The Best Movies about Translators and Interpreters

The Best Movies about Translators and Interpreters

The work of translators and interpreters has been very important since ancient times as they took part in diplomatic activities, the development of literacy and local languages, and knowledge exchange. However, they, unlike journalists and writers, have rarely been touched upon in cinematography. Still, there are a few good movies about translators and interpreters to watch and enjoy.

Read also: Why you should hire only the best translation services to provide you accurate translation of documents.


1. The Interpreter (2005)

Director: Sidney Pollack

Country: United Kingdom, United States

Secrets can kill. An interpreter working for the UN Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) is a highly dedicated and hard-working professional. But once she accidentally overhears a private conversation between two politicians that puts a threat not only on her work but on her life too.

the interpreter

2. Charade (1963)

Director: Stanley Donen

Country: United States

Regina Lampert played by Audrey Hepburn is a UN simultaneous interpreter. She decides to divorce her husband but shortly the police inform her that he was found dead. She discovers that during WWII he took part in a secret operation during which, he stole a huge sum of money. Regina finds herself involved in some dangerous criminal game full of adventures.


3. The Translators (2019)

Director: Régis Roinsard

Country: France

The movie tells a story of the challenging work of a group of translators who are working on the final book of a trilogy that was praised as a masterpiece of modern literature. As they work on the translation and have the exclusive access to the original text of the long-awaited third book, someone starts to release chapters of the book on the internet and the investigation begins.

the translators

4. Arrival (2016)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Country: United States Many human languages have a lot in common. But what about an alien one? A linguist Louise Banks is appointed by the US Army to help decode the language of creatures that have come to Earth. She contacts two aliens on their aircraft that hangs in the air above Montana. As she learns their language, she realizes it is not only about communication but about a bigger perceptual framework.


5. Windtalkers (2002)

Director: John Woo

Country: United States, Hong Kong

During WWII, the US military employed people from Native American tribes to serve as code talkers, people who speak some rare language, to pass some secret messages. The movie tells about two friends from the Navajo tribe who need to exchange coded messages about artillery fire dislocations. It turns out that at the war it is not their only duty.


6. Lost in Translation (2003)

Director: Sofia Coppola

Country: United States, Japan Different languages and cultures make communication hard. An American actor played by Bill Murray and his Japanese director find it very hard to understand each other as their interpreter does not fully interpret between them in an attempt to keep the conversation polite, which complicates the situation even more.

lost in translation

7. Desert Flower (2009)

Director: Sherry Hormann

Country: Germany

This movie is about a real-life story of Waris Dirie, a girl from Somalia who escapes the marriage of convenience and arrives as a servant in London. Not knowing the local language, she has to rely on interpreting. There is one particular scene in the hospital that demonstrates the need for professional medical interpreting and the negative consequences of its absence.

Desert Flower

8. The Mummy (1999)

Director: Stephen Sommers

Country: United States A language expert is not someone typically viewed as a hero who saves the world. In The Mummy, Evelyn, an Egyptologist accidentally brings to life Imhotep who threatens the entire humanity. But with her knowledge and bravery, she manages to find a way to defeat him and save the world.

The Mummy

9. Spanglish (2004)

Director: James L. Brooks

Country: United States

‘Spanglish’ is a term for a mix of English and Spanish particularly used by immigrants from Mexico and South America in the US. The movie is a story of a single mother from Mexico, who does not speak English but finds a job as a cleaning lady and her daughter, who sometimes has to interpret for her mother at work. The girl often faces funny situations when cultural differences make the correct interpreting very challenging.


10. Amistad (1997)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Country: United States

It is a historical drama about the slave trade. In this movie, an unprofessional court interpreter fails to interpret the story of 40 African people who were kidnapped and were about to be sold as slaves in the US. Luckily another interpreter succeeds and helps to let the court hear the truth and decide on the case right.