10 Best Translator and Interpreter Movies

  • Time to read: 5 min.

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If you’re looking for the best translator and interpreter movies around, keep reading. While the language profession doesn’t fire up Hollywood movie producers and for that reason you won’t find very many translator and interpreter movies being made and marketed.

And even though I agree that there isn’t much in an interpreter’s or translator’s life that will keep movie-going audiences in their seats for two hours, there is something cool about seeing a movie about your own profession.

I’m like most people in that I like to watch movies, but I think it’s more fun to watch a movie about something I know about or about something I’ve experienced (even if it can be somewhat boring to those not in the know).

For example, my wife is from Seattle and loves to watch movies that are about Seattle, or that have been filmed in and around Seattle. I mean, she forced me to watch Sleepless in Seattle a million times because of where it was filmed!

Well, there aren’t too many movies about translators and interpreters but there are some that are interesting to watch. It can be fun to see how movies portray the life of an interpreter, or see how the movies are different from real life (which most of the time they are).

Best Translator and Interpreter Movies

OK, on to the list of the best translator and interpreter movies that have ever been made (at least to some people).

The Interpreter

This movie is probably the most popular and well-known movie on the list. It stars Nicole Kidman as Silvia Broome, an interpreter at the United Nations. She overhears a plot to assassinate the president of Matobo, an African country that is being torn apart by civil war.

The movie is full of twists and turns and is edge-of-your-seat exciting. Nicole Kidman does a great job as the interpreter who is caught up in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy.

The Nuremberg Trials

While this isn’t a Hollywood-produced interpreter movie, it is a great introduction into the experiences of an interpreter that was present at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945. If you’re interested in the history of interpretation, and how it has evolved over the years, this movie is a must. In addition, it gives great insight into one of the most important trials in human history.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Greek Interpreter

Not necessarily a movie that delves into the profession of interpretation, but this movie at least does have as one of its main characters an interpreter who requires Sherlock Holmes’ assistance in solving a mystery. Sherlock Holmes movies are always an interesting watch, and it’s only an hour long. Good for a rainy day afternoon or evening.

Lost in Translation

You can’t talk about translation and interpretation movies without including Lost in Translation. Again, while this movie isn’t necessarily focused primarily on the language industry, but does in fact touch on the influence translation and interpretation can have on the lives of people, especially those who are lost in a foreign country.


Windtalkers is a movie that tells the story of Navajo Indians who were used as code-talkers by the US military during World War II. Nicholas Cage plays a Marine who is assigned to protect a Navajo code-talker, and the movie tells the story of their relationship. This is a great movie because it provides insight into an important and little-known chapter in American history (kind of like the Gettysburg Address).


While this movie is more science fiction than reality, it does provide an interesting look at the role of interpretation in communication. In the movie, a team of soldiers and archaeologists use a Stargate to travel to another planet where they encounter aliens who they must find a way to communicate with. They eventually find an Egyptian archaeologist who can interpret the hieroglyphs on the aliens’ Stargate, which allows them to finally communicate.


You might not think of this movie as being about interpretation and translation, but it actually is. The movie tells the story of a Mexican woman who comes to the US to work as a maid for a wealthy family. The father in the family is a chef who is trying to start his own restaurant, and he ends up hiring a Mexican-American woman to be his translator. The two women form a close bond, and the movie explores the cultural differences between the US and Mexico.


This is a classic Hitchcock movie from 1963 starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The plot of the movie revolves around a woman who is trying to find out the truth about her husband’s death, and she eventually discovers that he was involved in a theft of Nazi gold. The movie is a bit of a thriller, and it’s interesting to see how interpretation is used in the movie to try to communicate between the different characters.

Desert Flower

This is an auto-biographical movie based on the life of Waris Dirie, a Somali model who was also an interpreter for the United Nations. The movie tells the story of her life, from her childhood in Somalia to her time working as a model in Europe. It’s an interesting look at the life of a woman who has had to overcome many obstacles, and it’s also a great example of the power of interpretation.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

I had to include a Disney movie on this list, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a great choice. In the movie, a team of explorers use a submarine to travel to the lost city of Atlantis, and they eventually find a woman who can interpret the ancient language of the Atlanteans. The movie is a great example of how interpretation can be used to communicate between different cultures.


These are just a few of the great movies that feature interpretation and translation. If you’re looking for a way to learn more about the industry, or just to be entertained, these movies are a great choice.