Now, We Have a Long List of Movies

4 days ago, I posted an article on the movies about translation and interpreting. On Linkedin and Facebook, I got many responses and now, we have a long list of movies and full of new thoughts! Everybody is agree on our experiences can make a good movie 🙂 Even a friend said, my experiences are way too much for a movie… There should definetely more movies about translation but I do not know how the scenarists will hear us. Here is the new list, including the one I mentioned. Some may not be directly related to translation but the communication is largely carried out with the help of a ‘mediator’ (which happens to be translators or interpreters in many cases):


1. Lost in Translation: This is the best known movie in this area.

2. The Interpreter: It highlights the dangerous part of interpreting.

3. The Translator: One of the friends said this but I could not find a decent information about it.

4. Plus One: A Russian friend said it is Russian movie about translation.

5. The Woman with the 5 Elephants

6. Inkheart

7. Spanglish

8. The Translator

9. Fresh Suicide

10. Tradurre

11. Je l’aimais

12. El Pasado

13. Short the Translator

14. Chinglish

15. “Although the movies are not exactly about translation, translators/decoders play an important role in many movies. I can think, for instance, AVP, where a specialist was needed to read the signs left by an ancient culture. Indiana Jones also has some interesting sign/language reading, and Da Vinci Code. There are more, of course, but those came to mind. ”

16. And a funny Youtube video:


I hope we will see more movies about translation in near future. Thanks for your comments and contributions!

Visit our Facebook page




12 responses to this post.

  1. Nobody remembered 3PO, that golden robot in Star Wars, ‘who’ could translate ALL languages of the galaxy!


  2. One Russian movie about translation is Osenniy marafon (The Autumn Marathon), a somewhat iconic 1979 film that tells the story of a translator of English literature. My favourite part is when the main character suggests he can also wash the floor, as part of his job. 😉


  3. Posted by Paulo Montes on November 15, 2011 at 09:47

    I have another great movie I just subtitled last night at a film festival (Temps d’Images – Film Awards for Films on Art) here in Portugal. It was “Oden: El Tiempo Perdido”, by Jo Graell, and it’s about an ancient movie theater in Bulgaria, where there’s a live interpreter translating the movies as they are screened. Most of the focus is on the translators and the transformation they bring to the films.


  4. Well done on the list! But maybe you could link all the films in the list to so that people can find out more about them? Especially in the case of films which change name from one language to the next.


  5. “La niña de tus ojos” is a Spanish movie where the interpreter plays an important role.


  6. Posted by Marta on November 20, 2011 at 02:12

    Oh God that video is SO funny lol I had seen it before 😛


  7. I guess I’m showing my age, but how about a great political thriller from the cold war era – “Failsafe.” An interpreter plays a key role in the storyline of an accidental nuclear attack on the Soviet Union – a very credible performance by a young Larry Hagman.


  8. Posted by Maria Lydia Spinelli on December 6, 2011 at 18:49

    Why not write up your experiences. I would be happy to organize a panel for a conference, or perhaps compile them in a volume. They could make a great reader for courses in translation and, in my case, language and culture. Furthermore, it could bring in royalties and call the attention of a film maker or two.


  9. Posted by Maria Lydia Spinelli on December 6, 2011 at 18:55

    Excuse me but the above comment could be misleading. People can copyright their own papers and they would receive royalties accordingly. They could be published in an on line journal as a special issue. Just to point out that it can be really interesting to more than just movie audiences.


    • Do you want to hear some translation experiences that may have a good story for a movie? I understand your statement this way, am I right? 🙂


      • Posted by Maria Lydia Spinelli on December 7, 2011 at 04:55

        Not necessarily. I would like to read your stories just for fun because I am interested in cross cultural/cross linguistic issues. I figure that until a story is not written down, it cannot be published or made into movie. If you share your stories in writing, you can get feedback, compare notes, etc. If you want to protect them as intellectual property you can copyright them for a small fee.
        I was just trying to encourage you to write them down in some form that can be shared, shown to a publisher or to a script writer.
        My own personal interest is on readings that illustrate translation issues and cross cultural experiences.

  10. Fun list! I second the idea from Cath to link to the imdb pages for each.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: