At some point we’ve all come across text in another language and turned to a online translator for help. But language is one of those pesky, nuanced things that can’t exactly be encapsulated with just a word for word translation. So when we run these translations, we often say “well, that can’t be exactly right, but I get the gist of it” and go on with our day.
Well, it seems the people in charge of translating Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s subtitles for Chinese audiences decided to pretty much copy and paste the dialogue into Google Translate, which has caused some audiences some real confusion. Despite reports claiming the mistranslations have been fixed, we can thank the good folks of the interwebs for reporting three odd mistakes in particular.
“Son of a bitch”
“my old, familiar partner” – Tony Stark
During his fight with the Hulk, Tony vents some PG-13 frustration and drops a good ol fashioned SOB into the mix. Chinese audiences got “my old, familiar partner” instead, which at the very least caused some confusion on where the romantic story lines were in the movie.
“We may not make it out of this”
“Let’s back off now” – Tony Stark
One is a statement of bravery. Going into a situation knowing the outcome may result in failure, death and destruction. The other… not so much. How this one got entirely flipped is beyond me. It had to have been a bit odd to see Iron Man say this and then immediately go into battle. Maybe it was meant as sarcastically as possible?
“You get hurt, hurt ’em back. You get killed… walk it off”
“Run fast if someone tries to kill you.” – Captain America
Well what can I say about this one. I mean really, the mistranslation actually makes more sense and is, in fact, more sound advice than the actual line. I’m going with the translation on this one.
Letting the linguistic chips fall where they may got me thinking about literal translations of other iconic comic book phrases. The weird thing was that when translating things like “With great power comes great responsibility” back and forth through Google Translate for most of the available languages it returns accurate translations. Even “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” barely changed to “Do not make me angry, you do not like me when I’m angry”. This means that whoever translated for the Chinese Ultron screenings didn’t even think to Google things and probably just guessed.
What are your favorite mistranslations from movies in the past? Let us know in the comments.