American TV drama Prison Break, which enjoyed huge popularity, has five season series. I just wonder how to translate Prison Break into German. When german people see it, they translate it as Gefängnisausbruch, or simply Prison Break using its original English name?

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    Be careful, movies and series often getting different names in Germany, instead of getting a translation. E.g. "Thirteen reasons why" is in Germany "Tote Mädchen lügen nicht" (Dead girls tell no lies). But if you are talking to "Cineasts" they'll likely know the English names. E.g. usually I watch movies and series in English (as most of my friends, too)
    – Artery
    Jun 16, 2017 at 11:12
  • Best example I know is "Red Sonja". On German TV it was named "Die rote Sonja", "Red Sonja" or "Die Rache der Schwertkämpferin".
    – Gerhardh
    Jun 16, 2017 at 11:17
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    I think this question could be a bit more explicit about some things. First, it's not asking about the term prison break (for which Gefängnisausbruch would be a totally valid translation), but for the German title of the TV series of the same name. Second, it is not so much a question of "When german people see it, they translate it" - German people (and, presumably people in many places) usually call shows the same way the shows call themselves in the opening credits. Thus, the crucial question is how Prison Break is called in German (as, mind you, this show, like many others, is ... Jun 16, 2017 at 11:35
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    ... completely dubbed when it runs on TV over here) by whichever translation studio translated the show. And this name, as comments above have pointed out, is not necessarily a "translation" as such; it might also be the original English title (Prison Break, Lost, ...), a mixture of the original English title and a German subtitle (Outer Limits - Die unbekannte Dimension, ...), or a different German/English title (Raumschiff Enterprise (original: Star Trek), Der Denver-Clan (original: Dynasty), ...) altogether. Jun 16, 2017 at 11:41
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    @Artery or indeed "Midsommer Murders" is called "Inspector Barnaby" (with similar names in Italian and Danish), with the result that when the series replaced the main character they had to have him share a surname with his predecessor, which seems quite strange to English-speaking viewers for whom the coincidence serves no purpose.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 16, 2017 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


In Germany it's also Prison Break. Nobody says Gefängnisausbruch refering to the series,

For example;

Hast du schon alle Staffeln von Prison Break geschaut?


If you look at the German Wikipedia entry for the Prison Break, on the right side of the page under Seriendaten, it can be clearly seen that the German title for the tv-series stays untouched as Prison Break.

As far as I know, the title of most of the popular tv series are like original titles. Even if there is a German equivalent, if you use the original title, everybody would understand you.

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    E.g. »Two and a half men« was first announced as »Mein lieber Onkel Charlie«, so nobody may accidentally watch it. In the past, series and film titles have been often translated into German.
    – Janka
    Jun 16, 2017 at 7:40
  • @Janka You are right:) I have look at the title of the »Two and a half men« on Wikipedia, it says until 2005, it was »Mein cooler Onkel Charlie«. I think if the series is very popular, the people use just its original title even if an another title is used on the tv. Jun 16, 2017 at 7:43
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    You're thinking wrong. People use the name they see every week in the opening titles on TV. The one-digit percentage of "real" fans will know the original name, but the rest... - Few have ever heard "Married... with children" or "Hogan's heroes" though most know the series well.
    – JimmyB
    Jun 16, 2017 at 15:02

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