Cultural Translation: Sometimes Not All It Should Be

Countless times I’ve come across what some would refer to cheap imitations, while others would say were comic refinements of shows as they are transferred from one country or culture to another. This is made necessary but inclusions of societal and cultural references that only viewers with an understanding of that culture or society would find humourous, whilst the basic framework may work on a universal level.
Take for example, any attempt at American television to retrofit British television shows for an American audiences. The Office as a prime example has caused a divide among Australian viewer. Whilst removed from both American and British culture, Australian tend to have strong ties with either, or in some cases, both. Viewers with a stronger association with American culture tend to prefer the American version, aligning more favourably with the rougher humour style, whilst viewers with a more British based cultural understanding would prefer the british version. This is because we view things with a cultural lense, and our understanding of cultural references and even the style of humour varies, and effects what we perceive to be funny.
Any subversion of the cultural lense we tend to find offensive, which is why programs such as Kath and Kim, when appropriated to American audiences, received so much backlash, as by appropriating it to american audiences it lost the cultural frame preferable to us, thus we perceive it as a loss of humour. However American audiences might find more humour in it now they can better associate it and understand the references and humour type available.


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