28

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?

  • Also, when he tried to play his Awesome Mix for Gamora – Izkata Aug 23 '14 at 22:31
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    ??? I have just seen the film and they speak in Spanish :-p – SJuan76 Aug 23 '14 at 22:35
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    Nothing goes over SQB's head, s/he is too fast. – RoboKaren Aug 25 '14 at 3:34
  • @RoboKaren Well waddya know, I missed the :-p – SQB Aug 25 '14 at 12:45
41

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”.

  • 2
    Are you sure that's his translator and not his folded-away helmet? – Mr Lister Aug 24 '14 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 '14 at 15:26
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    @KutuluMike Not everything in one language translates cleanly into another even just for Terran languages; you can lose nuance/subtlety (or be forced to add nuance/subtlety that wasn't there originally), and trying to explain that nuance/subtlety could add too much verbosity to the translation. It's possible the translator just gives up rather than trying to explain metaphors to Drax. – JAB Mar 1 '17 at 22:30
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    Next question: If everyone has a universal translator, then why can't anybody apart from Rocket understand Groot? – Möoz May 2 '17 at 1:20
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    Easy: because Groot doesn't have a translator. ;) It could well be that the translators work in tandem so both parties have to have them. – The Real Bill May 8 '17 at 20:32
30

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 '14 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 Howze Aug 24 '14 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 '14 at 11:38

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