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Creative film distributors, or Lost in translation

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A strange plague has been spreading for years through Czech cinemas. It concerns distributors’ translations of some foreign film titles. In their effort to capture as many viewers as possible with a provocative title, film distributors have recourse to creativity, which is, however, rather to their detriment in the end.

Translation transgressions, usually playfully “plebeian”, affect comedies most often: There is the legendary example of the film American Pie that was changed to Prci prci prcičky [Fucking, fucking, little fucking]; some other “ingenious” translations include, for example, Lemra líná* (the original title of the film is Failure to Launch), Hele, vole, kde mám káru [Hey, dude, where’s hotrod], Pařba ve Vegas [Booze-up in Vegas] (probably continuation of Mejdan v Las Vegas [Party in Las Vegas], although the films with original titles The Hangover and What Happens in Vegas have nothing in common at all).

Well, ok then. Now, however, the excessively innovative translations of original titles are also spreading to television programmes. The commercial TV station Prima yesterday presented its new programme scheme. One of its new “crowd-pullers” will be the famous American comedy series Family Guy. Nevertheless, Prima’s programme makers dubbed the film senselessly “The Griffins” – probably in an effort to imitate The Simpsons, a series to which Family Guy is most often compared. What does it matter that Family Guy is a globally popular trademark? One can be glad that Futurama was not changed, for example, to “Wonderful adventures from the future”. Prima Cool indeed.

*[designation for a lazy person; the origin of the Czech word lemrouch, lemra, seems to be unclear and come from the expression “lem roucha”, or the hem of a robe]

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