Blurring the Line between Professional and Amateur Subtitling

The Case of Thai TV Series, English Subtitles and Spanish Fansubs




Fansubbing, Thai-Spanish, amateur translation, audiovisual translation, indirect translation


Fansubbing has generally been characterised by particular features that deviate from professional subtitling conventions; however, recent research begins to show the complexity of the phenomenon and hints at how the line between the professional and the amateur practices is blurring [Dore and Petrucci 2021; Massidda 2015]. The case of Diary of Tootsies, a Thai comedy series and its translations is another representative example of the interconnection of professional and amateur AVT and the need to question the dichotomy between the two practices. This paper revisits professional subtitling conventions and the unconventional features typically associated with fansubs, and then maps them onto the subtitles in the indirect translation chain: the official English subtitles, used as a pivot, and the fansubs created by Spanish-speaking fans. The findings reveal several textual features that are usually attributed to fansubs can also be detected in official subtitles, for instance, unconventional uses of orthotypography, informal abbreviations, and additional explanations. Textual evidence indicates further blurring as these distinctive traits are not always adopted in the corresponding Spanish fansubs. In some cases, fansubbers opt for translation decisions more typical of what might be expected in professional subtitling.


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How to Cite

Leksawat, A. . (2022). Blurring the Line between Professional and Amateur Subtitling: The Case of Thai TV Series, English Subtitles and Spanish Fansubs. Między Oryginałem a Przekładem, 28(1 (55), 119–141.