The Representation of Non-Linguistic Sounds in Persian and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: A Comparative Study

Document Type: Original Article


1 M.A. Graduate of Translation Studies Department of English Language, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran

2 English Department, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran

3 Faculty of Humanities, Department of English Language Studies, Imam Reza International University of Mashhad, Iran


Subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is an area which deserves a special attention as it ena- bles these people to access to the part of the ‘world’ intended for hearing people, including the world of ‘motion pictures’, and particularly movie sounds. Compared to linguistic sounds, non-linguistic sounds have received little attention in the field of translation, although they are inseparable part of daily life. To address the gap, the present study aimed to investigate the strategies applied by subtitlers to translate non- linguistic sounds in English and Persian subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. To conduct the re- search, 25 out of 100 movies released between 2006 and 2016 with both Persian and English subtitles were selected. Based on Gottlieb’s (1992) translation strategy model, all the subtitling strategies for ren- dering the non-linguistic sounds were analyzed and their frequencies were measured. The findings re- vealed that ‘paraphrasing’ about half of the non-linguistic sounds, English subtitlers were well aware of their significance, while Persian subtitlers were neglectful of rendering the sounds since the most fre- quently used strategy in Persian subtitles was ‘deletion’. The results stressed the need for the inclusion of subtitling in academic training programs, especially in Persian Language context.


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