Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Film Title Translation Methods from the Cultural Difference Aspects

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Film Title Translation Methods from the Cultural Difference Aspects

Article excerpt


With the increasing cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, especially with the Western countries, the film has gradually stood out as an important media of communication. Film title, as one of the most influential factors of a good film, has always been the general impression of the film for audience. Base on that point, we can see that film title plays an important role in the process of culture exchange. Therefore, in view of the cultural medium function of the film title translation, this paper introduces the film title translation characteristics and the impact of cultural differences on it. The paper also discusses the film title translation principles and the different techniques.

Key words: Film title translation; Cultural differences

SHI Xuedong (2014). Film Title Translation Methods From the Cultural Difference Aspects. Studies in Literature and Language, 8(2), 77-81. Available from: DOI:


Since last decades, large numbers of foreign films were introduced into China, among which are blockbusters from Hollywood, the world filmmaking center. Meanwhile, Chinese films are increasingly introduced and launched in western countries and some are even awarded prizes in major film festivals. Therefore, the Chinese films, which were put on only in China in the past, have to adopt the English film titles presently. And nowadays, films play a very important part in our lives. We cannot deny that film has become one of the most influential mass media. So the study of film title translation should not be neglected. However, just like a mirror of the culture, film reflects our contemporary attitudes, philosophies, values, and lifestyles. Film title, as one of the essential element of the film, also builds a convenient bridge for cross-cultural communications. Thus, it is necessary for us to take the cultural differences into consideration and make a right choice of film title translation.

This paper has six parts and one conclusion. Part two introduces the film tile name classifications. Part three explains the literature review of the translation theories. Part four gives the characteristics of film title translation. Part five introduces the present errors of film title translation. Part six mainly explains the principles of film title translation. In this part, the paper discusses the different strategies in translating different film titles according to the different situations. The last part is the conclusion and the paper draws to the end at this part.


Film titles are the brands for films with the function of providing information about the story for the audience. They summarize the main plot, reveal the theme or offer some clue. And the audience comprehension for the film itself is deepened through its film title. It is necessary for us to know how films are named so we can have a better understanding of the nature of film titles. The following are four main categories.

1.1 Take People's Name as Film Title

Some films use personal names as the titles, which may be the hero and the heroine's names or their positions. For instance, Alfie, Juno and the film Sweeney Todd fall into this category. Moreover, the hero may not necessarily be a human being but can be some animal like a dog or cat or a cartoon figure such as Garfield and Scooby Doo.

1.2 Take Plot or Clue as Film Title

The plot may be reflected by its title such as the film Click. This is a story of a man who realizes with the help a magical remote, that love is the most important thing in his life. He can turn back or forward time only by a click of the remote. When the time clock of his life finally runs out for time, he can never go back and undo the missed opportunities. The whole story developed by the hero's clicking of the remote. From the title, audiences can easily find out what the film is about. …

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