How to Approach Translating Taboo & Sensitive Language for Subtitles

Translators deal with many obstacles when trying to translate colloquilisms and slang expressions. An additional difficulty occurs when dealing with taboo language. If the translator tries to omit the words, it may shift the meaning of the original content. Successful subtitles are ones that always accurately portray the intended meaning, without influencing the interpretation of the audience. This can be achieved by remaining neutral and not making the content either toned down or more explicit.

There are many strategies for dealing with sensitive language. To begin, it is important to note that politically incorrect statements and social taboos are part of everyday language. Translators need to be skilled and knowledgeable regarding slang expressions and taboo words. One benefit for translators is that when sensitive language is in a written form, is typically easier to endure than spoken spoken language. Poor translation (omitting the taboo term or using incorrect slang) can result in confusion and misunderstanding. Translators need to have exceptional comprehension of the native and target language so that puns, expressions, and wordplay are portrayed in a meaningful and accurate manner.