Screen Translation : Special Issue of The Translator (Volume 9/2, 2003) book cover
1st Edition

Screen Translation
Special Issue of The Translator (Volume 9/2, 2003)

Edited By

Yves Gambier

ISBN 9781900650717
Published December 12, 2003 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

There are three fundamental issues in the field of screen translation, namely, the relationship between verbal output and pictures and soundtrack, between a foreign language/culture and the target language/culture, and finally between the spoken code and the written one. All three issues are raised and discussed by contributors to this special issue of The Translator.


The topics covered include the following: the use of multimodal transcription for the analysis of audiovisual data; the depiction and reception of cultural otherness in Disney animated films produced in the 1990's; the way in which subtitles in Flanders strengthen the already streamlined narratives of mainstream film stories, and how they 'enhance' the characteristics of the films and their underlying ideology; developing a research methodology for testing the effectiveness of intralingual subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing; the pragmatic, semiotic and communicative dimensions of puns and plays on words in The Simpsons; the reception of translated humour in the Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup; and non-professional interpreting in live interviews on breakfast television in Finland. The volume also includes a detailed profile of two postgraduate courses that have been successfully piloted and run at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: the Postgrado de Traducción Audiovisual and the Postgrado de Traducción Audiovisual On-line.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Yves Gambier, PP 171-189
This introductory article provides an overview of the state of the art in screen studies, including types of AVT, the terminology used, changes and developments in the field, and research questions yet to be explored.


Multimodal Transcription in the Analysis, Translation and Subtitling of Italian Films, Christopher Taylor, PP 191-205
Multimodal transcription, particularly as devised by Thibault (2000), provides an effective methodological tool in the analysis of audio-visual text. The method involves breaking down a film into single frames/shots/phases, and analyzing all the semiotic modalities operating in each frame/shot/phase. The tripartite distinction reflects the fact that certain screen genres need more painstaking analysis than others. The purpose of the present article is to show how this methodology can be adopted (and adapted) to formulate strategies for subtitling, particularly in relation to the translation of Italian film material into English, but also into German, French and Spanish. The method provides insights into how meaning is 'made' (in the Hallidayan sense of the expression) via the combination of various semiotic modalities, and thus how the verbal message in the form of subtitles interacts with other sources of meaning. The main underlying theoretical basis of this work lies partly in the functional-systemic tradition and partly in the Kress & Van Leeuwen (1996) approach to visual grammar. Studies of this type have involved various screen genres - feature films, advertisements, news programmes, soap operas, etc. - thereby offering the possibility of also comparing those genres in terms of subtitling strategies. Adopting a modified version of the Thibault model in the search for reasoned translation choices is thus put forward as a valid methodological approach, at least in teaching how multimodal texts work and how subtitling practice can be integrated into this model. As a tool for the professional it is, as so far developed, time-consuming and not commercially viable on a cost-benefit basis, but this article attempts to show that as an instrument for sensitizing translation students to the particular demands of multimodal translation, it takes us a step further along the road to optimizing subtitling strategies.


Cultural Otherness and Global Communication in Walt Disney Films at the Turn of the Century, Elena Di Giovanni, PP 207-223
This paper describes the main strategies by which cultures which are distant in time and space are depicted in a selection of Disney animated films produced in the 90's. Specifically, the language component of such films as Aladdin (1992) and Hercules (1997) is used to observe the representations of cultural otherness, together with the projection of western stereotypes and American values depicted in them. This descriptive study draws upon the semiotics of cinema and intercultural studies to analyze the three main strategies used in the original versions and in their subsequent Italian translations. The author shows that, in the case at hand, the main difficulty lies in translating the "narrating" (i.e. American) rather than the "narrated", remote, culture.


Mainstream Narrative Film Dialogue and Subtitling:  A Case Study of Mike Leigh's 'Secrets & Lies' (1996), Aline Remael, pp 225-247
This article demonstrates the way in which subtitles that follow current subtitling norms in Flanders strengthen mainstream film stories' already streamlined narratives. The subtitles enhance but impoverish the characterization of the films, also enhancing their underlying ideology, while censoring a few critical voices in the process. A brief survey is offered of the method for dialogue analysis (taken from social psychology) which is used in this study. The article then examines the way in which the subtitles of the Flemish subtitled version of Mike Leigh's 'Secrets and Lies' maintain or modify the interplay of interactional, semantic and quantitative dominance that propels verbal exchanges and helps determine the progression of the narrative. The analysis also covers the information conveyed by the visual sign system of the film and the way in which it complements the dialogues.


Reading Television, Checking Deaf People's Reactions to Closed Subtitling in Fortaleza, Eliana Franco and Vera Lucia Santiago Araújo, pp 249-267
This article reports on a pilot scheme in reception research focusing on the first and so far only closed subtitling model available on Brazilian open television and provided by its most powerful television network, Rede Globo. Experiments with a small sample of deaf and non-deaf viewers from the city of Fortaleza, in the Northeast of Brazil, suggest that the Globo model is not as effective as might be. The guidelines elaborated in the course of this pilot study are envisaged to inform a larger research project which will be developed throughout the country in the hope of arriving at a closed subtitling model that better serves its main target audience.


The Simpsons/Los Simpson Analysis of an Audiovisual Translation, Lourdes Lorenzo, Ana Pereira and María Xoubanova, pp 269-291
This paper presents a case study of the Spanish translation of the famous American TV series The Simpsons, focusing on the translation of humour, which is the dominant textual function of the series (Nord 1997). Our analysis draws on Agost's theoretical framework (1999) for the study of audiovisual products, which is in turn based on Hatim and Mason's model (1990). For the purposes of this paper, we have limited our analysis to the categories for the translation of humour advanced by Zabalbeascoa (1992) and Fuentes Luque (2000). Following these models, the analysis is divided into three sections: (a) the pragmatic dimension, where we analyze the contextual focus, intentionality and conversational maxims of the source text (ST) and their translation in the target text (TT); (b) the semiotic dimension, where we concentrate on the translation of ideological and cultural components and intertextual references; (c) the communicative dimension, where we analyze use (field, tenor, mode) and user (sociolinguistic) varieties. Our objective is to describe and evaluate the chosen strategies of translation. Our conclusion seems to confirm the thesis put forward by theorists such as Toury (1995) and Venuti (1995) that the translator intervenes actively and creatively in the text to make it suit his or her own purposes.


An Empirical Approach to the Reception of AV Translated Humour A Case Study of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup, Adrián Fuentes Luque, pp 293-306

The successful reception of audiovisual productions depends heavily on the quality of the translation of the audiovisual text. Audiovisual translation has been dealt with in depth by a number of studies in the last few years. However, most studies seem to ignore the key question of reception. This paper aims to address this gap in the literature by analyzing some questions relating to the level of reception of AV translated humour in English. The emphasis is on empirical testing, through an experiment designed to examine the degree of positive transfer of AV translated humour. To this end, a case study of one of the best well-known Marx Brothers' films, Duck Soup, is presented.


Who Said What? A Pilot Study of the Hosts' Interpreting Performance on Finnish Breakfast Television,Riitta Jääskeläinen, pp 307-323

This article reports on a pilot study of three live interviews of non-Finnish-speaking guests on a Finnish breakfast television show, in which the Finnish hosts assume the additional task of translating. The study has both translation-theoretical and translation-political aims. First, the aim is to try to pin down empirically the intuitive impression that the hosts' "translations" occasionally tend to be so ridden with journalistic intervention that it becomes hard to consider them as belonging to the category of "translation/interpreting". The second aim is to raise the issue of professional vs. non-professional interpreting in the media for critical discussion by showing where - and how - non-professional interpreting may fail to fulfil its role.


Revisiting the Classics

First Take on Film Dubbing: Review of István Fodor: Film Dubbing - Phonetic, Semiotic, Esthetic and Psychological Aspects (Robert Paquin, Canada)

Book Reviews


Fotios Karamitroglou: Towards a Methodology for the Investigation of Norms in Audiovisual Translation (Dirk Delabastita, Belgium)

Rosa Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli, Christine Heiss, Marcello Soffritti and Silvia Bernardini (eds): La traduzione multimediale: Quale traduzione per quale testo? (Christopher Taylor, Italy)

Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson (eds): Fidelity and Translation: Communicating the Bible in New Media (David Katan, Italy)

Yves Gambier and Henrik Gottlieb (eds): (Multi) Media Translation: Concepts, Practices, and Research (Peter Fawcett, UK)

Zoe de Linde and Neil Kay: The Semiotics of Subtitling (Ian Mason, UK)

Ana Ballester Casado: Traducción y nacionalismo. La recepción del cine americano en España a través del doblaje (1928-1948) (Jorge Diaz Cintas, UK)

Miguel Duro (ed): La traducción para el doblaje y la subtitulación (Jorge Diaz Cintas, UK)

Course Profile

Postgraduate Courses in Audiovisual Translation
Jorge Díaz Cintas, UK and Pilar Orero, Spain

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