A Master of Arts thesis in English/Arabic/English Translation and Interpreting (MATI) by Dana Bou Fakhereddine entitled, “Subtitling Swearwords from Arabic Into English in Capernaum”, submitted in April 2020. Thesis advisor is Dr. Said Faiq. Soft copy is available (Thesis, Approval Signatures, Completion Certificate, and AUS Archives Consent Form).
Subtitling of swearwords is an intricate issue that subtitlers of films, shows, and other audiovisual products deal with. For Arabic, the directionality is usually from English to Arabic, but seldom vice-versa. This thesis examines this unique situation by assessing the subtitling of Arabic swearwords into English in the Lebanese award winning film Capernaum (كفرناحوم ) (2018), produced by the celebrated director Nadine Labaki. The thesis focuses on the cultural and pragmatic functions of different categories of swearwords and the subtitling strategies and procedures used by subtitlers to deal with these culture-specific language uses. The data, consisting of a transcribed Arabic script and an available English script, was collected and categorized according to four categories: praying, excreting, slurring and mother (kinship). The subtitling of the Arabic swearwords was analyzed and the subtitling strategies and procedures were identified. It is concluded that domestication is the main strategy used to deal with the subtitling of the film and that idiomatic translation, pragmatic translation, omission, and condensation are the most adopted procedures by the subtitlers in dealing with the Arabic swearwords. Additionally, it is noted that subtitling of Arabic swearwords poses a difficult challenge for subtitlers because of the variations in Arabic dialects, and lack of research on swearwords, which are increasingly used in audiovisual products.