

Raising Hope
Estonian: Unexpectedly, the Father Of
Hungarian: Foster Care Enough

Scrubs
tvtranslations_scrubs_german.jpg
French: Doctor or Not Doctor
German: The Beginner

Six Feet Under
tvtranslations_sixfeetunder_german.jpg
Croatian: Two Meters Below the Earth
German: Six Feet Under: Dead Will Be Always
Vietnamese: For After Earth Land

Top of the Lake
Portuguese: Shores of Paradise

True Blood
Hungarian: True Blood: Drink and Let Live

True Detectives
Hungarian: On Behalf of the Law

Veep
Croatian: Deputy

The Walking Dead
Serbian: Surrounded by Dead

Weeds
tvtranslations_weeds_hungarian.jpg
German: Weeds: Small Deals Among Neighbors
Hungarian: Nancy Sitting on the Grass

White Collar
Portuguese: Catch Me If You Can

The X-Files
tvtranslations_thexfiles_french.jpg
French: At the Boundaries of Reality

Nadia Chaudhury was inspired to do this post after finding out that the translation of Freaky Friday’s Chinese title is: Hot Mom, Hot Daughter.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Guest

    Many of these are totally adjusted to sound funnier. "Serious Suckage?" No..

  • You can add two french translations :
    - The O.C. is "Newport Beach"
    - White Collars is "FBI : very special duo"

  • Hrundo

    Six Feet Under is also called something like Two Meters Below the Earth in spanish, I was in Spain when I saw the first season and I wanted to buy the second one but it took me for ever to find it because I was always looking for it in the „S's“, since six in spanish also begins with an „S“.

  • Strand

    Chinese: "The pains of growing up." I think we all know what that one was, even if it is surprisingly maudlin.

  • I could probably look this up pretty easily (I'm not going to), but an Italian friend once told me that "My Girl" in Italian was called something like "I had a friend, but now he's dead." May not be true, but really funny.

    Also, "Drive" in French = "Sang Froid" = "Cold Blood."

  • Marina Snegireva

    In Russian:
    Dawson Creek = Summer of our dreams.
    Six Fit Under = Clients are always dead.

  • Breaking Bad does not seem popular in Hungary.

  • Alberto Cox Délano

    Spanish translations of titles are the utter worst, specially when it comes to movies. Just about every title for movies other than franchises gets turned into some clichéd, Upworthy-level asinine crap that insults the audience's intelligence. Luckily they have decided to forgo translating the titles for series in the latter years, lest we end up with stuff like "Amigos", "Pasiones de la Abadía de Downton", "Una Esposa Buena", "El Psíquico del Crímen", "Publicistas Desenfrenados", "Un Carcelero Justificado" and I could go on...

  • cox

    breaking bad in russian is not "in all lengths", its more like "all the hardships", which is kinda close, i think. we used to translate everything to russian, nowdays they just use the original titles with heavy russian accent, and i couldnt be happier. some things just do not sound good in other languages.

  • cox

    but adding heavy russian accent? that just making everything funnier.

  • Marina Snegireva

    I think it's more like "let oneself go", "get out of hand".
    But you`re right, without translation it sounds better:)

  • milti_adis

    Greek: Smallville -> Superman: The Youth Years
    The O.C. -> Californian Teens (actually the title changed but remained in English)
    One Tree Hill -> Filoi Gia Panta (Friends Forever)

  • ejml

    Married with Children in Swedish is "Våra värsta år" (Worst years of our lives), which itself is a play on the Swedish title for Days of our Lives which is "Våra bästa år" (Best years of lives).

  • Hakobus

    Married With Children in Finnish would be "Snow Buntings", which is a sort of play on a Finnish saying about someone being as clean as a snow bunting, meaning that they are good or without flaws.

  • Ofir Fishkin

    From Israel:

    The X-Files=Files in the dark

    Six Feet Under=Deep in the ground

    Breaking Bad=breaking the lines

    Arrested Development= a disturbed family (which sounds even worse in Hebrew and made me avoide the show for years)

  • kushiro -

    It's taking everything I have not to run outside and yell "Die, Anfänger!" at the top of my lungs.

  • The translation of the French title for "My so-called life" would be "Angela, 15 years-old (girl)".
    Most of tv show titles are not translated anymore but movies' are and it's
    terrible, especially when they give an English sounding title.

    Examples: "The Hangover" = "Very bad trip"; "Silver Linings playbook" =
    "Happiness therapy"; "Pitch perfect" = "Hit girls"...

    I will end my rant by complaining about the trend started by "Notting Hill", whose title in France is (translated back) "Love at first sight in Notting
    Hill". So "Bride and prejudice" becomes "Love at first sight in
    Bollywood", "Dan in real life" = "Love at first sight in Rhode Island"
    and "Maid in Manhattan"= (you guess) "Love at first sight in Manhattan". Ugh

  • KaGe

    So when do we get the New Girl episode were the gang finds out their YouTube karaoke video were they go by the name Jess and the Boys blows up in Germany?

  • Bob Genghis Khan

    I'm not as concerned with the Married With Children translation as I am that DVD 'Artwork'/Photoshop nightmare.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Adapted titles in Brazilian Portuguese can sometimes be a source of comedy gold, here are some from memory:

    Hot Tub Time Machine = The Hangover
    The Hangover = If You Drink, Don't Get Married
    This is The End = The World's End
    The World's End = Hangover Heroes
    Blue Valentine = Boyfriends Forever
    Inception = The Origin
    Ocean's 11 = Eleven Men And A Secret
    Ocean's 12 = Twelve Men And One More Secret
    Ocean's 13 = Thirteen Men and Another New Secret

    Breaking Bad (Network TV) = Evil Chemistry
    Gossip Girl (Network TV) = Girl With A Blog
    Smallville (Network TV) = The Adventures of Superboy
    Alias (Network TV) = Codename: Danger

    Teen Wolf (Michael J. Fox version) = The Boy From The Future

    I kid you not.

  • ruby

    I really like that the Ocean's series just kept finding new secrets.

  • Pitry

    Teen Wolf (Michael J. Fox version) = The Boy From The Future

    Also known as 'We have no idea how to sell this movie but everyone's seen Back to the Future, right?', I assume? :D

  • selucius

    Left Brakes is streets ahead.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I wonder how many of these are idiomatic phrases that therefore don't work in translation to English.

  • Exactly. Marketing translations are a distinct craft. They rely on idioms, word play, cultural references, and more to carry more weight for their intended audiences. That's why the translation industry coined the term "transcreation."

    Since translating them back is meaningless without the cultural context, this list is really to titillate English speakers with "hardy har har, those silly foreigners!"

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-)

  • Marina Snegireva

    You're right. "Во все тяжкие" is actually a pretty good russian title for "Breaking Bad". Translate it as "All Lengths" would be incorrect.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    You're right, Mrs. J. In Brazilian Portuguese a title such as "No Country For Old Men" would not work since it's a distinct American expression that can't communicate the central theme of the story if translated literally due to linguistic peculiarities.

    Which is why it got adapted to the equivalent of "Where The Weak Can't Win" and though it doesn't have the same southern ring to it, it captures the meaning and assonance of the original title in Portuguese as "Onde Os Fracos Não Têm Vez".

  • Guest

    In German, Six Feet Under's additional title would be "Everybody Dies" (or "Every Man Must Die"). The original is an idiom that doesn't translate well.

    "Married... with Children" doesn't work here, so they came up with "A Terribly Nice Family", like in Hungarian, which can also be read as "A Terrible, Nice Family".

    Most of the titles are left in English, though, with additional German titles, like "Scrubs - Die Anfänger" (The Beginners/Newbies).

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Godsdamnit, Disqus, let me delete my comments! That was't supposed to go here.

  • Merski

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm in German, if I may. It's called "Lass es Larry", which means "Give it a rest, Larry". ;)

  • foolsage

    "Leave it, Larry" also works.

    Once I noticed the double post, I decided I'd reply to the one you're more likely to see. ;)

  • Merski

    Yeah, I wanted to edit and repost and made a big mess! ;)

  • Berry

    These are amazing. Thank you for bringing this to my life. I mean it.

    I'd go with Fogged Up Spectacles with the Finnish title for Big Bang Theory. And I didn't even know Community has been on TV here. Shows how much I actually watch shows on television anymore.

    Edit Total Suckage = perfection. Heart Countries for Hart of Dixie is kind of almost clever because it's an expression that refers to somewhere in the back of beyond, and of course there's the heart surgeon thing. And because it's in adessive case, it means to be somewhere, so to be in the middle of nowhere, really far from everywhere else. And heart.

  • Guest

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm in German if I may. It's called "Lass es Larry", which means "Give it a rest, Larry". ;)

  • Guest

    "Leave it, Larry" also works.

  • Yeah, I was going to translate it, "Let it go, Larry"

  • VonnegutSlut

    OH. MY. GOD. "Company Monkey Business & Construction" for Arrested Development literally made me spit take on my computer.

    No shit. Or in the spirit of the post, "Lacking Hypothetical Feces."

  • mehgs

    It gave me a serious case of the giggles.

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