Translating YouTube Vlogs for a Global Audience (2021)

Translating YouTube Vlogs for a Global Audience: Innovative Subtitling and Community-Building

By Seryun Lee @Seryun_Lee

International Journal of Cultural Studies, First Published January 24, 2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Abstract | Increasingly, YouTubers are translating their self-produced videos in order to reach out to a global viewership. Those YouTubers’ translations often incorporate innovative practices that prioritise displaying affinity with their audience. Non-representational subtitling is one such translation apparatus. It does not seek to reproduce speech in another language accurately but contains additional information that is not otherwise included in the content. I examine non-representational subtitles deployed in culture-brokering YouTube vlogs, as well as viewers’ reactions to those subtitles. The key argument of this article is that non-representational subtitling can be utilised as a means both of expressing YouTubers’ voices outside of filmed space during the translating process and of manipulating ways to address viewers’ different language constituencies. I also argue that translation-driven communities are interactive transnational networks in which viewers develop a sense of community by amplifying translation-mediated information, suggesting alternative translations, and expressing their feelings.