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Joss Whedon‘s Avengers: Age of Ultron has just opened in the world’s second biggest film market, but the film’s Chinese subtitles have already caused irritation among some of the country’s moviegoers.
At one point, Captain America says in the film, “I’m home,” which was translated as “I’m good,” Chinese webizens have pointed out. At another point, a line about having to wait too long becomes “I am very old” in Chinese.
Mostly, the problem is that the translations in Age of Ultron are too literal. For example, when Captain America gives some advice by saying “You get hurt, hurt ’em back. You get killed… walk it off,” it comes across in Chinese as “Run fast if someone tries to kill you.”
In another scene, Iron Man tries to rally the troops to fight to the death with the line “We may not make it out of this,” but for some reason this is translated in Chinese as “Let’s back off now.”
There are other translations that have been mentioned online or on social media as being way off. According to news web site Nanfang, the phrase “son of a bitch” becomes “my old, familiar partner.”
Writing on his Weibo social media account, filmgoer Wo Jiao Sanzhiya (whose handle translates as “I am called Three Tooth”) said he was shocked by the translation. “The woman in front me almost cried and said let’s go home, I can’t put up with it,” he wrote in a post, which has been retweeted thousands of times.
In China, exhibitors typically hire a translator.
Some commentators quipped that the translation for Ultron appears to have been done by Google Translate. According to Baidu, the translator is veteran Liu Dayong, who did The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Avatar and Titanic.
He was tutor to Jia Xiuyan, who translated Guardians of the Galaxy last year and caused strong viewer reactions, also because of his literalism. The movie was known in Chinese as Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team.
According to some reports, cinemas in China have corrected the translation already.