Difficulties and Challenges for the Translation of Subtitles in Showbiz-related Programs


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57 minutes

Learning Objectives

At the end of this Webinar, students will be able:
  1. To understand and learn how to face the different problems and challenges that they may face when translating showbiz
  2. To understand and learn how to face the different problems and challenges that they may face when subtitling showbiz
  3. To have a better idea on the opportunities this field may give them for their careers


This Webinar will talk about the difficulties and challenges of an area that is very demanded in the audiovisual translation field such as showbiz. Problems related to slang, vocabulary, cultural references and many others will be tackled in this presentation, which was quite a success at the Languages and the Media program held in Berlin in 2014 and the Globalization and Interpretation Conference in Warsaw, inthe year 2015.
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All of us were happy over Leonardo DiCaprio's so-announced Oscar. Who did not read many articles regarding this happy event and the memes derived from? And, going back to last year, many of us were sad last year when Robbie Williams committed suicide! And what about Kim Kardashian and her never-lasting relationships? Who among the members of the audience has not read about her zillions of marriages and splits, and all the fallouts therefrom?!
Now imagine you had to translate this kind of news every single day for OK! Magazine. A dream come true? Easy-peasy? How could possibly gossips, rumors, fashion, and scandals represent any difficulty at all? Well… not so fast! Are you a fashion expert? Are you in with the latest news on the showbiz? How in depth are you in pop culture? Not so much? Well, then this apparently “easy” job can become a real nightmare for you!
While many may argue that translating showbiz is not as complicated as a manual for heavy machinery, neither as vital and as legally engaging as a medical text or a contract, it does have quite a lot of challenges that translators must be aware of when carrying out their task for an efficient and, especially important in this industry, quick job. Showbiz world has some challenges worth analyzing and quite interesting for everybody!
Showbiz-specific vocabulary, slang, cultural references, non-existence of equivalents in the target language, and, especially, little time to research and to come up with creative solutions that may work to bridge the differences between the two languages- these are some of the difficulties you might find when translating a text of these characteristics.

Add to that the picture some subtitling-related difficulties such as character limitation, summarizing in 32-40 characters what the speaker literally bombs you with, and you will have a very difficult kind of translation that takes time and imagination to have a good command of.

So, what challenges will I face when translating news on Kim Kardashian? What topics will I face when translating show-biz related material? What vocabulary should I know?

To answer these questions, a little presentation on the aspects related to this world will be given in this part of the conference, based on the speaker’s experience in 2013 as a part-time freelance subtitling expert for E! Entertainment’s E!News in Venezuela, and with the subtitling agency Elrom Studios. This presentation has been divided in 3 different blocks for a better comprehension by the public:
  • The topics translators are likely to find in showbiz-related material and the difficulties they may cause while translating: fashion, pop culture, music, and others.
  • The second part will be on the vocabulary characteristics for this kind of topics.
  • The last part will about subtitling-specific problems in the area.

Upload Date

April 27, 2016

Trainer Bio

Juan Pablo Sans - I am Juan Pablo Sans, a translator specializing in media content for the combinations English/Italian-Spanish. I have seven years of experience in the market with different clients such as SDI Media, Alpha CRC, Seprotec, Treeloc, Frontier Developments, Sintagma, and many other agencies in the market. I am also a language tutor in Cambridge, UK, and a translation trainer. For more information, please check my website www.juanpablosans.com.

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