Apparently “The Happy Dumpling-to-be Who Talks And Solves Agricultural Problems” is the translation in China for the famous film for children “Babe“. Yes, that one about a talking pig who actually solves an ‘agricultural problem”.
I am sure you are thinking, “Ok, this is a really bad translation.” And here goes another example: How do you go from “Leaving Las Vegas” to its Japanese translation “I Am Drunk and You Are a Prostitute”?
The truth is that when it comes to translating titles for films what matters is adapting the title to the target market, making it more appealing, rather than translating word by word.
For some Asian cultures, Hollywood blockbuster titles are plain and simple, and don’t say much about the film itself. For this reason, they prefer to be more literal and explain a little bit about the film in the title. In Hong Kong, people might not be interested in going to the cinema to watch “Field of Dreams.” I mean, what is it about? Definitely “Imaginary Dead Baseball Players Live in My Cornfield” sounds like a film worth watching.
It is also true that some other times film titles are adapted for cultural or political reasons. However, in some other cases the reason for the new title remains a mystery, and it makes us think that the translator must indeed have got “lost in translation” at some point.