A Times article by Dalya Alberge discusses the sad state of movie subtitling:
Films are being lost in translation because subtitling is increasingly being done in countries such as India and Malaysia to cut costs.
British subtitlers say that the original dialogue in some films is being distorted so badly by bad translations that they do not make sense.
They cite examples such as My Super Ex-Girlfriend, starring Uma Thurman, whose line, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for [sexual harassment]” was translated for Taiwanese audiences as, “We hold the highest standards for sexual harassment”. In The Princess Diaries 2, which stars Ann Hathaway, a reference to Sir David Attenborough during a discussion on insects was subtitled for Chinese speakers as Sherlock Holmes…
Britain’s subtitlers, who are compiling a list of errors, say that their job is not straightforward translation, but involves editing and rephrasing dialogue succinctly and with flair. They say that the domestic industry is in crisis, claiming that film studios are putting pressure on them to accept lower rates of pay or leave the industry altogether.
The article has further horrid examples, like a film where the line “Jim is a Vietnam vet” became “Jim is veterinarian from Vietnam.” Shame on you, movie industry cheapskates! (And thanks for the link, Pat!)