Impossible to change Title Display Language & Country.

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  • Problem
  • Updated 6 years ago
  • Not a Problem
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Ever since the search engine was updated I always get the titles in the search results and randomly in some title pages in Portuguese (I live in a portuguese speaking country), even if I'm logged in and change the settings in the site preferences to "Title display country: United States" and "Title display language: English". Other people from other countries reported this problem on the "IMDb Information" board and got no answer. I tried changing the "Title display country" to any other country, and the results still show the titles in Portuguese anyway. I'm used (like most film buffs) to know movies by their english titles, so the fact that now I can't change the language the titles are displayed to any other than the country I live in makes the site very frustrating to use.
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SP

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Posted 6 years ago

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waltdisneypixar

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it was better before when we only had imdb.com
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SP

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If I'm not mistaken, there's only imdb.com again. I think the other ones (pt, es, de, fr, etc...) were closed - at least I'm redirected to imdb.com if I try to visit any of those domains. I think the idea is to make IMDb as customizable as possible, so that everyone sees the titles in the language they want to, without missing out on trailers/lists and all the features those domains lacked. It's a good plan, but there was obviously some problem implementing it which created this bug. We have to wait until they fix it.

For now all we can do is set the titles to "original", which seems to fix the problem for English titles, although the others will also be in their original language, of course.

I've also read in the Help board that changing the layout to the old/reference view fixes the problem, but I haven't tested it myself.

Trust me, I’m as frustrated as you are. The first time I’ve alerted about this problem was back in the first week of January, in the IMDb Information board, shortly after the new search engine was announced. So yeah, it’s taking a long time to fix it and it is an annoying problem. But at least now we know they are working on it.
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waltdisneypixar

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amen
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Giancarlo Cairella, Official Rep

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Official Response
At this point I'm setting this to 'Not a Problem' because the display is working as designed and all reported cases so far have been verified as data issues (and fixable by updating or adding the correct alternate title) rather than problems with the code. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion so far, with comments and examples.

Just to summarize things for the benefit of newcomers, this is how the title display logic works:


  1. By default, pages will display the title used for release in the user's country, based on their geographical location. So an Italian user visiting the page for Star Wars (1977) will see the film listed at the top of the page as Guerre stellari (1977) while a visitor from France will see it shown as La guerre des etoiles (1977)

  2. This behavior can be changed by registering/logging into your IMDb account and updating your site preferences and changing the 'Title Display' options. Setting 'Title Display Country' to "Original" will always show a film's original title, in whatever language that may be; setting "Title Display Country" to a specific country will always display titles used for release in that specific country. For countries where films are released in more than one language (e.g. Canada, Switzerland etc.) you can also specify the default "Title Display Language". However this preference has no effect if the Title Display Country is set to 'Original'. In most cases, if what you want to see are the titles of films as they were commonly known when originally released rather than in the language of your country/location, the best/easiest option is to set Title Display Country to Original

  3. The display of this data is only as good as the underlying data. If we don't have a title matching the selection of country or language, then the display will revert to the title used in the visiting user's country. This explains why in some cases you may not see the title you expect to see -- it's because we actually don't have an alternate title matching the 'Title Display Country' you have select. If you do know what the correct title is for that country, we would really appreciate if you could submit the missing information, as this will permanently fix the issue for all visitors.


If new concrete examples of problems with the display are reported (e.g. titles being showed in the wrong language even when the correct title/language combination is present) we will be happy to investigate them.
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waltdisneypixar

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Not a problem ???/

i go to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089847/

i have title display country united states and Title display language English

and it shows

El protector (1985)
The Protector (original title)
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bluesmanSF, Champion

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The "not a problem" refers to it being or not being a problem in code, but a problem with the individual title being submitted wrong. It doesn't mean they've gone out and checked all data on the millions of pages out there. The message states that newly reported titles with such problems will be investigated.
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Peter, Champion

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Giancarlo, I don't quite follow you with regard to the data issue. Running Scared (2006) is a good example. As it is a partly US-produced film, its US title is also its primary/original title. I don't believe it would be common practice to also list it as an alternate title for the US, as you seem to be suggesting.

That raises the question of why the original title is not recognized as the US title. There are plenty of other US-produced titles that don't have this problem despite not having US-specific alternate titles. Is it because USA is only listed second after Germany in the title's country data? Or is there an internal setting?

With regard to English-language titles released in several countries under the same title, while it is possible to submit the title as an alternate title for those countries, this is also something that is not very common in the database.

For these reasons I think it is problematic to rely on the data to fix these user experience issues. When there is no title match for the user's country setting, perhaps it would be better to default to the original title than to the geographical location.
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Giancarlo Cairella, Official Rep

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As I think mentioned somewhere within this fairly long thread, we're definitely looking to improve our 'fall back' logic so that cases like 'Running Scared' are automatically handled better, or we can backfill missing data properly. So the impact of this problem will eventually be greatly reduced.

But the explanation for this behavior is because there is a distinction between the country of production associated with the title and the country associated with the actual title information itself.

As you probably know IMDb stores titles this way: each film has a main title associated with it, commonly known as the 'primary' title. This is the title that was used when the film was first released in its primary country of production, and is the main title associated with the film. It is also what we consider to be the film's 'original' title, so it's the title that will show up when you tell the site that you want to see 'original' titles (e.g. set the 'Title Display Country' to 'Original').

This title is not always/necessarily associated with an actual country (i.e. we don't store it in conjunction with a specific location internally). So we can have an american film where the original/primary title is stored as 'Running Scared' but there isn't actually an entry in the system definining 'Running Scared' as the US title -- it's the 'original' title and it happens to be the 'original' title of a US film so it's the title that most US visitors will see by default. If you look at all the alternate titles for the film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404390/r...) you actually won't see one with USA as the country attribute. So when you change your preference to tell the site "I want to see this film listed under the specific USA display title", the lack of a title defined as the USA display title means that the results will not be what you expect.

This is the reason why the lack of a specific title/country combination has not been a significant problem in the past -- because in many cases (e.g. most US films) the 'original' title was the same as the title used for display to visitors from that country.

Localization has highlighted the fact that there are some holes in that coverage and that in some cases we may need to specify a display title even for countries where the original one was just fine.

Like I said, we are looking at ways to address this. One option could be to change the logic to look for a UK title (or another English-language countryu) when a US one is missing. Another is to default to the original title. There are advantages and drawbacks to each approach, and no solution will be perfect or quick to implement. But ultimately the best approach is always to fix the data: if something is wrong, correct it; if something's missing, add it.
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Peter, Champion

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Thanks. I'm still wondering why not all titles act the same way. I'm in Denmark. I select United States in the title settings. I go to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and the title is displayed in Danish because there is no US aka. Then I go to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and the title is displayed in English even though there is no US aka (both titles have a Danish aka).
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SP

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“When there is no title match for the user's country setting, perhaps it would be better to default to the original title than to the geographical location.”

That would certainly solve a lot of titles (the English ones). I've been collecting the titles that are malfunctioning so that I can submit the new data, and a lot (most) of those titles are from the US, so defaulting to the original instead of the geographical location would definitely tone down the complains about the problem, while the new data is not added.

Malfunctioning titles from English speaking countries would revert back to their original titles without it being necessary to submit a title that already exists in the database:

West of Memphis
Running Scared
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
The Pianist
Once Upon a Time in America
Finding Nemo
The Artist
In the Name of the Father
Etc...

And, additionally, foreign titles that are also malfunctioning and their original title is actually the title used in the US would also become correct:

M
Das Boot
Persona
Incendies
Etc...

We would only be left with foreign titles (without a defined USA title) to correct/insert data.

Either way, I’ll keep submitting USA titles to the titles missing it. Adding more information doesn’t hurt. But, pbn is right, there seems to exist some discrepancy with the titles which are working fine even though they don’t have a US aka. Hopefully that will be corrected with the new 'fall back' logic.
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waltdisneypixar

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pbn, if you go here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120737/r...

what do you get?
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Neo Draig

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waltdisneypixar I get the title in English just as it should be, but if go on the main page of the movie I'll get the title in French :(
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Peter, Champion

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waltdisneypixar, on that page I got the English title, so the reference pages act differently than the redesigned pages.
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waltdisneypixar

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it should work like in https://www.rottentomatoes.com
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winfred

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One was able to use http://akas.imdb.com to always see the original titles of all films, no matter where on the site, which was by far the best option for me (ever since the first title-display-change a couple of years ago).

Nowadays (since a while now, I take it it's related to the issues posted here, but I can't pinpoint the exact date) you get your detected geographical country's title forced upon, even when using the akas.imdb.com url - which is pretty annoying. I know I can log in to the site to change my viewing settings, but I'm not always at my own pc and I sure don't want to enter my data in every pc I might use to quickly check up on a movie. There the akas.imdb.com link helped greatly!

The akas.imdb.com link still changes the titles to the original version when you're clicking on the list of films a person was involved in. Using akas.imdb.com in comparison to www.imdb.com (with the corresponding url of the site you're viewing attached of course) you get only original titles in the akas.imdb.com version, whereas you get your country's title in the www.imdb.com version.

It would be nice to have its function restored to its former glory (every title in its original version in every part of the site).

Here are the corresponding examples:

http://akas.imdb.com version:


http://www.imdb.com version:


Please tell me if this issue should not be placed as a reply into this thread and I will make sure to open a new thread/ticket etc.

Thanks for your time.
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Peter, Champion

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Winfred, since your post has not received a reply from staff, you may want to post is as a new thread.
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Neo Draig

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I don't have the skills to do it but could someone do greasemonkey script to fix that problem because apparently the IMDB staff won't/can't do anything :(
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SP

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I barely go to IMDb anymore because of this issue (because it is a issue, although it is not classified as such anymore in here). I started submitting the correct USA AKA titles right after Giancarlo said that would be the solution. I submitted about eighty titles in the first week. Only about half of them were accepted, even though I was careful enough to assure that all the data submitted was absolutely correct. For some of them, the 18 days it takes to verify the data are already gone, meaning the data was most probably rejected. I suppose some of the IMDb data managers weren’t warned about this problem and are rejecting my data because why would they accept the submission of a title that already exists in the database? It’s only comprehensible...

Either way, submitting new data to all the titles affected by this problem is NOT a feasible solution. There are probably thousands of titles affected by this, certainly hundreds from my experience alone. It takes time to update all the data, time I don’t have, and even if there were dozens of people submitting the USA aka titles it would take months to solve all the titles. So why not just go back to whatever the old fall back logic used to be, which was perfectly fine, and get this over with? It seems logical.

Until that happens, or the problem is fixed any other way, I’ll resort to using other services.
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Erik Andersson

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This is a huge problem! I want to see my titles in English and it works fine for English movies but for everything else it shows the title in Swedish.
Examples:
Old Boy - hämnden (2003)
Oldeuboi (original title)

Pans labyrint (2006)
El laberinto del fauno (original title)

Nader och Simin - En separation (2011)
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (original title)

I have set country to United States, language to English and even changed country of residence to United States but nothing seems to help!
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SP

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I've submitted corrections (the USA aka) to those three titles in 2013-03-23. They have not been accepted so far.

And the problem also persists to the English titles, you were just lucky you haven't stumbled upon any. A good example is "The Pianist (2002)". I've submitted the USA title in 2013-03-20, still shows up with the wrong title.
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Phantum

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This thread seems to have been dropped by the IMDB staff now, it is still an issue for many titles and the ones that have been reported here in the posts above have not been fixed. I would add one that I noticed
"Where the wild things are" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386117/?...
Uses the local language and does not display title in English if country set to UK or United states.

So although this has been marked as not a problem because the "pages behave as designed", many pages still have incorrect data so it is still a problem because there is no easy way to get the individual pages corrected.
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Peter, Champion

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I think Giancarlo would suggest that you add "Where the Wild Things Are" as an alternate title for the USA, the UK and any other relevant areas.
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Phantum

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I did not see any easy way to suggest a title for a specific country. When I tried to recommend a change to the title it showed the correct title. Others here have posted they suggested changes to titles a months or more ago and I checked and the titles have not been changed
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Peter, Champion

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This page lists release dates and alternate titles for the film; the edit link leads to an option to add additional titles:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386117/r...
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Emperor, Champion

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This thread is for an older issue, there is a recent similar problem along these lines (although it seems to have been solved now - for instance, I don't have a problem with that example):

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...

If there is still a problem, it'd be better to post examples over in the other thread.
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Peter, Champion

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Although the threads are about the same general topic, they are not about the same specific problem, so I think it is useful to keep the issues separate.
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Phantum

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So I looked at the suggestion for alternative titles on the page you suggested. There was no entry for an alternate title in the USA or UK, and an entry for a Finnish title. This means that although I had my country set to the UK or the USA, because there was not an 'alternate title' for the UK it defaulted back to my location of Finland. I checked this with some others such as Red Planet, Die Hard... (all simple titles translated I know were translated in Finland. This means I we have to go and suggest the original English title as an 'alternative' title for USA and UK locales to use these country settings!!!

This seems poor behaviour to me, and it has not been this way in the past. If I am in Finland and I change the site display preferences to use the country UK or USA and language English, then IMDB should show the title as the ORIGINAL english title, just like it would if I was in the UK. Otherwise what is the point in changing the country setting. Rotten Tomatoes and other sites have no problem doing this, even Netflix gets it right. I would have noticed before if this was not happening for IMDB.

I submit then this is a bug and should be fixed, rather than expect users to go and change every single title.
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DrakeStraw

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I responded to a message board post today that demonstrates that this bug is still unresolved. Changing every title is an extreme kludge that can be avoided with proper programming.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120338/b...
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Neo Draig

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I don't know who put that thread as "not a problem" but IT IS A PROBLEM!!!!

What is the IMDB staff wating for to fix the problem, that we're begging them again and again???

But apparently they really don't give a fuck about the problem and most importantly us!!!

But now the poblem is worse, almost all the titles are in French for me (weirdly the French movie "Intouchables" has its title displayd in English :o )

However the fix is really simple, just get rid of that damn IP check and just display the site according to my damn settings. What's the point of having settings if they're not used?!!
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Emperor, Champion

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This is marked as Not a Problem because it is dealing with a different, earlier problem. See my reply above:

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
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SP

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Don't worry people, the titles are still all messed up, but hey, we now have avatars!!! ‘Cause you gotta have priorities, right?

As I said before, as the OP of this topic I realized that trying to get IMDb to listen to its users is a lost cause. I still go to the site to rate movies, which I probably shouldn't, but old habits die hard. All my other movie related activities I moved them to Mubi.

It's incredibly frustrating to see that this topic is one of the most complained about problems on getsatisfaction (and in the old Help boards as well) and it was put aside by the staff. You can say all you want, but this is a problem. A big one. The thing is, people in the US, UK, Australia and other English speaking countries don’t suffer with this problem, and I gather that’s the biggest community on IMDb, so why would they spend their precious time trying to fix a problem that means little to none traffic loss to the website? Especially if that time can be spend adding useless features like avatars and badges.

I understand the logic behind tagging this as “not a problem”. I really do. It’s an issue in the fall back logic and the data will have to be added to fix it. Got it. But submitting the correct titles would take months, if not years! This seems to happen to thousands of titles and apparently there is no possible way of knowing which ones! Not to mention that, as I stated before, some of the titles I’ve submitted weren’t even approved. Why? Because I was submitting titles that already exist in the database, just not under the USA aka. Does that make any sense, that someone should spend several hours submitting titles that are already there?

The key thing here is: this didn’t happen before! I believe that’s the main reason why people in here don’t understand why this is not seen as a problem. Because you (the programming staff) created a bug which wasn’t there in the first place, and when we (the users) ask you to fix it, the answer was simply “Here, this is how you can do it. Now you fix it!”. That’s crazy! As DrakeStraw said, all this can be avoided with proper programming. It shouldn’t be hard after all, because you have been doing it right for several years before creating this mess. Just revert back to the old logic or look deeply into the code and the changes that may have introduced this bug. Or fire the clearly negligent programmers you have and hire new, better programmers. Just don’t ask us to do all the work while the site profits from it.

End of rant.
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DrakeStraw

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SP,

You're right about the mess. The IMDb.com site is too big for the current programming staff to handle. It's like a Hydra. If they fix one bug, two will rise up to replace it because it is beyond manageable. If they hire new programmers they likely won't be familiar with the old nineties style of programming that is too ingrained to allow for the innovation they need.
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mike

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Any time a developer tries to guess at what the user wants, it turns out badly. Machines make incorrect assumptions (like the assumption that a person is in the country or speaks the language of the country that their IP resolves to), and, based on those assumptions, they make incorrect decisions. The result is a bunch of annoyed users trying to jump through hoops to workaround those decisions. In theory it sounds like it's going to make things easier, faster, or, "more personalized," but in practice it never does.

Users are not children. They can make their own decisions. Especially in a case like this where it's unbelievably simplistic to do so, with zero ambiguity and the mechanisms already in place. If someone wants English they go to .com, if they want French they go to .fr, etc. This is pretty straight-forward.

I understand that all other TLD's now redirect to .com, but hey, there's a solution to the problem right there. Instead of looking at the visitor's IP, check for a re-direct from another TLD and set a session cookie to use the associated language. If there's no redirect from another country's TLD, assume .com and default to U.S. English.

That's like - what? - 10 lines of code at the most, and maybe a few minutes mapping TLD's to countries if such a mapping doesn't already exist. You could literally do that in like ten minutes, and it would provide a much better user experience than the frustrating, inconsistent, IP-based best-guess system you've for in place now.
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Neo Draig

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One thing I really can't understand is why IMDB strives to put the titles in the local language when the entire site is in English.

What's the point of going on a site when you can't understand anything but the titles?
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Tupac Amaru

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Yea this not make sense !!!
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R S

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Imdb staff & programmers are arrogant arseholes!
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Carina Lindberg

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This is just ignorant and stupid by imdb. I do not wish to log in every time I want to look up an actor for instance. I am Swedish, but I live in Spain and I want the titles in original language. If type in an actor to have a look at what he has done, maybe to see where I have seen him previously, It doesn't help me when I get to see most of the titles in Spanish, because I don't know the Spanish title because I don't watch the films in Spanish. The Spanish translate and dub EVERYTHING! I find more helpful information on Wikipedia than do here, because I have to guess the titles or google them in Spanish to find the original title, and I will not get imdb as a search result for that.

But, it looks like imdb is actually not interested in keeping users on their site. Oh and did I mention that at a few occasions I have gotten results on a title list in English, Spanish AND Swedsh! And that on films I know have the original title in Sweden!

You better fix this problem if you want to keep your users, I am sure that I am not the only one finding their answers in other places instead of here!
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Peter, Champion

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If you access IMDb from your own computer, you don't have to log in every time. IMDb saves your login with a cookie. Registration is also necessary for many of the site's key features, such as voting, list making or contributing.
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Peter, Champion

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By the way, you may want to "+1" a suggestion like the following, which seems more specific to your issue:

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
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SP

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Good luck trying to get them to hear you about this problem, Carina. It's been more than six months since it was reported, we tried everything, but it's still "not a problem", according to them.

If you're looking for other film sites, Mubi and Letterboxd seem to be the popular choices. In your case Mubi may show the titles in Spanish at first, but, if you choose to show the titles in English in the language preferences, it actually works (!), which is a big step up from a website where everything only just kind of works. And the boards are also great on it, as well as the lists.

So, yeah, I would advice you either not to wait for them to fix this problem, or to find a big confortable chair in which you could sit and wait for a couple of years without hurting your back. ;)
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Neo Draig

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I gave up any hope that the problem will be fixed by the IMDB staff (what a bunch of stubborn dickheads) :-(

I've already asked but maybe someone could create a greasemonkey script to fix the problem as apparently (rather certainly) the crappy IMDB staff really don't give a damn about us !!!!

And by the way, IMDB staff, if you think I am disrespectful in my remarks to you, ask yourself first if you have been respectful to us !!!

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