The formation of a sociolinguistic style in translation

cool and informal non-Japanese masculinity


  • Momoko Nakamura Kanto Gakuin University



enregisterment, masculinities, style, translation


This paper illustrates the powerful role of translation in creating a sociolinguistic style. Through a quantitative survey of Japanese native speakers and a qualitative analysis of translated speech in an imported TV show and its Japanese parody, the study shows that Japanese translation practices have invented and preserved a widely recognised Japanese style associated with non-Japanese men. The study demonstrates that the style is linked with an image of non-Japanese young men characterised by cool informality; that it is marked by the use of linguistic features not commonly used among native speakers; and that it can be used to enregister a negative stereotype of non-Japanese masculinity, which serves to legitimate a polite, formal, Japanese normative masculinity. The findings suggest that translation is a process in which dominant ideologies of the target-language culture can be reinforced through the voices and bodies of nonnatives.

Author Biography

Momoko Nakamura, Kanto Gakuin University

Momoko Nakamura, PhD, is Professor of English at Kanto Gakuin University, Japan. Her recent publications include Gender, Language and Ideology: The Genealogy of Japanese Women’s Language.


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How to Cite

Nakamura, M. (2020). The formation of a sociolinguistic style in translation: cool and informal non-Japanese masculinity. Gender and Language, 14(3), 244–262.