Translating swear words in Pulp Fiction: a comparative case study in DVD subtitles and internet fansubs
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:12 authored by Yousef Mohammed Sahari
Due to the prevalence of swearing in popular films such as some of those produced in Hollywood, it is a linguistic phenomenon that causes significant issues in cross-cultural adaptation when these films are translated for contexts where swearing is further from the norm, and is considered taboo. In line with this, the present study sets out to investigate two main research questions: (1) What are the translation strategies employed in rendering swear words into Arabic in the context of subtitles? (2) Are there any significan differences between the subtitles by professionals and by fans in terms of the strategies used? This study takes the film Pulp Fiction (1994), directed and written by Quentin Tarantino, as a case study. The data of the corpus is drawn from two versions of the film translation, namely the official DVD subtitles and the internet subtitles created by fans (fansubs). A quantitative analysis was carried out to identify the distributions and frequency of each instance of swear words and the translation strategies used in the official DVD subtitles and the internet fansubs, and to determine whether there are significant differences between these two subtitled versions or not. Based on the quantitative results, a qualitative analysis is provided. The results show that around two-thirds of English swear words have been omitted in both subtitled versions, although the words chosen in the fansub version tend to be harsher than those in the official DVD version.