Strategies for rendering multilingualism in subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing

Agnieszka Szarkowska, Jagoda Żbikowska, Izabela Krejtz


In this paper we present a set of strategies for rendering the presence of multiple languages in multilingual films in subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH): vehicular matching, explicit attribution, colour-coding and linguistic homogenisation. We also report on an online study among deaf and hard of hearing Polish participants regarding their preferences for specific SDH strategies. The findings show that, even when they do not know the foreign language involved, most participants prefer more informative strategies where indications of multilingualism are made explicit.


multilingualism; subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing; strategies; linguistic homogenisation; vehicular matching

Full Text:



Bartoll, E. (2006). Subtitling multilingual Fflms. In M. Carroll, H. Gerzymisch-Arbogast, & S. Nauert (Eds.), MuTra 2006 – Audiovisual translation scenarios: Conference Proceedings. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2013]

Betz, M. (2009). Beyond the subtitle: Remapping European art cinema. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Bradshaw, P. (2007). Two Days in Paris. The Guardian. [Accessed 20 April 2013]

Bradshaw, P. (2009). Inglourious Basterds. The Guardian. [Accessed 20 April 2013]

Calhoun, D. (2007). 2 Days in Paris. TimeOut. [Accessed 20 April 2013]

Díaz Cintas, J. (2003). Audiovisual translation in the third millennium. In G. Anderman & M. Rogers (Eds.), Translation today: Trends and perspectives (pp. 192–204). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Díaz Cintas, J. (2011). Dealing with multilingual films in audiovisual translation. In W. Pöcki, I. Ohnheiser, & P. Sandrini (Eds.), Translation Sprachvariation Mehrsprachigkeit,(pp. 215–233). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Dwyer, T. (2005). Universally speaking: Lost in Translation and polyglot cinema. Linguistica Antverpiensia New Series, 4, 295–310.

Emerson, J. (2009). Some ways to watch Inglourious Basterds. Scanners: Blog, 24 August 2009, available on [Accessed 20 April 2013].

French, P. (2009). Inglourious Basterds. The Observer. [Accessed 20 April 2013]

Fryer, L., & Romero-Fresco, P. (forthcoming). Audiointroductions. ADLab project.

Gottlieb, H. (1998). Subtitling. In M. Baker (Ed.), Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies (pp. 244–248). London: Routledge,.

Holden, S. (2007). Comprenez-Vous Woody Allen Films? Here’s a Paris Version. New York Times. [Accessed 20 April 2013]

O’Sullivan, C. (2008). Multilingualism at the multiplex: A new audience for screen translation? Linguistica Antverpiensia New Series, 6, 81–95.

O’Sullivan, C. (2011). Translating popular film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Shohat, E., & Stam, R. (1985). The cinema after Babel: Language, difference, power. screen, 26(3–4), 41. doi:10.1093/screen/26.3-4.35

Sternberg, M. (1981). Polylingualism as reality and translation as mimesis. Poetics Today, 2(4), 221–239.

Szarkowska, A., Żbikowska, J., & Krejtz, I. (2013). Subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing in multilingual films. International Journal of Multilingualism, 10(3), 292–312. doi: 10.1080/14790718.2013.766195

Wahl, C. (2005). Discovering a genre: The polyglot film. Cinemascope – Independent Film Journal, 1, 1–8.

Wood, M. (2009). At the movies. Inglourious Basterds. London Review of Books. Vol. 31 No. 17, 10 September 2009, page 18. [Accessed 20 April 2013]


Bender, L. (Producer), & Tarantino, Q. (Director). (2009). Inglourious Basterds [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.

Braschi, G. (Producer), & Benigni, R. (Director). (1997). Life Is Beautiful [Motion picture]. Italy: Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica & Melampo Cinematografica.

Delpy, J. (Producer), & J. Delpy (Director). (2007). 2 Days In Paris [Motion picture]. France: Polaris Film Production & Finance.