Moments of relational work in English fan translations of Korean TV drama

Locher, Miriam A.. (2020) Moments of relational work in English fan translations of Korean TV drama. Journal of pragmatics, 170. pp. 139-155.

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This study is situated in the field of the pragmatics of fiction and audio-visual translation studies and explores renditions of relational work and im/politeness in the English fan subtitles of Korean dramas, as provided by the platform www.viki.com (Dwyer, 2012, 2017). An important aspect of TV drama as a cultural artefact are story lines. Within those the indexical potential of language is used (among others) for character positioning, character development, relationship development and (indirectly) reflection of cultural norms and expectations (Planchenault, 2017). Fictional data is thus an ideal source for studying linguistic ideologies about relational work. The case of Korean is challenging for subtitlers since it dynamically indexes relationships through a complex system of grammaticalized politeness forms and a set of honorific morphemes and vocabulary (see, e.g., Rhee, 2019). The Korean nuances often cannot be translated as there is no straightforward correspondence to indexes of politeness in the target languages. Nevertheless, the English subtitles give access to an abundance of foregrounded relational work moments. The paper works on 204 scenes (from 4 dramas) and explores in what ways the complex Korean politeness system and the fictional play with this system is made accessible in the subtitles for non-Korean audiences. Four themes emerged: (1) character address term negotiations; (2) character meta-comments on relational work; (3) character meta-discussions on role understanding; and (4) subtitler meta-comments on language and culture. The results demonstrate two main issues: (a) these relational work moments are intricately connected with (character) identity construction in the fictional artefact; (b) the subtitlers take an active role in translating cultural assumptions about relational work and lean towards foreignization rather than domestication.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > English Linguistics (Locher)
UniBasel Contributors:Locher, Miriam A.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:15 Oct 2020 13:20
Deposited On:22 Sep 2020 11:05

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