Multi Media Translation: Concepts, Practices and Research (Benjamins Translation Library)

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Series : Benjamins translation library, v. Subject : Translating and interpreting Congresses. The author then goes on to describe a project of the American Bible Society, aiming at producing a translation of the Bible that contains both images and traditional text. This project exemplifies the new ways in which texts and meanings can be translated into multimedia events, while at the same time leading to interesting questions about the often complex nature of text and meaning. Ritter Werner's paper deals with the same project as Goethals'.

Here it is described in much more detail and web addresses are provided where the results can be seen. Part of the complex thinking and preparation work behind the production is accounted for. This involved source and target analyses of linguistic, para- and extralinguistic features of the text and the media. It is stressed how important teamwork and new forms of communication were for tackling the complicated task of translating a both silent and sacred text into a multimedia experience.

Wehn describes contexts in which it is not sufficient to translate the verbal elements of a text. Often, the non- verbal parts of a message must be altered or at least be taken into account too, due to cultural differences between source text and target text receivers. Providing examples from the realms of advertising and film, Wehn argues that Translation Studies must not restrict itself to the translation of purely linguistic elements since this would not reflect the true nature of many transfer processes.

Part II: In the longest contribution to the book, A.

Methodology and Training in audiovisual translation

Budgets, distribution, box office results and production conditions are discussed. The increasing use of English in European film, supposed to increase profits especially on the American market, is specifically addressed. According to Meylaerts, translation issues have been neglected in the report, and in reality there is strong English-language especially American influence both on television and on the book market. The claims are supported by several tables. Zabalbeascoa, N. Santamaria provide an overview of the TV landscape in Spain in general and Catalonia in particular.

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The history and recent trends in screen translation in Spain are touched upon, and some insight is offered into the processes involved in dubbing, including the work of translators and actors. The focus is on dubbing into Catalan. Factors related to the plot, the TV audience's preferences and the characters' personalities are dealt with in some detail in a discussion of domestication strategies. Alexieva's paper deals with interpreter-mediated TV live interviews.


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Drawing on a study involving 16 live interviews with foreign guests on Bulgarian television and on two enquiries aiming at TV viewers' attitudes towards this genre, Alexieva presents a description of the phenomenon and outlines important parameters for an analysis. The participants' roles are discussed as well as textual parameters and text-building strategies. Finally, common inadequacies in the interpreter's performance are taken up and exemplified. Mack gives a general overview of the working conditions of TV interpreters as described in the literature. The specific constraints and requirements related to this kind of activity are given special attention.

This information then serves as a background to findings from a small study based on interviews with Italian TV interpreters. Frequently, working conditions are considered unsatisfactory due to a host of reasons. Especially the clash between the producers' main concern with "natural sounding, continuous speech flow" and the interpreters' own standards "related to sense consistency and completeness" are a source of frustration.

Paro have a long working experience from the translation department of FST, the Swedish section of the Finnish national broadcasting company. They share their inside knowledge of the organizational decisions taken at the department and discuss how the present organization helps to ensure the quality of translations produced at the company. They suggest six steps from "start an in-house translation unit" to "establish a reviewing system" that would lead to improved screen translation quality. They stress that translation has and must become a form of teamwork.

Mueller, a subtitler and editor of subtitles with an Australian broadcasting company, gives an account of how the company assures good translation quality. The focus is on the recruitment and training of the most competent subtitlers as well as on the role of the editor.

A good subtitler's necessary skills are listed in the appendix. James, a subtitle editor from Wales, focuses on the editing procedure as a desirable form of quality control. Ideally, the editing should consist of three stages: a spell check, a reading of the subtitled texts and a viewing of the subtitles in the context of the pictures. James also gives some examples of inadequacies in subtitling that good editing could remedy.


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Morgan, responsible for subtitles at British Channel 4, provides a relatively detailed description of how subtitles are prepared there. Some technical information is included, as well as in-house rules about the look and the quality of the finished product. Information about the requirements, constraints and training is given, followed by the description of a real case, the live broadcast of the Clinton testimony in the Lewinsky case. At the end, the pros and cons of the procedure are discussed, especially the low quality of the end product. Dewolf offers an introduction to opera surtitling, with some information about technology, constraints and general rules.

Comparisons with film subtitles are sometimes made. Excerpts of a Wagner opera and a Brecht play are shown together with differing Dutch and French translations. Part III: F. Karamitroglou examines the reasons why such a large percentage of foreign programmes aimed at children in Greece are subtitled and not dubbed. Factors such as the nature of the programmes, the effects of different translation modes on children, and the viewers' and the decision-makers' preferences are considered. Economic reasons apart, the very strong dominance of subtitling in general seems to create a norm that also influences the choice of translation mode for children's programmes.

He denounces the frequent lack and insufficient quality of such a list, but stresses also that a dialogue list, where it is available to the translator, should not be considered absolute law, but rather serve as a valuable tool. Several comparisons between a the original dialogue, b the content of the subtitles as suggested by the list and c the actual Spanish subtitles of sequences from a Woody Allen movie illustrate the author's points.

After an introduction dealing with certain features of subtitles in general and the difficult relationship between the spoken original and the written translation in particular, A. Assis Rosa discusses different choices when it comes to the question of transferring specifically oral elements to the subtitles. The influence of conflicting norms and value systems is particularly stressed. Some of their choices are taken up, and the reception of the film in France, Britain and in the US is compared and discussed.

Anglicisms and TV subtitles in an Anglified world - Staff

In the only paper written in French, T. Tomaszkiewicz explores a number a possibilities that a translator has in dealing with culture-specific phenomena. Employing examples from Polish, French and American movies and their different subtitle versions, the author discusses strategies such as omission, direct transfer, circumlocution and adaptation.