Towards Strategies for Translating Idioms in Arabic English Subtitling

Amani Mahmoud Ahmad Abd-el-Kareem
English Department, Al-Quds University
February, 2010
 
I am working for the Ministry of Higher Education in Palestine
 

Abstract

Abstract
This research sheds light on audiovisual translation in general and subtitling in particular, reviews major translation strategies, and specifically investigates the more frequent or common translation strategies adopted in translating idioms in Arabic-English subtitled movies depicting the life style of the Egyptian middle class. The results of the study show that the first priority is given to the strategy of translating idioms into idioms, whereas translation by paraphrasing comes in the second place with no considerable difference. Contrary to expectations, the results indicate a high tendency toward “transfer” and a low tendency toward other subtitling strategies, mainly those reducing ones (e.g., condensation, decimation, and deletion). These results indicate that opting for domestication or foreignization from the very beginning would determine what translation strategies and consequently what subtitling strategies should be used; for example, opting for domestication would allow for the use of idiomatic language and, consequently, translating idioms into idioms would be a first choice. Accordingly, the tendency toward reducing strategies in subtitling would decrease. In the light of this, an awareness of translation strategies and subtitling strategies are two main requirements for excellence in subtitling.
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