Subtitle Translation Strategies and Influencing Factors of Chinese Documentary- A Bite of China 1

Authors: Zhang Qi, Ang Lay Hoon (Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia)
Speaker: Zhang Qi
Topic: Language in Real and Virtual Spaces
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


With the implementation of “go globally” strategy of Chinese culture, a large number of Chinese films and TV programs have been produced to go abroad. As a medium and carrier of cultural communication, the quality of documentary subtitle translation determines whether Chinese culture can be appropriately disseminated or not. The object of study in this paper is A Bite of China 1 produced by CCTV in 2012, which is not only about Chinese foods but also geography, local customs and dietary habit. Firstly, by using comparative approach, the linguistic characteristics are discussed to identify the similarities and differences between source and translated subtitles. Then the translation strategies and methods for dish name and cultural-specific words are examined. Next, the reasons why translator adopt this specific strategy or method is explored. In other words, such factors affecting translation strategies as cultural ideology is analyzed. The objective of this paper is to study what appropriate translation strategies and methods should be adopted when translating Chinese documentary subtitle into English. The findings show that domestication and foreignization are two frequently used strategies in the process of subtitle translation of Chinese documentaries. These two strategies are complementary to each other, so translator should consider the reader’s response and flexibly select translation strategies.

Keywords: Documentary subtitle translation, A Bite of China 1, translation strategies, cultural ideology