14 September 2005

lost in translation

I understand some words or phrases do not translate well so, say, translated film titles can vary from the original. But I've noticed that sometimes English language titles are vastly different from the original, foreign name—even when an equal translation is possible.

The disturbing film A Ma Soeur, which I recently viewed, is called Fat Girl in English. This troubled me while I watched the film because the relationship between the two sisters dominated the movie, owing to its French title, which means For My Sister. The film does not revolve around the one sister's being fat, although it is an issue. Was Fat Girl chosen for its blunt, crass sound? Or—in the eyes of the English distributor/translator—did the character's weight issue eclipse the film's central theme?

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