Untranslated Title

Some works of fiction do not have their names translated when released in a foreign market. This seem to be particularly common with French and German films, for some reason. For anime series, this is rampant in fan-translations, which can be quite frustrating for those lacking a smattering of Gratuitous Japanese.

Just to be clear, this trope does not apply in the following cases:
  1. The title is a proper noun, such as Amélie or Ros Na Run.
  2. The title is nonsense or a made-up word, such as Azumanga Daioh.
  3. The title is already in a foreign language, such as "La Belle Dame Sans Merci".
  4. The title is translated, but fans use the original title anyway; for example, fans of Ceres Celestial Legend tend to refer to the show as Ayashi no Ceres.


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  • Ai Yori Aoshi (literally "Bluer Than Indigo"; occasionally with the slogan "True Blue Love" — see Meaningful Name for why).
  • GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class's creators already has an directly translated English title for the series, GA: Art Department Art Design Class. Yen Press, however, prefers the untranslated title, and the translated title can only be seen in some pages in the manga.
  • Gurren Lagann, which literally means "Crimson Lotus Spiral Face" so it's no wonder it wasn't translated. It was shortened from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann ("Heaven Piercing Crimson Lotus Spiral Face").
  • Hikaru no Go ("Hikaru's Go").
  • Ikki Tousen (literally, "The Strength of a Thousand in a Single Breath").
  • Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu (see the show's page for an attempt to untangle the punny title; some releases shorten it down to Hale+Guu).
  • Kannazuki no Miko ("Shrine Maiden of the Godless Month [October]"; the original Geneon release sometimes added the very loosely equivalent subtitle "Destiny of the Shrine Maiden", though the Sentai re-release used the English title.)
  • Kodocha'' (left as the shortened form of the Japanese title "Kodomo no Omocha," rather than using a translation like "Child's Toy").
  • Koi Kaze ("Love Wind").
  • Kyo Kara Maoh ("Demon King as of Today")
  • Mai-HiME & Mai-Otome are partial cases of this. While the "Mai" parts of the title are changed to the English "My" (which may have been intended puns to begin with), the words Hime (princess) and Otome (maiden) are left alone.
  • Mushishi — while "mushi" is a proper term in the context of the series, the "shi" part meaning "user" or "master" is left untranslated.
  • Otogi Zoshi.
  • Rurouni Kenshin (although the OVAs and The Movie were released in the US as Samurai X).
  • Sakura Taisen, depending on which piece of the franchise and which company has it.
    • Though the "Taisen" part is sometimes rendered as "Wars", the "Sakura" part is never translated.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, with the subtitle The Power of Negative Thinking added by Del Ray to explain the concept to readers of the manga.
  • Shakugan no Shana ("Burning-Eyes Shana").
  • Tenchi Muyo! (sometimes rendered as "No Need for Tenchi," though apparently has an alternate meaning of "This End Up," as on boxes and such.)
  • Tenjho Tenge ("Heaven and Earth").
  • Tsukihime (this word [meaning "Moon Princess"] is always left alone, but the anime adds the descriptor Shingetsutan, which gets translated as "Lunar Legend").
  • Urusei Yatsura, though this probably due to confusion on how to translate it. One short-lived attempt at an English dub called it Those Obnoxious Aliens, and another called it Lum the Invader Girl.
  • Utawarerumono (an interesting case, as ADV was originally planning on re-titling it "Shadow Warrior Chronicles," until fandom/Internet outcry caused them to reverse the decision).
  • Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.
  • YuYu Hakusho — The Central Park Media dub of the first movie used the title Poltergeist Report, while the FUNimation dub of the series was subtitled Ghost Files, both which are approximations of the original Japanese title.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! (Literally, "King of Games").
  • Pokémon is Pocket Monsters. There was already a game in the US with that title, so they decided to not go ahead and translate it.



  • Das Kapital, though it is known as Le Capital in French editions.
    • Considering the only thing to translate is 'das' to 'the' (or just drop it) and Xtreme Kool Letterz, does it really count? Some English sources do call it just "Capital", though.
  • Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones.
  • Mein Kampf. In a few other languages, it does change, however.
  • Les Misérables. It just has too many connotations to succinctly and accurately translate, since it could variously mean "Miserable People," "The Wretched," "The Poor," "The Downtrodden," "The Poor Children" — in other words, it applies to all its characters in a way no translation could imitate.
  • Strictly speaking, The Iliad means 'A Tale of Ilium (Troy)' and is only one of many stories woven around The Trojan War.
    • This frequently occurs to works above a certain age, though it may be difficult to draw the line between 'untranslated title' and 'naturalised title.' Ovid's Heroides, Amores, and Metamorphoses stand as a case in point. Others, such as Xenophon's Anabasis are known by multiple titles, including 'The Persian Expedition', 'The March of the Ten Thousand', and 'The March Upcountry'.
  • Similarly, the Nibelungenlied is 'The Song of the Nibelungs'.
  • Natsume Soseki's Kokoro usually has the title left as-is in modern English printings, though it has occasionally been given the (somewhat clunky) translation of "The Heart of Things".
    • Bonus points for the fact that the novel opens with the sentence, "I always called him Sensei." Considering the amount of times the word appears in the novel, it's a damn good thing sensei is one of the few Japanese words the average English-speaker can recognize.
  • A la recherche du temps perdu is often given untranslated. Partly because it was translated as Remembrance Of Things Past instead of In Search Of Lost Time for a while, and partly because if you're going to read Marcel Proust, you might as well be pretentious about it.
  • Emile Zola's novel of poverty and alcoholism L Assommoir is most often known by its original title, which is an untranslatable French play on words. Assommoir was an old slang term for a low-class bar, derived from assommer, to knock out or stun; the nearest rendition in English might be "place to get hammered."
  • Works by certain ancient Greek philosophers are frequently translated to Latin but no further. For example, Creator/Aristotle's Peri Psyches is usually referred to by English speakers as De Anima (the English would be something like "About the Soul").
  • Snorri Sturluson's history of the kings of Norway is frequently called Heimskringla, never "The Circle of the Earth".
  • The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun is almost always given that title when translated into a European language, as the original Arabic title means "The Introduction". The book is actually a sophisticated early (14th century) work on sociology, political science, and the theory of history; it gets its title because it is supposed to be an introduction to a very long history of North Africa (or rather history of the world, with a special focus on North Africa). Since this history, while very good, is only of interest to Arab historians and Arabists, the use of the foreign title is presumably because people would get very confused by a book simply called The Introduction ("If this is the introduction, where's the rest of it?").
    • As an aside, Arabic avoids the problem through Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Everyone's heard of Ibn Khaldun's Introduction, so they just publish it with that title.

     Live Action TV 

  • Series/Seacht — The title is Irish for seven, but when it was shown on The BBC, they kept the original title (and pronounced it horribly).
  • The American TV adaptation of La Femme Nikita kept the French title in its first run (syndicated reruns were retitled, simply, Nikita).
  • Borgen in the UK. "Borgen" means "the castle" in Danish, but is commonly used in Denmark to refer to the government, which is based in Cristiansborg ("Christian's Castle") Palace in Copenhagen.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight — well, the "Kamen Rider" part anyway. "Dragon Knight" is translated from its original version, "Ryuki". Done partly by producer preference and partly to distance it from the failure of another franchise adaptation that did translate the title, Masked Rider.


  • Some popular songs translated into English left an Untranslated Title in their lyrics:
    • "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" (Aka "Bei mir bist du schön").
    • "Bésame Mucho".
    • "La Vie en rose".
  • The original (German) version of Nena's "99 Red Balloons" is left untranslated as "99 Luftballoons" to distinguish it from the English-language version.


  • This is almost more common than not for operas, at least the ones not named after a character. About half of these still refer to a character in some way. Some of the least often translated titles include:
    • La Bohčme
    • Cavalleria rusticana
    • Cosi fan tutte
    • Die Fledermaus (which was presented four times on Broadway in the first half of the 20th century, each time under a Completely Different Title)
    • Der Freischütz
    • La gioconda
    • Der Rosenkavalier
    • La traviata
    • Il trovatore
    • At least at one time, The Golden Cockerel was usually known as Le coq d'or, despite being a Russian opera.

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