Sometimes the nuances of language get lost in translation. Just ask Chinese filmgoers, who are experiencing that issue firsthand when they go see Avengers: Age of Ultron.
As we saw last year with the Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team, better known as The Guardians of the Galaxy, Chinese translations of American mega-movies leave a lot to be desired. Reports indicate the translation of Marvel’s latest blockbuster resulted in especially clumsy subtitles that are bringing many fans of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to tears. Yes, tears. What could be so bad that people are crying over it? Let’s take a look.
Chris Evans’s Captain America says: “You get hurt, hurt ’em back. You get killed … walk it off,” was translated as: “Run fast if someone tries to kill you.” Not really close at all. And at one point, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man tells his teammates, “We may not make it out of this,” but the line is translated as: “Let’s back off now.” It would seem Iron Man lost some of the fortitude he displayed in other films.
Not all of the translations are as bad as those. Some are just plain weird. At one point in the movie, Captain America says “I’m home,” and the translation wound up as “I’m good.” Later, a line about waiting too long becomes “I’m too old.” Our favorite has got to be translating “son of a bitch” to “my old familiar partner.” Calling someone an SOB as a greeting only works if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This isn’t the first time Chinese translations have come under fire for being so far from the truth. With the aforementioned title of The Guardians of the Galaxy came the line about Star Lord’s pelvic sorcery being translated to “rhetoric sorcery.”
Thankfully, there already reports going around that Chinese cinemas have made the corrections. It hasn’t stopped Avengers: Age of Ultron from raking in over $33.9 million on Tuesday, making it China’s biggest weekday debut ever.