I know that several times the original American (or British) title of a film was conveyed differently in France (and other languages as well). If a literal transation was done, would it have beeen :

De Russie avec amour


Depuis Russie avec amour

or another one?

I am wondering also what sounds so weird with these turns and instead a different title was seeked for. Also given the fact that baiser has vulgar sense, would baiser be used to convey kiss in the title of a blockbuster film nowadays?

  • 2
    The French title makes perfect sense and is literally a literal translation. You're missing on the meaning of the English word "love". "Love" is the greeting we write at the end of a letter to friends and family. Cambridge dictionary A2. Translated as affectueusement, amicalement, bises.
    – None
    Apr 19, 2020 at 8:32
  • 1
    @personne :"un amour de Russie" would rather be "a lover from Russia" ou even "lovely Russia", it misses the allusion to a greeting used in a letter.
    – Greg
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:04
  • 1
    Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι, l'excellente traduction du titre du roman de Fleming est d'André Gilliard.
    – grandtout
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:14
  • Wasn't the original title British? Apr 19, 2020 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


The most obvious literal translation would have been de Russie avec amour. This translation, however, makes no sense in French when taken in isolation and is not idiomatic.

The title from Russia with love is supposed to mimick a common greeting from an intimate letter or a postcard, so the translator has tried to find an equivalent in French. Bons baisers de XXX is a common phrase used in such contexts in French (even though a bit old-fashioned nowadays).

Baiser only has a vulgar meaning when used as a verb (and even then, it has kept the meaning of "to kiss" in some fixed phrases with body parts or objects, eg baiser la main, baiser l'anneau). The noun baiser as in this title does not carry this vulgar tone, so it is not shocking here. There is no ambiguity it refers to a kiss. You can find it in many other titles ("Le Baiser", a song by Alain Souchon, "Premiers Baisers", a French sitcom for young teenagers - imagine the outrage if this title was seen as vulgar !)

  • 1
    The literal translation would not not have been De Russie avec amour since in "From Russia with love", the word "love" would never translate as amour but as baisers or bises (or amitiés).
    – None
    Apr 19, 2020 at 8:45
  • 4
    @none are you sure you are not mixing up literal translation (traduction litérale) and literary translation (traduction littéraire) ? A literal translation is a translation word by word and not with the global meaning and/or connotation (and therefore often seen as a "bad" translation").
    – Greg
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:00
  • I am definitely not mixing literal and literary, believe you me !
    – None
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:26
  • 10
    Then I sincerely and humbly suspect you may have a wrong idea of what a literal translation is. It is a translation done word by word, using the most common translation of each word, without taking into account the global messsage, the style, the context, the genre, the idioms etc. So yes, "de Russie avec amour" IS a (not the only one) literal translation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literal_translation
    – Greg
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:39
  • 7
    That is per se the definition of a literal translation: it ignores the context. Let's agree to disagree...
    – Greg
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:15

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