Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting

Any translation into our native language plays a unique role in developing both national identity and national stereotypes. The transmission of cultural values in screen translation has received very little attention in the literature and remains one of the most pressing areas of research in translation studies.

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the great power of film translation. This aim is accomplished by presenting the major modes of film translation – dubbing and subtitling, each of them interfering with the original text to a different extent.

Dubbing is the method that modifies the source text to a Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting large extent and thus makes it familiar to the target audience through national adaptation (domestication). It is the method in which the foreign dialogue is adjusted to the mouth and movements of the actor in the film and its aim is making the audience feel as if they were listening to actors actually speaking the target language.

Subtitling, i.e. supplying a translation of the spoken source language dialogue into the target language in the form of synchronized captions, usually at the bottom of the screen, is the form that alters the source text to the least possible extent and Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting enables the target audience to experience the foreign atmosphere.

Different countries employ different screen translation modes. The foreign movies in English-speaking countries such as the USA or the UK, tend to be subtitled rather than dubbed. In Britain, film translation is not a significant issue as the great majority of imported films are American and require no translation.

There are the dubbing countries, and this group comprises mainly French-, Italian- German-, and Spanish-speaking countries, where the overwhelming majority of films undergo the process of dubbing.

There are the subtitling countries, which are characterized by a high percentage of imported Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting films, and thus there is a great and steady demand for translation. Subtitling is preferred to dubbing in countries such as the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal and some non-European countries. In Belgium or Finland, where there are large communities speaking two languages, films are usually provided with double subtitles.

The last group comprises voice-over countries–mostly those that cannot afford dubbing, e.g. Russia, Ukraine or Moldova.

Translation got necessary with the appearance of “talkies” in the late 1920s. At first, American film companies tried to solve it by producing the same Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting film (using the same set and scenario, but different directors and actors) in various language versions. However, this soon turned out to be unprofitable, as the films produced were of poor artistic quality and they did not win over the public.

In the era of globalization there is a huge demand for mainly American productions and, in response to it, markets are flooded with them. A host of translation scholars agree that translation does not take place between words but rather between cultures.

Dubbing as a form of domesticationis "translating in a transparent, fluent, 'invisible' style in order to minimize Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting the foreignness of the target text" (2:146). The result is that all foreign elements are assimilated into the dominant target culture, thus depriving the target audience of crucial characteristics of the source culture.

Among all kinds of film translation, dubbing is the one that interferes the most in the structure of the original. In dubbing, the translator has to be faithful not only in the theatrical sense but also in terms of phonological synchronization. Here there are frequent incongruities between what real actors say and how they move their lips, and the dubbed voices, which affects the Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting audience, largely on a subconscious level. However, recent technology has developed a method of digital alteration of real actors' lip movement in order to fit new translated dialogue. Undoubtedly, dubbing is a powerful target culture-oriented tool which makes the source text conform as much as possible to standards held by the target culture.

Subtitling is a form of foreignisation, which is understood as an approach to translation which can be described as "sending the reader abroad" (2:147). It involves the least interference with the original; it is the most neutral, minimally mediated method. Therefore, it is subtitling that contributes Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting to experiencing the flavour of the foreign language, its mood and the sense of a different culture more than any other translation mode. This is mainly due to the fact that the original soundtrack and dialogues are not tampered with, as is the case in dubbing. Although there are significant cuts in the length of the dialogues due to the intrinsic nature of subtitling, much of what is lost can be compensated for while hearing the original.

Subtitling is becoming a preferred mode of translation owing to financial considerations – it is much cheaper to satisfy the expanding needs of film markets Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting by providing subtitles, which are more economical and easier to produce. Besides, knowledge of English has increased dramatically and is now widespread.

The obvious downsides of subtitling are the enormous shortcuts made in the process. The translator not only translates but also resolves which fragments to omit, which of them are irrelevant, and which are vital to the target audience. In an attempt to convey 'the core' of the script, translators often forget that it is not only the dialogues from the main plot that constitute the substance of a film. Other factors, such as various dialects, idiolects, register Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting or expressions of politeness, which frequently undergo reduction, can be equally important in the full comprehension of a particular work.



On the other hand, there are instances in which subtitlers supply the subtitles which are obvious and transparent. For example, some commonly comprehensible expressions like "yes" or "no" are rendered unnecessarily in countless cases. Also various onomatopoeic expressions such as "Grrr! Grrr!" leave at least some of the viewers dissatisfied. Sometimes, however, some onomatopoeic expressions vary from language to language, as is the case with some other animal sounds. For instance, in Snatch one of the protagonists imitates the Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting sounds made by a pig, saying: "oink oink", which was rendered into Ukrainian as "chryu chryu" since those two onomatopoeic expressions differ noticeably. All of the foregoing clearly reflects the crucial role of the translator in the translation process.

Subtitling can be considered part of the foreignisation realm: the crucial role of the source culture is stressed, foreign identity highlighted and the influence of the target culture minimised.

Films can be a tremendously influential and extremely powerful vehicle for transferring values, ideas and information. Different cultures are presented not only verbally but also visually and aurally, as film is a Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting polysemiotic medium that transfers meaning through several channels, such as picture, dialogue and music. Items which used to be culture-specific tend to spread and encroach upon other cultures. The choice of film translation mode largely contributes to the reception of a source language film in a target culture.

There is no universal and good-for-all mode of translating films. The methods are dependent upon various factors, such as history, tradition of translating films in a given country, various audience-related factors, the type of film to be rendered, as well as financial resources available. The Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting two major translation modes, i.e. dubbing and subtitling, occupy the two opposite ends of the domestication-foreignisation continuum. Dubbing is a domesticating strategy which neutralizes foreign elements of the source text and thus privileges the target culture. In contrast, subtitling is an example of a foreignising strategy since it stresses the foreign nature of a film and it is a source-culture-bound translation.

Cinema/video/TV-translation is a combined type of translation, which blends together peculiarities of simultaneous, consecutive, written translation, sometimes sight translation, depending on the purpose and character of work (translation for the Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting audience, for dubbing, when post-scoring, etc.)

This type of interpretation puts interesting and difficult professional tasks before interpreter, but for all of that it gives great possibilities for creativity, in this case getting closer to written translation (cinema is art, and the best examples of this genre are masterpieces of world culture).

Translator faces uneasy task not to degrade a general artistic impression, to maintain the author’s intention, quality of dialogues, speech characteristics. It’s a responsible mission to be able to impart the essence of epoch and individual speech characteristics. When cinema/video interpretation is raw or Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting not well done, losses are inevitable, but one should try to reduce them to minimum. Skill in handling logical (cause-effect), antonymic, situational, lexical and syntactical transformations is of unprecedented importance:

1. – How are you feeling? – Як почуваєтесь?
– No change. (Dr.House) – Так само.
2. – I hate nuns. – Я ненавиджу черниць.
– Who doesn’t? (Dr.House) – А хто їх любить?
3. – What do you mean? (Dr.House) – Що ви хочете цим сказати?
4. – Lightning can be a killer. (Dr.House) – Блискавка може бути смертельно небезпечною.
5. – I want you to help me. (Dr.House) – Допоможіть мені. Благаю вас.

Cinema/TV-serial personages, if compared with Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting the participants of talks or international conferences, in no way take into account the interests of feasible interpreters, don’t speak “for translation” (i.e. don’t aspire to facilitate the interpretation process or help the interpreter to increase the interpretation adequacy).

Cinema/video/TV-translation without preparation is extremely complicated process, demanding great experience and knowledge. If there is no possibility to look through the scenario (editorial script), then it is expedient to find information in corresponding editions, press, catalogues or at least annotation. If it is a screen version of literary work, then it is necessary to become Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting acquainted with the original source. In cinema translation the extra-linguistic context (video-line) becomes of primary importance, which contributes to the translation adequacy. Still the auding problem remains the main one (1:66).

In foreign movies, especially in the Hollywood ones, every word of each actor is carefully weighted and thought over by the dialogue editor. Scenario is corrected subject to mass psychology, existing stereotypes and other essential factors. Popular expressions (catch-words) become the result of the dialogue editor’s good work. many catch-words. In translation they are often lost for objective reasons of lingual-cultural character.

One Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting of the fundamental rules of cinema/video-TV translation says that the interpreter must understand and know what the case in point is about by himself. Modern interpreters mainly work with printed out “scripts”, when they don’t have to strain their ears to hear sound track, trying to catch an idiom, drowned out by firing. This kind of work provides maximum comfort for a professional. Still not infrequently the hero’s image, his character are lost in modern dubbing (obviously not that much expansive) put on the production line.

Cinema/video/TV-translation with preliminary preparation is Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting more adequate and artistic, then the previous one, but requires availability of scenario or literary original source of screen version. One should try at least to find a critical essay on a given movie, review, survey of cinematologists, etc. If there is any possibility, then it is helpful to look through the movie at least one time on video, stopping the tape or disk in the places hard to interpret, and think a possible translation variant over.

Cinema/video/TV-translation requires great erudition, resourcefulness, keen feeling for native language, and surely, perfect knowledge of foreign language (or several languages Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting), as well as love and reasonable interest in cinema (the more you watch, the better you translate).

Questions for discussion:

1. What is sight translation?

2. What are the complicating and facilitating factors of sight translation?

3. How is sight translation with the help of Dictaphone executed?

4. How is cinema translation executed?

5. What are the peculiarities of video-translation?

6. What is TV-translation?

7. How is cinema/video/TV-translation without preparation executed?

8. How is cinema/video/TV-translation with preliminary preparation executed?

9. What is screen translation?

10. Why is screen translation called “combined type of interpreting”?

Practical assignments:

Give sight Screen Translation as a Combined Type of Interpreting translation of the following text:


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