Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Expansion in Subtitling: The Case of Three English Films with Persian Subtitles

Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi1, Reza Rahekhoda1
1University of Isfahan

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


This study investigates the application of expansion in Persian subtitles of English films. More precisely, this study aims at classifying the different types of expansions used in subtitles as well as investigating the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the employment of each type, considering the time and space constraints which are peculiar to subtitling. To achieve this purpose, three English films, “The Net” (1995), “Contact” (1997), and “Mission Impossible 2” (2000), available with Persian subtitles, were selected for the study. To gather the required data, these films were watched and the Persian subtitles in which expansion had been used were identified and extracted along with their English dialogs. Then, the extracted Persian subtitles were classified based on the reason that gave rise to expansion in each case. Then, the appropriateness or inappropriateness of using expansion in the extracted Persian subtitles was descriptively investigated. Finally, an equivalent not containing any expansion was proposed for those cases in which the meaning could be fully transferred without this strategy. The findings of the study indicated that a number of reasons gave rise to the expansion of subtitles. These reasons range from explicitation (explicitation of visual, co-textual and contextual information), mistranslation and paraphrasing to subtitler’s preferences. Furthermore, it was found that the application of expansion was inappropriate in all cases except for those caused by explicitation of contextual information since correct and shorter equivalents, which were equally capable of conveying the intended meaning, could be posited for the original dialogs.

Keywords: audiovisual translation; subtitling; expansion; explicitation; mistranslation; paraphrasing



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