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Title: Recontexualising racial slurs from English to Arabic : a comparative analysis of subtitles in relation to translation strategies and socio-cultural norms
Author: Mujaddadi, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 4781
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Although Audiovisual Translation (AVT) studies have proliferated in the past two decades, studies that tackle AVT in Arabic are still in their early stages. More specifically, very few studies investigate subtitling as a norm-governed, micro-level process that reflects macro-level, socio-cultural structures. Therefore, this thesis investigates the subtitling of racial slurs from English to Arabic by utilising the principles of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS). It seeks to identify the main subtitling strategies that Arab subtitlers use to translate racial slurs in English-language films into Arabic and the ideological underpinnings behind those strategies. Racial slurs are seen as aspects of lingua-culture; their occurrence represents the ideologies of race and racism that operate within a given socio-culture. This study shows that racial slurs serve as tools for characterisation through stereotyping. Moreover, the study demonstrates how racial slurs are a manifestation of the audience design involved in producing a film’s script. A dataset that consists of 556 racial slurs found in 102 films which were recorded from Arab satellite channels is compiled. The study identifies transfer, decimation, imitation, resignation, and omission as the main strategies that Arab subtitlers use in translating racial slurs. After the main subtitling strategies have been identified, the dataset is approached from the angle of racial categories targeted by racial slurs. This approach forms the basis of the in-depth, qualitative analysis of several representative scenes from the films under investigation. First, the analysis focuses on racial slurs targeting Blacks, which are the most recurring in the dataset. Then I analyse the sporadic racial categories of Whites, Asians, Latinos, and Jews. Finally, I focus on racial slurs that target Arabs and Muslims, as these groups represent the members of the audience in the Arab socio-culture. The analysis shows that the subtitling strategy of transfer is more prone to be used with racial slurs that have readily available equivalents in Arabic, such as those that target Blacks and Jews. Reduction strategies are used more frequently with sporadic racial categories and with those categories in which finding an equivalent in Arabic poses a challenge. I argue that the subtitling of racial slurs represents a process in which slurs are entextualised from their original contexts and their linguistic and lingua-cultural layers thereby altered. This process serves as an index of the different ideologies of racism that exist in Western and Arab socio-cultural contexts. It also manifests the role of patronage in controlling the subtitling industry and the subtitled product that reaches Arab audiences. It can be suggested that Arab subtitlers tend to apply domestication as a governing norm in the subtitling of racial slurs, as the acceptability of the subtitled text for the Arab audience seems to be the main priority for subtitlers.
Supervisor: Lampropoulou, S. ; Kania, U. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral