?Dear IMDb, WTF

פניה אישית אל אתר הקולנוע הטוב בעולם: בבקשה, די עם שילוב העברית-אנגלית המחונטרש הזה

Dear IMDb,‎

WTF is going on with your movie titles?

Let me preface this by saying: I love you. You're awesome. Back when I first discovered the ‎Internet, in the mid-nineties, IMDb was the single most incredible site I knew. Nearly ‎twenty years later, it's still incredible. You're one of the best reasons for the existence of the ‎Internet. (Your recent interface changes are kinda weird though. But that's not what I ‎wanted to talk to you about).‎

The movie currently rated 5th best of all time on IMDb is The Good, ‎the Bad and the Ugly. However, when viewing that movie's page in the site, the title displayed to me is "Ha'tov Ha'ra Veha'meho'ar". What appears to be an ancient Klingon curse is, ‎apparently, someone's attempt at a transcription of the movie's Hebrew title. ‎However, even as a native Hebrew speaker it took me a long while to decipher this pile of ‎H's and apostrophes. Many other movies got the same treatment: apparently "Ha-Emperia Maka Shenit" is how you say The Empire ‎Strikes Back nowadays, "Mamlehet or ha'yare'ah" is Moonrise Kingdom, and "B'Derekh L'Khatunah ‎Otzrim B'Vegas" is The Hangover. And don’t even get me started on "Dimdumim 4 – shahar maftzia, helek ‎‎2".‎

The Hebrew names are not wrong. Technically, they're kinda correct. (They're ‎often dumb and embarrassing, particularly this B'Vegas thing, but that's an entirely different ‎matter, and not your fault). It's just that Hebrew is not written this way. This is what ‎Hebrew looks like: ‎האימפריה מכה שנית‎. See? It's like a completely different language or ‎something, with its own alphabet and all.‎

If you want to include the Hebrew names of movies in your database – That's awesome! As ‎long as you write them, you know, in Hebrew. If you ‎want to stick to English names only – ‎that's cool too. (People who use IMDb tend to be English readers, since, you ‎know, it's an English site). But this "Homot Shel Tikva" crap is neither Hebrew nor English. ‎It's unreadable Jibberish. The transcription also seems to have no coherent rules: for example, the exact same ‎word is spelled "B'Derekh" in the "Hebrew" title of The Hangover, and "Ba'dereh" in the ‎title of The Hangover 2. It's all just an ugly mess, and it's now all over your otherwise great ‎site, making it harder to use for anyone who happens to have an Israeli IP.‎

Sure: you want to make the site usable and searchable for as many people as possible. But consider this. The biggest movie of 2012 was The Dark Knight Rises, or as its IMDb page ‎insists on calling it, "Aliyato shel ha'abir ha'af'el". It's a huge blockbuster with a gigantic fan ‎following online. You'd expect people would be interested in it. Well, I took the liberty of ‎researching the term on Google Trends, but unfortunately, there was "not enough search ‎volume to show trends", as Google puts it. You know why that is? Because not a single soul ‎has ever, in the history of the internet, googled "Aliyato shel ha'abir ha'af'el". That is ‎because NOBODY EVER CALLS IT THAT.‎

Granted, it's a small matter. With such a huge ‎site, containing enormous heaps of information and serving people all over the world, surely this is just a little blip, and it ‎concerns a small percentage of the site's users (namely: Israelis). But for us, it's ‎really annoying. So please, on behalf of all Israeli IMDb fans, I implore you: please cut this stupid crap.


Red Fish

(aka Doron Fishler)

Editor of fisheye.co.il

‎(Which is a Hebrew movie site, that isn't nearly as awesome as IMDb, but it's pretty nifty, I ‎think, and you should check it out if you can read Hebrew).‎