Subtitling Chinese Humour: the English Version of A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

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Author: Yilei Yuan, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Email: y.yuan.1@research.gla.ac.uk
Published: January 2016
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.2.1.07

Citation: Yuan, Y. (2016). Subtitling Chinese Humour: the English Version of A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009). IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.2.1.07


Abstract

Zhang Yimou is one of the most critically acclaimed Chinese film directors and he has touched upon a wide range of themes in his more than two decades of film directing. In 2009, his A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (or Zhang’s Blood Simple) was a new experiment and adventure. Adapted from the Coen brothers’ directorial debut, this film stands out as a dark film noir as well as a comedy. Humour is one of the most dominant features of this film. Subtitling the humour is considered challenging and thus multiple humorous conversations are deleted in the English version. Explicitation is a strategy frequently resorted to in the humour subtitling of this film. However, the humorous effect is not satisfactorily reproduced or is weakened or even eliminated in the English version given that certain weak subtitles are provided. Apart from verbal humour created with language, non-verbal humour is prominent in this screwball and slapstick comedy and mise-en-scene is very well applied to convey the visual jokes. This paper will discuss explicitation as a primary strategy in subtitling, with a focus on omitted scenes, and will investigate non-verbal humour with two aspects of mise-en-scene.

Keywords

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, humour, explicitation, omitted scenes, mise-en-scene.