Transcreating humour for (re)dubbing into Arabic


translation quality assessment
register variation

How to Cite

Yahiaoui, R. (2022). Transcreating humour for (re)dubbing into Arabic: creativity, register variations and meaning making between overt and covert dichotomies. The European Journal of Humour Research, 10(3), 151–167.


The transfer of humorous elements in audio-visual texts is a challenging task as verbal expressions heavily rely on witty wordplay and are visually bound. To overcome such a challenge, the translator has to have two particular skills: creativity and a thorough understanding of the context and/or intended meanings. This paper aims at investigating the realisation of humour in dubbing animation vis-à-vis register variation and creativity by comparing the Egyptian dub with the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) re-dub of Disney’s Monster’s Inc. Drawing on House’s (2015) translation quality assessment model, the data analysis reveals that resorting to colloquialism as a covert translation strategy provided a functionally adequate, nuanced leeway for the translator to capture the essence situational humour of the source text by relying on the on-screen visuals. Therefore, the translator quasi-assumes the role of an author to communicate interpersonal meanings as effectively and humorously as possible. Meanwhile, resorting to the standard variation as an overt translation strategy significantly deflated and sacrificed verbal humour due to the translator’s literal style and Al-Jazeera’s ideological orientation that shuns functional equivalence for the sake of linguistic homogenisation.


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