An Investigation of Dark Jokes Translation Strategies in Persian Subtitled Versions of Joker Movie

Document Type : Research Papers


English Department, Tabaran Institute of Higher Education, Mashhad, Iran.


Introduction: Humor does travel cross-linguistic and cultural barriers. Humor is a crucial aspect of mass entertainment and intercultural communication. The translation of humor is also a challenging task for translators as they should have sufficient knowledge of the source and target languages to comprehend the context of the situation. Regardless of the growing interest in Audiovisual Translation, subtitling humor, particularly dark jokes, in movies remains on the periphery of translation studies. This study aimed to determine the strategies used by Iranian translators in subtitling dark jokes in movies based on Molina and Albir’s (2008) model.   
Methodology: The corpus of the study consisted of a crime and drama film entitled Joker (2019) movie. In the selected movie, 24 dark jokes were identified. To achieve the study objective, two Persian-subtitled versions of the Joker movie were analyzed. The obtained data were described using descriptive statistics (i.e., frequency, percentage) and the Chi-Square test. The obtained results indicated that Amplification, Literal Translation, and Modulation were the most frequently applied strategies in subtitling jokes.
Results: A chi-square test of independence showed that Iranian translators had different strategies in the subtitling of dark jack. Of different employed strategies, the literal translation was the first commonly used strategy.
Conclusion: The research findings can enhance translation students, subtitlers, and fansubbers’ understanding of the subtitling strategies being adopted by translators in subtitling dark jokes in movies.