Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
[Teenage mutant ninja supernatural turtles]
Whoa, did someone sneak an extra word in there? Mostly an exact literal translation, except that the Chinese prefer to call the turtles supernatural turtles (神龟), or “god-turtles,” for the more literal-minded. Thinking this particular phrase might have some root in China’s rich cultural heritage, I did a Baidu image search. Hmmm. Lots of TMNT. No legends involving Guanyin and a massive turtle or something? I guess it’s not as important as TMNT. You know… the god-turtles.
Heroes in a half-shell
[Heroes draped in hard armor]
Hmmm… dramatic, but decidedly less turtley.
They’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team
[They take on the world’s fearsome challenges]
Hmmm, so these “challenges” the translator made up are fearsome, but the turtles are not? Maybe it’s because they’re god-like.
We’re really hip!
[We’re the greatest!]
This is actually less humorous than a ridiculous cartoon character from the 80’s saying “we’re really hip.”
They’re heroes in a half-shell and they’re green
[They are green heroes draped in hard armor]
Wow. Nice dramatic effect.
Hey - get a grip!
[Hey, catch up!]
Hey, a turtle is telling you to catch up! That is so cool but crude.
When the evil Shredder attacks,
[When bad egg Shredder comes to make trouble,]
“Evil”… “bad egg”… more or less the same right? Yes! …in Chinese.
These Turtle boys don’t cut him no slack!
[The supernatural turtle guys will not give him an easy time]
Now I see why they’re not referred to as “fearsome.”
Splinter taught them to be ninja teens
[Teacher Splinter taught them to become ninja youths]
And here you have the translator correcting the original lyricist’s mistake of not giving Master Splinter proper respect.
He’s a radical rat!
[He is a rat brimming with passion]
Ah yes, “brimming with passion,” the little-known synonym for “radical.”
Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines
[Leonardo is the leader, Donatello is a genius inventor]
This line has lost the ambiguity of “does machines,” but I guess we won’t miss that.
That’s a fact, Jack!
[This all is true, man]
Props for not using “杰克” (Jack).
Raphael is cool but crude
[Raphael is cool, but he’s a bit crude]
Nice! They even toned it down to just “a bit crude” to save him some face.
Gimme a break!
Yes, he is less crude in Chinese.
Michaelangelo is a party dude
[Michaelangelo is a mack daddy]
Well, it’s debatable whether 万人迷 means “mack daddy” or “ten-thousand men love,” but the real question is where’d the “party” go?
Ah, there it is.