Article in:Target: Online-First Articles
On norms and taboo
An analysis of professional subtitling through data triangulation
Within Audiovisual Translation Studies, many studies have been dedicated to the subtitling of taboo words. Most of this research has been restricted to quantitative and qualitative data about translation strategies, with comparably less attention given to translation norms. As norms cannot be directly observed, their investigation raises methodological challenges for empirical studies. This paper proposes a model for the investigation of translation norms by triangulating data on observed regularities in the English to Portuguese subtitling of taboo words in a corpus of movies broadcast on Portuguese FTA (free-to-air, open-signal) television between 2001 and 2015, with questionnaire data on subtitlers’ attitudes towards the subtitling of taboo words on television. The results enable the identification of the most frequent subtitling strategies, their possible motivations, and the relevance of two contextual variables (time period and channel typology). Using the results, a (potential) norm regarding the subtitling of taboo words in Portugal is formulated. However, some of the data, both textual and extratextual, raise the question of whether there is also a competing norm at play.
Keywords: translation norms, professional subtitling, taboo language, data triangulation
Published online: 25 May 2021