Publication Title
A contrastive and sociolinguistic approach to the translation of vulgarity from Spanish into English and Polish in the film "Tie me up! Tie me down!" (Pedro Almodóvar, 1990)
Publication Type
Journal article
Translation and Interpreting Studies
Year of publication


This article examines the decisions involved in translating swear words and sexually explicit language in Pedro Almodóvar’s film “¡Átame!” (“Tie me up, tie me down!”) from Spanish into English and Polish. Possible motivations for specific renditions will be suggested via a comparison of the source and target language versions. This analysis aims to investigate how the target culture and the film industry can influence the sometimes-delicate task of translating obscene and strong language. Beyond the mere transfer of words from one language into another, translating is, above all, an intercultural activity in which ideology and social values play an important role in the translation process. Therefore, the characteristics of the target culture must be considered before analyzing the translation product. Moreover, the cost-benefit criterion is a crucial component of audiovisual translation, especially in the film industry. Reflection on the circumstances in which the film was released in the United States and in Poland allows for predictions about what to expect from the translation and also establishes a hypothesis for testing. This article calls for reflection on translation decisions and the author’s influence on how closely the translation follows the original. Likewise, the article examines the extent to which economic interests prevail over socio-cultural values.
Submitted by María Eugenia … on Tue, 11/05/2021 - 10:13