Login/Register

AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 2 May 2024 Pp.30-50

Lost in Adaptation: Exploring the Phenomenon of Over-Translation in Arabic Translations of English Movies

Department of English and Translation, College of Science and Arts,
Jeddah University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author: woalsubhi@uj.edu.sa

Abstract:

This study examines the process of Arabic translations of English movies, focusing on their impact on cultural and linguistic fidelity. It uses comparative, textual, and linguistic analysis and audience perception surveys to understand the differences between the original English source material and the Arabic translations. The comparative analysis reveals significant differences in cultural references and humour between the two languages, with over-translation being a significant theme. However, the study acknowledges instances where fidelity to the source text is maintained, showcasing the translators’ success in preserving cultural authenticity. The textual analysis highlights occasional deviations from the original text due to cultural and linguistic adjustments, impacting the overall translation quality. The linguistic analysis examines translators’ strategies to bridge linguistic gaps, highlighting cases of over-translation and substantial deviations. The study also highlights translators’ challenges in conveying humour, wordplay, and cultural references within subtitles and dubbing constraints. Audience perception surveys reveal instances where translations fail to convey specific cultural nuances, indicating a minor loss of impact and understanding. The findings highlight the need for a refined and culturally sensitive approach to audiovisual translation to enhance the quality and authenticity of cross-cultural narratives.

Cite as:

Alsubhi, W. O.  (2024). Lost in Adaptation: Exploring the Phenomenon of Over-Translation in Arabic Translations of English Movies. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1), 30-50.

References:

Abu-Rayyash, H. & Haider, A.S. (2023). Options for Translating English Movie Lyrics into Arabic: A Case study of Netflix Arabic Subtitles of 60 Lyrics. SAGE Open, 13(2), 1-13. doi: 10.1177/21582440231177891

Abu-Rayyash, H., Haider, A. S., & Al-Adwan, A. (2023). Strategies of translating swear words into Arabic: a case study of a parallel corpus of Netflix English-Arabic movie subtitles. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10(1), 1-13.

Al-assaf, A. A. (2019). Translating Idioms from English into Arabic: Appointment with Death: As a Case Study A dissertation, Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, 2016). Arab World English Journal, 1-51. https://doi.org/10.24093/awej/th.230

Alharthi, A. (2016). Challenges and strategies of subtitling humor: A case study of the American sitcom Seinfeld, with particular reference to English and Arabic, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). University of Salford, United Kingdom.

Al-Jabri, S. M. (2017). Rendering of culture-bound references from English into Arabic: Subtitling and dubbing of personal names in children’s cartoons. Journal of Arabic and Human Science, 10(3), 17-42. Retrieved from https://platform.almanhal.com/Files/Articles/122285

Alkadi, T. (2010). Issues in the subtitling and dubbing English-language films into Arabic: Problems and solutions, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Durham University, United Kingdom.

Al-Kahtani, A. (2023). Translating Cultural Features in Arabic Subtitles of English Literary Film Adaptations between Domestication and Foreignization. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 7(2), 44-66. doi: 10.24093/awejtls/vol7no2.4

Altahri, A. (2013). Issues and strategies of subtitling cultural references Harry Potter movies in Arabic, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). University of Salford, United Kingdom.

Al-Yasin, N. F., & Rabab’ah, G. A. (2019). Arabic Audiovisual Translation of Taboo Words in American Hip Hop Movies. Babel, 65, 222-248. https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00090.aly

Al-Zgoul, O., & Al-Salman, S. (2022). Fansubbers’ Subtitling Strategies of Swear Words from English into Arabic in the Bad Boys Movies. Open Cultural Studies, 6(1), 199–217. https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2022-0156

Bekmuratov, A., Issakhan, M., Uzakpayeva, S., Zholdasbekova, S., Ospanova, Z. (2022). Innovations In Audiovisual Translation – Thematic Analysis of National Art Texts. XLinguae, 15(2), 156-163. doi: 10.18355/xl.2022.15.02.12

Chaaban, Y. (2015). Cultural Adaptation in Arabic Translations of English Movies. Journal of Translation Studies, 40(2), 89–105.

Debbas, M., & Haider, A. S. (2020). Overcoming cultural constraints in translating English series: a case study of subtitling family guy into Arabic. 3L, Language, Linguistics, Literature, 26(1), 1-17.

Di Giovanni, E. (2016). New imperialism in (re)translation: Disney in the Arab world. Perspectives, 25(1), 4–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676x.2016.1234490

Dikilitas, K., & Duvenci, A. (2009). Using popular movies in teaching oral skills. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(1), 168–172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2009.01.031

Gamal, M. Y. (2019). Audiovisual translation studies in the Arab world: The road ahead. In S. Hanna, H. El- Farahaty, & A.-W. Khalifa (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Translation (pp. 205–220). Routledge: London.

Ghazala, H. (2020). The First Arabic Encyclopedia of Translation. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Konooz Al-Marifa.

Gillespie, G., & Even-Zohar, I. (1993). Polysystem Studies. Comparative Literature, 45(4), 374. https://doi.org/10.2307/1771601

Hmidi, Z. (2023). Text and Context in Multimedia Translation. International Journal of Translation and Interpretation Studies, 3(3), 01-07. doi: 10.32996/ijtis.2023.3.3.1

Ibrahim, I. T., & Al-Ghazalli, M. F. (2023). A study of audiovisual fansubbing translation of abbreviations of the fifth state movie into Arabic. Journal of Namibian Studies: History Politics Culture, 33 (1), 99–120. https://doi.org/10.59670/jns.v33i.417

Jauss, H. R. (1982). Toward an Aesthetic of Reception: Theory and History of Literature. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Kennedy-Karpat, C. (2020). Adaptation Studies in Europe. In T. V. Petkova & V. S. Chukov (Eds.), 6th International e-Conference on Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences: Conference Proceedings (pp. 1-14). 24 December 2020, Belgrade: Center for Open Access in Science. https://doi.org/10.32591/coas.e-conf.06.01001v

Khalaf, A. S., Rashid, S. M., Jumingan, M. F., & Othman, M. S. (2014). Problems in amateur subtitling of English movies into Arabic. Malaysian Journal of Languages and Linguistics (MJLL), 3(1), 38-55. https://doi.org/10.24200/mjll.vol3iss1pp38-55

Khalifa, L. (2013). Translating Humor in the Subtitles of English Comedy Films into Arabic: A Case Study. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 21(1), 46–63.

Khan, H. (2016). Audiovisual Translation: A Comparative Analysis of Arabic and English Subtitles of Movies. Studies in Literature and Language, 12(2), 24–34.

Khuddro, A. & Husain, A. (2016). Audiovisual English-Arabic Translation: De Beaugrande’s Perspective. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 5(3), 212225. http://www.journals.aiac.org.au/index.php/IJALEL/article/view/2269

Khuddro, A. (2018). Linguistic issues and quality assessment of English-Arabic audiovisual translation. Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Kohli, C. (2020). The Replacement of Conventional Television by Streaming Services. International Journal of Research in Engineering, Science and Management, 3(10), 59–67. Retrieved from https://journal.ijresm.com/index.php/ijresm/article/view/337

Kosherbayev, R., Koshanova, Z., Zhuanyshpaeva, S., Kuandykova, D., & Mukhamejanova, G. (2022). Innovations in audiovisual translation: in enhancement of cross-cultural aspect in modern conditions. XLinguae, 15(2), 145–155. doi: 10.18355/xl.2022.15.02.11

Lutfi, A. (2012). Cultural Adaptation in the Translation of Film Titles: English into Arabic. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 20(3), 369–383.

Marie-Louise, C. (2020). The Cultural Dynamics of Reception. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 50(1):1–12. doi: 10.1215/10829636-7986553

Metruk, R. (2019). Using English Movies and Tv Programs for Developing Listening Skills of EFL Learners. Information Technologies and Learning Tools, 70(2), 227. https://doi.org/10.33407/itlt.v70i2.2488

Ranzato, I., & Zanotti, S. (2018). Linguistic and Cultural Representation in Audiovisual Translation. London: Routledge.

Rejeibi, R. (2023). A Relevance Theoretic Approach to Explicating Humour in Subtitling Sitcoms from English to Arabic. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00039086

Rishah, M. M. H. (2013). Cultural and Audience Considerations in translating Children and Family Shows into Arabic. (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Nablus, Palestine: Al Najah National University. Retrieved from https://repository.najah.edu/items/641d8ab7-8a04-4a37-90c9-fd5fb8eca0ea

Thawabteh, M. A., Al-Adwan, A., & Shqair, A. (2022). Subtitling Arabic profanities into English and that aggro: the case of West Beirut. Heliyon, 8(12), e11953. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11953

Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive Translation Studies – and beyond. BenjaminsTranslationLibrary4. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Trinder, R. (2017). Informal and deliberate learning with new technologies. ELT Journal, 71(4), 401–412. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccw117

Vermeer, H. (1989). Skopos and translation Commission. Heidelberg: Universitat.

Yahiaoui, R., Aldous, M. J., & Fattah, A. (2021). The Impact of Image on Translation Decision-Making in Dubbing into Arabic – Premeditated Manipulation par Excellence: The Exodus Song as a Case Study. Open Cultural Studies, 5(1), 66–80. https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2021-0004

Zanotti, S. & Ranzato, I. (2019). Intersections: Audiovisual Translation at The Crossroads of Discipline. Perspectives 27 (2), 173-181. DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2018.1557715

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Reddit
Email
StumbleUpon
Digg

Dr. Waleed Obaidallah Alsubhi is Assistant Professor of Translation at the University of Jeddah. He received his Master’s Degree in Translation from Sheffield University, and his Ph.D. in Translation Studies from Birmingham University, UK. He worked as a translation project manager for several translation and localization projects. He also works as Consultant for several institutions. His research interests are translation and cognition, translation technology, audiovisual translation and localization. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3831-0333