Chinese TV drama fan translation in Spanish-speaking countries: a netnographic case study of amateur subtitle creation, distribution and reception

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract


Fan translation has expanded exponentially thanks to the immediacy of communication and the instantaneous access to content granted by the Internet. Fansubbing, subtitling made by fans, has mushroomed via online communities congregating self-motivated users around various audiovisual contents, and has paved a novel (though controversial) method of media consumption and distribution at a global scale, with both negative and positive consequences. Even though concerns have been raised regarding the loss of economic profit, countries such as Japan and Korea (Anime, K-Dramas) have benefited from an outward pull by fans-translators that have helped spread their cultural productions and globalize their cultures.

Following such growth and potential, a relevant number of scholars from several disciplines, such as media, film or translation studies, addressed their organizational structures, processes and motivations, among other aspects. Building on such work, this paper covers a less-explored variation from a netnographical approach, focusing on the amateur subtitling of Chinese TV dramas in Spanish-speaking countries and the possible effects these endeavours might have on Spanish-speaking online communities.

This paper begins with an overview of fan translation in Spanish-speaking countries in relation to Chinese audiovisual content, to then continue with a case study of a Hispanic community specialized in Chinese TV dramas. After delineating the ways such a group organizes itself to create and distribute subtitles, the effects that amateur translation might have on the Spanish-speaking public will be probed. Preliminary findings point towards the possible impact fan-translated Chinese audiovisual creations can have in Spanish-speaking countries in terms of reactions and repercussions. This paper seeks ultimately to posit fan subtitling as a relevant cross-cultural tool capable of improving the dissemination and reception of Chinese audiovisual products abroad, forging bridges and links between previously unconnected realities.


ForumChinese Cultures, Translation and Contemporaneity: Literature, Cinema, Performance, Visual Arts - A Three-day Online Forum = 文化中国,翻译与当代性:文学、影视、表演与视觉艺术 – 线上论坛
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