An intercultural pragmatic approach to English-Russian and English-German renditions of the formulaic "That’s what she said"-punchline in telecinematic discourse


rendition strategies
telecinematic discourse
humour translation
That’s what she said
idiomatic punchlines

How to Cite

Kirner-Ludwig, M., & Soboleva, A. (2022). An intercultural pragmatic approach to English-Russian and English-German renditions of the formulaic "That’s what she said"-punchline in telecinematic discourse. The European Journal of Humour Research, 10(3), 113–137.


This paper takes an intercultural approach to identifying and discussing rendition strategies of one specific punchline recurrent in scripted telecinematic discourse: That’s what she said. While this formulaic punchline demonstrates a relatively high salience in the US, particularly in oral and scripted genres, it issues more than one challenge to translators seeking to render it for other speech communities in a manner that acknowledges and retains the source pattern’s complexity as a discursively triggered and formulaic pragmatic idiom. We shall focus here on two specific target cultures, i.e. the Russian and the German, in demonstrating the challenges that this complex and linguistically as well as cognitively multi-faceted formula poses for its appropriation into either cultural sphere. Our study is based on a self-compiled parallel dataset of context-embedded source occurrences of That’s what she said and their renditions into German and Russian, thus offering immediately contrastive insights into the rendition strategies that translators have been employing to interculturally transfer this highly evasive idiomatic formula from one speech community to others.


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