Preliminary Study on Tactics of Translating Film’s Subtitles

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  • Topic: Translation, Literal translation, Metaphrase
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  • Published : November 22, 2012
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Preliminary Study on Tactics of Translating Film’s Subtitles

Abstract

This essay firstly gives a brief introduction of the status quo of subtitling practice. By elaborating the characteristics and functions of subtitling translation, analyzing the time and space constraints by using concrete examples exerted from Forrest Gump, Waterloo Bridges, Friends, Rain Man, Shrek, You’ve Got Mail, Liar Liar, Mind of Beauty, Schidle’s List, Pride and Prejudice, American Beauty, Out of Africa, After the Sunset for illustration, the author puts forward six workable strategies for subtitling translation, namely, the avoidance of mistakes on common sense, the application of condensation, due attention of cultural factors, the adoption of colloquial words with natural and fluent tone,the achievement of harmony between speed and visual pictures, good consideration of context. Finally, the importance of improving translation skills and work ethic of subtitle translators is high lightened with the hope for perfecting the subtitle translator’s practice in an efficient way.

Key words: subtitling; characteristics; constraints; strategies; subtitle translators

Preliminary Study on Tactics of Translating Film’s Subtitles

Outline

Thesis Statement: Translation of film’s subtitles, which plays a very important role in cross-cultural communication, is noteworthy of due attention in order to convey the accurate meaning of the original films to its audience.

Ⅰ. Introduction: The Status Quo, Characteristics, and Functions of Subtitling Translation Ⅱ. Two Limiting Factors of Subtitling Translation
A. Time Constraint in Subtitling Translation
B. Space Constraint in Subtitling Translation
Ⅲ. Tactics Drew From the Analysis of Some Movies
A. The Avoidance of Mistakes on Common Sense
B. The Application of Condensation
C. Due Attention of Cultural Factors
D. The Adoption of Colloquial Words with Natural and Fluent Speed E. The Achievement of Harmony between Speed and Visual Pictures F. Good Consideration of Context
Ⅳ. Conclusion

Preliminary Study on Tactics of Translating Film’s Subtitles

Ⅰ. Introduction

A. The Status Quo of Subtitling Translation
With the widening opening-up and deepening reformation as well as the increasing contact with other countries, English original films become more and more popular in our entertainment industry. When Americans are crazy with The Lord of the Rings, laughing with Shrek, arguing about Fahrenheit 9/11, and holding their breath at appreciating Spider-man, Chinese people also want to have a comprehensive understanding of them. However, not all Chinese people could understand English, so they have to turn to subtitles to gain a sense of satisfaction. Therefore, subtitling translation, which plays a very important role in cross-cultural communication, is noteworthy of due attention in order to convey the accurate meaning of the original films to its audience. B. Characteristics of Subtitling Translation

Subtitles are the words that printed at the bottom part of the screen in the form of target language, following the sound of source language. Nedegaard-Larsen, Birgit once put subtitling translation as a type of special language conversion: the condensed written translation of the original oral speech.1 Shuttleworth and Cowie also put it in this way—subtitling translation was a process which provides simultaneous instruction to the verbal activities happened in films and television programs.2 Gottieb once concluded the features of subtitling translation into five aspects: 1) written 2) addible 3) instantaneous 4) simultaneous 5) multimedia.3 And personally speaking, there are at least three apparent features: 1. Proper condensation of original context: When a film is going, its viewers need to have heed of the subtitles while listening the original sound and appreciating the...
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