Our Top Ten Films About Translation

Just like literature, cinema is a great way to set off on a journey of discovery into other cultures, languages and ways of life. This interest in capturing other perspectives through the camera lens has produced many classic and modern films dealing with the subject of translation, either as a subject matter in itself or as a backdrop for some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Check out our top ten!

1. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

An outstanding work of science fiction by the director of Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve, starring the hugely talented Amy Adams as a translator given the task of communicating with some rather chatty aliens. The film delves into the process of translating an unfamiliar language and the potential effects of language barriers. Can she save the world with her translations?

2. Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963)

In what will always be one of Stanley Donen’s best films, Audrey Hepburn plays the role of a conference interpreter who sets off on a riveting adventure alongside Cary Grant, in arguably one the sexiest couples of the last 100 years (we are, of course, open to differences in opinion)! We wonder how many interpreting and translation careers were launched by this film?

3. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2005)

Of course, we can’t talk about translation in film without mentioning this cult classic. Directed by the fantastic Sofia Coppola, the film takes place in Japan, where two Americans on holiday – Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson – discover the delights of cultural misunderstandings and the difficulties of finding yourself far away from home, even when just for a few days. We particularly enjoy the scene with a Japanese translator and a very confused Bill Murray!

4. The Terminal (Steven Spielberg, 2004)

What’s the first thing you might need when detained in an airport? A good translator, of course (just ask Tom Hanks)! This film by Steven Spielberg tells the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian political refugee who had to live in an airport from 1988 to 2006.

5. The Interpreter (Sydney Pollack, 2005)

In this political thriller, Nicole Kidman plays the role of a conference interpreter who accidentally overhears a conversation between two politicians which could put her life in danger. This film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with its action-filled plot, and hearing the incredible Nicole Kidman speaking French at the start of the film is a charming moment. This film is guaranteed to please all Kidman and translation fans!

6. Spanglish (James Brooks, 2005)

This down to earth comedy is a real must-see. The title says it all: the film deals with the meeting of two cultures – American and Spanish – and all the cultural and linguistic misunderstandings that come with it. Everything would have been much simpler with a professional Spanish translatorClaro, hombre.

7. Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017)

Not necessarily a film about translation, but a very interesting exploration of friendship and modern industry by Netflix. In this case it is the translation of the film itself which is interesting. As we saw with the recent film, Roma, the film’s subtitles were the subject of much debate. Dealing with the linguistic differences between English and Korean is no mean feat, and at times things can get lost in translation in the subtitles. For example, in an attempt to translate a Korean joke about language learning, a character simply says their name and the subtitles say “Try learning English. It opens new doors!”

8. An Impossible Love (Catherine Corsini, 2018)

Once described by a member of BeTranslated who will remain anonymous as “to be avoided like the plague” we’ve included this film to hear your reviews! This romance by Catherine Corsini, based on the novel by Christine Angot, tells the emotional tale of the wonderful Virgine Efira and an abusive and sadistic translator played by Niels Schneider. Don’t worry, our language professionals are nothing like this unsavoury character and will respond to your demands in a much more civilised manner.

9. Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les ch’tis, Danny Boon, 2008)

Perhaps not the subtlest film of all time, but certainly one with a lot of character. This hit French comedy includes some hilarious scenes of cultural and regional differences and lots of slapstick humour. Not to mention the admirable subtitling effort into English!

10. Chuck Norris vs Communism (Ilinca Călugăreanu, 2015)

This comedy documentary is a fascinating insight into the world of audiovisual translation and looks at just what happens when issues of censorship and politics come into play. The film tells the story of the illegal importation and dubbing of American action and religious films to Romania in the 1970s and 1980s, and the political consequences of this cultural exchange.

What do you think? Is there one we missed out? We would love to hear about your favourite translation and interpreting films! Or, alternatively, if you’re looking for the Nicole Kidmans and Amy Adams of translation services, contact us for a free quote or to find out more about our services!

Tips and Tricks to Get Started as a Remote Freelancer

Many of us dream of being able to work as remote freelancers and tailor our jobs to fit our lives. Freelance work, whether it’s translation, photography, or accounting, can provide this kind of lifestyle whilst also offering opportunities to make a substantial income. Finding a way to make a living through remote freelance work takes more time and more creativity than a traditional nine-to-five job, so we’ve come up with some tips to get you started.

Getting started as a remote freelancer

Getting started always takes some perseverance. Finding clients without any previous experience tends to mean offering a really competitive rate. Some of the apps below work on a points and recommendations basis, so feedback from previous clients is vital. You have to prove that you’re the best person for the job and can be relied upon to deliver what’s required within the deadlines set.

Starting off with a low rate to increase your chances of getting jobs is advisable; it allows you to build up a portfolio of previous work with positive feedback which enables you to command more as your work level and experience grow and speak for themselves. Then you will attract higher-paying clients. But be careful not to charge too little, as you risk not being seen as a professional. Research your industry to strike a realistic balance.

Submitting a proposal to a potential client

When you submit a bid to a potential client, you want to impress and stand out from the many other candidates bidding for the same job. A strong cover letter that you can adapt to each individual proposal is vital. Try to present yourself in a way that highlights your key attributes and stands out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to emphasise your previous work experience and explain how your skills are transferable.

Know your worth

Research your competition and know the rates paid for the skills you are offering. Get yourself some strong remote freelancer role models. Follow people in your industry on social media to get inspired and gain helpful tips. These individuals and companies are sure to give you ideas and ways to improve your offer to your clients. Consider reaching out to someone you admire in your industry to see if they would mind if you picked their brain; you’d be surprised how many people are open to the idea of mentoring those just starting out.

The best platforms to use

The following platforms, websites, and apps can help you to get off to a great start in your new remote freelancer career. Most will take a percentage of your earnings as payment for using their platform. This is usually a valid expense as they connect you directly to a large selection of employers and clients covering all different sectors and will save you a lot of time and money in the start-up process. It’s a great starting point to get those all-important recommendations and build up a reputation by gaining some invaluable experience:

  1. Freelancer.com – offers a variety of work, based on a bidding process.
  2. Upwork – offers a variety of work, based on a bidding process.
  3. People per hour – originally UK based, now worldwide.
  4. Guru – offers a variety of work.
  5. Fiverr – work related to logo design, translation services, voice-overs, video animation, intros, and caricatures.
  6. Working nomads – work related to a large range of telecommuting roles.
  7. Babbletype.com – work related to transcription, proofreading, and translation.
  8. ratracerebellion.com – has a big listing of WFH jobs.
  9. ifreelance – lets you keep all your earnings, no commission.
  10. remoteok.io – works as a search engine for remote jobs.

Once you’ve scored that job

Now that you’ve bagged the job, go at it with all the passion you have. Be aware of the advantage of going the extra mile; putting in more than the client expects (within reason) will always impress and winning points will keep you at the forefront for future work. This extra attention could be what secures an ongoing working relationship with the employer. Don’t forget to ask happy clients for testimonials you can use to secure further work.

Productivity and time management

Productivity and time management are two further factors that can be hard to master but that will ensure you’re successful in your new freelancing career. Spend some time before you get inundated with work coming up with some sensible tools and strategies that work for you. There are a variety of apps out there that will help you with this, and look out for our future blogs to learn more about them.

When your freelance business is up and running, you may need help translating for your international clients, and BeTranslated is here for you. Our professional translators are experienced in all kinds of translation, from legal documents to marketing campaigns. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, contact us today.