China Palace Drama Series to Air on US Network

A Chinese TV series about Qing Dynasty court intrigue in the Forbidden City has been sold to a major US network, according to Want Daily.

The series Empresses in the Palace is based on a popular internet novel about Zhen Huan who entered the royal court as one of Emperor Yongzhen’s many concubines. The episodes follow the progress of Zhen from a naive young girl to a cunning intriguer who ultimately succeeds in becoming empress and seeing her son become successor to the imperial throne.

The series debuted in November of 2011 and was recently sold for $7 million to a major US network for airing as a miniseries.

After rumors of the sale leaked onto the internet, China’s netizens tickled themselves imagining the potentially hilarious English translations that might result from the drama’s often abstruse old Chinese dialogue as well as the many piquantly Chinese character names.

The potential translations of the names of central characters might include gems like “Leaf Agree”, “Safety Always Here” and “Real Ring”, one web wit suggested.

A phrase that pops up frequently in the series might be translated “bitch is so bitch” though one seasoned movie translator suggested it may be rendered, “Once a bitch, always a bitch.”

Some of the most problematic and potentially hilarious translations may never come to pass. The 76 episodes of the series will be drastically edited down into a six-part miniseries with a new soundtrack, according to Jiefang Daily. The character names are expected to be transliterated rather than translated literally, it reported.