It can be quite fun to look for English language movies and books that have been translated into French to see how their titles have changed in translation. Often, these translations show us quite a bit about the culture in question—and, perhaps, how marketing executives target releases to different audiences. Many times, you would never recognize a well-known movie or book by its translated title at all. Take a look at the following French translations of famous movies and books and see if you can guess their English-language title. Answers will be provided at the bottom of the page. This might be trickier than you think!
- L’Inspecteur Harry — This famous film series features the famous character (played by Clint Eastwood) known in French as Harry, le charognard (“Harry the Scavenger”). The last movie was released in France under the title L’inspecteur Harry est la dernière cible (“Inspector Harry is the Last Target”).
- Maman, j’ai raté l’avion — This famous family comedy also had a sequel, titled in French Maman, j’ai encore raté l’avion (Mom, I missed the plane!).
- Les Dents de la mer — The literal translation of this American film is “The Teeth of the Sea.” It’s a classic horror film, with well-known teeth. Can you guess what it is?
- L’Attrape-Coeurs — This classic of American literature is literally translated as “The Catcher of Hearts.” The original title is a catcher of something else…
- Qu’avons-nous fait de nos rêves? — This contemporary novel by American author Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. It features a cast of characters who all share self-destructive natures, as the French translation (“What Have We Done to Our Dreams?) suggests.
Scroll down to see the answers below.
- Dirty Harry
- Home Alone!
- The Catcher in the Rye
- A Visit from the Goon Squad
How did you do? Can you think of any other strange or different translations to your favorite books or films? Leave them in the comments below!
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