Transadapting/transcreating advertisements into distant languages and cultures is a challenging undertaking as the content of most advertisements is very culturally laden. What exacerbates the translator’s task is the fact that certain texts are a mixture of text types and genres.
This paper’s primary objective is to investigate the strategies employed to deal with an array of issues that arise in the dubbing of a humorous hybrid-text type for dubbing into Arabic. An audiovisual advertisement, which is an amalgam of humour, scientific jargon, and cultural/religious references, is used as a case study.
A secondary objective of the study was to test the translation of humorous passages, often linked to human anatomy and Homer’s blunt remarks. Verbal humour is one of the most difficult aspects in audiovisual translation, and some even consider it ‘untranslatable’ (Raphaelson-West, 1989).
Leaning on Skopos Theory, participants’ translations were analysed to account for the decision-making process to produce functionally adequate versions for the Arab audience. A Think Aloud Protocol, in the form of question prompts, was used as a tool to gather part of the data, as it was key to gauging participants’ own agency in terms of decision making in the translation process and in validating these decisions. Participants were given the option of transadapting the advert into Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or in one of its vernaculars. Arabic, being a multi-glossic language (Elgibali, 1988), allows for wider testing opportunities to establish better ways to translate any text type or genre.
The results show that the overwhelming majority (80%) of the translators opted for using Arabic vernacular, and 90 % preferred the domestication (adaptation) macro-strategy, with cultural substitution as a micro-strategy gaining the lion share in transferring humour into Arabic vernacular; which proved to be the better language variety in transferring humour.