YouTube is considered to be a diverse phenomenon, characterized by being a popular cultural information archive, a social network, and an extensive commercial broadcast platform. It is notable that 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US, and 60% of creators’ views come from outside their home country. Even though a vast amount of translation currently exists on social media networks like YouTube, interdisciplinary research on this new media platform has been lacking.
The language of YouTube is characterized by various complex modes and media. Androutsopoulos (2010) has focused on intertextuality (textual interconnectedness), multimodality (combinations of semiotic modes), and heteroglossia (deployment of sociolinguistic difference) as defining characteristics of online participatory environments such as YouTube. Thus, the translations of the language of YouTube channels with specific themes should be noticeably different from that of conventional audiovisual materials.
In this study, five YouTube Korean beauty creator channels that provide English subtitles are chosen based on the number channel subscribers and uploaded videos. After analyzing the English subtitles of the YouTube channels, new translation strategies that were different from existing audiovisual translation strategies are categorized.
Although the subtitles of the YouTube videos do show a lot of conventional audiovisual translation strategies, especially using metaphorical expressions when rendering meaning in ST, new and different translation strategies are identified at the same time. These new translation strategies found on the YouTube videos are as follows: the use of neologisms, phonetic transcription, frequent use of swear words and slang, intentional repetition of spelling, the use of internet terminology (chatting abbreviations/emojis/ use of social media slang), and use of punctuation marks. Furthermore, it was found that the use of these new strategies is keenly related to the characteristics of YouTube: multimodality; intertextuality; and heteroglossia.