A Critical Analysis of the Lexico-Semantic Errors in the English Subtitles of Selected Yorùbá

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West African Linguistic Society (WALS)


Film is a powerful tool for the transmission of cultural values across borders. Most Yorùbá films that are subtitled in English are replete with linguistic errors that tend to defeat the purpose of the subtitling. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to identify, explain, evaluate and suggest ways to prevent further occurrence of such errors The selected subtitled films are Àkọ́bí Gómìnà “The Governor's heir” and Ẹni ọ̀wọ̀ “Man of God”. The two films were selected because their themes bother on contemporary issues and they are likely to have had a large audience. The films were carefully watched with special attention paid to the English subtitles. Error Analysis serves as the theoretical framework for the analysis. The analysis reveals that the errors lead to misinformation especially about the cultural values that the films set to transmit across borders and as such defeat the purpose of the subtitling. The paper concludes that the errors are avoidable. Since most of these errors were made as a result of non-mastery of the differences in the structures and grammatical rules of Yorùbá and English language by the producers, the paper suggests that the producers devote more time to master the differences in the structures of the two languages, observe the rules that guide translation from Yorùbá into English in future productions in order to achieve the purpose of the subtitling and that there should be dialogue between the key players in film industry, namely, the film producers. Professional, translators and the movie scholars



Errors analysis, Film, Lexico-semantic errors, Subtitle