cum on screen

Jonathan M. Hall jmhall at
Fri Oct 25 05:10:24 EDT 2002


Let me add a word of support for Asako's use of "cum."

Cum, when referring to ejaculation, is a perfectly standard usage within
erotic writing.  Why should that colloquialism not also apply within film
subtitles?  (I think the difference in spelling is especially beneficial
given the speed at which information is mentally processed by the
subtitle-reading subject.)

With the recent prominence of text-based sexual cultures on the internet,
for example, the concept of the colloquial needs to be understood in
relation to the written word as well.  Yet in this case, I think the usage
is standard , and not simply within commercial language, making this
distinction not a variety of the night/nite type.   A yahoo search for "sex"
and "come" (where many other meanings are possible) brought up nearly 3
million matches, but "sex" and "cum" (with, I presume, its unique meaning)
brought up a respectable million.

Having worked with Asako subtitling a film once, I was impressed with her
amazing skill at succinct subtleties. I think her choice here is a wise one.


€ € € € €
Jonathan M. Hall
Lecturer in Japanese Film and Modern Literature
East Asian Languages & Civilizations / Cinema & Media Studies
University of Chicago
301 Wieboldt Hall
1050 E. 59th Street
Chicago IL 60637
1-773-834-1323 fax

office #305 5720 Woodlawn Ave.
office 11-1 am Mondays and by appointment

> From: "mark schilling" <0934611501 at>
> Reply-To: KineJapan at
> Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 16:30:41 +1000
> To: <KineJapan at>
> Subject: Re: Cursing and bantering in English subtitles

> But please, please, please, never use "cum." It's not a colloquialism; it's
> sheer illiteracy.
> Mark Schilling
> schill at
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Fujioka Asako" <asakof at>
> To: <KineJapan at>
> Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 2:32 AM
> Subject: Cursing and bantering in English subtitles
>> Hello. During my work subtitling Japanese films into English, I've been
>> wondering how the international film community (film festival programmers,
>> sales agents, general audiences, journalists) reacts to explicit language
> in
>> subtitles. Understandably, having to "read" too many curse words in the
>> subtitles leaves a negative effect very different from "hearing" the
>> colloquial language of bantering. Aside from this issue of communicating a
>> film and its nuances properly, are there any kinds of guidelines that
> major
>> film festivals or movie companies follow in the use of explicit language
> in
>> subtitles?
>> "come" or "cum" is a word I've used often, now I'm faced with translating
>> cursing: "fuck" and "goddamn" "dick" etc...
>> Any advise would be helpful. Thanks.
>> Fujioka Asako

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