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In Guardians of the Galaxy, a human from Earth is taken to this other galaxy filled with many space-faring races. He was picked up when he was old enough to speak, and in the film we don't see any communication issues (besides idioms and metaphors). The various races and states seem to not have issues communicating between each other either.

Is everyone speaking English, or are they speaking some standardized language, or is there some translation mechanism in place to enable universal communication?

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Also, when he tried to play his Awesome Mix for Gamora –  Izkata Aug 23 at 22:31
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??? I have just seen the film and they speak in Spanish :-p –  SJuan76 Aug 23 at 22:35
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Nothing goes over SQB's head, s/he is too fast. –  RoboKaren Aug 25 at 3:34
    
@RoboKaren Well waddya know, I missed the :-p –  SQB Aug 25 at 12:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 20 down vote accepted

No.

As suggested by Thaddeus, and confirmed by the director James Gunn, there’s a universal translator that bridges the language barrier:

How does everyone speak English?

They don’t. In the mug shot sequence, you'll see that Quill has a translator in his neck.

James Gunn on Facebook (4 August 2014)

I didn’t spot it, but apparently it’s there. I thought he meant us to see the actual implant, but instead, it’s listed in his rap sheet:

enter image description here

Note the final line, “enhancements: translator implant in neck”.

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Are you sure that's his translator and not his folded-away helmet? –  Mr Lister Aug 24 at 8:05
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@MrLister: are you asking alexwlchan whether he's willing to consider the director a reliable source, or are you asking the director whether he's sure things in his movie are what he says they are? ;-) –  Steve Jessop Aug 24 at 15:26
    
@SteveJessop The first paragraph on TV Tropes: Death of the Author is applicable here. :D –  neilfein Aug 24 at 22:54
    
@neilfein: meh. The common but disappointingly narrow view that one can cleanly divide the information output of the author(s) into "the work" and "not the work", and ignore the parts that are "not the work" ;-p This might be OK if "the work" is literally the 121 minutes of the English-language cinematic release of the movie, but it falls over if you start to talk about "background" or "the world of the movie" and pulling in scraps of information from elsewhere. There's no inherent reason that a statement in an interview isn't a creative part of a multiple-media body of work... –  Steve Jessop Aug 25 at 13:14
    
While this is clearly the answer, I always hate this answer because writers/directors ignore it when it suits them: if you have a universal translator capable of translating alien speech so that Quill can understand them, including their idioms and metaphors, then it makes no sense that Drax doesn't understand Quill's own metaphors. –  Michael Edenfield 23 hours ago

In the Marvel Comics, commerce between the species is supported by universal translator common to the more advanced races. I suspect the MCU is utilizing the same technology without mentioning it.

In the comics, Starlord is fitted with a universal translator implant so he is able to speak with and understand known alien languages.

Video Clip from Guardians of the Galaxy, shows the notation for the translator chip in the lower left corner of the screen display.

enter image description here

Translator Implant: Star-Lord (Peter Quill) has a translator implant on his neck allowing him to understand various alien languages.

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This still is from the trailer rather than the film, right? –  Samuel Edwin Ward Aug 24 at 4:04
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I saw it in the film. I hadn't known it was in the trailer until I went to look for it. –  Thaddeus Aug 24 at 4:17
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@SamuelEdwinWard The "Obscene Gesture Imminent" censoring wasn't there when I saw it in theatres; we just saw his finger. It didn't make much sense that way. –  Izkata Aug 25 at 11:38

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