Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team—(Mis)translation of Guardians of the Galaxy in Chinese

Guardians of the Galaxy Chinese Mistranslation
Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team—(Mis)translation of Guardians of the Galaxy in Chinese
on November, 01 2014
    788
Guardians of the Galaxy Chinese Mistranslation

Image credit: Karen Gillan at the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy - Flickr photo by Engyles under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

When the hit movie The Guardians of the Galaxy opened in theaters in China last week, it was learned that the Chinese audiences suffered from the mistranslations of its subtitles. The errors even led to bad reviews of the movie.

The Chinese subtitling for the movie Guardians of the Galaxy was so poorly done that Chinese audiences were appalled. Many of them complained that the puns and jokes that were written into the subtitles did not elicit laughter because the situations and the dialogue were not properly understood.

Chinese translation errors

There had been so many errors committed in China due to poor translations, many of which involved menus, signs, product literature and more. While many have been making fun of awkward translations into English of Chinese signs, menus and warnings, many of which were shared over the Internet, this time even the Chinese themselves were appalled by the poor translation of the dialogue of a very popular American film, The Guardians of the Galaxy.

In China, it will not be possible to find a movie theater showing The Guardians of the Galaxy. It has been renamed and the new title given was "Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team."

A Weibo user listed about 80 English words that have been mistranslated. Rocket became a "small raccoon," which is not so bad. The phrase used by Star-Lord to insult the war criminal was "turd blossom," which was translated into "Big Face" in Chinese. John Stamos became Johns Tamo Si. Gamora's line, "Your ship is filthy," became "Your ship stinks." Star-Lord's line, "She has no idea," was translated into "No culture is terrible." The Star-Lord, while talking to Gamora about Kevin Bacon's power in "Footloose" and his way of teaching people to dance said, "He teaches people with sticks up to their butts to enjoy dancing." It became "He taught people how to twist ass" in the Chinese translation.

The company that provided the subtitles was HuaXia, which was also the company that translated other movies, such as Pacific Rim, Men in Black III, The Hunger Games and Skyfall.

Other poorly translated films

Movies are one of the greatest cultural exports of the United States. However, they can suffer from poorly translated titles and subtitles, since not all titles in English are applicable to overseas markets. China ranks on top in giving bizarre titles to films, but this is not an exclusive thing for them as there are other countries that did poorly as well. You can still say that they are also very inventive in the translated titles they come up with.

In China:
The Professional This Hit Man Is Not as Cold as He Thought
G.I. Jane Satan Female Soldier
Risky Business Just Send Him to University Unqualified
The Sixth Sense He’s a Ghost!
Pretty Woman I Will Marry a Prostitute to Save Money
Elsewhere:
Annie Hall Urban Neurotic (in Germany)
The Producers Please Do Not Touch the Old Women (in Italy)
Army of Darkness Captain Supermarket (in Japan)
You Only Live Twice 007 Dies Twice (in Japan)
Top Gun Love is in the Sky (in Israel)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory The Boy Who Drowned in Chocolate Sauce (in Denmark)
Drive Angry Super Speeding Cleaning Evil Accounts (in Thailand)
Lost in Translation Meetings and Failures in Meetings (in Portugal)

Incidentally, The Guardians of the Galaxy reportedly made $700 million worldwide so far and $30 million of that earning came from the Chinese market. It could have been more if the translation was done better.

AUTHOR
Day Translations Team

Follow Day Translations in Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter and be informed of the latest language industry news and events, as well as interesting updates about translation and interpreting.

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!