The intralingual subtitling of The Wire: changes of style and substance: Changes of style and substance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
255 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines the effects of the omissions made in the intralingual subtitling of the cult TV series The Wire, building on previous research. By extracting the English subtitles from the DVD and comparing them to the audio dialogue, I ascertain which features are omitted from the subtitles. A qualitative analysis reveals that the omission of features that contribute to interpersonal meaning has a cumulative effect on the representation of characters and their relationships. Furthermore, the subtitles frequently omit spatial information, which is shown to be key in constructing the nuanced hierarchical structure of the institutions and their players. The qualitative findings are supported by a quantitative analysis of the correlations between the cuts and their effects. It is argued that because interpersonal relations and social structures are so intrinsic to The Wire’s message, the ideational meaning of the subtitled text suffers. The results are pertinent to the ongoing debate on the merits of verbatim versus edited subtitles, and point to the need for stylistic considerations to be implemented into subtitling practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-49
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • audiovisual translation
  • characterisation
  • intralingual subtitling
  • power
  • stylistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'The intralingual subtitling of The Wire: changes of style and substance: Changes of style and substance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this