These external factors lead to different mode of thinking. it is the outward expression of culture. Western culture is tightly connected with natural science. Compared to the eastern people, they prefer meticulous analysis, for fear that neglecting some details. Cultural intentions also have many arguments. For example, peacock represents beauty in China, while it is a derogatory word in western countries, means arrogant; dragon implies authorities and good luck, however it is a monster in the west. So it is essential to professional translators to break up the restrictions of cultural conflict, and make a perfect transformation.
As a reflection of social problems, a mirror that reflects western history, religion has plays an important part in the West. English film titles have more unique signals that imply special meaning. AsChinaembraced Marxism, a theory that emphasis on atheism, the religion characteristics is not clear. For these reasons, the religion characteristic is a unique culture representative of English Film Titles.
e.g.: Seven, it can be translated into 七宗罪, means seven deadly sins. It is gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath. Seven is a mysterious number in Christian culture (God creates the world in seven days, uses the seventh rib of Adam to create Eve), in the film, there are seven sins and seven punishments, the story happened in seven days, it rained seven times, even the ending happened at seven o’clock in the seventh day. All in all, it is an implication of destiny, an emphasis on religion.
The last feature is the commercial feature. As films are the products of commerce, they have cost a lot of money before they are produced, so the final goal of films is to sell more tickets and make money. Therefore the translations of film titles have unique commercial characteristics. Thus English films are named according to audience’s taste. Action film titles can render atmosphere of tension, romantic film titles can be fresh and warm, and thrillers can bring the felling of mysterious and terrifying.
As for the form of English film titles, they must be vivid, neat, and suit both refined and popular tastes.
Chapter 2 Functions of English Film Titles
2.1 Functions of English Film Titles
Films titles have four basic functions, Informative Function, Expressive Function, Aesthetic Function and Vocative Function; we have to pay attention to them to explore the deep reasons that lead to the differences between translations of English film titles and traditional translation.
Informative function is the core function. According to Newmark’s theory, English film titles are considered the media of the plot, which give the audience a clue what would happen in the film. Just like the filmPearl Harborwill reminds people of World War Two. The film Dial M for Murder will reminds people of a case of murder.
It is also very common to adapt some famous literature work into films, although they may not copy all the details, sometimes change the plots completely; they do keep the original name of work, such as Pride and Prejudice, Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The aim is not only to attract fixed audience, but also imply the content of the films. That is the influence of informative function.
The center of expressive function is to show the theme and tone of the film, try to explain director’s thoughts. It can be easily understand as the spiritual value of the whole film. As for film titles, they often imply an attitude, which can arouse your resonates and generally showed up in the form of figurative device. Legends of the Fall is a sad story that tells love, betrayal and brotherhood. The word “fall” can remind audience of sadness, corruption. So it is a typical example of expressive function.
As people’s living standard rise, people's aesthetic level is also enhancing. This objectively requires translations English film titles should also have some artistic quality. Therefore, the translation of English film titles should consider the aesthetic expectation of target audience. A good translation should not affect the audiences’ understanding, not be too rough and have a kind of rhythmic beauty.
e.g.：The Accused 暴劫梨花 Mr.Holland’s Opus 春风化雨
The Bridge of Madison Country 廊桥遗梦
Everyone has curiosity. We will feel excited when we see something interesting and fresh. “The core of the vocative function of language is the readership, the addressee.” (Ibid, 41) so we can conclude that the center of vocative function is use some skills make audience think, act, and feel.
Chapter 3 Skills on the Translations of English Film Titles
3.1 Aim of Translations of English Film Titles
The famous British translation theorist Eugene A. Nida has defined translation as follows, “Translations consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest nature equivalent of the source language, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style.” (Eugene A. Nida ﹠Charles R. Taber, 2004)
From the definition of different translators, we get the conclusion that translation does not merely means the transformation of two social languages; it also contains the contradiction of two different kinds of culture. Translation is an interdisciplinary subject, which has tight connections with linguistics, rhetoric, psychology, and many other subjects. It also can be called art, for it can not departed from aesthetics. “Translation is an art whose success depends upon one’s artistic talent and enough training. Besides these, there are no set rules for translation and there is no short cut for art.” (Lin Yutang, 1932) The aim of translations is to pass the accurate information of speakers, help people communicate much easier and express their values and minds. As a new type of translation, translations of English film titles also bear the same responsibility. However, as films are the products of social development, a popular media which adopted by all the strata, it shows some unique features of the age.
In order to explore more things about the translations of English film titles, we have to learn some knowledge about Skopos Theories.
Compared with traditional translation theory prevailing before 1970s, Skopos theory has so many distinctive characteristics that it becomes a trigger of revolution in translation studies.