Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lost in Translation

It used to be a tradition in Iceland that theaters and television stations would translate the titles of foreign films and television series into Icelandic. Some of these translations were rather creative, to say the least, often trying to get across the content of the film in a poetic way when a direct translation was less than optimal.

Here are a few choice translations I remember from the top of my head. I've included the original title, the Icelandic translation AND a direct translation back into English of said Icelandic translation. Enjoy.

Die Hard - Á tæpasta vaði - On the edge of the precipice
Lethal Weapon - Tveir á toppnum - Two on top
Loaded Weapon - Tveir ýktir - Two awesome dudes
Nothing to Lose - Tveir á nippinu - Two on the edge
Blue Hawaii - Ást og ananas - Love and Pineapple
Naked Gun - Beint á ská - Straight diagonally
Look Who's Talking - Pottormur í pabbaleit - "Potworm" prowling for a dad ("potworm" is an affectionate term for a small child... don't ask)
Just Shoot Me - Hér er ég - Here I am
The Living Daylights - Logandi hræddir - Scared out of their minds
Tomorrow Never Dies - Heimsyfirráð eða dauði - World domination or death
Some Like it Hot - (Two translations for this one:) Heitt í kolunum & Enginn er fullkominn - Hot coals & Nobody´s Perfect
Eyes Wide Shut - Haltu mér, slepptu mér - Hold me, release me
Law & Order: Criminal intent - Lög & Regla: Glæpamenn í tjaldi - Law & Order: Criminals in a tent (this one was probably due to a lazy magazine intern using "Babel Fish" or a similar program to translate the title instead of doing it him or herself)

So there you have it friends. If any of our Icelandic readers can remember some more gems please send them to us for more international hilarity.


Haukur said...

Throw Momma From the Train - Kerlu skal kálað (Woman Shall Be Killed)

Jaws - Ókindin (The Un-Sheep)

Alien - Óvætturinn (Hmmm...)

Dude, Where's My Car? - Melur, hvar er skrjóðurinn? (Direct translation, yet hilarious)

Lethal Weapon (the Rúv-translation) - Skaðræðisgripur (That Darn Object)

Steinar Ingi said...

Excellent! I was actually discussing this with Dutch and German friends some weeks back but I did not remember all these examples.

There are also brilliant translations of TV show titles:

Dawson's Creek > Vík milli vina > A Creek Between Friends

Tour of Duty > Herskyldan > The Draft

My So Called Life > Lífið kallar > Life calling

Murder She Wrote > Morðgáta > Murder Mistery

Fear Factor > Mörk óttans > The Threshold of Fear