Film Translation in Chinese Mainland and Taiwan – A Theoretical Exploration of Intercultural Communication across the Strait

Gina Chiu Chang


The film is a means of mass entertainment which has become part of our daily lives. As more and more English films are imported to China, intercultural communication becomes an important component in the mass media. It allows film translators to make adaptation based on the source text in order to create accessible text which fulfills the need of the target community. However, due to the eminent cultural differences, film as a branch of literary translation, when translated, critical factors such as history and tradition must be carefully reviewed. Film translators are required to make appropriate adaptations based on the source text, retain the intended message of the source language, and eliminate the cultural gaps so that the target language audience can better comprehend and appreciate the film correctly. However, even in Chinese speaking areas such as Chinese Mainland and Taiwan the linguistic translation strategies adopted in the same film are disparate. In order to improve the quality of film translation, we need to have some systematic theories to guide translators on how to make flexible adaptations. Hoping to provide a new perspective for common film translation studies in Chinese Mainland and Taiwan, this explanatory study of film translation focuses on the different methods adopted by translators during the process of translating a foreign film in Chinese Mainland and Taiwan through a theoretical exploration of the translation, attempting to find a norm and to formulate a guiding theory for translation in Chinese speaking areas. This paper attempts to construct a theoretical framework for this intercultural production. It first gives a brief introduction of the state of the art in film translation, its gaining popularity, and its empowerment potentials. Then the paper proposes to integrate different theoretical traditions in translation studies in order to formulate a conceptual and theoretical framework that could be used to better comprehend the social dynamics surrounding subtitling, editing, revising and marketing strategies. Theory of functional equivalence, relevance theory and reception theory are critically reviewed and integrated. It also argues that audiences and translators are playing a decisive role in film translation.

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International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

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