Cinematic Equivalence in Subtitling: A Case Study of the Biographical Drama Forever Enthralled

Kenny Wang, Chong Han


We propose in this paper a conceptual model of how equivalence may be achieved in subtitling to allow the target language viewers the opportunity to enjoy a comparable cinematic experience as that enjoyed by the source language viewers. We follow Brock’s (2015) adaptation of Goffman’s (1981) participation framework in communication and take Nida’s (1964) Dynamic Equivalence as the point of departure to propose Cinematic Equivalence as the conceptual model as well as the aim of film subtitling. This model is illustrated by examining the English subtitles of a Chinese biographical film called Forever Enthralled (?????). Based on our conceptual model, we make suggestions for subtitling training and practice.

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