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翻译学课程作业:电影字幕翻译的特征与技巧研究--英国论文代写范文精选

2015-11-17 | 来源:51Due教员组 | 类别:更多范文

翻译学课程作业:电影字幕翻译的特征与技巧研究

Ⅰ. Introduction

 Nowadays, films not only play an important role in entertainment but also serve as a way of cultural communication between different countries. Subtitle translation, a special translation field, becomes more and more important.
 Film, as a carrier of cultures, has great value both in entertainment and learning of foreign cultures. And more and more people prefer the original sounds of foreign films, because it can keep the integrity and naturalness of films. It demands a higher level of translators and requires them to pay more attention to the skills and techniques of subtitle translation. So the study of subtitle translation is necessary and important.
 This paper, explores the relation between films and subtitle translation, including skills and strategies of subtitle translation. The first part introduces the definition, features and process of subtitle translation. The second part introduces some important skills which are usually used in subtitling, with examples. The last part introduces cultural factors which must be considered in subtitle translation, such as names, proverbs and fixed expressions.
 
 Ⅱ. Movie Subtitle Translation
2.1 The Definition of Movie Subtitle Translation
With the rapid development of culture and economy, different countries communicate with each other frequently, so translation becomes more important. In this situation, subtitling comes into being. “Subtitles are words that are printed over a film in a foreign language to translate what the actors are saying. It is the written translation of the source language of a film into the target language.”(Finney, 1996:16).
We read subtitles that are visible on the screen within few seconds and understand them soon. Their function is to aid the viewer to understand and enjoy the film. The goal of good subtitles must be simplicity, clarity and adequacy.
 2.2 Features of Movie Subtitle Translation
 First of all, Film belongs to literary art in a broader sense, so film translation undoubtedly has something in common with the translation of literary works, that is, figurative languages are used to describe the supreme artistic state in the imagery thinking. Not only the literary translator but also the film translator must have a good command of both their native language and the foreign language. Translators should have an in-depth comprehension of the source text, weigh their words in diction and comply with the general principles of translation, such as faithfulness, expressiveness, elegance etc. But film subtitle translation, because of its rules in creation different from those of literary translation, has its own unique characteristics.
For instance, subtitle is to switch the mode of communication. Subtitle has to convert dialogues into written language. It is about the condensation of the message, because the processing time in visual mode is longer and screen is limited.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

When we watch a film, there is no spare time and space for us to comprehend and digest the explanation to a foreign term, so translators should use some other translation methods. That is, what is implicit is translated in an explicit way and what is strange to the target audience is converted into a familiar counterpart in the target culture.
2.2.1 Popularity
 Letters are the words flashed on the screen. The characters of films and the other video programs determine the transient characteristics of subtitles. The videos and sounds in films are transient according to the development of the plots. The languages of general literature, such as prose and novels, are on papers in written form, so the readers can read them over and over again and even weigh every word. Conversely, audiences have no other chance to watch the subtitles again, when they don’t understand during live television programs and movies appreciating. It’s better to give up, when people don’t catch the meaning of the subtitles at the first glance. Spending time pondering the words could affect to the appreciation of the following contents. Therefore, this characteristic of television programs and films demands the subtitles be easily understood and meet the needs of the ordinary people.
 Film as a popular art is one of the most popular ones. Film audiences have different social classes and educational levels; so, that also requires subtitle translation to consider audience of different cultural backgrounds and level of understanding about its original national culture. The readers for literary, religious, scientific or philosophical texts are educated elite. However, film is served for them asses. The audience for film is people from different educated levels, who may be linguistically specialized, or even illiterate. So owing to film’s popularity, the target language should, if possible, imitate everyday conversation and use spoken and real-in-life utterance to make most viewers understand film easily.
 2.2.2 Simplicity
 The feature of subtitle translation mainly reflects on audio-visual. The audiences’ understanding of images and dialogues can be distributed into two processes-“seeing” and “listening.” Subtitle is a substructure of audio-visual integrated information in its movie, and it is not an independent existent object. The duration of subtitles on the screen is limited by audio channel and visual channel. Subtitle must be translated effectively depend on its corresponding images and audios on the screen; that means subtitles should be co-exist with the images and audios it represented. In addition, the subtitle translation is also subject to space constraints. Too many words will take up too much space on the screen; therefore, it will distract audience getting information from images. This requires the translation to use a limited number of words to help the audience understand images effectively. Translation work on the book can be repeated to allow the reader to read a paragraph, or even few lines repeatedly; while fleeting images of the film does not allow the audience to read subtitles again. So, subtitles should be simple and neat to transmit relevant information quickly.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

 Subtitles should use common words and short phrases; Sentences should be concise and be strictly avoided of encumbrance and lengthiness; we should be careful of using long clauses, parenthesis, and participles. Such strict requirement of Simplicity makes the subtitle translation limited in the number of words it can use. Therefore, subtitle translation should be used equal amount of words or similar language style as much as possible. The language of film itself is relatively simple and concise, so translated subtitles also should be simple and clear, and not sloppy to reflect this characteristic.
 2.2.3 Synchronization and Coordination
 Written translation deals mostly with written materials; subtitling deals with not only written materials (when the source langue subtitles or scripts are provided) but also video images (pictures on the television or movie screens), and audio materials (including not only the character’s or narrator’s speech but also other sounds). Written translation generally has fewer restrictions, but subtitling is restricted by not only the maximum number of words each subtitle allows but also the maximum number of lines allowed in a subtitle. In addition, each subtitle must synchronize with the utterances, subtitles of the original language, and the related pictures. Chunk a subtitle appropriately to maintain the completeness of each chunk, take into account the timing of each subtitle, and synchronize with the picture on the screen, the source language subtitles, the narrations, or the character’ speech. Avoid word-by-word translations that disrupt the fluency in the target language.
 2.2.4 Pertinence
 The function of caption aims at making audiences understand story better. However, the translation of caption directs toward different kinds of movie in order to adapt to suit different groups of audiences tastes. Targeting all sorts of audiences, the caption of film should translate in accordance with audiences’ favors. Taking a youth idol drama as an example, lots of youths take a fancy to this kind of movie; in that case, the translation of caption should inclines to be more light-hearted, lively, fashionable and popular. If it is a literary film, most of the audiences are women or young artists, so the translation should own aesthetic and artistic quality. If it is a cartoon film, probably watched by kids, thus, the translation should be lovely and simple, the pertinence and timeliness of caption translation are taken into consideration from the angle of consuming psychology, not only the scope of translatology.
 2.3 The Process of Movie Subtitle Translation
 2.3.1 Preparation
 Firstly, the translators should watch the movie and read the script without stop. The first watching is to have the general idea of the original movie and become familiar with the style of the movie. In old days, veteran translators would start translating immediately upon the receipt of the combined script, or just the subtitle list. No demand would be made to preview the movie. Here, the translation of subtitles is pretty much reduced to a basic word-for-word pattern; the constraints of space and time, the relationship between the image, the sound and the text, the mood of the utterances, the social backgrounds of the characters which dictates his or her choice of words and the implication and references of the text, is given minimal consideration by the translator. Nowadays, more responsible translators always demand a preview of the film before they start the translation. However, a single viewing is far from adequate to grasp every meaning of the words and fully comprehend a film.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

 In the second watching, the translator should pay very special attention to some details. Today translators will be provided with a dialogue script or subtitle list which has already broken the dialogues of the movie into individual lines, marked b serial broken dialogues of the movie into individual lines which will serve as the source text for his subtitling. In Hollywood, there are companies which specialize in doing this so that there is no need for translators to do segmentation for the movie script. If the translator does not watch the movie carefully and translates the movie just according to the original subtitle list with the original segmentations, there will appear broken sentences on the screen, which will interrupt audience’s train of thinking and make them confused.
 Finally, the translator should view the movie for the third time.
 
 The primary purpose of this viewing is to ensure a thorough understanding of every part and detail of the movie. The translator must read each word and sentence as carefully as a critic. The principal consideration in translating a movie is a thorough understanding of its meaning and function. Before starting the accrual subtitling, it is essential for the translator to watch the original movie 3 times and read the script as carefully as possible.(朱维芳,2002:301).
 
 2.3.2 Working
 The first step of working is subtitling. There are some strategies in subtitle translation, we will discuss in the following part.
 The second step is revising. With the completion of the subtitling step comes the revising procedure. Here, the translator must remember that he should refrain from revising it immediately after he finishes the translation. Instead, he should put it aside for several days until he forgets most of the details. Then the translator should go back to the subtitle and check it carefully for omission, additions, mistakes, or even mistakes that happened in the first subtitling. One must at the same time confirm the accuracy and consistency of the content on the premise of conciseness, which is determined by the constraints of subtitled movie. Then he should set aside the translated version for another couple of days for the preparation of a second turn of revision. Naturally, improvement to them will also have to be made.
 
 Ⅲ. Techniques of Movie Subtitle Translation 
Subtitle translation is different from literature translation because of the technical constraints of time and space. Therefore, strategies and criteria of subtitle translation are different.
 Translating is a purposeful activity, so is subtitling. The purpose of subtitle translation is to provide, within the constraints of time and space, the most relevant information in the most effective way, aiding the audience to understand the film with ease. The subtitled text should be natural and intelligible since the viewers are not allowed to spend too much time thinking it over.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

 3.1 The Unique Techniques of Movie Subtitle Translation
3.1.1 Long Sentence Split
 In terms of time, language and picture should coordinate simultaneously. The synchronization of subtitle is less strict than dubbing, and executes specific time control on Chinese captions, but one thing for sure; the subtitle and sound must be synchronized. This requires the translator should choose commonly used words, short and pithy, flexible sentence, realize information transmission in limited time and space. But the author thinks achieving complete synchronization is almost impossible, because movie actors need to complete the dialogue in a few seconds, the subtitles present totally once the speaker opens mouth. The speed of audiences browsing captions is faster than sound transmission, which reveal the message of following captions and is far to reach the perfect result of “synchronization”, inevitably degrade the entertainment of movie appreciation. The captions presenting on screen like a flash in the pan, totally different from books providing readers with reference, this is another time control on subtitle translation. Therefore, taking corresponding strategies of subtitling translation should choose common words, simple words, and short terms; Sentence should be concise, avoiding long and complicated form, reducing the use of parenthesis, participles structure and clauses; when adjusting sentence structure, we can change some passive sentences, negative sentences into active sentences and positive sentences. Change the long sentences into short ones, the complicated sentences into simple ones.
 For example:
 -Cathy: Isabella, don’t you see what he’s been doing? He’s been using you, to be near me, to smile at me behind your back, to try to rouse something in my heart that’s dead!
 凯西:伊莎贝拉,你难道不懂他在玩什么花样吗?他一直在利用你,利用你来接近我,他背着你冲我笑,试图从我心里唤起那种已经熄灭的感情!
 From Wuthering Heights
 The above-mentioned dialogue has a long English complex sentence consisting three infinitive phrases and an attributive clause: “to be near me”, “to smile at me behind your back” and “to try to rouse something in my heart that’s dead”. These long and complex infinitives and a clause are hard to translate into a short and refining, semantic integral sentence. Because each phrase contains different semantic informations, if gruffly organized a long and complex sentences, it will inevitably result in the out-of-sync of picture and sound, which not only harmer the audiences understanding subtitles, also destroy wonderful movie scenes. But the translator ingeniously uses segmentation method to resolve this problem, dividing a long sentence into four independent Chinese sentences.
 3.1.2 Length Restrictions  
In terms of space, each presence of subtitles is not beyond two lines. As for English captions, audiences commonly accept two-line-captions. But talking about Chinese captions, many scholars deem that one-line-caption is enough, and two-line-captions are not practical. Because excessive captions occupy overmuch space and spoil picture effects of the video, which will bring about a result that this secondary supersedes the primary. Moreover, it’s hard for audiences to appreciate picture and browse captions simultaneously in a short time, which has a great impact on common communicative activities. Therefore, as for translators, the translation of subtitles should be ensured clear and simple. In addition, considering the possibility of some audiences’ hearing disability, the standard practice for setting subtitles shouldn’t cover the speaker’s mouth. Generally speaking, subtitle translation has two forms: monolingual and bilingual. The former one is that the first line is source language while the second line is target language, two-line-captions display simultaneously on screen. The latter one only shows one kind of captions, but through settings: shifting the types of subtitle languages or emerging the second subtitle. The general bilingual subtitles may take up more screen space, and the related font of subtitle zooms out, so this subtitle translation requires more.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

 3.1.3 The Omissions of Function Words
 Owing to the time and space control on subtitle translation, the first sentence omits the unnecessary function word “well”, as for 柴梅萍 advocated, when translation from English into Chinese chooses words, it should omit the unnecessary function word as much as possible and simplify some repeated adjectives and adverbs. For example:
 -Ashley: Well, isn’t it enough that you gathered every other man’s heart today? You always had mine. You cut your teeth on it.
 From Gone with the wind
 Besides, the sentence has relatively tailored the source language on condition that it doesn’t affect the coherence of discourse meanings. Because “You cut your teeth on it” enjoy the same meaning as “you always had mine”, the latter one is more vivid, due to space control, and two-line-captions are limited within 20 characters leading to the latter one deleted.

 Bibliography
 
 [1]     Baker. Code of Good Subtitling Practice. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1998.
 [2]     Eugene, A. Nida. Language, Culture and Translating. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2000.
 [3]     Finney, A. The State of European Cinema. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996.
[4]     Gottlieb, H. Subtitling: Diagonal Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
 [5]     Peter, Newmark. Approaches to Translation. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 1991.
 [6]     胡姝昀, 王高. On Film Translation. 《华北工学院学报(社科版)》, 2004,第四期.
 [7]     柴梅萍.  “电影翻译中文化意象的重构、修润与转换”. 《苏州大学学报》, 2001,第四期.
 [8]     蔡圣勤.《英美电影流派艺术概论》, 武汉大学出版社, 2003.
 [9]     胡功泽.《翻译理论之演变与发展》, 书林出版有限公司, 1994.
 [10] 李运兴. “字幕翻译的策略”, 《中国翻译》, 2001, 第四期.
 [11] 陆扬,王毅. 《大众文化与传媒》, 上海三联书店, 2002.
 [12] 王秉钦. 《文化翻译学》, 南开大学出版社, 1995.
 [13] 朱维芳.《英语电影教程》, 外语教学与研究出版社, 2002.(51Due责任编辑:cari)

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