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Analysis of Subtitles and Discussion: from English into Spanish

Firstly, it will be analysed the first episode “Diamond of the First Water”. In this first sample, Anthony is talking with Siena, his lover (Van Dusen 2020, 16:30).

English Spanish

Anthony: Someone must guard my poor sister from the bucks and pinks, ensure her virtue remains free of any kind of defilement.

Siena: Daphne is fortunate. Every woman is not afforded such gallant protection.

Anthony: Every woman is not a lady.

Anthony: Alguien debe protegerla de los indeseables y asegurar que su virtud siga intacta.

Siena: Es muy afortunada. No todas las mujeres gozamos de esa protección.

Anthony: No todas sois damas.

Both characters maintain a conversation about his responsibility of finding a proper husband to his sister, Daphne, who has just entered the marriage market. Being married in that period of time was synonym of having a place in society and in the patriarchally constructed hierarchy. Consequently, Siena, Anthony’s lover and a mere opera singer — very well-known for not being married yet at her age —, is not seen as a “lady” since she has lost her chastity until marriage and, thus, also her honour. This term is also kept in the Spanish translation of the English subtitles. Nevertheless, the translation of the word “lady” has been tested to be problematic. Zaragoza and Ricart conducted a study in which students are asked to translate

“ladies” (2020, 430). Different options were suggested, such as nenas, chicas, señoritas, niñas (430). In this case, the translator has made the choice of translating it as damas, a term which refers to a polite woman that preserves her chastity (RAE). For this reason, Siena is not considered a “lady”. Furthermore, Anthony refers to the pretenders as “bucks”. In the Regency Era, a “buck” was a man of high status who was very sociable, but in negative terms (Webster). This type of man would enjoy many pleasures such as the company of different women, in other words, all kinds of debaucheries. This word is translated into Spanish as indeseables, which also possesses negative connotations (RAE). However, the image of a libertine man is partially lost in the translation as a result of the technique used, which is a translation technique of generalisation. A term that could fit better in this translation due to its meaning could be Don Juan, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a legendary Spaniard proverbial for his seduction of women” or “a captivating man known as a great lover or seducer of women”. From a very specific term of the Regency Era, there is no equivalent word in Spanish and the translator has decided to resort to a generalisation.

The second example is taken from a daily publication in which its anonymous author, under the pen name of Lady Whistledown, is talking about the young ladies as jewels (Van Dusen 2020, 27:57), treating them as objects and, thus, perpetuating the commodification of women.

Lady Whistledown is referring to the young girls as objects, more precisely, as jewels. This metaphor of women as jewels is even present in the title of the episode — and it will be

English Spanish

Lady Whistledown: As such, an even rarer jewel of only the most remarkable brilliance, fire, and luster has been unearthed.

Lady Whistledown: Aunque tenemos una nueva joya de un brillo, lustre y encanto excepcional.

maintained throughout the whole series — and perpetuated through time. Furthermore, this objectification is also held in the Spanish subtitles since the word “jewel” is kept. On the other hand, “unearthed”, which means “discovered” (Collins), has lost its main sense in the Spanish subtitling. The objectification and the passiveness of the young girls is lost in the Spanish subtitling since the apparition of this gem is by itself, not as in the passive voice of the sentence construction in the subtitling in English “has been unearthed”. In this example, the translator has chosen to apply modulation since the Spanish subtitles change the point of view as the jewel has appeared by its own and not as a result of someone discovering it. Also, it is a reduction since the target text has omitted the unearthing of this jewel because, as it has been commented, the translator portrays it as if it has appeared by its own.

In this example, as in the previous illustration, it can be found again the objectification of the young girls. Daphne and her brother Anthony are riding a horse in the park while they speak about Lady Whistledown’s publications and how this can damage Daphne’s honour (Van Dusen 2020, 31:55).

In the original subtitles, Daphne classifies herself as “goods” which have been “damaged” due to Lady Whistledown’s comments and opinions in her daily publications. This is a clear example of the objectification of women that Daphne has in her most depth of the subconscious because of the education that girls received from birth. She sees herself as an object which will not be desirable by men since it is damaged by virtue of external comments.

Women’s vulnerability in front of external derogatory remarks is emphasised by this example, which also highlights the importance of honour, chastity and purity that girls must preserve in order to marry and, consequently, be socially accepted. In the Spanish subtitles, the author has made the decision of omitting such objectification. By contrast, the translator has chosen interesarse as the verb and has remarked that the problem is on the comments that Lady Whistledown has written down about Daphne, and not on Daphne herself. The translator has chosen to use modulation and, by doing so, she avoids the objectification of the young girl since she has changed the focus. She uses a more neutral term for “damaged goods”, and translates it as comentarios.

English Spanish

Daphne: Tell me, what others should ever want such

damaged goods now? Daphne: ¿Quién va a interesarse por mí con esos comentarios?

In connection with the previous one, we find this sample of how young girls are seen in that era, which is based on a patriarchal ideology. This example is taken from Daphne and the Duke’s debate while having dinner (Van Dusen 2020, 39:48).

Again, this sample illustrates the social norms that the females had to conform in that era.

Chastity and neatness are just a few examples of the behaviours associated with women.

Furthermore, there is a noticeable difference in the translation from English into Spanish. In English, there is the adjective “neat,” while in the Spanish translation it is translated as quisquillosa, meaning “fussy”. This adjective has bad connotations as it is defined by the Collins dictionary as someone “concerned with unimportant details” and “difficult to please”.

Thus, the Spanish translator has decided to define Daphne as someone difficult to please and, instead of just attach to the translation of the original text, change the word “neat”, without any negative overtone, for “fussy”. By doing so, Mariani has applied the lexical modulation technique. The word “neat” is translated as quisquillosa, providing a negative overtone which is not present in the original text and, although it can be made explicit from the context, this term does not always imply something bad, as quisquillosa does.

In the following example, Lady Whistledown is writing about the Duke’s decision of never getting married (Van Dusen 2020, 33:28).

In the English subtitling, there is the presence of the word “brazen”, which is defined by the Collins dictionary as someone who is “very bold” who does “not care what other people think about them or their behaviour”. In this context, it is used to provide a negative connotation to the word “matchmaker”, since the Duke did not want to get married and all the mothers

English Spanish

Duke: And I anything but interested in you, the eldest sister of my oldest friend, yet another recent subject of a certain writer. Chaste, neat, desperate.

Daphne: I shall have you know…

Duke: To marry, that is.

Duke: A mí tampoco me interesa usted, la hermana de mi viejo amigo y el último objetivo de cierta escritora.

Casta, quisquillosa y desesperada…

Daphne: Sepa que…

Duke: …por casarse.

English Spanish

Lady Whistledown: This author wonders which brazen matchmaker shall rise to such a challenge, for this competition is well underway.

Duke: You know, I do suppose if it were not for an overzealous mother at every corner, this time of year in the city would not be so very dreadful.

Lady Whistledown: Esta autora se pregunta qué casamentera estará a la altura del reto, porque este concurso ya está en marcha.

Duke: ¿Sabes? Si no fuese por todas esas madres histéricas, mi estancia aquí no sería tan terrible.

(“matchmakers”) were seeking a proper husband for their daughters to get married and have a name in the social sphere. Focusing on the Spanish subtitles, this word is omitted by using modulation, since this negative overtone given in the source text to the matchmakers is obviated. As it can be seen in this situation, the figure desiring for a stable family, offspring, and money is the female, while the male avoids every chance of getting married and have a family. Furthermore, the use of the word “dreadful” introduces a negative feeling of fear since, in the Collins dictionary, it is defined as something “very bad or unpleasant”. This adjective involves something obnoxious to escape from and, in this case, escape from the marriage. In contrast with the last example of modulation, this negative connotation is kept in the Spanish subtitling. Moreover, “overzealous” is derived from “zealous”, defined as

“supporting something that they believe in very strongly” (Collins). In English, although in this case it has a negative meaning, it can have either good or bad connotation since it depends on the context, while the translator has decided to translate the word in Spanish as histéricas, which has a clear negative overtone (RAE). Consequently, this sample is another example of modulation due to the change of perspective from one language to the other.

The following illustration is an extract of a debate between the Bridgerton family discussing Lady Whistledown’s identity (Van Dusen 2020, 37:53).

In this illustration, it can be seen both brothers discussing the gender of the author behind the name of Lady Whistledown. Both agree about the idea of a woman not being able to have such a good sense of humour, intellect, power, or even having important personal connections or being allied with the elite in order to acquire truthful information. In the series, Eloise is an important character since she gives hints about what, in the twenty-first century, would be defined as feminist. In this example, she expresses her discontent about the commentaries of her elder brothers by asking a rhetorical question about the gender of the lustre and very famous writer Lady Whistledown, which is also kept in the Spanish translation. Both Colin and Eloise’s contribution to the dialogue, the translation into Spanish has suffered lexical modulation after being translated “Who knows if Whistledown is even a she?” into Quizá no

English Spanish

Colin: Who knows if Whistledown is even a she?

Anthony: Fair point.

Eloise: Because she is simply too good to be anyone but a man?

Colin: Quizá no sea una mujer.

Anthony: Cierto.

Eloise: ¿Demasiado buena para ser una mujer?

sea una mujer, and “Because she is simply too good to be anyone but a man?” as ¿Demasiado buena para ser una mujer?. In both utterances, the sex is interchanged from the source text into the target language. By doing so, the Mariani puts the stress on the female sex instead of on the male one, as it does the English subtitles.

The last example of this episode is taken from the moment in which Lord Berbrooke tries to assault Daphne in the Dark Walk and she punches him in his face. After Daphne having “knock[ed] the climp flat out” (Van Dusen 2020, 49:57), the Duke, who has witnessed what has happened, talks with Daphne (Van Dusen 2020, 50:32).

In the original language, the fault of not finding a man is on Daphne. She blames herself for not being able to find a husband, while in the translated text here is no such a blame on herself

“If I am unable to secure another offer”, since it is the man, in this case, who is in charge of the offer of marriage (Si no recibo otra oferta). In the English subtitles, Daphne characterises herself as “unable” to find another marriage proposal and, thus, blaming herself for not being capable to secure her future with a husband that will give her a place in society. Once again, here we have an example of modulation as a result of the change of perspective and point of view on the culpability of not finding a husband.

The second episode, “Shock and Delight”, starts with the reading in voice-over of the publication of Lady Whistledown. After the “last night’s soiree at Vauxhall” (Lin 2020, 03:24), Lady Whistledown writes her daily scandal sheet summarising the tumultuous gossips of the night before (Lin 2020, 03:49).

Many times in the series, the Duke is referred as a “rake”, a synonym of womaniser or libertine and, thus, embracing negative connotations. A libertine man is known for dedicating his life to gamble, wine and women. This term is defined by the etymological English dictionary Oxford as “man of dissipated or loose habits” in negative terms. Nevertheless, in the translation of this adjective, Mariani decided to translate it as soltero de oro, a positive

English Spanish

Daphne: If I am unable to secure another offer, there

may be no alternative. Daphne: Si no recibo otra oferta, quizá no me quede más remedio.

English Spanish

Lady Whistledown: The illustrious debutante was seen dancing not once, but twice with the season's most eligible and most uncatchable rake, the Duke of Hastings.

Lady Whistledown: La ilustre debutante fue vista bailando no solo en una, sino en dos ocasiones con el deseado e inalcanzable soltero de oro de la temporada, el duque de Hastings.

characterisation for him for remaining single, as a fact to be proud of and become more desirable for women. It should be borne in mind the examples provided before which illustrate the conditions that women should fulfil in order to be considered as “ladies” and be accepted in society. In this example, there is lexical modulation since the translator changes the point of view. In the source text, “rake” has negative connotations since it is defined as a man “rather immoral, for example because he gambles, drinks, or has many sexual relationships” with women (Collins). In Spanish, a soltero de oro is a man who is desired by a great number of women and who is unobtainable, a trait which makes him even more desirable and unique (RAE).

In the following scenes, Lord Berbrooke decides to scold the Duke. Berbrooke asks him to talk again with Anthony Bridgerton in order to withdraw the Duke’s declaration about Daphne punching Berbrooke’s face (Lin 2020, 28:59).

This is a clear example of how the English subtitles continue using the idea of “women as objects” as a result of the use of adjectives such as “loose” and “damaged” when describing Daphne. These adjectives are generally used to refer to objects, and not to persons (Collins).

In the Spanish translation, this distinction has not been made since the adjectives used are pura and inmaculada, which are common adjectives to describe people (RAE), mainly women in that era, because of the importance of honour and the preservation of purity. Again, another example of modulation is found here since the Spanish translator decides to change the point of view when describing women, putting aside the clear commodification of women in the original text.

This example is taken from the moment in which Lord Berbrooke interrupts the picnic afternoon to threat Anthony (Lin 2020, 36:58) because of his decline of Berbrooke’s marriage proposal.

English Spanish

Berbrooke: For if I had already known she was loose

and damaged, not intact, I never would have... Berbrooke: Porque de haber sabido que no era pura e inmaculada, jamás habría…

English Spanish

Berbrooke: For it if were you, I imagine you would have instructed your sister to take better care than to encourage certain attentions while alone with me on the Dark Walk at Vauxhall.

Berbrooke: Porque si fuera usted, ya le habría advertido a su hermana que no le conviene actuar como cuando estuvimos a solas en Vauxhall.

In the English — and original — subtitles, Lord Berbrooke poses the stress of culpability on Daphne, suggesting that she should avoid encouraging “certain attentions” as she did when they were alone in the Dark Walk. The Spanish translation has suffered a reduction since this place is not mentioned in the subtitling. The responsibility of Berbrooke’s sexist and violent behaviour is thus assigned to Daphne, putting himself as a victim, falling into the clutches of the young girl. Contrastingly, in the Spanish translation, there is no presence of such

“encourage” verb, although Berbrooke advises that it would not be convenient for her to behave how she did (ya le habría advertido a su hermana). Furthermore, the use of the verb

“instructed” in the original subtitles shows how girls were treated in that era. Young girls were educated to fit in society and preserve their chastity and, thus, their purity. In that way, their mother and father — or brothers — “instructed” them to behave properly and, in this example, it is clearly stated. However, this verb establishes superiority of the person who instructs over the one instructed. This air of superiority is not strictly retained in the Spanish translation since the translator has made the choice to translate it into advertir meaning

“aconsejar, prevenir” (RAE) thanks to a modulation process and, thus, changing the point of view. This warning action does not imply any superiority of one subject over the other and this intended meaning in the English subtitles of educating Daphne is omitted in the Spanish translation.

This following example is taken from a conversation between Daphne’s sister, Eloise, and Daphne herself about Eloise’s fear of marrying and having children after their mother almost have died while having their sister Hyacinth (Lin 2020, 52:42).

As in the previous example, once again, the young girls are placed in the role of children being taught how to behave and how to live in this patriarchal society in which a woman will only have a place if she is married. As it has been mentioned before, the usage of this verb (“taught”) embeds a hierarchy in which women are placed at the very bottom, subordinated to all other subjects, who are going to teach them and mould their behaviour in a way which will be acceptable and will fit in society. Oppositely, the Spanish translator has decided to use again the verb advertir, providing the sentence a sense of warning or advising instead of teaching or educating, not giving to the sentence an educational context but a warning, and,

English Spanish

Daphne: Yes, Eloise, there are perhaps darker turns in

Daphne: Yes, Eloise, there are perhaps darker turns in