Singlish turns Indonesian in Crazy Rich Asians: Lost in translation

Retno Wulandari Setyaningsih, Puji Audina Lestari

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Crazy Rich Asians (2018) is a movie telling about Singaporean wealthy families, and in particular a love story between an heir and a commoner. Taking place in Singapore and Malaysia, this Hollywood movie includes Singaporean English (Singlish) in the dialogues so as to expose Asian identity. This study purports to illustrate Singlish utilized in Crazy Rich Asian (2018), and the strategies applied in subtitling the Singlish into Indonesian. This study is descriptive in nature, and scrutinizes the movie script while comparing the Singlish found with the Indonesian subtitles. Utilizing a Microstrategies theory proposed by Cintas and Remael (2007), this study maps subtitle strategies to reveal their impact on viewers. There are 86 Singlish words and phrases identified, and the subtide strategies found are caique, transposition, explication, loan, omission, substitution, lexical recreation and compensation. The most frequently applied subtitle strategy applied is caique, which turns Singlish specific lexical and grammatical features into a set of formal Indonesian words and phrases. As a consequence, the translator can be considered successful in providing information about the movie story for Indonesian viewers. However, the translator fails to effectively introduce Singlish words and phrases as markers of Asian identity to Indonesian viewers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalGLOCAL Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event2020 Conference of the Global Council on Anthropological Linguistics in Asia, GLOCAL 2020 - Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Duration: 5 Feb 20208 Feb 2020


  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Singlish
  • Subtitle strategies
  • Subtitles


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