The American 'House of Cards' – A View from a Cultural, Political and Translation-Related Perspective

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Attila Imre


The present article offers an introduction to the relationship between the entertainment and translation industry, arguing that dubbings and subtitles are by-products of the entertainment industry, directly contributing to the success of the show. It also deals with the translator’s competence, offering examples of translation challenges from the (in)famous American TV show, House of Cards, connected to terms and expressions pertaining to general knowledge of the world and of the United States. The Introduction offers an insight into audiovisual translation and its successful branches and explains binge-watching and binge-translation as well, also including several scholars’ analyses of the TV show. The Methodological Background describes how a collection of term bases came into being starting from the original English script and several Romanian subtitles of the episodes of official (DVD-release and Netflix) and amateur (freely available online) versions. This is followed by thirty examples in two sets, discussing the translation of terms belonging to general knowledge and US geopolitics in particular. The Conclusions section discusses the terms of ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ translator irrespective of their qualifications, focusing instead on ‘quality assurance’, a rather subjective term. Certain corpus-based findings are also highlighted connected to the possibilities of relying on generalization, explicitation or calque referring to general culture and US politics focusing on the intelligibility of politicotainment, a term recently coined by Riegert.

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How to Cite
Imre, A. “The American ’House of Cards’ – A View from a Cultural, Political and Translation-Related Perspective”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 103-25, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-2-0217.
Translation and Language Studies
Author Biography

Attila Imre, Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Attila Imre, Ph.D, is Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics of the Faculty of Technical and Human Sciences, Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Romania. His research preoccupations range from American culture and civilization to cognitive linguistics, English morphology and syntax, all combined and embedded in translation studies, mostly translation technology and audiovisual translations. He has published several books, most recently A Logical English Grammar (2019) and An Introduction to Translator Studies (2020).


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