• Rizal Syaiful H(153211035) and Rifa’i Ridho

Translation techniques that found to translate English humor into Indonesian in subtitle on movie 21


In this paper aimed to investigate which is the translation techniques that used to translate humor or jokes in the subtitle of movie entitled 21 JUMPS STREET. This research includedqualitative descriptivewhich used content analysis to collect the data..In this article will focus on humor that used language to deliver it or verbal humor but still consider the visual aspects of movie. In the end of this article will preserve data that show which is translation techniques that used to translate English humor into Indonesian humor. The findings show that 6 techniques with total data 54 data from 8 utterancesfound in the subtitle of movie entitled 21 JUMPS STREET. The data is focus on the jokes or humor that said by the two main characters. The data show that the most used techniques that found in movie entitled 21 JUMPS STREET is literal translation with 36 data and the lowest used translation techniques is , borrowing, description and addition with 1 data.

Keywords: translation techniques, humor, subtitle, 21 jumps street


Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.-Mark Twain

Humor itself is something that makes people amused and laugh, something can not call as humor if it can’t make people laugh. One of the problems when we talked about humor is how other people from other country which has different culture from source of humor, in this part translation involved. According to Manser (1996:441), translation is the activity of changing something spoken or written into another language. It means that whatever we are doing with something (e.g. information, idea), when changed into another language is called translation. Humor is related to translation because of humor itself is an idea that make people laugh,moreover humor used language to deliver it. When the translator translated humor or jokes, not only language that transfer but it can transfer the idea too or culture of source humor into other country because that is the main part of humor. The instrument or the equipment for that problem is translation techniques, this article is going to focus on mainly on the translation techniques that used to translate humor.


There is several definition of humor :

Ross (1998, p. 1), defines humor as "something that makes a person laugh or smile." There are exceptions to this definition; "things can be funny without laughter and in other cases, laughter is a sign of fear or embarrassment and has nothing to do with humor" (Ross 1998, p. 1).

"The definition of humor depends on the sender, receiver and on the purpose for which the definition is used" (Spanakaki 2007, p. 2). Spanakaki (2007, p. 2) suggests that "humor is whatever is intended to be funny, even if it might not always be perceived orinterpreted as such".

Types of humor

Based on Ross's (1998) different categories of humor are presented : 1.The incongruity theory The incongruity theory is based on the element of surprise. Humor based on the incongruity


Two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and says: “Do you know how to drive this?”

2.Theory arises through the conflict between the expected and what actually happens.

Example: Joni makes me happy by beating me. 3.Structural ambiguity Structural ambiguity and wordplay can occur at different levels: the phonological,graphological, morphological ,lexical and syntactical level.


A: I saw a man-eating shark at the aquarium. B: That’s nothing. I saw a man eating herring at the deli.

4.Allusion Allusions in humor involve extra-linguistic knowledge to be understood, thus, the sender and receiver have to share the same knowledge of the world.


“Decay and disease are often beautiful, like the pearly tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of consumption.”

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green,2012).

5.Intertextuality Intertextuality is closely related to section 1.2.4, but this category is narrower than the above. It is the way one text echoes or refers to an existing text or style; for instance a film or a joke.

Example: He was lying so obviously, you could almost see his nose growing. 6.Parody Parody is "the mocking imitation of a person, text or genre" (Ross, 1998, p. 114)

Example. ”Will you veddy much bring me a coke please?”

7.Taboo-breaking Taboo-related humor often concentrates on topics such as sex, death and religion.


Q: Why don't witches wear underwear? A: For a better grip on their broomstick!

8.Nonsense or absurdity Nonsense is the combination of words and meaning that make no sense.

Example :our mom is so fat: when she sat on a rainbow it started raining Skittles.

Translation techniques

There is several definition of translation techniques. From Molina and Albir (2002) said that translation techniques as procedures to analyse and classify how translation equivalence works.Meanwhile according to Larson (1984: 3), translation is done by going from the form of the first language to the form of second language by way of semantic structure. When a translator makes a translation, it means that he or she transfers meaning of source text.Then Molina and Albir (2002) mentioned several translation techniques:

• Adaptation. To replace a ST cultural element with one from the target culture

Example :-sheep ( for region that has sheep)

-seal (for region that do not has sheep such as Antartic)

• Amplification. To introduce details that are not formulated in the ST: information, explicative paraphrasing, Footnotes are a type of amplification. Amplification is in opposition to reduction.

Example : -Nasi kucing adalah nasi dengan lauk sambal dan ikan.

-Nasi kucing, which literally mean rice with for cat, is made from combination of rice, sambal and fish.

• Borrowing, which take a word or expression straight from another language. It can be pure (without any change). Naturalized borrowing corresponds to Newmark’s naturalization technique.

Example : - laptop ( English).

-laptop (Indonesian). • Calque. Literal translation of a foreign word or phrase; it can be lexical or structural,

Example : ATM ( Anjungan Tunai Mandiri).

ATM (Auto Teller Machine). • Compensation. To introduce a ST element of information or stylistic effect in another

Example: haste makes waste.

Jangan buru-buru. place in the TT because it cannot be reflected in the same place as in the ST.

• Description. To replace a term or expression with a description of its form or/and function,

Example : salah satu makanan khas Solo yang paling terkenal adalah nasi kucing.

One of the most famous Solonese dishes is rice with sambal and fish.

• Discursive creation. To establish a temporary equivalence that is totally unpredictable out of context

Example: The Minangkabua response to the dutch colonial rule in the nineteenth century.

Asal-usul elite Minangkabau modem: response terhadap colonial belanda.

• Established equivalent. To use a term or expression recognized (by dictionaries or language in use) as an equivalent in the TL.

Example: mie ayam rasanya nampol.

Mie ayam is delicious. • Generalization. To use a more general or neutral term, is in opposition to particularization.

Example: TNT=Bom • Linguistic amplification. Add linguistic elements. This is often used in consecutive interpreting and dubbing, it is in opposition to linguistic compression.


A: Mau mei ayam?.

B: Makasih(menolak).

A: You want this mei ayam.

B: Thank you for the offer.

• Linguistic compression. This is often used in simultaneous interpreting and in sub-titling It is in opposition to linguistic amplification.

Example: in a movie

Mau sate?

Want this?

• Literal translation. To translate a word or an expression word for word,

Example: book=buku

• Modulation. To change the point of view, focus or cognitive category in relation to the ST; it can be lexical or structural.


Liverpool 4-1 Manchester City: the reds rampant with help from offside misses.

Laporan pertandingan: Liverpool 4-1 Manchester city.

• Particularization. To use a more precise or concrete term. It is in opposition to generalization.

Example : Bom= TNT • Reduction. To suppress a ST information item in the TT, It is in opposition to amplification.

Example : nasi kucing yang terbuat dari nasi dengan sambal dan ikan adalah makanan terkenal di Solo.

Nasi kucing is one of the famous food in solo.

• Substitution (linguistic, paralinguistic). To change linguistic elements for paralinguistic elements (intonation, gestures) or vice versa, it is used above all in interpreting.

Example : symbol heart in instagram as mark of like. • Transposition. To change a grammatical category.

Example :

I hereby pronounce you as man and wife.

Kalian resmi dinyatakan sebagi suami dan istri.

• Variation. To change linguistic or paralinguistic elements (intonation, gestures) that affect aspects of linguistic variation: changes of textual tone, style, social dialect, geographical dialect.to introduce or change dialectal indicators for characterswhen translating for the theater, changes in tone when adapting novels for children, etc.

Example :

Free your style.

` ekspresikan gaya lo.


This research included qualitative descriptivewhich used content analysis to collect the data.Qualitative descriptive is "interpretive communities" (Fish, 1980) (e.g., qualitative researchers, academic nurses, social constructionists) that strongly influence how they read, why they read, and what they read into any one text.The source of data is movie entitled 21 JUMPS STREET which is comedy movie. The form of data is humor or jokes via utterances based on the subtitle of movie entitled 21 JUMPS STREET and When collected the data consider the context of humor in the movie.


The Result Of Analysis In Movie

It the movie we can found several data and try to elaborated into what is types of humor and what is the translation techniques that used in the data or utterances split into 54 words data.


00:19:01,182 --> 00:19:03,435

SL:I look like Fred savage fromwonder years.

TL: aku seperti fred savage dariwonder years.

SL:I look like Fred savage from wonder years.

TL: aku seperti fred savage dari wonder years.

  1. Text context: Schmidt complain to his parents to put off his child nude photo from wall because it is very shame and then he compare it with ‘Fred savage from wonder years’.

  2. Type of humor:Parody.

Parody is "the mocking imitation of a person, text or genre" (Ross, 1998, p. 114).Schmidt made his photo as representative of ‘

  1. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes.

  2. From = dari(literal translation)

  3. look like = seperti ( literal translation)

  4. I = aku ( literal translation)

From that data we can conclude that the jokes used literal translation to transfer the jokes into Indonesian language.


00:38:50,078 --> 00:38:53,173

SL :Spike that! Fuck you, Miles Davis!

TL: Matilahkau, Miles Davis.

  1. Text context: this is happened when a man used a drug and he un controllable until he destroy any stuff in music studios while he said that sentence, meanwhile all of the students and the teacher just watch it without saying anything.

  2. Type ofhumor:Parody

Parody is "the mocking imitation of a person, text or genre" (Ross, 1998, p. 114). It because of utterance imitated someone or used name of someone.

  1. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes

4.Spike that! Fuck you,= Matilahkau ( adaptation)


00:41:19,310--> 00:41:24,987

SL: 1. Ms. Griggs gave us one so we could work, tutor,deal Bakugan.

2. Bakugan? You dealing drugs?

TL:1. ibu griggs mengizinkan kami jadi kami bisa mengerjakan bakugan.

  1. .Bakugan?(permainan kartu dari jepang) kalian sedang make?.

  2. Text context: Jenko as the man who was undercover in the school saw a group of teenagers when they played something, and the man consider the name of the game as drugs.

  3. Type ofhumor:Nonsense or absurdity Nonsense is the combination of words and meaning that make no sense. On the conversation we know that the man(Jenko) said a card as a drugs without consider what he saw.

  4. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes

5 Ms.=ibu(literal)14 You = kalian (adaptation)

6 Gave= mengizinkan (adaptation)15 dealing = sedang (adaptation)

7 Us= kami (literal)16drugs = make (adaptation)

8 So= jadi (literal)

9 We=kami(literal)

10 Could=bisa(literal)

11 Work=mengerjakan(literal)

12 Tutor= not translated( reduction)

13 Deal== not translated( reduction)


00:44:08,563 --> 00:44:10,861

SL :I love you, honey, Dougie, Doug, Douglas McQuaid.

TL: Ibu sayang kamu nak,doggy(anjing), Doug sayang, Doug Mcquaid.

  1. Text context: Schmidt talk in the phone with woman that he likes but in the middle of the conversation Schmidt’s mother call he and say his front name Dougie, Doug, Douglas. It make Schmidt so embarrassed with the woman because he treat by his mother like still child

  2. ofhumor:Parody. Parody is "the mocking imitation of a person, text or genre" (Ross, 1998, p. 114).when Schmidt’s mother called Schmidt with imitated the terms of word dog.

  3. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes.

  4. I = ibu (adaptation)

18 Love= sayang(literal)

19 You = kamu(literal)

20 Honey= nak (adaptation)

21 Dougie= doggy(anjing) (description)


00:46:47,221--> 00:46:51,316

SL:1.Wait, how are we going to buy alcohol?

2.Dude,I don't have a fake ID.

TL:1.Bagaimana kita membeli alcohol?

2.aku tak punya KTP plasu.

  1. Text context: two mans that was in the undercover(Jenko and Schmidt) become student of senior high school talk about how they can get an alcohol. Meanwhile student can’t buy an alcohol because it under of law, but in other hand Jenko and Schmidt are the adult man that undercover so they can buy an alcohol

  2. Type of humor : The incongruity theory The incongruity theory is based on the element of surprise. Humor based on the incongruity, when they talked about the fake id audience doesn’t know about the context then after Jenko andSchmidt from supermarket they know that Jenko andSchmidt is a police or in other word is adult so they can buy alcohol without worry about the law.

  3. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes

22.Wait= not translated( reduction) 27 Dude=not translated( reduction)

23. How=Bagaimana(literal) 28 I = aku(literal)

29 don't = tak (literal)

24 we= kita(literal) 30 have= mempunyai(literal)

25 buy= membeli(literal) 31 fake= palsu(literal)

26 alcohol= alkohol(literal) 32 ID= ktp(literal)


00:47:09,910 --> 00:47:16,675

SL: 1.We got a pound of coke.

2.We're trying to show them a good time, not ruin their fucking lives.

3.Pound of marijuana?

4.- Best party ever,- Boo-yah!

TL:1.Kita punya ½ kg kokain.

2aku berusah membuat mereka bersenang-senang, bukan menghancurkan hidup mereka.

3.1/2 kg ganja?.

4.pesta terbaik yang pernah ada!!.

  1. Text context:Jenko and Schmidt are try to make a party for their friend in high school in order to make their plan in undercover unit is success, but in other side Jenko andSchmidt enjoy their process and try to make party like they want not what they need. Jenko andSchmidt used their job as police to stole drugs from evidence room.Schmidt avoid Jenko took kokain and told to Jenko that they will not make their friend life broke, but when Jenko took Pound of marijuana Schmidt agree event it maybe worst than kokain.

  2. Type ofhumor : The incongruity theory. The incongruity theory is based on the element of surprise. Humor based on the

Incongruity because the conversation between Jenko andSchmidt is opposite with what audience guess. Such when Schmidt refused kokain but agree with marijuana.

  1. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes.

33 We =kami(literal) 39 trying=berusaha(literal) 45 ruin=menghancurkan(literal)

34 Got=punya(literal) 40 show=membuat (adaptation)46 their =mereka(literal)

35 a pound= 1/2 kg(literal)41 them=mereka(literal) 47 fucking=not translated( reduction)

36 coke=kokain(literal) 42 good time=senang(literal)48 lives=hidup(literal)

37 We=kami(literal) 43 not=bukan (literal) 49 marijuana=ganja(literal)

38 Best=terbaik(literal) 44 party=pesta(literal) 50 ever=pernah ada(literal)


00:48:23,484 --> 00:48:26,658

SL: 1.Hey, Paul Blart: Molly Cop.

TL: 1. Paul Blart Molly Cop.

  1. Text context: When Schmidt called a woman with campare her with the title of the comedy movie America it is Paul Blart Mall Cop.

  2. Type of humor :Parody. Parody is "the mocking imitation of a person, text or genre" (Ross, 1998, p. 114).Schmidtcalled a woman with Paul Blart Mall Cop because her name has same with word “Mall”that is Molly.

  3. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes

51 Hey=not translated( reduction)

52 Molly=(molly borrowing)


01:28:19,294 --> 01:28:23,640

SL:1.Did she just say "nickhead dark motherfucker"?

2.That's just racist.

TL:1.Apakah dia bilang, NIG HEAD DARK muthafucker? ( NEGRO KEPALA BOTAK sialan!).

2. itu rasis!

  1. Text context: a women looking for Schmidt in drunk condition because of drugs that she consumed. She knock the door where Schmidt is, but he is in the disadvantage position because he was hostage with Jenko.

  2. Type ofhumor : Taboo-breaking Taboo-related humor often concentrates on topics such as sex, death and religion. This jokes included taboo because this utterances there is a word that as reference of negro that is consider as taboo in America.

  3. Translation techniques that used to translate the jokes

53nickhead dark=NIG HEAD DARK (adaptation)

54 motherfucker= muthafucker? ( NEGRO KEPALA BOTAK sialan!).(adaptation and addition)

Diagram of translation techniques that found in the sample data


Definition humor

Something that make people laugh

Definition translation techniques

Techniques to translate or transfer one language into an other language.

From this paper we can know that humor or jokes can be translated with several translation techniques. When we chose which is translation techniques that used to translate the jokes we must consider the context too in order to get same quality of humor with the source language. We used 8 data which form is utterances and 8 data we found 6 translation techniques. The total of translation techniques data is 54 which the most used techniques is literal translation and the lowest techniques is borrowing, description and addition. That data can be a prove that when we transfer humor we not just translate it( literally) but we must transfer in order to accept by the people of TL, it can show that the data not just literal translation but it have 6 techniques of translation.



https://subscene.com/subtitles/21-jump-street-2012/english/1013784 subtitle english version by quain88


eprints.uny.ac.id/9241/3/bab%202-07211144039.pdf Time 18-10-2017 . 10.11 am



http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1232829/.Time 27-09-2017. 11.06 am


https://literarydevices.net/parody/ 8.52 pm





Lucía Molina and Amparo Hurtado Albir "Translation Techniques Revisited: A Dynamic and Functionalist Approach." Meta 474 (2002): 498–512. DOI: 10.7202/008033ar

Liu, K. W. (2012). Humor styles, self-esteem and subjective happiness. Humour, 1, 21-41.

Pujiyanti, U. (2006). Strategies of translating personal pronouns in the disney’s fairy tale entitled beauty and the beast into the indonesian version (Doctoral dissertation, Universitas Sebelas Maret Surakarta).

Amirian, Z., & Dameneh, S. S. (2014). Microstrategies Employed for Translation of English Humor Subtitled into Persian. Journal of Intercultural Communication, (34).

Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2002). Reading qualitative studies. International journal of qualitative methods, 1(1), 74-108.

#translationtechnique #UmiPujiyanti #sastrainggris2015 #translation

© English Letters IAIN Surakarta 2016


Gedung E Lt 2 R. 204

Jl. Pandawa Pucangan Kartasura Sukoharjo 57169

Central Java



Socialize with us

  • facebook-square
  • Twitter Square
  • youtube-square
  • Instagram - Black Circle