Non-professional Subtitling in Italy: the Challenges of Translating Humour and Taboo Language

Giulia Magazzù


Fansubbing is one of the most common forms of non-professional audiovisual translation today, whose popularity is increasing thanks to digital technology advances. This happens especially in countries like Italy, where English is not the official language. The fansubbing phenomenon is at the same time a source of entertainment and knowledge, and it gives the possibility to fans to watch their favourite programme in their language. Despite being an illegal activity, the phenomenon has several benefits both for the programme itself and for the audience. Through the analysis of the amateur translation of the subtitles of an episode of Vicious, this paper will attempt to show the main translational differences between mainstream subtitling and fansubbing, focusing on the rendering of humour and taboo language.


Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Bączkowska, Anna (2015). Quantitative study of non-professional subtitles and implications for corpus-based translator training. In: R. Antonini, C. Bucaria eds. 2015. Non-professional Interpreting and Translation in the Media. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Pp. 89-111.

Beseghi, Micol (2013). Having Fun in the classroom: Subtitling activities. Cercles 2013. 3(2), pp. 395-407.

Bold, Bianca (2011). The power of fan communities: an overview of fansubbing in Brazil. Tradução em Revista. 2, p.1-19.

Bruti, Silvia, Zanotti, Serenella (2015). Non-professional subtitling in close-up: study of interjections and discourse markers. In: R. Antonini, C. Bucaria, eds. 2015. Non- professional Interpreting and Translation in the Media. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH. Pp. 231-256.

Bucaria, Chiara (2015). “I didn’t think it was appropriate”: Considerations on taboo humour in the subtitling classroom. In: R. Antonini, C. Bucaria, eds. 2015. Non-professional Interpreting and Translation in the Media. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH. Pp. 67-87.

Chiaro, Delia (2005). Foreword. Verbally Expressed Humor and translation: An overview of a neglected field. Humor. 18(2), pp. 135-145.

Chiaro, Delia (2006). Verbally Expressed Humour on Screen: Reflections on Translation and Reception. The Journal of Specialized Translation. 6, pp. 198-208.

Díaz Cintas, Jorge (2013). Sobre comunicación audiovisual, Internet, ciberusuarios… y subtítulos. In: J.J. Martínez Serra, ed. Reflexiones sobre la traducción audiovisual: tres espectros, tres momentos. Valencia: Universidad de Valencia. Pp. 93-107.

Díaz Cintas, Jorge, Muñoz Sánchez, Pablo (2006). Fansubs: Audiovisual Translation In an Amateur Environment. The Journal of Specialized Translation . 6, pp. 37-52.

Gürkan, Aln (2013). The translation of swearwords in the fansubs and original subtitles. MSc dissertation. Imperial College London.

Ivarsson, Jan, Carroll, Mary (1998). Subtitling. Simrishamn: TransEdit HB.

Lakarnchua, Onuma (2015). Examining the potential of fansubbing as a language learning activity. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching. 11(1), pp. 32-44.

Liu, Dayan (2014). On the Classification of Subtitling. Journal of Language Teaching and Research. 5(5) pp. 1103-1109.

Massidda, Serenella (2015). Audiovisual Translation in the Digital Age: The Italian Fansubbing Phenomenon. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nornes, Abe Markus (1999). For an Abusive Subtitling. Film Quarterly. 52(3), pp. 17-34.

O’Hagan, Minako (2008). Fan Translation Networks: an Accidental Translator Training Environment?. In: J. Kearns, ed. 2008. Translator and Interpreter Training: Issues, Methods and Debates. London: Continuum. Pp. 158-183.

O’Hagan, Minako (2012). From Fan Translation to Crowdsourcing: Consequences of Web 2.0 User Empowerment in Audiovisual Translation. In: A. Remael, P. Orero, M. Carroll, eds. 2012. Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility at the Crossroads. Amsterdam - New York: Rodopi. Pp. 25-41.

Orrego-Carmona, David (2015). Internal structures and workflows in collaborative subtitling. In: R. Antonini, C. Bucaria, eds. 2015. Non-professional Interpreting and Translation in the Media. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH. Pp. 211-230.

Pedersen, Jan (2005). How is Culture Rendered in Subtitles?. MuTra 2005 – Challenges of Multidimensional Translation: Conference Proceedings. Pp. 1-18.

Pérez-González, Luis (2012). Amateur Subtitling and the pragmatics of spectatorial subjectivity. Language and Intercultural Communication. 12(4), pp. 335-352.

Rembert-Lang, LaToya D. (2010). Reinforcing the Tower of Babel: The Impact of Copyright Law on Fansubbing. Intellectual Property Brief. 2(2), pp. 21-33.

Venuti, Lawrence (2002). Translating Humour. Performance Research. 7(2), pp. 6-16.

Wang, Dingkun (2014). Subtitling Humour in Transcultural Context. Chinese Semiotic Studies. 10(2), pp. 267-281.

Wang, Fang (2014). Similarities and Differences between Fansub Translation and Traditional Paper-based Translation. Theory and Practice in Language Studies. 4(9), pp. 1904-1911.


Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.


HIKMA: Estudios de Traducción recibe contribuciones en todas las áreas de investigación relacionadas con el ámbito de Traducción e Interpretación incluyendo estudios de traducción e interpretación, traducción literaria, traducción especializada, lenguajes de especialidad, documentación aplicada a la traducción y a la interpretación, lingüística aplicada, didáctica de la traducción y la interpretación, lingüística de corpus, localización, terminología, etc.

Los artículos deberán tener entre 7000 – 10000 palabras.

Lenguas de publicación: español, inglés y francés.

HIKMA admite manuscritos en español, inglés y francés. Los números anteriores se pueden consultar de forma gratuita en:

La recepción de manuscritos se realizará a través del sistema OJS, para ello es necesario darse de alta en:

Todos los manuscritos han de respetar la guía del autor y la plantilla disponible en:

Para más información, diríjase a: