Wordplay-based humor


humour translation
translation strategy
General Theory of Verbal Humour
The Simpsons

How to Cite

Pilyarchuk, K. (2024). Wordplay-based humor: to leave it or to translate it, that is the question. The European Journal of Humour Research, 12(2), 120–144. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR.2024.12.2.915


Translating humour is comparable to working with poetry: one has to make sacrifices for the sake of equivalence. The task is further complicated when humour is anchored in multiple communication channels, such as the verbal and visual ones. The data of this article is complete Season 5 of The Simpsons animated sitcom and its Ukrainian, Russian, and German translation versions. Selected instances from the larger corpus of 526 humorous acts are discussed in light of Attardo’s (2001) General Theory of Verbal Humour and Zabalbeascoa’s (1993) concept of faithfulness in translation. They are then evaluated according to Chiaro’s (2008) typology for wordplay translation, which is expanded with concrete techniques. The findings suggest that the translator’s creativity may play a more important role than the proximity between the source and target languages.



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