AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February   2021                                Pp.113-125

Translation of Idioms:  How They are Reflected in Movie Subtitling

Study Program of English, Faculty of Cultural Studies
Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia

Study Program of English, Faculty of Cultural Studies
Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia


Idiomatic expressions are expressions with a figurative meaning different from their literal meaning, and therefore, they cannot be understood literally. This study aims to scrutinize some aspects of the translation of idiomatic expressions in a mystery movie entitled ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Seventy-seven idiomatic expressions were found in the movie. The idioms can be categorized as follows: keywords with idiomatic uses (16) idioms with nouns and adjectives (2), idiomatic pairs (1), idioms with prepositions (7), phrasal verbs idioms (26), verbal idioms (5), idioms from special subjects (1), idioms with key words from special categories (16), and idioms with comparison (3). Phrasal verbs idiom was the most frequently occurred because idioms are mostly organized by verb comprising the combination of verb and preposition or verb and adverb. Further, the rendering of the idioms from English as the Source Language (SL) into Indonesian as the Target Language (TL) employed some strategies; translation by paraphrase was the highly frequent translation strategy. The strategy of using an idiom of similar meaning but dissimilar form was also located in the high-frequency position of the continuum. Furthermore, using an idiom of similar form and meaning and translation by omission were the translation strategies of low frequency. Translation by paraphrase was frequently used because the translator wanted to convey the meaning as clearly as possible while also considering the cultural difference between SL and TL. To sum up, the idiomatic expression dominantly used in the movie was phrasal verbs (34%), while the strategy that was mostly applied in translating them was translation by paraphrase (56%).

Cite as:

Manipuspika, Y. S., & . Winzami, D.R.J. (2021). Translation of Idioms:  How They are Reflected in Movie Subtitling. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1) 113-125.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no1.8


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Yana Shanti Manipuspika is a lecturer in Study Program of English, Faculty of Cultural Studies Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, East Java, Indonesia. She earned her Master’s Degree (2009) in Applied Linguistics from The University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research and teaching interests include Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Pragmatics, and Translation Studies. ORCiD:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3885-7232


Damai Reska Julia Winzami graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Universitas Brawijaya, Indonesia in 2020. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English language, in linguistics concentration. ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7448-9369