• True Grit: Understanding Badly Translated Movie Titles

    One of the most popular films showing at the moment is the Coen Brothers’ western comedy True Grit. Many Spanish-speaking students of mine have seen it and most of them have come out of the movie theater asking the same question:

    What does the title of the movie True Grit mean?

    The Spanish translations given to the film Valor del Ley (Spain) and Temple de Acero (Argentina) seem to confuse the issue more than clarify it.

    What does True Grit mean?

    True Grit is an expression mostly used the southern United States meaning strength of mind and the courage to see through one’s convictions even in the face of strong adversity.

    It suggests a person with a strong, forceful, unrelenting, spirit.

    What is an exact Spanish translation of True Grit?

    While it is difficult to find an exact Spanish translation for True Grit probably the closest we can find is the following:

    Verdaderas agallas

    Other ways we use the word grit in English

    While grit, in this sense, means guts and inner strength, we also use the word in other situations.

    Grit is used to refer to the salt and small stones used to cover roads (so as to make them less dangerous) during periods of heavy snowfall.

    Grit is used to describe the movement of closing teeth tightly together, for example when lifting something heavy.

    – In Canada, the term Grit is used to refer to someone who has a liberal political agenda.

    Here is the trailer for the film True Grit. Enjoy it, now that you know what the title means:

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