Germans decided against direct translation with these film titles – with some ridiculous results.
1. A twin rarely comes alone – The Parent Trap
Film-goers might wonder how German translators got from “The Parent Trap” to Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein (A twin rarely comes alone), despite the film obviously featuring a pair of twins, though they initially don’t know about one another.
The 1998 film – which was then 12-year-old Lindsay Lohan’s debut – is actually a remake of a 1961 film of the same name. Both these films are adaptations of Erich Kästner’s 1949 German novel Das doppelte Lottchen (The double Lotties).
2. Twilight: Bite till dawn – Twilight
The Twilight films, based on Stephenie Meyer’s book series, were a phenomenon that catapulted Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart to stardom as neurotic, vampire-human couple Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. The first film in the franchise that made vampires “cool” again came out in 2009 in Germany with the additional title Biss zum Morgengrauen or “Bite till Dawn”.
The German translators thought they were quite punny with this one. Biss means to “bite” while the similarly spelled bis means “until” so it could be read as “bite till dawn” or “until the dawn”. Maybe they’d just finished watching “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Either way, there must have been a big high five in the room when they thought it up.
3. Die slowly – Die Hard
The German translation, Stirb langsam, of the 1980s thriller that made Bruce Willis a household name doesn’t really reflect its fast-paced content. But the death was so slow that 20th Century Fox decided to drag it out over a 25-year, five-part franchise.
The first film in this franchise featured beloved British actor Alan Rickman as maniacal German villain Hans Gruber, who definitely didn’t die slowly after falling to his death from a skyscraper.
4. The great crawling – A Bug’s Life
Das große Krabbeln, or “The great crawling”, sounds more like it should be a low-budget horror film than an children’s animation where an ant and other bugs struggle to fight off oppressive grasshoppers. But that’s the decision German translators made when handling the 1998 Pixar gem “A Bug’s Life”.
“The great crawling” in English does feature plenty of creepy crawlies though, including a thickly-accented German caterpillar called Heimlich whose subtle nuances are lost in the German version of the film.
5. The ice princes – Blades of Glory
Die Eisprinzen, or “The ice princes”, isn’t a long lost Hans Christian Andersen story being prepped by Disney as the sequel to “Frozen”. It’s how Germans know “Blades of Glory”, the 2007 ice-skating comedy, starring Will Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder.