Taming the Beast: Bullying and Censorship in Interlingual Subtitling

Document Type : Original Research


Kent State University, USA


This research scrutinizes the representation and impact of verbal bullying in audiovisual (AV) content, focusing specifically on the Jordanian Netflix show AlRawabi School for Girls. Differences in British and American English interlingual subtitling are examined as tools for regulating subtitled content for adolescents. Employing a qualitative research approach, the study uses a parallel corpus of source (Jordanian Arabic) and target texts (British and American English) to explore patterns, bullying language themes, and subtitling practices’ role. Five principal categories of verbal bullying are identified: threats, insults, taunts, rumors, and deflection through humor. Subtitlers mitigate these themes using adaptive strategies such as neutralization, substitution, and stylistic amplification. The research reveals that British English undergoes greater censorship than American English due to differing cultural sensitivities and stricter UK regulations. These findings stress the importance of censoring verbal bullying in adolescent-targeted AV materials and highlight the pivotal role of subtitling practices and effective regulatory measures. The study suggests a need for a uniform, global approach to managing harmful subtitle language to protect young viewers. 


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