• Marvel Studios Hall H Panel

Marvel Studios Hall H Panel (Photo : Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

When “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” open in China on May 5, another controversy is expected to hound a Chinese female subtitle translator. Criticisms over her translation in past Hollywood movies shown in China are not new to Jia Xiuyan.

Buzzwords Popular in China

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She had experienced it when she translated the English words into Chinese language subtitles for “Men in Black 3,” “Pacific Rim” and “Long Halftime Walk,” Global Times reported. The controversy stems from Jia Xiuyan’s use of buzzwords currently popular in China.

The female translator cited her use of the term “gutter oil” for cooking oil illicitly used for cooking street food because it is waste oil which was a health issue in 2012 when Jia Xiuyan translated the subtitles for the film “Men in Black 3.” Moviegoers debated if her style of adventurous translation was proper.

However, she clarified that her translation passes through three more people who are involved in making decisions when it comes to correct use of words. The subtitles are also approved by the original production company, the subtitle typist and the Chinese distributors of the movie.

Translation OK with Chinese Distributors of Film

It involves striking a balance between being faithful to the original English word or trying localized translations that would be more dynamic which often is the case when the translator is young like Jia Xiuyan who is in her 30s. She shared that her translation was approved by the Chinese distributors of the film.

Ahead of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” debut in China, Gudabaihua, a popular movie and film translator in China, in a blog post on Sina Weibo, said Jia Xiuyan’s translation was wrong. He said it resulted in all the comedy from the punch lines lost.

The movie opens simultaneously in North America. Deadline Hollywood reported that Disney expects to earn an opening box office between $140 million and $160 million when the film premieres on Friday in 4,300 cinemas in the U.S. and Canada.