An Embarrassing Correction

The New York Times? James Sterngold put too much faith in an e-mail that listed how American movie titles had been translated into Chinese and included them in a piece, published in The Week in Review in November 1998, without citing his source. But translations were false, having been made up by, and The Times was forced to print an embarrassing correction. Among the fake translations The Times printed:

• ?Leaving Las Vegas” became “I’m Drunk and You’re a Prostitute”;

• “Field of Dreams” became “Imaginary Dead Baseball Players Live in My Cornfield”;

• “The Crying Game” became “Oh No! My Girlfriend Has a Penis!”;

• “Interview With the Vampire” became “So, You Are a Lawyer”;

• “Babe” became ?The Happy Dumpling-To-Be Who Talks and Solves Agricultural Problems?;

• “My Best Friend’s Wedding” became ?Help! My Pretend Boyfriend Is Gay”;

• “George of the Jungle” became ?Big Dumb Monkey Man Keeps Whacking Tree With Genitals.?

• “Batman and Robin? became “Come to My Cave and Wear this Rubber Codpiece, Cute Boy”;

• and Pamela Anderson Lee?s “Barb Wire” became ?Delicate Orbs of Womanhood Bigger than Your Head Can Hurt You.”

The Chinese movie-title spoof continued to spread. On January 5, 1999, Peter Jennings read the fake title of ?Babe? on ?World News Tonight? in January 1999. In April, CNN’s “Showbiz Today” cited some of the made-up titles. And in June, the fake ?Field of Dreams? titles made its way into a Los Angeles Times sports column.

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