AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 3. August 2023 Pp. 50- 68

An Analysis of Subtitle Translation of Mulan: Skopos Theory-Inspired Perspective

Department of English Language, College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Department of English Language, College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


English films, TV series, and audiovisual materials are widespread in the Middle East, and they require subtitle translation to convey the intended meaning and engage the viewer. Subtitle translation can be very challenging, and this is especially the case with cultural-specific items. This study will analyze the Arabic subtitle translation of the film Mulan 2020. The study aims to contribute to the literature evaluating subtitle translation in the Arab world. Therefore, the analysis will identify translation violations in light of the Skopos theory at different linguistic levels. To address the issues underpinning the violations in the subtitle translation, the strategies used in translation will also be analyzed. Moreover, using a questionnaire, the study will investigate the audience’s perception of the quality of the subtitle translation. The analysis of the data employed a mixed-method design. The findings show that the rules of Skopos theory were sometimes dismissed at the word and phrase levels in the subtitle translation. At the discourse level, the skopos rule was violated. The findings also reveal that the most used strategy was providing a literal translation. As for the audience perception, the findings reveal that the audience rated the Arabic subtitle translation of Mulan 2020 as fairly good. Overall, the findings suggest that the Skopos theory can be used as a tool to evaluate subtitle translation and help improve the overall translation quality while meeting the audience’s expectations.

Cite as:

Alsager, S. N., & Almohizea, M. I. (2023). An Analysis of Subtitle Translation of Mulan: Skopos Theory-Inspired Perspective. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (3): 50- 68. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no3.4


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Sara N. Alsager earned her Master’s degree in English Language and Translation from King Saud University. Her research interests are audiovisual translation and localization. ORCid ID: https://orcid.org/0009-0007-4626-5126

Monira I. Almohizea Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the College of Language Sciences, King Saud University. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Lancaster University. Her research interests include Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, and Translation. ORCid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3220-8266