A comparative of subtitling strategies: culture specific items in the series Friends

Zhao, Han
Crezee, Ineke
Bitchener, John
Item type
Degree name
Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

The dissertation is based on the analysis of thirty episodes of the American television series Friends with the focus on the CSIs (Culture Specific Items) and how these differences have been handled by Chinese translators who produced the subtitles for the English-Chinese translation. The analysis was based on the assumption that Mainland China’s culture is different from the US culture so people in these two countries may have problems in understanding CSIs if they are translated literally and if the subtitle translation is not adapted to the target audience. Such adaptation is normally known as localisation. The cultural differences that are ingrained in CSIs might have to be handled with caution in the production of subtitles. The main objective of the dissertation has been to analyse different translation choices which are currently used by the translators in questions, dealing with CSIs where cultural differences between mainland China and the US arise. The research discovered that repetition of CSIs is a strategy which underperformed, failing to help the Chinese audience to comprehend the cultural connotations associated with the CSIs. The paper has provided some recommendations as to how the subtitle translation of such CSIs might be handled in such a way that the audience will have a better understanding of the same.

Subtitling strategies , Culture specific items , TV series , Friends , Politeness , Face
Publisher's version
Rights statement