Translating swear words from English into Galician in film subtitles
A corpus-based study
As stated by Jay and Janschewitz (2008), the primary pragmatic function of swear words is to express emotions, such as anger and frustration. The main objective of the present paper is to analyse the translation of the two commonest English swear words, fuck and shit (Jay 2009: 156) – together with their morphological variants – into Galician. The research instrument used for this purpose has been the Veiga Corpus, a bilingual English-Galician corpus of subtitles. Regarding the results obtained in this study, the most frequent solution has been pragmatic correspondence, followed by omission, softening, and de-swearing. However, descending in the analysis, clear differences emerge between the treatment of the two words. Thus, the tendency to sanitize the Galician subtitles by omitting, neutralizing or smoothing swearwords is much more evident in the case of fuck. This finding may be explained by the difference in tone between the two taboo words analysed. As shit is considered milder, translators may feel there is no need to tone it down. In addition, while shit has a literal translation which is perfectly natural in Galician, that is not the case with fuck. Finally, the grammatical category variable has also been found to have an effect on the choice of translation solution.
Keywords: swear words, audiovisual translation, subtitling, films, English, Galician
Keywords: gros mots, traduction audiovisuelle, sous-titrage, films, anglais, galicien
Published online: 10 April 2020
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