Subtitling Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) in a Chinese Context: The Transfer of Sexuality and Femininity in A Chick Flick

Lisi Liang


This paper explores how sexuality and femininity1 are transferred in the Chinese subtitles of the chick flick, Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). In order to address this question, the article is divided into three main parts. In the first section, a review of how the film is received in the Anglophone and Chinese markets is presented respectively, also including the challenges posted to the subtitlers, e.g. the translation of sexuality and swearing in the discourse of women. The second section offers a theoretical framework that structures the paper, adopting Ernst-August Gutt’s (1986) “Relevance Theory” and Anthony Baldry and Paul Thibault’s (2006) “Multimodality” to examine how the Chinese subtitles work for primarily the Chinese female audiences. What follows is a detailed analysis of two situational categories of recurrent features (swearing and sexuality) in the Chinese subtilties of this chick flick, specifically proving constructions of feminist ideology. The paper concludes that the Chinese subtitles articulates a relatively moderate version compared to the original explicit sexuality and taboo language. Such moderation reflects an increasingly improved entanglement of feminine identity in a contemporary Chinese context.


Subtitling, Sexuality, Swearing Words, Gendered Discourse, Bridget Jones’s Diary

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