An Intercultural Perspective on Subtitling Cultural Gaps for International Films: A Case of Fifteen Iranian Films
Cultural products, particularly films, are considered tools for exporting and diffusing the culture of one society to another. Films selected for international festivals are a case in point. However, subtitling such films for an audience of other languages is a demanding task. This challenge may negatively impact the films' qualification, although they may technically and aesthetically be evaluated and ranked on top. The attraction of the films screened depends largely on how successfully certain features of the films, such as cultural references, including the lexical gaps, are treated in English subtitling. The present study aimed to study the lexical gaps in several Iranian films screened at international festivals. To identify lexical gaps between Persian and English, as the international and common language of subtitling for international film festivals, Darwish’s (2010) taxonomy of lexical gaps is used, and to explore how they were handled in the English subtitles, Pederson’s (2011) source-oriented, target-oriented, and neither-source-nor-target oriented subtitling strategies were employed. The results revealed that cultural substitution and generalization (paraphrasing) were two target-oriented strategies more frequently used in subtitling the lexical gaps and cultural terms.
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