Movies About Interpretation and Translation (Part 1)

By Site Admin | Dec 11, 2020
To view this article in other languages, please hover your mouse over the language icon at the top-right corner of the screen (for computer) or tap the ☰ button at the top-left corner of the screen then scroll down (for smartphone). Next, select your preferred language.

What is it like to be an interpreter? Who can work as an interpreter or a translator? If you ever asked yourself these kinds of questions, movies (films) about interpretation and translation are just right for you as they can provide fruitful insights about this profession. If you already have a decent knowledge of interpretation, it is likely that you still find joy watching the movies and see if they accurately depict the life and work of an interpreter.

In this article, Freelensia has gathered the most popular movies, TV series, and some funny short clips on the topic of interpretation.




1. The Interpreter (2005)

Official trailer:

This 2005 film was the first one to have special permission from the United Nations’ General secretary to film inside the UN headquarter in New York. So you can expect a realistic interpretation setting from it.

Moreover, The Interpreter has an engaging plot with unexpected turns. Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) is a simultaneous interpreter (also known as cabin interpreter or real-time interpreter) working at the UN headquarter. She interprets between English and the fictional language Ku, a tribal dialect spoken in the Republic of Matobo, a fictional African country as well. One day, she overhears an assassination plot, which puts her life at risk and forces her to go on a thrilling adventure.

In one scene, Silvia conducts consecutive interpretation in a meeting between the US and Matoban ambassadors. You may argue that she is interpreting simultaneously as she often speaks at the same time the ambassadors speak, yet the fact is the highly skilled consecutive interpreter does not need the speakers to make obvious pauses when they are interpreting.


2. Arrival (2016)

Official trailer:

This 2016 blockbuster can delight not only science-fiction fans but also translators, interpreters, and linguists. Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), an expert linguist, works with the US military to figure out a way to communicate with the alien lifeforms that they call “heptapods”. The aliens do not speak but using logograms, an extraterrestrial form of written language consisting of only circles that Dr. Louise and her crew need to “decode”. To find the answer, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and probably the entire planet.

From this film, you can see that the language barrier is there and could become a deal-breaker, and an interpreter can actually become the savior of the Earth! Watch how Dr. Banks “talks” to Costello, one of the heptapods:

Do you know that a similar communication issue might happen when you want to expand your business worldwide? In that case, finding a qualified interpreter can save the deal. Please refer to our article which shows 4 things you should consider before booking an interpreter.


3. Lost in Translation (2003)