Film Title Translation into French, a few Methods and Strategies





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III.1. Faithful translation versus unchanged title



The following table shows twenty five relatively recent examples of unchanged original titles at the time of their release in France that were translated in Quebec:



Year


Original title (same in France)


Quebecois title


Director(s)

1978

Grease

Brillantine

Randal Kleiser

1987

Dirty Dancing

Danse lascive

Emile Ardolino

1993

Last Action Hero

Le dernier des héros

John McTiernan

1994

Pulp Fiction

Fiction pulpeuse

Quentin Tarentino

1995

Braveheart

Coeur vaillant

Mel Gibson

1995

Toy Story

Histoire de jouets

John Lasseter

1996

Trainspotting

Ferrovipathes

Danny Boyle

1997

Men In Black

Hommes en noir

Barry Sonnenfeld

1997

L.A. Confidential

Los Angeles interdite

Curtis Hanson

1999

Eyes Wide Shut

Les yeux grands fermés

Stanley Kubrick

1999

Fight Club

Le club lacogne

David Fincher

2000

Chicken Run

Poulets en fuite

Peter Lord, Nick Park

2000

Dancer in the Dark

Danser dans le noir

Lars von Trier

2000

Gladiator

Gladiateur

Ridley Scott

2000

Scary Movie

Film de peur

Keenen Ivory Wayans

2001

Vanilla sky

Un ciel couleur vanille

Cameron Crowe

2002

Panic Room

La chambre forte

David Fincher

2003

Kill Bill

Tuer bill

Quentin Tarentino

2003

Love Actually

Réellement l'amour

Richard Curtis

2004

Million Dollar Baby

La fille à un million de dollars

Clint Eastwood

2005

The Constant Gardener

La Constance du jardinier

Fernando Meirelles

2005

The Island

L'île

Michael Bay

2006

Blood Diamond

Le diamant de sang

Edward Zwick

2006

The Queen

Sa majesté la reine

Stephen Frears

2007

American Gangster

Gangster américain

Ridley Scott


Quebecer titles consist mostly of literal translations, except for a few ones that are slightly modified.

In Quebec, the title Ferrovipathes has been selected for Boyle's film Trainspotting except this title is not meaningful for most French people. The translation in order to facilitate the understanding of the title is not obvious in this case or even less effective than the English one.

Contrariwise, the Quebecois title for Jarmusch's Broken Flowers is Fleurs brisées, the literal translation of an obvious title for French viewers.

Joel and Ethan Coen's picture, The Big Lebowski was released under the title: Erreur sur la personne. This title informs about the diegetic and was directly taken from a line of Jeff Bridges' character. The original title is accessible and shows the key name which is the starting of the plot: Lebowski. Moreover, this film was named after Howard Hanks' The Big Sleep (1946; Le grand sommeil).

The translation tools that are used are mostly the same than in France when it comes to French titles' selection. The alternative title which is massively employed in France is rarely chosen in Quebec in comparison, as the closer the translation is, the better it is considered.

Examples:

- Etoffement: Poulets en fuite; Un ciel couleur vanille; Sa majesté la reine

- Transposition: Danse lascive; Danser dans le noir; La Constance du jardinier
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