English as a lingua franca (ELF) in Chinese fansubbers’ practices
With reference to Rizzoli & Isles over six seasons
As a global phenomenon, English as a lingua franca (ELF) has been rigorously researched in many fields but completely ignored in translation studies. Based on a previous study, this study accordingly sets out to investigate the ELF phenomenon in the fansubbing culture with a specific focus on the notes and comments by fansubbers, arguing that fansubbing as a practice creates a space for dialogue between fan translators and their viewers that leads to the ‘empowerment’ of fansubbers as linguistic and cultural mediators. By examining specific screenshots of headnotes and comments by amateur translators with regard to six seasons of the TV series Rizzoli & Isles, this paper discusses background reasons for ELF applied by fansubbers, the implications of the ELF phenomenon in fansubbing culture, and the potential effects of fansubbing upon the audience in contradis tinction to the effects of commercial subtitling and upon the translation profession as a whole. Finally, this article hopes to shed light on Chinese fansubbers who in fact blur the traditional distinction between professional and amateur subtitling, and concludes that the specific language practices fansubbers are engaged in show – as both fans and translators – an unlimited degree of latitude from mainstream subtitling.