10 films about the world of translation

The world of translation is a vast universe from which we still have a lot to learn. In our society, the need for translation increases daily, hence the importance of a good translator is key.  Given its significance, translation has become the main theme of many movies. Here is a list with some of the most memorable ones;

1) Arrival

This movie from acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve narrates the story of a translator who faces her biggest challenge: translating an alien language. Could translation solve intergalactic problems?

2) Charade

In this classic movie, Audrey Hepburn shows the ups and downs of being a French-English simultaneous interpreter. Could you do it with the same glamour?

3) The interpreter

Nicole Kidman also plays an interpreter in this political thriller, although the situation is quite different. The film tells the story of a UN interpreter who gets in trouble when she overhears a private conversation between two politicians. The information she listens to will put her life in serious danger.

Nicole Kidman in "The Interpreter"

4) Atlantis : The lost Empire

In this case, translation leads to a tremendous discovery. Milo’s investigation of ancient languages allows him to find the lost world of Atlantis, an underwater kingdom. The world of translation is truly amazing… especially in fiction.

Disney Atlantis The Lost Empire Film

5) Spanglish

English-Spanish translation is complicated… especially in the United States, where these two languages coexist. We can see some of these hilarious complications in “Spanglish”, where Adam Sandler and Paz Vega play a rich chef and his cleaning lady. Translation has never been funnier.

Spanglish movie capture


6) The Terminal

What would you need if you were trapped in an airport terminal? Probably a good translator. Ask Tom Hanks! This Steven Spielberg’s movie narrates the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian political refugee that was forced to live in an airport between 1988 and 2006.

"The Terminal" Tom Hanks sleeping in waiting seats on an airport lounge

7) Lost in Translation

This movie tells the story of two American citizens that struggle to translate the Japanese language and culture. Directed by Sofia Coppola, “Lost in translation” is an honest portray of cultural shock and translation mistakes. (link Translation Mistakes)

"Lost in Translation" movie screenshot with Bill Murray


8) Windtalkers

In this film, the translation of native texts is key to win World War II. Unlike the Nazis, the translators that worked for the American army were able to decode these languages, which allowed the Allies to win the battle.

"Windtalkers" movie screenshot with Nicolas Cage

9) The girl of your dreams

“The girl of your dreams” tells the adventure of a Spanish filming crew that travels to Nazi Germany to film a movie. It is a film inside another film, filled with delightful misunderstandings between languages.

"La niña de tus ojos" with Penelope Cruz

10) Desert flower

This devastating movie narrates the true story of Waris Dirie, a Somali little girl that escapes her village to avoid a marriage of convenience. Translation will rapidly become essential for her survival in an unknown world.

"Desert flower" Waris Dirie character

Source: Eazylang


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