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“Avengers” translator under fire for inaccurate subtitles

Apr 27,2018
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The translator responsible for Korean subtitles in Marvel’s latest superhero flick “Avengers: Infinity War” is under fire for his inaccurate translations.

The case has so incensed the public that some fans have even brought the issue to the presidential office. A petition on the Blue House’s website calling for the translator’s termination has garnered over 3,000 signatures as of Friday.

Park Ji-hoon has written subtitles for several superhero films released in Korea, including “Suicide Squad” (2016), “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) and “Captain America: Civil War” (2016). Nearly every movie has contained translation flaws.

“Even for ordinary people who don’t speak English fluently, it’s easily recognizable that this translator’s English doesn’t even reach a basic level,” the Blue House petition read.

The petitioner suggested corruption or nepotism might explain why the translator continues to get work on projects despite his poor translations.

In one scene from the recent “Avengers” movie, the foul-mouthed Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, comes close to delivering an expletive with the word “mother” and stops short. The Korean subtitle, however, misses the context and only uses the literal translation of “mother,” as opposed to a comparable swear word.

But perhaps no bungled translation has more angered fans than the final scene, where Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, says, “End game.” The line is translated in Korean as “There’s no hope.”

Aside from the translation problems, the “Avengers” movie has received the same complaint of screen dominance that accompanies nearly every blockbuster superhero release in Korea.

On its release Wednesday, the movie appeared on 2,461 screens around the country, a record for an opening day. It even topped last year’s period epic “The Battleship Island,” which opened on 2,027 screens. There are cynical jokes circulating that there should be “screen quotas” for Marvel films in Korea.

“Avengers: Infinity War,” which features a whopping 23 Marvel superheroes, has sold 1.58 million tickets in Korea as of Thursday, accounting for over 90 percent of all ticket sales.

By Jin Min-ji