Chinese filmgoers have apparently been left close to tears by clumsily translated subtitles on new Marvel superhero epic The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
According to reports, the initial subtitle track for the film was so poorly rendered that fans of Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and Black Widow were left distressed and disappointed. A line in which 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.” Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man tells his comrades: “We may not make it out of this,” but the line is concisely translated as: “Let’s back off now.”
Writing on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, filmgoer Wo Jiao Sanzhiya wrote: “The woman in front me almost cried and said let’s go home, I can’t put up with it.” His post was retweeted thousands of times.
China’s translation industry has come in for criticism in the past, with Marvel’s popular superhero epic Guardians of the Galaxy debuting in the world’s most populous nation as “Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team” thanks to the overliteral attentions of a translator named Jia Xiuyan. The new Avengers movie was reportedly translated by Jia’s mentor, veteran Liu Dayong, who also worked on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Avatar and Titanic.
It is not the first time a Marvel movie’s efforts to cater to local audiences have foundered on the rocks of controversy. In 2013 bloggers cried foul over Iron Man 3 after it became clear that a number of locally shot scenes featuring high-profile Chinese superstars such as Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing were not going to appear in the version released to the rest of the world. The local actors’ appearances were described as “unnecessary”, with the Chinese trailer therefore labelled “misleading”.
It is understood exhibitors have moved to correct the rogue translation, and in any case the gaffe does not appear to have damaged the fortunes of Joss Whedon’s film at the box office. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opened to $33.9m on Tuesday, the nation’s biggest ever single day weekday debut.