image of Subtitling strategies of swear words in the stand-up comedy Mo Amer: Muhammad in Texas
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Stand-up comedies often employ swear words as a technique to create audience rapport and playful discourse. However, translators face significant challenges in subtitling swear words in these performances for conservative cultures, such as Arabic. This research uses a qualitative and quantitative approach to analyze the Netflix special to identify swear words, their Arabic subtitles, and the subtitling strategies used and their frequency, utilizing Ljung’s (2011) swear words’ classification and Khoshsaligheh and Ameri’s (2014) subtitling framework. The results revealed that among the 174 identified swear words, “fuck” and “shit” were the most frequently used, at 52% and 16% respectively. Translators employed euphemism, deletion, and taboo to non-taboo strategies, with euphemism emerging as the most predominant at 44%. The strategy of subtitling via taboo to taboo was not used when rendering swear words into Arabic, probably due to cultural considerations for the audience. The findings enhance cross-cultural subtitling practices for stand-up comedy and promote inclusive and engaging experiences for diverse audiences. Further implications are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: comédie stand-up ; sous-titrage ; Netflix ; stand-up comedy ; jurons ; subtitling ; swear words
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