Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

The Translation of Humor Language in Sitcom

Author DaiBo
Tutor LuoPing
School Shanghai International Studies University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords humor translation situational comedy subtitling
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Along with Globalization and the improvement of new technologies, the media offilm and TV programs have taken the place of traditional media and play a more and moreimportant role than ever. The way that humor is constructed and displayed in sitcoms isvery distinct when compared with other media, and the object of this thesis is all the moreunique as it is based and focused on political humor. It is also why Yes, Minister/PrimeMinister is chosen as the object for the discussion and research here as this thesis focuseson the humor language in sitcom is used and how it is presented in the subtitles as well aswhat kind of translation strategies is adopted.The whole thesis is composed of four chapters. The introduction part first explainedthe causes, significance, and means of the study, as why the specific sitcom Yes,Minister/Prime Minister is the object of study and why especially the subtitling of thehumor language used in it is focused. Chapter one reviewed the research done in the fieldof subtitling and the humor language translation and then points out that compared with thestudy done by the western scholars, the study done in China has started rather late and onlybeen carried out in limited area. However, along with the development of cross-culturalcommunication and the fact that films and television programs gradually becomes aimportant media in it, subtitle translation, as a tool better at keeping the characters of thesource language, is used more and more often, taking the place of dubbing. Thus it isnecessary and very important to value the study of humor translation in sitcoms. Hence,after the main concepts including “subtitling” and “humor language” is introduced anddefined, the brief introduction on what is discussed in the following chapters is made andthe object of research is once again cleared by the introduction of this sitcom. From chaptertwo to chapter four, this thesis classifies the humor language in sitcoms into three maindifferent categorizes, and uses each chapter to give a descriptive research on the translationstrategies of subtitling of humor language in Yes, Minister/Prime Minister. In chapter two,we focus on the humor language on situational level which is not so closely related to thedistinctive features of language itself. This chapter is based on specific examples andsummarized the strategies of subtitling of the humor language on situational levels. Inchapter three, we focus on the wordplay, or the humor language at linguistic level. Taking examples from this chosen sitcom, we summarize and discuss the specific subtitlingstrategies. It first defines the humor language at linguistic level and then summarizes thedifferent types of linguistic humor while giving a detailed research on the cases taken fromthe sitcom. Chapter four analyzes the humor language at cultural level. After introducingintertextuality and cultural default, this chapter tries to categorize the differentculture-based humor and further discuss the subtitling of these humor languages in thesitcom according to the categorization. Summing up the previous chapters, the Conclusionpart of this thesis reviews the merit and deficiency of this subtitle translation of the humorlanguage in Yes, Minister/Prime Minister while combining the constraining factors ofsubtitling. In the end, it summarizes the thesis and points out its significance as well aslimitations and the future research that can be done in the area of subtitling for humorlanguages in sitcoms.With more and more sitcoms being introduced to China, the subtitling of which willbecome more important. Due to the limitation of the knowledge, the research in this thesisis rather preliminary as it only focuses on the categorization and analysis of examples andchoice of translation strategies and thus the scope of the research have to be furtherexpanded. If further study could be done combining the different types of sitcoms withcase studies, the translation strategies can be better applied in subtitling.

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