"It is expected to be broadcast on several US television stations in about six months," said Zheng Xiaolong, director of the show. As a veteran TV director in the country, Zheng`s other works include Desire (1990, Zheng was the producer), A Native of Beijing in New York (1996), and Golden Marriage (2006).
"The US company watched Legend of Zhen Huan with English captions and were satisfied with it," Zheng told the Global Times in a phone interview, but he refused to disclose the name of the US company or the local television stations that will broadcast the show.
"They will re-edit the opera into six episodes, each of which will last from 90 minutes to two hours, and some new music will be added," said Zheng.
Legend of Zhen Huan was actually already broadcast in the US last year, but was limited to some local Chinese language television stations, according to Cao Ping, producer of the opera.
"This time we will not be involved in its reproduction by the US company since we are not familiar with the viewing habits of foreign audiences," said Cao.
It remains to be seen how much a favorite among Chinese viewers will be accepted by foreign audiences.
"I have never heard of this opera, and I think most Americans probably will not know or care too much," said Anna Hill, an American who now works for a media company in Beijing.
On the website asianfanatics - a professional and comprehensive forum on Asian television shows where foreign audiences gather - discussions and downloads about Legend of Zhen Huan are few. But some who already watch the show have recommended it on the forum.
"(It was) very popular in the Chinese mainland in 2012. Very worth watching, although it is historically inaccurate," said Yimi, a member of the forum.
Legend of Zhen Huan faces many hurdles ahead. In the foreign market, Chinese TV dramas may arouse sympathy among some Asian people for their similar cultural background. But for other foreigners with completely different cultural backgrounds, they bring in more strangeness than recognition. Furthermore, the translation may erase some traditional Chinese culture elements and undermine its historic significance.
In Legend of Zhen Huan, the biting dialogue is a highlight, with some lines having become catchy symbols of the show. For example, "Jian ren jiu shi jiao qing," spoken by the powerful concubine Hua, has become a popular phrase now. In English, it literally means "bitches are hypocrites."
在《甄嬛传》里，一些尖酸刻薄的对白成为亮点，一些台词更是成为该剧的标志。比如，强势的华妃的那句“贱人就是矫情”成为现在的流行语。在英语中，其字面意思是"bitches are hypocrites”。
Limited by its translation, the depth of its original meaning is not understood, and the tones and feelings expressed by the speaker fail to be delivered to the audience.
There are many such examples in Legend of Zhen Huan, especially when it comes to the stories that involve so many different titles in a hierarchical society. "As to titles for different concubines like daying, changzai, pin and fei, maybe they can translate these into modern words, or even simplify them if they are too complicated to translate," said Zui Xiaoqi who has four years of experience captioning for English language operas.
"After all, people mostly want to know the stories, and it`s unrealistic to expect American audiences to understand the rules of the royal family in ancient China through just one TV opera," said Zui.