This is China's in theater subtitle version: 我得他妈的想办法活下去

A streaming video version: 只能开动脑筋想办法自救

Can you do better than the above? Namely by incorporating science into it, both of which don't include the science bit.

Why didn't the translations use 科学 as a verb? It seems many words serve as a noun or a verb.

Something like this -只能开动脑筋用科学想办法自救 ?

  • 1
    I haven't seen this movie, so I don't know the context of "science". But among the translations given above, I feel "我得他妈的想办法活下去" is the most suitable one to convey the same emotion of the original line.
    – Stan
    Dec 4, 2015 at 14:00
  • Thanks - others have told me this too. The context, without spoilers, is to get a lot more out of the things you have given limited resources.
    – Steve
    Dec 5, 2015 at 15:43
  • sorry but I still can't get the figurative meaning of the word "science" in that line. Anyway, so far I have never seen 科学 used in a similar Chinese context, therefore it's not necessary to stick to it.
    – Stan
    Dec 5, 2015 at 18:00
  • 2
    Remember that "science" isn't used as a verb in English normally either. I think translating it to a normal-sounding sentence don't do the original wording justice. @Stan: Think of it as "I'm going to use science to really solve this problem."
    – Olle Linge
    Dec 6, 2015 at 19:52
  • 1
    I've seen the movie; I'm not sure that that gives that much insight. A native English speaker who's comfortable with slang will recognize that the pragmatic effects of verbing "science" (which is of course usually a noun) are to (a) indicate that science will be central to the character's action; but also importantly, (b) the action is aggressive and quite possibly counter to the original intent of the tools used. If we were to use a hammer as an electrode, for instance, that might be "science-ing the s*** out of" the situation.
    – Brian Tung
    Dec 8, 2015 at 21:00

3 Answers 3


科学 could indeed function as a static verb, but it is not recognized as a regular verb. Neither was 和谐, until it became a fad using it to criticize mainland politics (as in 他被和谐了). As in English, you could formally make most nouns verbs, but it only works if people understand the logic behind the transformation.

As for 科学, you could probably use the 化 suffix to accomplish what you want: 要科学化这个该死的问题想个办法。


Not knowing what "science" means in the movie, I would tentatively render it as follows, keeping in mind the key point is to convey the resolution expressed in "the shit out of". 用我们的科技把它打得个焦头烂额。 Of course this does not sound like it would do for a title, but you get the idea. I count on you guys out there to give a better translation.


I explored The Martian subtitles available online, and found multiple that use science (科学 or 科研). (Below I leave the cuss words uncensored.)

The English is:

So, in the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option. I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this.

Chinese version 1

source (lines 455-456)

My translation: Success change is tiny, I have no other choice, I need to use [a] fucking science method to survive.

Chinese version 2

source (lines 512-513)

source (lines 513-514)

My translation: In this kind of miserable circumstances, I'm left with one choice, I need to do science to solve this annoying thing.

Chinese version 3

source (lines 455-457)

My translation: In this overwhelming disadvantage, I only have one solution, that is "to put into practice real knowledge".

Chinese version 4

source (lines 500-503)

My translation: In this overwhelming disadvantage, I only have one solution, use science to ruthlessly fuck it.

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