Faced with complex terminology such as that of the chemical industry, translation agencies have no other choice but to seek out the best resources to provide translations that are as faithful as possible. If a company calls on us to request the translation of facial cream packaging into English, French and German, for us, the most important thing is not the translation itself into these languages (which is also important) but instead finding translators who, aside from having a mastery of these languages, have the right terminology to be used well in hand. This is why, before starting to collaborate with our translators, we categorize them to find the most suitable person for the job in the shortest possible time and for maximum effectiveness.

In Spain, we laugh at the unerring talent of our movie industry to ruin perfectly good movie titles when translating them into Spanish. Some particularly memorable examples are: Un canguro superduro (The Pacifier), Soñando, soñando... triunfé patinando (Ice Princess), Dos colgaos muy fumaos (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle), Este muerto está muy vivo (Weekend at Bernie's). Well, we’re not worse than others. Now that Spanish movies are successfully making forays into overseas markets, we can also see how our movies fall victim to hilarious translations.   The screening of Spanish movies in movie theaters outside Spain has increased 51.7% over the past decade, a 2015 report by FAPAE, the Federation of Spanish Audiovisual Producer Associations, reveals.   “The appetite for Spanish movies is greater than ever, although not necessarily in theaters,” Simón de Santiago, producer at Mod Producciones (ÁgoraCaníbalPrimos), explains to Verne. He’s referring to the fact that there is an ever-growing number of media which make them available, such as pay TV or online video services.   The idea for the latest box-office hit in Spanish theaters, Cuerpo de élite, was born at the headquarters of Mod Producciones. This comedy already has an international title in English for the foreign market: Heroes Wanted. “It’s merely a suggestion; there’s no reason why the other distributors should keep it,” De Santiago remarks.   “The international title is often decided between the producer and the sales agent. It’s a fairly complex process that leads to some rather awful ideas at times,” the producer admits. Characters that are so typically Spanish such as a civil guard, a legionnaire, a Mosso d'Esquadra (Catalan policeman) and an ertzaina (Basque policeman) star in this film. The title has to be adapted to other cultures. Every country has its own business needs, but Simon de Santiago often wonders how certain translations in Asian countries come about. He finds no common ground between their ways to capture an audience’s attention and those commonly used in the West.   The first movie directed by actor Raúl Arévalo, Una tarde para la ira, received critical acclaim, including from international critics (VarietyScreen DailyThe Hollywood Reporter). This Spanish production’s English title for its screening at international film festivals in Venice, Toronto and London was The Fury of a Patient Man.

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I’m sure that when you tell someone that you're going to miss them (echar de menos in Spanish) or you wish to visit the English Channel (Canal de La Mancha in Spanish) or you talk about tax havens (paraísos fiscales in Spanish), you wouldn’t have ever imagined that the Spanish expressions actually originated from translation mistakes. Someone thought that certain words could be used in Spanish and just went ahead and did so. Although there are some translation mistakes that seem as if they were made on purpose, they really weren’t. But they’re definitely here to stay! We’ll tell you some of them.

Languages also have names, which can sometimes be ambiguous and controversial. The debate about whether the language spoken by more than 400 million people all over the world should be known as Spanish or Castilian will not be settled in this blog, but I would...