Subtitling against the current: Egyptians’ perceptions of English sitcoms subtitled in Standard Arabic and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic


  • Saudi Sadiq Minia University



diglossia; subtitling sitcoms; Standard Arabic; Egyptian Colloquial Arabic


This study examined Egyptians’ attitudes towards subtitling English sitcoms in Standard Arabic (SA) and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA), using a scene from the American sitcom Friends as a case study. It aimed to investigate the changing perceptions of subtitling in dialect, identify the driving forces, and assess the leading agents behind this change. The study utilized quantitative data from two online questionnaires completed by 261 participants classified by gender, age, and educational level, and qualitative data derived from their comments. The questionnaires were designed to evaluate participant preferences and specific aspects such as humor, readability and closeness to Egyptian culture. The results show that the ECA subtitle is rated as more humorous and closer to Egyptian culture, although perceived as less readable compared to the SA subtitle. They also reveal that younger participants, particularly females, show a greater preference for the ECA subtitle. Males across all educational levels tend to prefer the SA subtitle, while females with lower educational levels exhibit the highest preference for the ECA subtitle. The study highlights the increasing significance of colloquial dialects in shaping cultural representations as well as the influence of factors such as age, gender, and education on subtitling preferences. Furthermore, the study considers the implications of these results for subtitling practices and policies in Egypt and similar diglossic environments.