Translating Russian Movies

The translation of movies for an international audience is a big business that affects a number of people all over the world. Along with the translation of English speaking movies to non-English speaking nations, there is also a big market for foreign movies translated and screened in America, the United Kingdom and other English speaking countries. While the big Hollywood box office hits do drive a lot of the movie translation industry, smaller production companies in Asia, Russia and all over Europe are increasingly being translated into English to an appreciative public that is looking for more diversity in their films. While the English translation of Russian movies may not exactly be breaking any box office records in English speaking nations, the Russian film industry has released a number of fantastic films with English subtitles in recent years.

The Russian film industry began in the Russian Empire and was widely developed under the Soviet era. The industry has continued to be developed in the years since the fall of the Soviet system, and is now internationally recognized and translated for a world wide audience. Movies that are released in foreign languages (ie non-English) can be translated in a couple of ways. Some movies can be overdubbed with an English speaking actor, or alternatively the English translation can appear at the bottom of the screen as subtitles. When a film is translated into English, the method of using overdubs is thankfully not used very often. However and in contrast, a number of English speaking films used to be overdubbed with Russian voices for a Russian audience instead of using the subtitle method. This was a cheap way to make English speaking films accessible to the Russian speaking public in the past;  that is thankfully much less common today. Today when getting an English speaking movie ready for the Russian public, Russian translation (Übersetzung Russisch) is generally put into subtitle form and read from the screen by the audience.

International films or foreign films are shown in a number of cinemas in the USA, the UK and in other English speaking nations. Some of the Russian films that have appeared in recent years include House of Fools (Dom Durakov), Night Watch (Nochnoy dozor) and the very popular Brother (Brat). These films are translated from Russian into English and subtitles are used and input at the bottom of the screen to be read by an English speaking audience. The entire cinema industry has been undergoing international expansion for a number of years now, with a dedicated market who watches foreign films, both at the cinema and in their home environment.

While the general production standards of Russian movies might not equate with those of the big Hollywood films, there are a number of other issues that still make them appealing to an international audience. A good movie from Russian can provide the cinema goer with an authentic perspective at Russian life, offering a story that may be both novel and relevant to an English speaking audience. In contrast, the translation of big American and English movies into Russian allows the Russian public to keep up to date with the latest international hits from the English speaking world.