AWEJ for translation & Literary Studies volume, 1 Number1, February 2017                                       Pp.48-64

Fansubbing in the Arab World: Modus Operandi and Prospects

Hani Abdulla Eldalees

College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha- Qatar

Amer Al-Adwan

College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha- Qatar

Rashid Yahiaoui

College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha- Qatar



Abstract PDF

This paper analyzes the subtitles generated by Arab amateur subtitlers, who are commonly known as fansubbers. The study is based on scrutinizing two copies of the film The Wolf of Wall Street which has been subtitled by fans in two different Arab countries, Jordan and Lebanon.  The study is designed to analyze the Arabic subtitles generated in each DVD to understand how subtitlers from each country deal with different problematic issues and distasteful topics in the film, including utterances related to sexuality, swear words andreferences to embarrassing bodily functions. The study applies the model of euphemisation in subtitling proposed by Al-Adwan(2015) which has beenderived primarily from two existing models of euphemisation presented by Williams (1975) and Warren (1992). The applied model has managed to address the majority of the problematic instances and has also identified strategies adopted to tackle them in the Arabic subtitles. However, the model has not been able to account for other instances found in both DVDs where subtitlers also used dysphemism as a translation strategy. The analysis reveals that fansubbers do not only use euphemism but also dysphemism in their Arabic subtitles when translating certain problematic utterances.

Cite as:

Eldalees, H.A. Al-Adwan, A. & Yahiaoui, R. (2017). Fansubbing in the Arab World: Modus Operandi and Prospects. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 1(1).


Hani Abdulla Eldalees
got his Bachelor degree in 2000 from the Thompson Rivers University in Canada in software
engineering. In 2016 he got his Master’s degree from Translation and Interpreting Institute which
part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in Hamad BinKhalifa University in Qatar.
He is currently an active member in the Open Translation Project where he translates different
TED video clips into Arabic to enrich the Arabic content on the Internet. He is currently one of
the top 10 of the most active members of the Arabic language translation on TED.com.

Dr. Amer Al-Adwan is currently an Assistant Professor of Audiovisual Translation in the
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University. He received his BA
in English Language and Literature from Yarmouk University, Jordan in 2003, and his MA in
Applied Translation in 2005 from the University of Exeter, UK. He also obtained his doctorate in
Translation and Intercultural Studies from the University of Manchester in 2009. Before joining
HBKU, he worked at Jordan University and the Applied Science University, Jordan, as an
assistant professor, where he taught several courses of translation and intercultural studies. He
also worked for few international institutions, including BBC Arabic and Aljazeera English, as a
translator and a subtitler. His research interests focus on audiovisual translation, discourse
analysis, intercultural studies, politeness theory, and media translation.

Dr. Rashid Yahiaoui is currently an assistant professor and the coordinator of the MA program
in Audiovisual Translation at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of Hamad bin
Khalifa University. He has a Ph.D. in Translation Studies from London Metropolitan University,
UK, and a Master in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Salford, UK. Prior to
joining TII, Dr. Yahiaoui worked at Yanbu University College, KSA, for eight years where he
taught translation and interpreting, EFL, and academic writing. He also has extensive experience
as a professional interpreter, as he worked for the Foreign Office and National Health Service in
the UK for over 10 years.