Applied Linguistics

Vol. 56 (2018)

The Untranslatability of Dialects in Subtitling. An Analysis of Translation Techniques Used in the English Subtitles to The Peasants

Pages: 295 - 307

PDF (Język Polski)


The aim of this research is to estimate the degree of dialect untranslatability in audiovisual translation AVT. Polish regiolects may constitute a significant barrier to interlingual transfer. The problems with non-standard varieties of a language, which are frequently incomprehensible even to native speakers of their standard counterparts, can be overcome by means of, inter alia, explanatory periphrastic substitution added to the translated text. In the method of subtitling examined in this research, however, a translation of this kind is nearly impossible due to the broadly defined aesthetics of film e.g. time and space constraints frequently applied to the mode of AVT. Therefore, this article examines the hypothesis of dual constraint, which assumes a two-fold hindrance to a successful AV dialect transfer i.e. the lack of equivalents in the target language and the aforementioned aesthetic requirements of film. The corpus of the material researched here is based on the English subtitles for the screen adaptation of Chłopi — a Nobel Prize-winning novel written by Władysław Stanisław Reymont The Peasants; PolArt Video 2006. This article provides the theoretical background for the subsequent study as well as introduces its own classification of the translation techniques applicable to this particular piece of research as well as to other AV dialect transfers. The research part focuses on the research proper. The findings are briefly summarised and conclusions are drawn.


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