The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 7, No 4 (2019)

Audiovisual translation of puns in animated films: strategies and procedures

Elena Aleksandrova


The translation of the pun is one of the most challenging issues for translators and interpreters. Sometimes puns, especially those containing realia, are considered to be untranslatable. Most translation strategies and procedures offered in previous findings for the translation of realia-based puns are not appropriate for audiovisual translations of animated films, for either dubbing or subtitling. It is caused by the specificity of the target audience, and the genre. The problem of choosing the most relevant strategy and procedures for realia-based puns is underexplored. To narrow the gap, the metamodern and semiotic approaches are applied to the translation of puns. In accordance with the semiotic approach, a pun is considered as a type of language game, based on the use of the asymmetry of the form, and the content of the sign. The “Quasi-translation” strategy offered in this paper reflects the attitude to the game in metamodernism, where the “game change” is one of the basic postulates. “Quasi-translation” involves three types of translation procedures: quasi-localisation, quasi-globalisation, and quasi-glocalisation. The term, “quasi-glocalisation”, is also used to denote the general strategy for the translation of audiovisual works containing realia-based puns, which involves: 1) oscillation between the need to adapt the translation to the target culture, and the need to preserve the culturally-marked components of the original; and 2) the reproduction of atmosphere” (the common reality of the perceiver and the perceived). This insight can be used by audiovisual translator-practitioners, and university teachers in the course of translation theory and practice.


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