Tv shows and language. When we talk about cultural mapping, the definition of culture that comes first to our minds is the Great European Culture: classical music, lengthy novels, fine artworks, and unique buildings. However, how can we talk about culture in the 21st century without television? Loved and hated. But still, it is here with us. In this post, we want to map the translations of famous international television series. Not only North American. The point is to reflect on why and how a cultural product is transferred to another. Is it really necessary to use a translated name? Or is it better just an exotic foreign label? Why did they come up with such a different title? What can we learn something about the history and the language of that country? How a language can shape this process? Answer them in the comment section.

La casa de papel

The tv show "La Casa de Papel" in other foreign languages
They are all about paper money

The original Spanish tv-show was titled Los Desahuciados (The Evicted), but eventually was named La casa de papel (The House of Paper), and many foreign languages translated this name into the local language. When Netflix acquired the show, it was renamed Money Heist in English. Renaming happens sometimes, in this case, maybe, to avoid confusion with “House of cards”.

The plot of the TV show is about a robbery, therefore the Hungarian, Azerbaijani, and Greek titles reference this topic. In other languages the key idea of the title is the place of the robbery takes place, the Royal Mint of Spain,  thus in some languages was translated as “House / Factory of money” or “Mint”. Arabic stands alone with an alternative title named after one of the most iconic characters, “The professor”.

House of Cards

The tv show "House of Cards" in other foreign languages
Romanians have a point

The Big Band Theory

The tv show "The Big Bang Theory" in other foreign languages
In theory, they all should be the same

Friends

The tv show "Friends" in other foreign languages
A lot of friends around Europe

The Sopranos

The tv show "The Sopranos" in other foreign languages
The family is the clan

The X-Files

The tv show "The X-files" in other foreign languages
Secrecy and mystery in just one letter: X

Six Feet Under

The tv show "Six Feet Under" in other foreign languages
The Russian translation is always right

The Office

The American tv show "The office" in other foreign languages
Not a single surprise in this one

Squid game

The tv show "Squid game" or "Ojing-eo geim" in other foreign languages
A life or death game

The wire

The tv show "The Wire" in other foreign languages

Game of thrones

The tv show "Game of Thrones" in other foreign languages
The show with the throne of swords

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5 Comments

  1. The big band theory is not a literal translation in polish – the map is wrong.
    Teoria wielkiego podrywu means Theory of great pickup

    1. Thanks! We fixed it

  2. Alberto Nogueira

    Let me ask the author: why being this a map of Europe you feel the urge to inform how do they call it in Brazil? Does that make any sense? I don’t think so.
    If you think that makes any sense, why don’t you inform us about how they call it in the USA, Australia or Canada or South Africa? How they call it in Quebec? How they call it in Angola or Mozambique?
    Are the Brazillians some kind of special breed? I don’t think so. In fact the gramatic atocities that they jave done to their language, they shouldn’t be allowed to call it Portuguese 🙂

    1. It is a language map. It does show how is it called in other countries that you mentioned as well.

  3. In English, in this context, you say: “What it’s called?”, not “How it’s called?”. The latter is probably a calque originating from your native language.

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