[Solved] difficulties of translating humor

Have you ever heard or watch a stand-up comedy? Did you enjoy the show? Have you ever thought about who is a hidden soldier who facilitates understanding and enjoyment? Have you ever wonder how long it took to translate this offer, which may not exceed 10 minutes? Alternatively, what are the strategies used to translate this type of humor? Or what are the difficulties that translator may face to complete his mission? On my research, I will highlight the most important problems that the translator may encounter during a translation of the humor and what strategies are followed in translation by analyzing a stand-up comedy show by Chris Porter.

It is not always possible to translate something, such that there is dynamic equivalence (Raphaelson-west, 1989). Translator divide the goals of translation for two forms, first translating for aim of dynamic equivalence, and second translating for aim of education. In practice and theory of translation, Nida & Taber (1982) argue a method of translation from one language to other language, which is ‘old focus’ contain message, style, rhyme, and other. They infer that this old focus is deficient: due to your focus should be in content, except if the form is a basic element of message because of language, because they believe of the importance to change the form of message in order to keep its content. According to Nida and Taber, the translator should maintain the priority of meaning and secondary for style. However, in terms of context it could be more literary than sanctification, such as poetry, drama, and humor, language form consider as an important part of their initial appeal.

About humor, it is one of the most prominent human characteristics and is almost part of his daily life and one of the most important elements in many literary works, movie, theatrical performances and others. When you deal with humor, you are dealing with a sensitive element, for instance suppose that you are sitting with you parents a simple joke could be consider as insult or worse. Moreover, a joke could be consider as crime if it talk about killing president, so in these type of translation you should be able to explain it. According to (Rahphelon-West: 1989), he mention just three type of humor, which are jokes, satire, and parody. In terms of satire, it was considered by Rahphelon to be a difficult type of translation, which I agreed with, because this type sometimes mocks the sanctities of a targeted culture. So sometime it is not possible for non-speakers of that language and those who are not familiar with culture to recognize the satire, and satire may lose its sense of humor. Translating humor differs from other types of translation, so translator cannot write about translating humor in the same way that one writes about other types of translation (Vandaele, 2002), moreover, (Schmitz ,1996) said: study of humor by translation students leads them to be aware in linguistic and cultural deeply. In terms of culture when translating cultural humor, and according to (Tisgam,2009) some of the mysterious elements and linguistic means may make the translator’s task in translating cultural humor difficult or perhaps the elements lose their identity during the translation .In this research paper Tisgam (2009) argue that cultural humor lost a sense of humor when translating it into standard Arabic, and researched about the possibility of replacing a culture ST with another culture similar to it, So that do not lose a sense of humor.

Therefore translator must understand the cultural and social facts, beliefs and common attitudes in order to understand the essence of the joke, then translate it In a satirical and understandable language for readers, Tisgam cite an example about that difficult which are jokes that farmers exchange among them may seem very funny to them, but it doesn’t seem funny to the educated, which support Chun (1977) argue that What is funny between men of uneducated society is not funny among men of an intellectual society. Culture may create great difficulty for the translator, as TL readers do not know the SL culture. Thus, the culture is an obstacle in the way of the translator trying to translate a cultural jokes SL to TL. Through Tisgam study, he found that if the jokes are funny in their own culture but not in the TL, a translator may invent new similar jokes, instead of translating the original. In my research, I will discuss a type of comedy, which is stand-up comedy. It is a kind of comedy, where the comedian performs directly in front of a live audience, while he jokes and talks about other topics in a sarcastic and funny way. In a stand-up comedy, the audience’s reaction is quick and direct, and very important for the performer, as the audience expects the performer to make funny jokes and stories one after the other. As comedian Will Ferrell said, stand-up comedy performance is often ‘difficult, lonely and brutal’.

From this perspective, Stand-up comedy makes a specific contribution to contemporary culture, providing a valuable place for emotional and reflective interaction of general culture and special intimacy (Macrury,2017). Giacinto Palmier (2017) argue in his research about the stand-up comedians who perform in more than one language about whether they are translating their shows and what are the challenges they face in the translation process and the methods used to deal with these challenges? He used beneficially his experience in a stand-up comedian in both English and Italian to achieve this study. To support the research with evidence, he conducted several interviews with Stand up Bilingual Comedians. Through the new theoretical model of the existing comedian text, Giacinto Palmier (2017) inferred that the first pattern aimed at bridging a gap in humor studies, and the aim of the second pattern was to bridge a gap in translation studies. And Palmier focus in his current studies is more target to the second pattern, and it turned out that according to Akai (1997) and Wilson (2011)focus on what call oral-to-written self-translation that mean a bilingual stand-up comedians provides an opportunity to study a new form of translation, which is self-translation . Through his interviews with the comedians and studying the evidence, Palmier found that the term self in translation is used to distinguish a kind of translation where the author and the translator are the same person and based on what was mentioned in the interview, there is already a need to write as part of the translation process and appears when the language equivalence is weak which form of a restriction for comedians. As for the strategies followed in translating this type, (Alharthi:2016) on his study provides thorough discussion and analysis of key problem in the translation of an English-language television comedy programmer into Arabic. His study concentrate particularly on strategies for the translation of humor in subtitling across two different languages and cultures, which are English and Arabic.

Moreover, Alharthi mention in his research the challenges that could be faced translator during translating this type of work. Because of the difficulties involved in translating humor from one language to another, Al-Harthy dealt with many studies such as the various factors that influence the process of translating humor, word manipulation, the role of translator, and humor collusion. In addition, there was an increasing need to understand the dynamics of translating humor, and he found that researchers treat humor in the study of translation as’ a form of social play’ where rules, expectations, solutions and agreements ‘are specific to culture, which means that understanding an specific form of humor requires a common knowledge for the source culture and a successful translation which respects the six sources of knowledge.

Al-Harthy mentioned in his study that Zabalbeascoa (2005) presented a complete discussion of the complexity of the translation of humor. Zabalbeascoa proposed two measures to avoid this complexity, namely ‘mapping’ and ‘prioritizing’. Mapping is intended to define and classify humor. With this procedure, the translator understands humor and becomes aware of appropriate translation strategies for each text. After that, the translator must decide which component of the joke should be prioritized. On the other hand, Al-Harthi said that the translator should not only make sure that the target language viewer understands humor in a particular text, but must be sure that humor works as a joke in the target culture. Al-Harthi has discussed several strategies that may help the translator in his process Translation, which are official equivalent, Retention, Specification, Direct translation, Generalization, Substitution and other strategy that I will mention in my research. Although, many difficulties involved in translating humor, it has been proven that comedies can be successfully exported to many cultures.

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