EU High Level Scientific Conference Series
Prof.Dr.H.Gerzymisch-Arbogast (Translation/Interpreting) ATRC Saarbrücken

  Multidimensional Translation - MuTra
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Abstracts of Presentations and Workshops

Stephen Armstrong,
Colm Caffrey &
Marian Flanagan (Dublin City University)

Translating DVD subtitles English-German and English-Japanese, using example-based machine translation

Due to limited budgets and an ever-diminishing time-frame for the production of subtitles for films released in cinemas and on DVDs, there is a compelling case for a technology-based translation solution for subtitles (O'Hagan, 2003; Carroll, 2004; Gambier, 2005). The aim of this project is to develop an Example-Based Machine Translation (EBMT) system for the translation of English DVD subtitles into German and Japanese, both of which are commercially significant languages.1 This is tested by seeding an EBMT system with a corpus consisting of existing human translations from DVD and book sources to automatically produce high quality subtitles for audio-visual content.

EBMT is a technology in which existing source language (SL) texts and their target language (TL) translations by humans are used as a corpus from which de facto translation equivalents can be extracted and used in automatic translation. EBMT works by first breaking source texts and target texts into aligned "chunks" (or mappings between source and target language strings of 2-4 words). If an input string in a new source text can subsequently be said to be made up of a number of such SL chunks, the corresponding TL chunks are retrieved and recombined to make a new translation in building-block fashion.

To our knowledge this is the first time that any MT approach has been used with DVD subtitle translation. Due to the specific language rules imposed on the subtitler, subtitles are particularly well suited to EBMT. In addition to this, recent studies in EBMT have shown how it outperformed online rule-based MT systems as well as statistical models of rule-based Machine Translation (Gough and Way, 2005).

For our corpus we have acquired sets of both homogeneous and heterogeneous data from a wealth of sources including existing subtitle files, eBooks, a Translation Memory, and Speech-to-text transcripts. During testing and evaluation of our system we intend to 'plug in and out' the different sets of data, and analyse the output translation of each set.

The EBMT translations will be evaluated by producers and consumers of subtitles. We will compare the EBMT output with existing human subtitles using focus groups of native speakers watching the DVDs on a television, as well as using an eye-tracker to evaluate individuals' eye responses. The increasing trend toward portable multimedia entertainment makes the application of eye-tracking data gathered from a PC-size monitor suitable for testing subtitles to be used on DVDs. The aim of the evaluation is to focus on the quality of the output and to determine to what extent the system aids the subtitling process. We hope to be able to develop a tool which could potentially help subtitlers in their everyday work, and reduce the demands on them to increase the quality of DVD subtitles.

Carroll, M. (2004). Subtitling: Changing Standards for New Media [Online] Available from: [Accessed 5 January 2006].
Gambier, Y. (2005). Is audiovisual translation the future of translation studies? IN: Proceedings of Between Text and Image. Updating Research in Screen Translation. 27-29 October 2005.
Gough, N. and Way, A. (2005). Comparing Example-Based and Statistical Machine Translation. Natural Language Engineering II, (3): pp295-309.
O'Hagan, M. (2003). Can language technology respond to the subtitler's dilemma? - A preliminary study. IN: Translating and the Computer 25. London: Aslib.
  1  Germany is traditionally a dubbing country unlike Japan, but DVD releases require subtitles in German.

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Verónica Arnaiz Uzquiza (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)

Research on SDH: Top secret?

Research on Audiovisual Translation has lately enjoyed a boom due to the great increase of multi-media products and advances in technology. In many countries such as Spain, where dubbing has traditionally been considered the only technique, subtitling, a minor and socially marked discipline, is claiming its place (in the market). The increasing social mobilizations fighting for the removal of all barriers to the disabled have given rise to a specific subtitling practice: Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH).

This "young" discipline (first practised in Spain in the early 90s by a regional TV channel in Catalonia), has been ignored and, thus, its study and research is yet complicated to classify. The intralingual processes involved in SDH are sometimes considered outside the scope of Translation Studies, as there seems to be no language transfer, as in other translation genres. So, where then do we place Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing? Does it have to be studied from a pedagogical point of view? As part of computer science? Would it be necessary to build up combined programs including many other disciplines?

In fact, although they are progressively being included in different post graduate university programs in Spain, SDH studies are not yet subject to the national standards that govern undergraduate degree programmes. Even though the practice is being carried out for the last 15 years, no standards have yet been established, apart from the guidelines UNE 153010 about analogue teletext subtitling issued in 2003 by the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR).

Television broadcasters, DVD distributors and certain deaf associations are the main sources providing this adapted intralingual subtitling form nowadays. But this apparently "simple" scenario is far from being homogeneous: equipment and developments, economic interests, and, above all, the lack of a theoretical framework, lead us to a vastly heterogeneous output. The "subtitle rush" we are facing has increased the number of subtitled products, displaying a wide variety of SDH, neglecting quality in many cases.

As isolated and private entities, subtitle producers, distributors, broadcasters, together with many other institutions have realised, not in all cases, the need of working together in the setup of a National Subtitle Center that would rule subtitling and its practice in Spain, but in the meanwhile, a great variety of differing-quality SDH is being sold as part of their related audiovisual products, and standardisation is still part of a dream.

This paper gives a general overview of the current situation of Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Spain, focusing on academic, social and commercial issues, together with the problems arising from its study.

KEYWORDS: Subtitling, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Research.

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Eduard Bartoll Teixidor (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

The translation of multilingual films

The aim of this paper is, on one hand, to show how several films containing multilingual texts are translated with subtitles, trying ascertain if in the future there may be a general solution to deal with such complex films. To do this, we will analyze several subtitled films where more than one language is used and study how this was done. On the other hand, the paper will look into another key question in the translation of films, such as the use of different dialects.

The translation of multilingual films, that is, films in which more than one language is spoken, it's often problematic and difficult to solve. Sometimes, the use of different languages along the whole film is the rule, and, surprisingly enough, this seems to be an easy case to solve, since these films are already subtitled in the original. But the problem appears when dealing with films where the use of another language is mixed along with the main language, or when used occasionally. What to do then? Looking closer at different films where this problem arises, one may find a solution. The films analysed will be: Night on Earth, Anita no perd el tren, L'auberge espagnole, Die Ehe der Maria Braun, Monsoon Wedding.

Not multilingual in the sense of using another languages, but using different dialects or even sociolects, this seems also to be a major problem, since the attempt to use just another dialect from the target language doesn't seem to be the solution. Here, again, a look into different cases may help us to draw a satisfactory conclusion. This is the case of the very famous film My Fair Lady, based on the play Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw. It is interesting to see that the play has been often adapted, rather than literally translated. This is the case of the Catalan version: Pigmalió, first published in 1957. It would be interesting to analyze the film, and to see how it was subtitled in other languages, for example Spanish or Italian, which are recent translations, since there was no tradition in subtitling at the time when the film was released. We will also observe what happens with the subtitles of another film containing dialects: Trainspotting.

With the results of all these analysis, we will try to see it it's possible to draw a general conclusion to be used with new translations in the future.

Díaz Cintas, Jorge. 2003. Teoría y práctica de la subtitulación Inglés-Español. Barcelona. Ariel.
Espasa, Eva. 2001. La traducció dalt de l'escenari. Vic: Eumo.
Gambier, Yves and Gottlieb, Henrik (eds). 2001. (Multi) Media Translation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Gottlieb, Henrik. 1997. Subtitles, Translation & Idioms. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.
Oliver, Joan. 1986. Pigmalió. Barcelona: Edicions 60.
Orero, Pilar (ed.). 2004. Topics in Audiovisual Translation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Bernd Benecke (Bayerisches Fernsehen/München)

Audio Description and Translation

Audio-Description for the blind and visually impaired is known to people in the UK, France, Germany and Spain. But every country developed the technique on its own - so if we are looking at described films in Europe today we find great differences in how the describing is done and what contents are translated.

What does this mean for further steps? Can Audio-Description, a translation from image into words itself, be translated from one language to another? Is this useful? Or are there cultural specifications that should stop us right from the beginning?

To get people into a discussion on that matter, this presentation will give a short overlook how Audio-Description made its way in different countries with a special focus on the German work done at Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. This includes examples of Audio-Description in different languages to demonstrate the various styles established in Europe.

A short part of the presentation will also deal with the different mediums for Audio-Description (TV, DVD, cinema and theatre) and the ways of transmitting the Audio-Description (pre-mixed vs. receiver-mixed descriptions etc.)

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Charlotte Bosseaux (University of Edinburgh)

Perception in audiovisual translation

This paper is my first attempt at investigating characterisation in audiovisual material and more particularly the perception of fictional audiovisual characters. Characterisation and perception are areas which are yet to be systematically researched in Audiovisual Translation (AVT). Nevertheless, a few recent studies present different viewpoints. On the one hand, Palencia Villa concludes that 'the credibility of the characters of a narrative sound film is strongly related to the sonorous interpretation of the text' and that 'dubbing does not modify this tendency' (2002). On the other hand, Ramière explains that in the French version of A Streetcar Named Desire, dubbing has entailed changes, and that some of them are more radical than others (2004: 112).

I thus want to look further into the potential issues brought about by the translation act in AVT by focusing on how dubbing can affect characterisation. In this paper, I claim that the voice of the characters is central in defining their personality and assume that because of dubbing the characters will sound different from the original version and will probably be perceived differently by the target audience.

The material chosen for investigation is the US TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer as this series has received a lot of attention in different academic fields, such as Cultural Studies. I compare various scenes involving the main characters in the original and dubbed versions to identify possible shifts in the perception of these characters.

Ramière, Nathalie (2004) 'Comment le sous-titrage et le doublage peuvent modifier la perception d'un film. Analyse contrastive des versions sous-titrée et doublée en français du film d'Eli Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)', Meta XLIX (1): 102-114.
Palencia Villa, Rosa Maria (2002) 'La influencia del doblaje audiovisual en la percepción de los personajes', Unpublished PHd Thesis, Universistat autónoma de Barcelona.

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Sabine Braun (Surrey)

Interpreting in videoconferences: Challenges, adaptation strategies and implications for training

Interpreting is a highly complex cognitive and communicative task. When it takes place in a videoconference setting, the technological challenges and remoteness add yet another dimension of complexity and difficulty. It is not too surprising therefore that studies on videoconference interpreting have focused on the analysis of the problems interpreters face in this situation (eg Böcker & Anderson 1993; Moser-Mercer 2003, 2005; Mouzourakis 1996, 2003). However, given the imperfections of the technology (sound and image quality), the problems with remoteness, which seem to prevail regardless of technological improvements (cf Mouzourakis 2003), and the unfamiliarity of the situation for the interpreters, the by far most striking result seems to be that videoconference interpreting has actually worked in a number of cases.

Against this backdrop I will address questions evolving around adaptability. Starting from the assumption that communication is a strategic process, I will argue that our communicative competence includes a basic capacity for adaptation to new, unfamiliar and even 'adverse' communicative situations and that strategies of self-control (monitoring) play a crucial role in the adaptation process. In the first part of my presentation, I will use the findings of an empirical case study on interpreting strategies in small-group bilingual videoconferences (data records from the videoconference sessions as well as introspective data) to identify and exemplify different types of adaptation strategies.

It is clear that the findings from this scenario need to be carefully counter-balanced with results from other, eg multilingual scenarios of remote interpreting, which may dampen the optimism with regard to adaptability (cf Moser-Mercer 2005). Yet, the issue of adaptation also needs to be considered in the wider context of interpreting and translation practice today, taking into account the increasing 'technicization' of interpreters' and translators' work environments, the emergence of new scenarios in which the traditionally separate activities of translating and interpreting sometimes even intermingle (cf Gambier 2003), as well as the fact that interpreters/translators are usually not in a position to choose or refuse a job. With this in mind I will devote the second part of my presentation to a discussion of some of the factors which contribute to the success (or failure) of adaptation and will finally turn to some implications for interpreter/translator training.

Böcker, M., & D. Anderson (1993): Remote conference interpreting using ISDN videotelephony: a requirements analysis and feasibility study. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 37th annual meeting, 235-239.
Braun, S. (2004): Kommunikation unter widrigen Umständen? Fallstudien zu einsprachigen und gedolmetschten Videokonferenzen. Tübingen: Narr.
Gambier, Y. (2003): Introduction. Screen transadaptation: perception and reception. The Translator 9(2) [special issue on screen translation], 171-189.
Moser-Mercer, B. (2003): Remote interpreting: assessment of human factors and performance parameters. Communicate! Summer 2003. Retrieved from
Moser-Mercer, B. (2005): Remote interpreting: issues of multi-sensory integration in a multilingual task. Meta 50 (2), 727-738.
Mouzourakis, T. (1996): Videoconferencing: techniques and challenges. Interpreting, 1(1), 21-38.
Mouzourakis, T. (2003): That feeling of being there: vision and presence in remote interpreting. Communicate! Summer 2003. Retrieved from

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Gerhard Budin (University of Vienna)

A study on inter-semiotic LSP translation - The case of risk communication

Risk communication has become omnipresent in our society. The concept of risk has been changing over recent years, so has risk communication in many different discourse communities. After a critical review of current research on multi- and inter-semiotic translation (e.g. papers given at MUTRA 05 in Saarbrücken), assumptions are formulated on further developing a description model for inter-semiotic translation processes. Subsequently an ongoing case study on evaluating LSP translation work in different areas of risk management will be presented. Finally conclusions are drawn on further developing the multi-dimensional description model of inter-semiotic LSP translation.

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Mary Carroll (Titelbild/Berlin)

Subtitling for the Deaf and Hearing-impaired in Germany: History and Status Quo

Some 19% of Germany's population of 80 million suffers from hearing loss. Though large in number, the deaf and hearing impaired in Germany have little access to news, information and entertainment. This paper will look at the development of subtitling services on television and in cinemas for the deaf and hard of hearing in Germany. It will examine some of the demands of hearing-impaired audiences, stressing the need for research in this field.

A special focus of the paper will be different approaches to the live subtitling of popular sports programmes on television. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, national public broadcasters ARD and ZDF launched a new service: subtitle reportage of events accompanied by real-time subtitling of subsequent interviews. These subtitles elicited mixed responses from deaf and hearing-impaired viewers. Especially in the year of the FIFA World Cup the subtitling of football matches is of special interest. The paper will throw light on ZDF's approach to live subtitling of football matches, i.e. compilation and preparation of background information prior to the game and the nature of live subtitles broadcast during the match. Presentation of these projects should be seen as a basis for discussion on subtitling football matches and sports events live and as a call for research into this area. What type of subtitles best meet the needs and interests of deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences? What type of subtitles optimise reception?

The paper will be co-presented by Mary Carroll and Donya Zahireddini, Titelbild Subtitling and Translation GmbH, and Christiane Müller, ZDF.

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Agnieszka Chmiel (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)

Translating postmodern networks of cultural associations in the Polish dubbed version of Shrek

Screen translation in Poland has long focused on voiceover, a cost-effective audio-visual translation technique that deafened actors' voices with an emotionless reading by a narrator. Early dubbing attempts were rather unsuccessful and strengthened the market position of voiceover. A major breakthrough in the general perception of dubbing came with the Polish dubbed version of "Shrek" (original version written by Joe Stillman, Roger S.H. Schulman, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; Polish version by Bartosz Wierzbieta). Polish dialogs were much domesticated, or target-culture oriented. They appealed to Polish viewers since they abounded in jocular allusions to Polish reality and culture.

According to Steven Johnson, modern works of popular culture (such as "Shrek") present us with increasingly demanding cognitive challenges. Films abound in intricate narrative paths, multiple layers of information built into the plots, references and allusions to other works and to reality. By creating postmodern intertextual networks of cultural associations, they set a great challenge to audio-visual translators.

This paper focuses on examining, comparing and juxtaposing selected networks of cultural associations created by original (American culture-oriented) and translated (Polish culture-oriented) utterances of the film characters in "Shrek". The analysis of original and translated dialogs seeks to answer a host of questions: What do Polish viewers lose in the domesticated dubbing version of "Shrek"? Do they lose anything at all or would they be able to decipher most of the source-culture allusions in the original text? What do Polish viewers gain? Additionally, an attempt is made to see how target-language viewers react to discrepancies between messages sent through the domesticated audio channel and the non-domesticated unadapted visual channel. The analysis results lead to more general comments on the nature of cultural aspects of film dubbing as perceived by the film audience.

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Mario De Bortoli (Euro RSCG 4D, London)
& Fabio Minazzi (Binari Sonori Srl, Italy)

Localisation of media-rich interactive ads

At a time when media convergence has become a reality online advertising agencies are more and more often confronted with problems that used to affect the TV-based advertising agencies. With the spreading of streaming video, podcasts and interactive video technologies, all of a sudden websites and online ads are full of life, but this requires the rethinking of the text-centric localisation processes, to move the focus to the audio/visual elements, that introduce an additional parameter to be considered during the localisation process: media synchronization in time.

The typical fordistic localisation process where the text is translated first and then it is fed into the various media is not suitable for this type of products. Multidimensional translation has to be combined with interactive design and media localization techniques, to provide effective multilingual communication, able to stand the quality of traditional audiovisual products.

And it is precisely the issue of changing localisation processes within the media-rich and online advertising industry that the authors try to tackle by sharing their day to day experiences and acquired knowledge to work out a model for designing the most appropriate process for the localisation of international campaigns and online content in the age of media convergence.

The paper gives a brief overview of how the traditional online communication is localised, illustrating the most common processes used in the industry. The authors move on to explain how the media-rich contents are changing the face of localisation in terms of resources, skills and processes needed to be integrated in the workflow, to address the ever-increasing use of interaction, subtitling, video, dubbing and voiceovers.

A theoretical framework is proposed, where media-rich scenes are divided into 5 main elements (audio, video, static and dynamic on screen text, interactive items, and graphics), which are then weighted by relating them with the 3 main types of constraint (space constraints, time constraints and cultural constraints).

Having weighted these elements in terms of driving factors of the localisation process the authors move on to describe the best localization processes required to address the cross-references between media, the dynamic sharing of space and time, and the need to adapt to local cultures.

The aim of this work is to provide a useful theoretical framework to communication designers, localisation managers, local marketing managers, and more generally to the people involved in the production and localisation of global communication products.

In a global communication world, industrialization is a must. An appropriate understanding of the production and localisation processes is the key to give the consumer an exciting, consistent and interactive experience, while containing costs for the advertiser.

Szarkowska Agnieszka , "The Power of Film Translation", Translation Journal, Volume 9, No. 2 April 2005
Savourel Yves, XML Internationalization and Localization, SAMS, 2001, pp. 126-133
Esselink Bert, A practical guide to localization, J. Benjamins Publishing, 2000
Walsh Aaron E., Bourges-Sevenier Mikaël , MPEG-4 Jump Start, Prentice-Hall PTR, 2000, Chapter 1
Chapman Nigel, Chapman Jenny, Digital Multimedia, J Wiley ans Sons, 2000, pp 348-367
Maroto Jesus, De Bortoli Mario, Languages in international advertising campaigns: the trans-creator, International Journal of Localisation (2004). Localisation Research Centre. Limerick. Ireland.
Maroto Jesus, De Bortoli Mario, Localisation and webvertising: conveying the digital communication mix, Proceedings of the eContent Localisation conference, 2002, University College Dublin, Ireland
Maroto Jesus, De Bortoli Mario, Web site localisation, Proceedings of the European Languages and the Implementation of Communication and Information Technologies (Elicit) conference, 2001, University of Paisley, UK.
De Bortoli Mario, Maroto Jesus, Translating colours in web site localisation, Proceedings of the European Languages and the Implementation of Communication and Information Technologies (Elicit) conference, 2001, University of Paisley, UK.

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Marcella De Marco (Roehampton University)

A gender approach to audiovisual translation

The present paper sheds light on the interstices between Gender Studies and Audiovisual Translation, two academic areas which have long been studied separately.

Because of the thorny issues that Gender Studies raise, they have had a strong impact on disciplines such as Literature, Anthropology, Psychology and more recently Cinema Studies. In the last decades, the development of Gender Studies has run parallel to that of Translation Studies and Cultural Studies. The growing awareness that not only linguistic, but also cultural and ideological differences between source and target cultures come up to the fore in the act of translating, has had the effect of placing gender issues at the core of Translation Studies, though it has been mostly centred on literary texts.

Audiovisual translation has historically been a field marginalised in scholarly debates. However, given the prominence of the media in our societies, it has recently become one of the most promising object of study and research undertaken in this field has considerably increased in the past years.

The aim of this paper is to show that cinematographic language and its translations may be responsible for perpetuating stereotypes and derogatory attitudes when identity-related issues such as gender, sexuality and ethnicity come to the surface.

For this purpose I have analysed a corpus of British films dealing with gender-related topics. I have examined the ways in which these stereotypes are linguistically transferred in the dubbed/subtitled versions in Spanish and Italian, and what the possible differences coming out of these translations suggests in terms of how different countries deal with gender issues.

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Jorge Diaz-Cintas (Roehampton University)

Audiovisual Translation: Manipulation and the Control of Meaning


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Helmut Diekmann (University of Helsinki)

Translator-manipulator? Observations about the loyalty of translators and copy editors vs. writers of subtitles and texts for dubbing

One of the biggest bestsellers in recent years was Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason. The Finnish translation of the novel (Bridget Jones - elämä jatkuu) was not only sold in bookstores but also in supermarkets, at kiosks and so on. I compared the Finnish translation with the German one (Bridget Jones - Am Rande des Wahnsinns) trying to find out whether the Finnish translator had applied different translation norms and strategies than the German one had. I will demonstrate the results of this study in the first part of my presentation.

One of my most important findings was that the Finnish translation is much more loyal to the source text than the German one. This corresponds to my general observation that the Finnish culture of editing texts is much more conservative and reticent and lets the author speak in his own way, whereas in Germany the translators and/or the copy editors of the publishing houses usually "manipulate" the source text more in different ways to make it sound "better". Thus the German copy editors tend to "spice up" translated texts. In the case of the book mentioned above, they probably felt quite free to do so, because it is "merely" a piece of "light reading". But I suspect that this attitude is prevalent also in the area of more serious literature, as I will show by some examples.

Helen Fielding's two books about the life of Bridget Jones, a single young woman, who is desperately trying to find the "man of her life", has also been made into successful movies starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant. In Finland these movies were shown with the original English voice and Finnish subtitles, while in Germany they were dubbed.

Urban Finnish people between twenty and thirty - the main target group of the movies - are almost bilingual, as their knowledge of English is normally quite good. While viewing the films in cinema theatres, many of them listen to the original English dialogues, but they also read (more or less unconsciously) the subtitles at the same time - if there might be some expressions they cannot understand. For the translator of the subtitles this sets quite strict limits. He or she may translate dialogues freely wherever it is necessary, but if the translation deviates too much and too often from the expressions and meanings of the original dialogue, this would cause confusion in the audience.

In contrast to this the writers of the German dubbing texts can deviate freely, adhering with a lesser degree of loyalty to the source text, because normally nobody watching the movie in a cinema or on TV will ever hear the original version. In the second part of my presentation I examine the quantitative and qualitative differences in the information that is brought to the Finnish audience by the subtitles and to the German audience by the dubbed voice track. For this purpose I will show examples from the Bridget Jones' DVDs distributed in Finland and in Germany.

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Carlo Eugeni (Univerity of Naples "Federico II")

Re-speaking the TV news for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: as case study

Drawing on the results of the 10-year-old VOICE Project of the European Commission Joint Research Centre at Ispra and of a pioneering 9-month-long project at the San Marino national broadcaster in collaboration with the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Radiotelevisione Italiana and the Universities of Naples "Federico II" and Bologna at Forlì, this paper will report on my experience as real time subtitler of the TV news for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing. Starting from the analysis of the best practices in the use of voice-to-text recognition technology to produce real time subtitles, and thanks to an in-depth study of the linguistic skills of the San Marino Deaf community I was able to create ad hoc subtitles of the daily TV news during a period of 45 days. On the basis of this experimentation, a set of guidelines has been elaborated defining the linguistic and technical peculiarities of this very recent multimedia activity for an Italian speaking audience. During the presentation, I could also demonstrate the possibilities of the voice-to-text recognition software used for the experiment.

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Stefanie Foerster (Roehampton University)

Defective audiovisual texts and their translation

The issue of translating written defective texts has been addressed in the past, although not extensively and in the case of audiovisual programmes, the topic has not been discussed yet, despite the fact that because of their very nature – spoken texts – defects tend to occur more often than in written texts. In recent years, the rise of audiovisual formats that involve significant amounts of unscripted free speech, like Reality-TV or audio commentaries for feature films, has meant an increase in defective texts occurring in the media.

The aim of my paper is to examine the different features that characterise defective audiovisual texts and their implications for the translator. In general terms, a defective text is one that is suboptimal, i.e. not as good as it ideally could be. A number of different types of defects occur in audiovisual texts; these include wrong facts and figures, slips of tongue, use of the wrong tone or register, stammering and lack of coherence.

Translators working with defective audiovisual texts often do so without reflecting on the mental processes that come into play. However, with defective texts it becomes especially evident that the process of translation is a creative process where the source text has to be evaluated in a different manner in order to suitably transfer its meaning to the target language. Understanding the psycholinguistic implications raised by defective audiovisual texts can increase translators’ awareness and help them to make a more conscious and better decision in how to deal with the translation of these texts. In this context models such as scenes-andframes semantics and the use of lateral thinking will be discussed as they seem to augment our understanding of creative translation processes.

Subtitling as a special form of audiovisual translation (AVT) will be in the focus of my paper as in this case, we face a situation that does not occur in other types of AVT: the coexistence of the source text and the translation in the same programme. How should subtitlers render these defective texts? Should they respect them or implement their own better version? To what extent can they “correct” the source text? What are the implications of this manipulation? In order to answer these questions I will elaborate on the above and illustrate my presentation with examples of specific defective audiovisual texts and their translation.

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Eliana Franco (Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil)

In the country of the blind: Investigating audio description from the perspective of the Brazilian Blind

This paper aims at reporting on a reception research with three groups of blind people in the city of Salvador (Bahia state), from different blind associations. The objective of this reception research is to put to test audio-description by a group of researchers of the Federal University of Bahia for the first time in the country. Probably for economical reasons, only a few blind associations throughout Brazil have so far provided live narration for film sessions that happen once a month. Despite the fact that the Brazilian Association of Technical Norms (ABTN) issued a new document about audiovisual accessibility - audio-description included - in the end of 2005, nothing has been done concerning blind citizens and their access to the audiovisual media. Therefore, it is hoped that this reception research have a social impact and open a new market for audiovisual translation in the country.

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Yves Gambier (Turku)


  1. Piecemeal research: current shortcomings in the development of AVT research
  2. AVT and Translation Studies: underlying research concepts
  3. Multimodality and reading positions: inferences and active viewers
  4. The challenge of accessibility and reception. Possible topics and methodologies to be implemented
  5. Sociocultural relevance of applied research
  6. Screen writing and the translator

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Claudia General & Gertrude Hofer (Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur)

Court Interpreting in Switzerland. Theory and Practice


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Lutz Götze (University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken)

Consciousness of time and place in different cultures

Concepts of time and space have influenced human thinking since its origin. For every culture it is most important, in which way these phenomena have been reflected. In ancient Egypt and Greece as well as in different cultures throughout the contemporary world there are various ideas concerning this issue: linearity or circularity of time, objective or subjective interpretation, different calendars.

Until now the famous question of Augustinus "Quid ergo est tempus ?" obtained a tremendous number of answers, but still a solution is desirable.

In my paper I'll present different notions of time-consciousness and knowledge. In addition I want to promote more tolerance vis-à-vis concepts of time in other cultures in order to improve understanding between nations and cultures.

In our period of economic globalization there is a great danger of cultural devastation of local and regional traditions as well as of the specific consciousness of time. Our aim therefore must be to preserve these ideas and to fight against terrific acceleration in human life.

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Henrik Gottlieb (University of Copenhagen)

Constraints, Conventions and Conflicts in Screen Translation


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Yvonne Griesel (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Translation Hybrids: An exception or a new form of translation?

There are still many areas in translation theory waiting for exploration, especially in the audio-visual field. New forms of translation have come into being that go beyond current definitions.

In this presentation I would like to briefly describe the latest forms of translation and then, based on Translation in Theatre1, advance the following hypothesis: Otto Kade's2 definition introducing translation as the generic term for translating and interpreting has to be expanded to the "Translation Hybrid". A Translation Hybrid is a process of interlingual transfer falling into phases of interpreting and translating, which cannot be looked at separately, because they are part of one process of action.

What are Translation Hybrids? Based on Translation in Theatre serving as an example I will give a description of Translation Hybrids and point out their specific aspects.

Further I will examine whether they are exceptions or not. Other Translation Hybrids, which can be found in practice, shall be discussed and there shall be given a definition of the term. Specific aspects and distinctive features with reference to interpreting and translating shall be given, that offer the possibility of a scientific approach to the phenomenon.

An "explosive device in translation theory" as Schubert3 puts it? No, it rather bridges the gap between interpreting and translating theories. Because, as Michèle Kaiser-Cooke4 says quite correctly "Translation is a fact, therefore it must be possible. The question is only: why and how?"

1 See Griesel, Yvonne (2000): Translation im Theater. Die mündliche und schriftliche Übertragung französisch-sprachiger Inszenierungen ins Deutsche. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang. and Griesel, Yvonne: Die Inszenierung als Translat. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Theaterübertitelung. (unpublished dissertation, will be published in 2006)

2 Kade, Otto (1968): Zufall und Gesetzmäßigkeit in der Übersetzung. Leipzig: Enzyklopädie. (=Beihefte zur Zeitschrift Fremdsprachen. I.) p. 35.

3 Schubert, Klaus (2004): "Interkulturelle Sprache". In: Müller, Ina [Ed.] (2004)Und sie bewegt sich doch ... Translationswissenschaft in Ost und West. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang Verlag. p. 219.

4 Kaiser-Cooke, Michèle (2003): Translation, Evolution und Cyberspace. Eine Synthese von Theorie und Praxis und Lehre. Frankfurt a. M. : Peter Lang Verlag. p. 56.

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Maria Grun (University of Copenhagen)

Comics in translation: From Calvin & Hobbes to Steen & Stoffer

This paper presents a comparative study of the American comic Calvin & Hobbes in American and its Danish translations. Translations are autonomous entities whose primary purpose is to function for target readers in the target culture, not to mirror the source text. Therefore, the criterion of symmetry between the source text and the target text does not apply. Instead, the focus must be on the translation’s different elements and on the entity, they constitute.

In the translation of comics, the translator is constrained by the limited space available, the interplay between text and illustrations, and the demand for humour. The purpose of a translated comic is identical to that of its source text, namely to be a piece of amusing entertainment to the readers. In order to meet this, and to make the translation function for its readers, translators often create target texts that are markedly different from their source texts.

To give an impression of the translator’s challenge, two unsuccessful renditions are examined as a starting point. The paper then examines the technical, linguistic, and cultural aspects of comics translations, and identifies the pitfalls combined with them. Representative examples from Calvin & Hobbes and their Danish translations illustrate the points made.

The thesis concludes that in comics’ translation, a successful rendition must be funny to the target readers. The purpose of a translated comic is to function for its readers, not to present them with the source text’s content.

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Lena Hamaidia (University of Sheffield)

Gaps in meaning between spoken and subtitled dialogue

The purpose of this study is to consider whether the subtitler's sensitivity to the nuances of meaning conveyed by the marked structure of sentences in the spoken dialogue can be increased by a closer study of the communicative function of the syntactic structure and whether the results of this insight could then be incorporated into the translation.

Following on from Finegan's observation that pragmatic information is encoded in the syntax of a language (Finegan 1994:199) it is logical to suggest that nuances of meaning can be lost or altered when translating between languages with different structures. In this paper this hypothesis will be examined in the context of the translation of spoken dialogue into subtitles.

A brief theoretical analysis of the communicative significance of sentence structure with specific reference to the contrasting theories of Halliday and Firbas will provide a starting point to this investigation. Halliday's proposal of a fixed Theme-Rheme linear sequence as the basis of sentence analysis (1985:38) and Firbas' more flexible concept of the distribution of elements in a sentence according to their communicative value as explained in his theory of Communicative Dynamism (1992:8) will both be drawn on to inform an analysis of the way in which the specific constraints of the subtitling process affect the translation of marked structures in spoken dialogue. The analysis will focus on the effects of transferring and condensing spoken dialogue into translated written captions and it will investigate whether meaning is lost or distorted in the process.

Selected sentences of spoken dialogue in the Source Language will be compared with written subtitles in the Target Language in order to explore the nature of the changes to the structures and to determine whether there are any recurring patterns in the changes. The analysis will focus on the translation of sentences of emphatically ordered spoken dialogue in order to determine whether the "affective meaning" or "emotional connotation" (Finegan 1994:158) is altered by being translated into the condensed and constrained form of a written subtitle. Alternative ways of translating the sentences into English subtitles will be examined.

The emotional impact, spontaneity, rhythm and flow of spoken dialogue in the Source Language will be compared in detail with that of the corresponding written subtitles in the Target Language with particular reference to the French films Cyrano de Bergerac and Read my Lips.

Schmid's premise that "elusive meaning components" (Schmid 1999:4)) can be lost when translating marked structures from English into German, which is examined in her work Translating the Elusive, will broadly inform the nature of the approach in this study where a similar type of analysis will be applied to the English subtitled translation of spoken dialogue in French and also German films.


Finegan Edward (1994) Language its Structure and Use. Harcourt Brace
Firbas, Jan (1992) Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication. Cambridge University Press
Halliday, M.A.K. (1985) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold
Schmid, Monika A. (1999) Translating the Elusive. Amsterdam: Benjamins

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Lihua Jiang (University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken and Sichuan, China)

Exploring Feedback in Community Interpreting: A Triadic Theme-Rheme-Structuring Model

Once performed by volunteers, ad hoc bilinguals, friends and relatives (even children), community interpreting has been developing into a profession only during the last few decades in response to international migration and the consequent linguistic heterogeneity of most nations. A number of issues such as the role of interpreter, the need for training competent interpreters, the nature of the practice within the community and the need to set up an accreditation process, have come into the community interpreting research's interest.

Based on the hypothesis --"feedback is an indicator of the interpreter's role", this research intends to propose a triadic model to explore feedback categories in community interpreting. Thereafter this research hopes to describe the role of the interpreter based on his/her feedback with the communicating partners so as to improve the community interpreter's performance in practice as well as provide some recommendations for future research into interpreter-mediated discourse.

In order to explore feedback in community interpreting, the specific situation in which the community interpreter works serves as a broader framework for analyzing the information flow in the interpreting process. Extending from the pragmatic theme-rheme model in the normal communication, this research creates a triadic model in interpreter-mediated communication to develop the explicit and implicit feedback categories. Different settings such as the legal setting, the health care setting and the social service setting, are to be used to show the frequency of the explicit feedback types and the implicit feedback types. In addition to the static feedback categories deriving from the triadic model, the two-way interaction process is also taken into consideration to explore feedback categories from the dynamic perspective. In the end, based on the feedback categories, this research hopes to bring a new understanding of the community interpreter's role scope.

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Heike Jüngst (University of Leipzig)

How to overcome the lack of technical gadgets in multidimensional translation


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Dionysis Kapsaskis (University of Surrey)

The role of the proofreader in the new captioning and subtitling market: New perspectives and definitions

While technical and translational aspects of subtitling attract more and more attention in the academic and publishing world, little light has been shed on proofreading. This paper will aim at triggering a discussion on the contemporary place and the role of the proofreader in the process of the production of subtitles.

If in the area of text translation proofreading is an option rarely practiced by translation agencies, it is a standard procedure in subtitling especially for DVD. The importance of the proofreader of audiovisual translation does not only stem from the specificity of her or his double role as a linguist and a technical expert; it also reflects the increasingly internationalised structure of the subtitling industry. Indeed, as multilingual DVD subtitling projects are nowadays managed centrally in London and in LA, proofreaders are called upon to mediate between locally placed freelance translators and media companies. In theory, their job is to satisfy their employer by ensuring the quality of the translation and its suitability for subtitling purposes, while respecting the translator's choices. However, in the current juncture there is a marked departure from this traditional scheme. In many cases, extreme competitive standards of business have pushed translation rates very low, thus seriously affecting the quality of translation files delivered to the proofreader. Centralisation of the coordination of subtitling services has also meant that employers are often unaware of, or even indifferent to, the low quality of the work which their Arabic, Greek, or Croatian translators sometimes produce (to mention but a few "unfamiliar" languages). At the same time proofreaders are discouraged from insisting on crucial stylistic and even semantic issues. Finally, as Mary Carroll has observed in her essay "Subtitling: Changing Standards for New Media?", "fears of piracy" have resulted in the need for "rapid turnaround times" with the result of leaving very little space for professional proofreading work. Indeed, proofreaders often receive vague and contradictory guidelines as far as the linguistic part of their job is concerned. Incidents in which they have to "save a project" overnight by thoroughly re-writing large parts of a careless translation are no longer rare.

Today, the case of the proofreader of AV translation strengthens Kristiina Abdallah's argument about "including ethical concerns in the definition of quality of work". In the new and still ambiguous division of the tasks of linguists in the subtitling process, a new definition of the role of the proofreader is necessary. A definition that will expose and perhaps replace the tacit function of the prooofreader as the trusted foreigner who is there to absorb certain bad effects of globalisation.

This paper will discuss the new role of the proofreader drawing from recent examples of proofreading work for the Greek DVD market. It will finish with a short reference to the teaching of proofreading at university level in view of the demands of multinational translation companies. This point will be based partly on my experience as tutor of subtitling at the University of Surrey, UK.

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Smaïl Khris (University of Ottawa)

The whys of redubbing. Toward a theoretical approach to redubbing

In this article, the term "redubbing" refers to subsequent dubbings of a film carried out after the initial dubbing which introduced this film to the same target language and culture. Currently, there is no theoretical or systematic study on redubbing itself. Although the redubbing of films does occur, a theoretical vacuum that has to be addressed is noticed.

In order to address this theoretical vacuum, nothing less, on the face of it, than an attempt to apply the theories of retranslation to the redubbing process. The results of this drawing of a parallel between retranslation and redubbing leads to the following paradigms: 1) redubbing as a "quest for the truth", i.e. the intention operis of the original film; 2) redubbing as an "updating" determined by the audience's new tastes, needs or abilities to construe a film, in other words the evolution of the audience's expectations; 3) redubbing as an "editing", or revision, of the eventual errors (minor and serious mistranslations, meaningless translations, language styles' confusion, etc) made in the initial dubbing; 4) redubbing as a re-interpretation of the original film, which is the consequence of interfilmicity taken here in the sense of a dialectic between history and film (as a product and a process) news; and 5) redubbing as a combining of two or more of the previous paradigms.

However, these aforementioned paradigms are no more than a theoretical speculation that has to be tested in accordance with empirical research on redubbing. Hence the importance of focusing on what has been done in a specific country, France in our case, in order to answer four relevant questions that are likely to help us understand the phenomena of redubbing and draw some to the point conclusions about it. The questions are as follows: 1) What films (mostly Americans) have been redubbed in France?; 2) To which type of movies they belong?; 3) Why they have been redubbed?; and 4) How they have been redubbed? Thus, in the light of answering these questions and of confronting them with retranslation theories, it will be possible to come up with theories proper to the reddubing process.

The results are quite interesting and indicate that there are three sets of factors underlying the need for redubbing: 1) The type and expectations of the new audience, which is often the case of children- and family-oriented films (such as those made by Disney); 2) The addition of unreleased score selections or sequences to the original film, of which the original language is also dubbed (ET The Extra-Terrestrial that was redubbed on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its release is a very good example to illustrate this case); and 3) DVD releases of old cult films (for instance: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).

(The content of this article is based on a MA thesis originally written in French and entitled "Pourquoi donc redoubler ? Vers une approche théorique du redoublage". The thesis is to be handed in on April 2006 and defended later on -between May and July of the same year-).

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Abdullah A. Khuwaileh (United Arab Emirates University)

Wording in translation and interpretation: A case study of wording expressions in English

Professional translators and/or interpreters consider both the form and the language of their target texts to achieve honesty and precision. The conciseness of wording has something to do with both the form and meaning of texts. IF THE CREATIVE IDIOMATIC ENGLISH AND ARABIC ARE NOT USED IN TRANSLATION THEN THE TRANSLATED TEXT WILL NOT BE OF A NATURAL LENGTH AS TRANSLATORS MIGHT USE SO MANY WORDS TO CONVEY THE TEXT CONNOTATIONS. MOREOVER, RYTHMIC AND RHYMING FEATURES CAN ALSO BE MAINTAINED AND CONVEYED IF CREATIVE TRANSLATORS CHOOSE THE RIGHT IDIOMATIC WORD AT THE RIGHT CONTEXT. Therefore, our purpose in this study is to reveal the difficult side of linguistically-related conciseness in translation from English into Arabic and vice versa. For this purpose, ten professional translators were given tricky expressions in context both in English and Arabic to be SPONTANEOUSLY translated SO THAT THE LEVEL OF CREATIVITY CAN BE OBSERVED.

Filtering out the data showed that English and Arabic have respectively shown certain linguistic shortcomings which put the translators or interpreters in a difficult position in finding equivalents in the source language. Shortcomings in both languages seem to be due to the agglutinative nature of English on the one hand, and the UNCREATIVE role played by Arabic academies (in Cairo, Damascus and Amman) on the other hand. The study is concluded with a number of practical and research recommendations.

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Jan Kunold (Saarbrücken)

Translating Music


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Andrew Lambourne (Sysmedia/London

Recent Advances in Subtitling

During the past 25 years, which spans my involvement with the subtitling industry, the pace of change has been exponential. New technology has enabled significant advances in productivity and at the same time transferred more and more of the tedious and repetitive aspects of the job from human to computer. It is now possible to browse instantly to a point in a digital video, listen to a sentence, speak a transcript and have the computer automatically create a subtitle timed to the original utterance. Or if a script is available, that script can be analysed against the programme, soundtrack, segmented and time-aligned to the audio track so that the task of the subtitler becomes one of editing and tidying rather than ground-up production. Should translation be needed, programs can now generate first-pass versions using translation memory tools.

With the required volume of subtitling moving up, cost pressure is ever downwards. So one of the recent advances in subtitling is certainly increased automation, less time spent, more productivity, hence less cost. And the job of the subtitler at least for pre-recorded programmes is gradually changing from being the one who drives the process to the one who tidies the results from "expert systems" - in other words to more of a Quality Assurance role.

Subtitling live programmes for the benefit of deaf people - or indeed for language translation - is different. This is largely because of the great difficulty involved in automating the complex cognitive process of understanding TV speech (possibly in the presence of other speakers, noise and lack of precision) and rendering it in real time into meaningful subtitles. Latest techniques involve the use of human re-speakers who listen to the sound-track and dictate live subtitles into a trained speech recognition system. Alternatively, fast dual keyboard methods can be used. The challenges of these approaches are significant and very interesting from an audio-visual translation point of view: both in terms of production and in terms of consumption. SysMedia works closely to provide solutions and training to the leaders in the provision of such services. These challenges will be discussed and illustrated in the light of latest services and research.

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Juan Francisco López-Vera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Translating audio description scripts: The way forward?

Audio description will become a legal requirement to European media broadcast once the European Media for All directives are in full development and are enforced to all its EU country members. Media accessibility - closed captioning and audio description - is yet to become a reality, but with the future shift from analogue to digital TV it will be ineludibly a new market trend. A new industry will be created to cater for the new Information Society accessibility needs. In this paper we present and test the hypothesis of translating/adapting AD scripts as a faster and more financially viable way to create audio described films. Departing from Orero's (2006) posits with ten different professional profiles for the audio descriptor in a dubbing country we have created a work group to test each of the possible profiles, always taking into consideration the two factors which will be definite for making media accessible through audio description: cost and time.

Cost in media production is already stretched to the limit: the use and abuse of advertisement as a way to pay for private broadcasting is taxing on the viewer. In Spain less and less people are watching films on TV because of the many adverts interspersed with a film. A 90 minutes film may last up to three hours. Public broadcasting - though paid by subscription in some countries like UK and Germany - is also facing a financial crisis, with a reduction of programming and the human resources which accompany production. DTV will bring a larger diversion of TV stations and services, and without doubt it will impact and diversify even more the financial world of media production. With this prognosis on sight, how will media be made accessible, which implies an extra costs for the production of both audio-description and closed captioning? This is one of the question raised in a recent international conference organised at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

It may be different in some other European countries, but in Spain time in media production/ broadcast is a luxury which a selected few can enjoy. Programmes are bought, produced (translated, subtitled, dubbed, etc.) and broadcast in a very short period of time. How can the actual media production process be slowed down by a new step in the production process: to make it accessible?

With these two questions in mind, we thought at the possible ways to make audio descriptions in countries which first language is not English - and have a high degree of import of English-speaking media programmes - such as films.

We depart from the availability of an AD script when a film is produced in either U.S. or UK. At presents the translator gets the preliminary script to work, sometimes the continuity, and from there the dubbing and subtitling versions are made. In future it could also have the script for AD. When the distributor sells the film, it will also sell the AD script.

This hypothesis is based on Veronika Hyks question "Can audio description be translated into other languages?" (2005:8) and Bernd Benecke (2004:)The methodological approach is a contrastive analysis of the different objective timing and results.

The question is: will it be faster/cheaper to translate the AD script and then adapt it, or to create from scratch a AD script from the already dubbed version.

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Clara Inés López Rodríguez,
María Isabel Tercedor Sánchez &
Juan Antonio Prieto Velasco (University of Granada)

Using multimedia materials in the teaching of scientific and technical translation1

Information technology has changed the professional environment of scientific and technical translators, who must understand the meaning of texts relying on non-textual information, new formats and channels of information, before translating them appropriately. To meet these new challenges, translation teachers must place special emphasis on the importance of pictorial, graphic and acoustic information in texts, and must adopt a more dynamic approach towards audiovisual translation (AVT).

In this paper, we argue for the inclusion of multimedia texts as objects of study in AVT. In particular, we present the results of a research project aimed at designing teaching materials for audiovisual, scientific and technical translation. The materials developed increase students awareness of the potential benefits of audiovisual resources for all users, even those with disabilities (accessibility), in the acquisition of field knowledge and terminology. Students also learn to take into account the constraints imposed on translation by visual and acoustic material in ever-changing formats. In line with other traditional forms of AVT, multimedia translation requires creativity, a deep understanding of intercultural aspects, and the selection of relevant information.

1 This research is part of the project PUERTOTERM: knowledge representation and the generation of terminological resources within the domain of Coastal Engineering, BFF2003-04720, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education.

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Anna Matamala (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Orality in orignal and dubbed sitcoms: a comparison

Using the data provided by an audiovisual corpus of sitcoms (Matamala, 2005), and taking interjections as a unit of measurement, the orality of three sitcoms dubbed from English into Catalan (Working, Normal Ohio, Coupling) will be analysed and compared to (a) the orality of sitcoms originally written in Catalan (Plats Bruts, Jet Lag) and (b) to real spontaneous conversations in Catalan. An examination of the influence of language policies and of the constraints imposed to dubbed products will help us understand the differences between these two audiovisual products which want to imitate spontaneous and colloquial language but which present nonetheless specific features.

In the second part of the paper, the focus will be on the transformation these sitcoms undergo during a process in which different agents are involved (translator, adapter, linguist, etc.), taking again interjections as an example.

Regarding original products, the effect of improvisation during the recording of the episode will be analysed: it will be proved how actors introduce interjections when interpreting the written script, increasing its degree of orality.

As far as dubbed products are concerned, we will describe the changes that take place not only during the recording process but also on previous stages such as the lip-synch adaptation or the linguistic control, proving that dubbed products are dynamic and multi-author works which keep changing along a complex process.

Matamala, A. (2005) Les interjeccions en un corpus audiovisual. Descripció i representació lexicogràfica. Tesis Doctorals en Xarxa. ISBN: 84-689-4200-6 []

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Jenny Mattsson (Gothenburg)

Linguistic variation in subtitling - a comparison between the subtitling into Swedish of English-speaking films: on public TV, commercial TV and DVD

Sweden is one of the countries in the world using subtitling the most. According to the Swedish Ministry of Culture (2003), people in Sweden spend an average of 1 ½ hours per day reading subtitles and 20 minutes reading other material, a fact which in itself makes research in this area imperative. The Swedish Language Council has stated (2003) that the quality of subtitling in Sweden is of high importance, and that a study of the different TV channels' methods of subtitling should be performed.

This last statement influenced the current study which focuses on the subtitling of English-speaking films into Swedish on a variety of TV-channels and DVD-releases. The aim is to compare the subtitling from three different sources, i.e. public television, commercial television and DVD, and to demonstrate some of the variations found. The working conditions for the subtitlers, as well as the routines for subtitling, are quite different in these three subtitling environments. At the two public TV channels, SVT 1 and SVT 2, as well as at the companies translating the DVD releases, the majority of the subtitlers are permanently employed, whereas at the three commercial channels, nearly all subtitlers are freelancers, or sometimes students. The subtitling standards vary between these different traditions, especially as far as the translation of pragmatic features is concerned. This paper will thus investigate further some pragmatic features of English and their translations into Swedish in these three different environments. My current and ongoing research shows that there are great differences mainly between the various translations of discourse markers, swear words, and the use of politeness, and that these differences are most noticeable when comparing the subtitling on public television and DVD on the one hand, to commercial television on the other. There also seems to be a difference in the treatment of spoken and written language conventions; e.g. there are varying ways of using abbreviations, slang words etc.

Possible reasons as to why these differences occur will be presented and discussed in the paper; the different standards held by the TV channels and translation companies is one, as is the working conditions and the level of enticement the actual work has for the subtitlers. These reasons can also possibly be linked to certain translation norms governing the choices of the subtitlers.

Chaume, Frederic. 2004. Discourse Markers in Audiovisual Translation. Meta. 49 (4), 843-855.
Fiske, John. 2003. Reading Television. London and New York: Routledge
Hatim, Basil & Mason, Ian. 1997. Politeness in Screen Translating. In: Lawrence Venuti & Mona Baker, eds. The Translation Studies Reader. 2000. London: Routledge.
Sinha, Amresh. 2004. The Use and Abuse of Subtitles. In: A. Egoyan & I. Balfour, eds. Subtitles-on the foreignness of film. Cambridge & London: Alphabet City Media.
Ivarsson, Jan & Carroll, Mary. 1998. Subtitling. Simrishamn: TransEdit.
The Swedish Ministry of Culture. 2003. Betänkande. Ett korrekt och välfungerande språk.
Verschueren, Jef. 1999. Understanding Pragmatics. London: Arnold.

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Olivia Mok (City University of Hong Kong)

Audiovisual Translation Scenarios in Hong Kong

This paper focuses on the audiovisual translation scenarios in Hong Kong, with particular emphasis on screen translation, both dubbing and subtitling, of the programs aired on the four TV channels, two Chinese and two English, of the two free TV stations in Hong Kong. TVB and Asia TV are the only two free TV stations in Hong Kong, with each running one TV channel in Chinese and one in English. Air times on these 4 channels are taken up by programs which feature news, documentaries, sports, fashion, travel, leisure, commercials, movies, drama series, etc, which are either produced locally or imported mainly from English-speaking countries like the United States and the United Kingdom or Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan, with post-production subtitling or dubbing produced locally in the main. After describing the screen translation phenomena of the 4 free channels in Hong Kong, the paper will then analyze the functions as well as the effectiveness of existing audiovisual translation offered by the two free TV stations in Hong Kong in serving the different and diverse language communities in Hong Kong.

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Joselia Neves (Leira, Portugal)

Translating television programmes for young audiences

In a subtitling country such as Portugal, it is curious to notice that programmes for children and young viewers are an exception to the rule in that they are most often dubbed. There is no apparent reason why certain programmes should be dubbed whilst others subtitled, particularly because similar programmes are not consistently approached in a similar manner. Furthermore, those programmes which are subtitled seem to follow general subtitling norms, used in programmes for adult viewers, rather than to take their particular audiences into account. At a glance, the issue of programme type, intended audience's age group or time of presentation does not seem to substantiate any common trend in terms of the actual translation solutions presently in use.

This paper will depart from various studies which have been conducted within the Portuguese context to reflect about the implications of various translation solutions which are presently being offered on television programmes for young audiences.

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Minako O'Hagan (Dublin)

Teletranslation Revisited: Futurama for Screen Translators?

The dynamic developments of digital content and the online world changing people's communication and entertainment habits will have a significant impact on the language industry. The increasingly available broadband link now hosts compelling real-time online gaming among a large number of players beyond national borders. Playing games and reading comics on mobile phones are becoming as common as texting and talking while on the move. In this expansion into the world of digital entertainment, be it streamed movie content, online games or digital stories, the meaning of "text" subject to language transfer is changing, thus challenging the translator and provoking new ways of translating. Such changes call for new theoretical frameworks and new research methodologies in translation studies. This paper revisits my original concept of teletranslation (O'Hagan, 1996), which was developed a decade ago, and explores the consequences for the language industry in general and for screen translators in particular of the sweeping changes that are well underway.

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Pilar Orero (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The Ugly Duckling of Audiovisual Translation: Voice-over

There is a small corpus of articles, no much research projects and a few training courses in voice-over: this is the situation of voice-over in the realm of Audiovisual Translation AVT today. If this is compared with the dynamism of research and training in both dubbing and subtitling, voice over can be tagged as the poor relation or preferable -on an optimistic note- the ugly ducking of AVT, since once developed it will become a beautiful swam. The paper will present an overview of the literature on voice-over which shows which topics have been studied and the many to be researched. It will also show the need for research, given the fact that voice over is the most prominent and widely used translation modality in European TV, and a possible candidate for media accessibility.

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Iwona Paskal (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)

Subtitling and the universals of translation: the case of Polish

Poland is traditionally a voice-over country, however with the rapidly growing ubiquity of DVD technology, subtitling as a form of film translation has recently substantially gained in popularity. It could thus be argued that subtitles constitute a genre in its own right, which, as Tirkkonen-Condit and Mäkisalo (in press) suggest, is lexically more constrained and compressed than other genres of written language.

Many studies of translations have shown that translated language has some common features universal for all languages (universals of translation) (e.g. Baker 1993; Blum-Kulka 1986; Toury 1995). These include, among others, simplification, avoiding repetitions, normalization, explicitation and discourse transfer. Little do we know, however, about the distribution of these features across different genres, especially in the case of Polish.

Inspired by research done by Tirkkonen-Condit and Mäkisalo (in press) and concerning word length and type-token ratio in Finnish subtitles, in the present study my purpose is to determine whether and to what extent the five universals of translation mentioned above can be found in the translated language of subtitles. Also, given the unique nature of subtitles as a genre (strict spatial and temporal constraints), I will look for specific norms governing this particular variety of language. The analysis involves a corpus consisting of original English scripts from six English-language movies along with their Polish subtitles.

The beneficiaries of the study may include subtitlers, subtitling teachers and students, as well as translation scholars interested in both subtitling and universals of translation. Also, the study could be replicated for other languages in order to determine whether there exist universals of subtitling across various languages.

Baker, m. (1993) Corpora in translation studies: An overview and some suggestions for future research, in: Target 7(2): 223: 243
Blum-Kulka, s. 1986 Shifts of cohesion and coherence in translation, in: House and Blum-Kulka (eds) Interlingual and Intercultural Communication: Discourse and Cognition in Translation and Second Language Acquisition Studies, Tubingen: Gunter Narr: 17-35
Tirkkonen-Condit, S. and J. Mäkisalo (in press) The language of subtitles: a corpus compilation and research project. Proceedings from the 4th International Maastricht-Lódz Duo Colloquium on Translation and Meaning, Lódz, 2005
Toury, G. (1995) Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Jan Pedersen (Stockholm University)

On the interchangeability of culture in subtitles

This paper deals with the interchangeability of culture in subtitles. This is a fairly limited phenomenon, but it is of great importance as it may be the most domesticating (in Venuti's sense (1995: 19-20)) strategies of language transfer.

When a subtitler encounters an Extralinguistic Culture-bound Reference (ECR) in a Source Text, he or she has several strategies at his or her disposal for rendering it in the Target Text subtitles. By far the most common strategy is to retain it. However, when the ECR is unknown to the Target Audience (a so called Monocultural ECR, (cf. Pedersen forthcoming)), it may be necessary for the subtitler to intervene in order to help the audience access the ECR. This could be done by Specification, Generalisation or Direct Translation (cf. Pedersen: in press) when possible. Another way of dealing with these troublesome ECRs is to substitute an unknown reference with a known one, either from the Source Culture (SC) or from the Target Culture (TC), and this presumes a degree of cultural interchangeability.

In the comparative project Scandinavian Subtitles, some 2,500 Anglophone ECRs and their Swedish and Danish subtitled counterparts have been investigated. The strategy of Cultural Substitution has been used in only a few per cent of the cases, so the phenomenon is not very common. In most cases, Cultural Substitution has been used on ECRs which refer to official institutions and titles, and they can in many cases be considered to be Official (or semi-official) Equivalents. In this domain, the use of this strategy is fairly equally widespread in Sweden and Denmark, and most viewers are used to it. However, there seems to be a difference between the practices in the two countries when it comes to usage outside this domain. In Sweden, it is very uncommon to use this strategy on anything other than official institutions, titles and the like, and it is also actively discouraged in many guidelines for Swedish subtitlers (e.g. SVT 2003) In Denmark, on the other hand, the use is more widespread, and this is also where one finds Substitution by another SC ECR, something that is virtually non-existent in Swedish practise. The question of genre also comes into play here. The strategy is only used in genres where information is less important than other e.g. humour or stylistics. It should be pointed out that even though Substitution by SC ECR is very rare in Sweden, Substitution by TC ECR does occur, but not as frequently as in Denmark, and only in unrealistic programmes, like The Simpsons.

The effects on the TT (the subtitles) of using this strategy are these: if the replacing ECR is a better known SC ECR (a so called Transcultural ECR (cf. Welsch 1999), the TT is less localized and more generalized than the ST. This is also the case if certain other strategies are used, and a fairly general trend in translation; it is what Gottlieb calls "the centripetal effect in translation" (2000:22) and the basis of Toury's first law of translation (1995: 267 ff.). However, if the substituting ECR is from the Target Culture, the result may cause a credibility gap, as it may seem improbable that characters in the SC would be familiar with and converse about TC items. In some contexts and genres, however, the viewers may be willing to suspend their disbelief, for the sake of understanding the text better.

The findings raise a number of interesting questions. Are Danes less sensitive to credibility gaps than Swedes? Are Swedes less aware of genre differences? One thing seems to be clear, however, and that is that in certain contexts and genres, there is a cultural difference when it comes to cultural interchangeability.

Gottlieb, Henrik. 2000. Screen Translation: Six studies in subtitling, dubbing and voice-over. Copenhagen: Center for Translation Studies, University of Copenhagen
Pedersen, Jan. (forthcoming) "How is culture rendered in subtitles?" in Multidimensional Translation: Challenges. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing
Pedersen, Jan. (in press)"Is culture translatable? A subtitler's guide to translating culture". In Translating Today 5. SVT. 2003. Internt arbetsmaterial för SVT Översättning och Programtextning. Unpublished in-house guidelines for the subtitler's of Sweden's public-service broadcaster.
Toury, Gideon. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies - And Beyond. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation. London & New York: Routledge.
Welsch, Wolfgang. 1999. "Transculturality - the Puzzling Forms of Cultures Today" in Featherstone, Mike and Lash, Scott (eds.) Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World. London: Sage. 194 - 213.

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Franz Pöchhacker (University of Vienna)

Coping with Culture in Media Interpreting

Live broadcast simultaneous interpreting on television is widely acknowledged as one of the most challenging and stressful forms of screen translation, and translational activity in general. Aside from experience-based accounts by media interpreters describing the specific working conditions and constraints in TV interpreting (e.g. Kurz 1990; Russo 1995), the literature includes some interpreter- and user-oriented surveys as well as case-based evidence of physiological stress (Kurz 2002), but very few corpus-based analyses of actual media interpreting output (e.g. Pöchhacker 1997; Amato 2002). Based on a substantial corpus (approx. 64,000 words) of English-German TV interpreting of a U.S. Presidential Debate (cf. Kurz 1993), this paper will examine how highly professional media interpreters cope with such complex source-text material as cultural references in simultaneous interpreting. Significantly, the corpus includes three parallel German interpretations of the same English-language media event, involving a total of twelve professional interpreters working under comparable conditions. Framed by a functionalist account of the communicative event and the professional assignment, the corpus-based analysis will present quantitative evidence of the interpreters’ ‘coping tactics’ (Gile 1995) as well as qualitative data illustrating particular problem- solving strategies.

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Sara Ramos Pinto (University of Lisbon)

Theatrical texts vs. subtitling: The problems of linguistic variation in a polymedial context

Translators have been facing the problem that a target language may not have adequate resources to provide for an equivalent target text, namely when the source language reflects the close relationship between the speaker/medium/context in which it is used. In this case, the difficulty in translation is not due to the lack of a specific target language, but to the absence, in the target language, of a sub-code equivalent to the one used in the source text. The literary use of a dialect raises important questions to the study of translation, not only because it is specific of the source system, but also because it is always embedded in the source text with a pragmatic and semiotic significance: contributes to inform the reader about who is speaking and under which circumstances he/she is speaking, showing itself as a textual resource that defines the sociocultural outline of the character in addition to his/her position in the sociocultural fictional context. The presence of sub-standard features in a given discourse leads the speaker to make judgements based on stereotypes which mark the social status, defining, therefore, the power relations between them.

It is my purpose here to approach the problem of translating into Portuguese a sub-standard variety of British English - cockney - in a polymedial context. In any act of translation, the translator has to assume certain priorities, thus, different medium and different types of discourse will impose different kinds of limitations. They will lead the translator to take different options as well as different possibilities to solve the problems are presented to him. Different mediums have different functions; therefore, priorities must be set up in a different way. Besides, another aspect must be taken into account: the discourse structures itself accordingly to the channel selected and, since the two main communication channels are written and spoken, it is possible to identify the written and oral modes as two distinct variations. This problem is particularly relevant when our purpose is to explore the way that oral mode is represented in the written mode, but even more important when we are dealing with texts like subtitling, written representation of spoken verbal communication to be read, and theatrical texts , written representation of spoken verbal communication to be spoken.

It will be presented a comparative study of three translations made for theatre representation and five translations for subtitling of Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and Alan Jay Lerner's My Fair Lady. The usage of standard and substandard varieties of British English is central for the plot, therefore it is essential that the TT portray this distinction, otherwise the audience which does not understand the spoken English version will be excluded from access to this central issue of the plot. I will try to understand how translators solve the problem of translating a sub-standard variety and how does the variable "medium" influences the translator's decisions: which limitations were found and which new possibilities turned out to be possible.

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Pablo Romero Fresco (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh)

Close Friends? A study of the idiomaticity of the Spanish dubbing language

This paper sets out to analyse the Spanish dubbing language in two different corpora: 1) a parallel corpus consisting of original scripts of the American TV series Friends and their dubbed versions in Spanish and 2) a comparable corpus made up of the Spanish dubbed version of Friends and a similar Spanish sitcom (Siete vidas). Recent publications on the Spanish dubbing language describe it as occasionally unnatural and contrived. The most common reasons given for this lack of idiomaticity are the influence of the source language and the source text, the constraints posed by audiovisual translation and the typical prefabricated orality of the audiovisual text. The aim of this study is to ascertain whether the dubbed text has indeed unidiomatic features and, if so, whether this lack of idiomaticity is due to any of the above-mentioned reasons or to any other factor. In order to assess the idiomaticity (regarded here as nativelike selection of expression) of the dubbed text, a characterisation of Spanish colloquial conversation is provided and a third corpus is used -the spontaneous speech section of the Spanish corpus CREA, elaborated by the Real Academia Española. Although more research needs to be carried out with this corpus, the study has shown that there are indeed some unidiomatic features in the dubbed text and that a great deal of this unnaturalness is not due to any audiovisual constraint but rather to what seems to be the translator's personal choice. The main unidiomatic features detected are the use of anglicisms, especially at the pragmatic level, and a certain shift in tone that may cause a variation in the relation among the participants in the dubbed text. Finally, it is argued that, given their lack of idiomaticity, these features may end up undermining the intended humorous effect of the target text.

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Diana Sánchez (Imaginables, inc. S.L., Barcelona)

Making and breaking the rules: Media access guidelines in Spain

Increased interest in accessibility and the concept of universal design in Spain has caused more attention to be focussed onto the hitherto much-ignored world of media access services. The topic has become the subject of increased research within universities and government institutions, subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing and audio-description are being included in post-graduate courses and production companies have begun to include SDH and AD tracks on DVDs.

This paper will give a brief overview of the present situation in Spain in terms of the legal framework, advisory committees and national guidelines. It will then identify some of the problems which are being encountered in said guidelines and in service provision, and the measures and research being undertaken to resolve them.

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Joel Snyder (National Captioning Institute, Virginia

Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal

Audio Description (AD) allows persons with visual impairments greater access to the images integral to performance, on film and in museums. My research has shown how description can make arts programming more accessible to patrons who are blind or have low vision and more enjoyable for all.

AD provides a verbal version of the visual the visual is made verbal, and aural, and oral for the benefit of people who are blind or have low vision. But it has been shown to be useful for anyone who wants to truly notice and appreciate a more full perspective on any visual event. For instance, by using audio description, children's books can be made accessible to kids who have low vision or are blind *and* can help develop more sophisticated language skills for all kids. A picture is worth 1000 words? Maybe. But the audio describer might say that a few well-chosen words conjure vivid and lasting images.

At the conclusion of the presentation/session, participants will know/experience:
  • the history of Audio Description
  • Active Seeing / Visual Literacy
  • how to develop skills in concentration and observation
  • the art of "editing" what you see
  • using language to conjure images
  • how to use the spoken word to make meaning
  • developing an Audio Description program for live performance, for media, in a museum
The session will involve approximately 50% lecture, 30% powerpoint-slide/DVD presentation, and 20% seated participation. All materials will be available in print, on audio cassette, on disk/ASCii-Text format, and in Braille. All images presented are fully described and planned exercises/activities are voluntary and accessible/adaptable to all.

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Stavroula Sokoli (Hellenic Open University)

Learning via Subtitling (LvS): A tool for the creation of foreign language learning activities based on film subtitling

This presentation aims to portray LvS (Learning via Subtitling), a tool developed by the Laboratory of Educational Material of the Hellenic Open University, which is based on the simulation of a professional activity, that of film subtitling. LvS has been designed for the creation of active learning task-based activities, where cultural elements are involved in an authentic and motivating way and which expose the FL learners to highly contextualised language input. Multimedia is used as the core of an activity - and not as a "nice" add-on - which even when presented as a learning exercise remains a valid real-world engaging task. The student is asked, after some introductory tasks, to create subtitles or complete unfinished ones for a film scene selected according to the teacher's specific pedagogical goals. The outcome of this activity (the subtitled clip), unlike most FL learning activities, provides a hands-on result: the student's work is tangible, viewable, and can be shared with other students and teachers.

This approach combines two widely-used methods in language learning, a "fashionable" (use of audiovisual material and ICT) and an "outmoded" one (use of translation). On the one hand, video has been exploited in different ways for many years in order to support student learning. Several authors (e.g. Bates,1985) have described particular attributes of video that render it powerful media for learning, such as abstracting information, narrative visualization, recognition and identification by the student. It is now commonplace to say that audiovisual material, with its rich context, is a powerful instructional tool known to have a motivational, attentional, and affective impact on viewers, which in turn facilitates auditory processing (Baltova, 1994). However, learners need to be trained to develop active viewing strategies for an efficient use of audiovisual material, which very often is not feasible for lack of motivation. LvS aims to overcome the shortcoming of passivity by engaging learners in an active way: they have to add subtitles to the material, thus creating a new product.

On the other hand, translation has been overused in teaching and overvalued in testing foreign languages and thus has come under rightful criticism as a tool for learning foreign languages. For example Richards & Rogers (1986) maintain that translation as a method may promote focusing in the source text, thus discouraging thinking directly in the language being learned; in translating the student often ignores the context and places undue value in "faithfulness". However, in the case of audiovisual translation the context (e.g. facial expressions and movements, intonation) can hardly be overlooked. Moreover, subtitling presents time and space constraints which render a word-for-word translation impossible. Therefore, the student/subtitler is liberated from the "requirement for faithfulness" and forced to focus on the core of the utterances heard.

In this presentation an LvS activity will be demonstrated involving the subtitling of a scene from Todo Sobre Mi Madre by Pedro Almodóvar.


Baltova, I. (1994) "The impact of video on the comprehension skills of core French students" The Canadian Modern Language Review 50, pp. 507-532.
Bates, A.W. (1985) "Using video in higher education" Institute of Educational Technology Paper on Broadcasting, No 243.
Richards, J.C. & Rogers T.S. (1986) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, CUP.

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Christopher Taylor (University of Trieste)

"I knew he'd say that!" A consideration of the predictability of language use in film

The paper proposed deals principally with the question of predictability in screen translation. The relevance of this concept can be seen in terms of film text theory, the teaching of media translation and language teaching programmes. The methodology proposed is based on the predictability of textual occurrences and frequencies in particular scenarios. Research in Trieste has moved on from analysing film language in general to concentrating on the language associated with particular scene types, especially in relation to the multimodal nature of such text. This has firstly involved work on identifying scene types in a range of films by dividing each film into discrete units as they unfold on the screen, for example (1) restaurant scene 04.19 -04.45 > (2) public row 04.46-05.10 > (3) marriage proposal 05.10-06.15 > return to restaurant (Moonstruck, 1987). Secondly specific scene types have been isolated and extrapolated from all the films in the study and studied together. This methodology has enabled us to confirm predictions about language use in particular situations, a concept supported by the theoretical considerations of such linguists as Sinclair (1991) in terms of corpus linguistics and Hoey (2004) in terms of his 'priming' hypothesis.

Serendipitously, this work has also led us to distinguish the truly original film, that which 'declares its distance' like any work of art, from the more mundane variety. Indeed, predictability values differ greatly between the extremes of the artistic and the popular. This has important implications for the translator, particularly the subtitler whose need for precision may compete with stylistic, semantic or aesthetic considerations. On the other hand, more 'run of the mill' productions could even be candidates for a sophisticated kind of translation memory tool. The paper will report on findings thus far.

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Gu Tiejun (Beijing)

A historical Account of Dubbing Industry and Art in China


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Francisco Utray Delgado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Universal design for the digital television industry

Equal opportunity is a fundamental democratic principle recognized in our legal code, and access of disabled people to communication is needed in order to facilitate their social integration. If we now envisage an emergency plan for the implementation of digital television, we cannot forget this principle. New technologies should try not to create new barriers. Media accessibility is therefore an indispensable criterion for the new media technologies. The development and implementation of digital television should ensure, from the very beginning, accessibility and Design for All in state owned and private media.

The objective of my research is to identify existent barriers that disabled people encounter in digital television, and to define the required mechanisms to ensure, in the best possible way, access for all in Digital TV.

What actions should be carried out in order to ensure accessibility of disabled people to digital TV? What are the financial costs of such actions and who should pay them? What is incumbent to the State and its institutions and what role should industry and commercial TV play? What are the regulation instruments to be used? How can industry be encouraged to take that responsibility, and how can the sustainability of the actions be guaranteed?

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Cristina Valentini (University of Bologna at Forlì)

A quantitative approach to the study of audiovisual translation strategies

Audiovisual translation is a relatively new area of academic research, which has gradually emerged as an independent research topic, within the broader context of translation studies (Gambier 2005). As a new multi-faceted field of scientific investigation, including different translation modalities, it has become apparent that the methodology used to investigate translation studies cannot be altogether transferred to this field and that, consequently, new methodologies have to be devised in order to mirror technical constraints and peculiarities of this new form of linguistic transfer. In particular, such an approach should be aimed primarily to set out a new definition of the object of research, i.e. the notion of a minimum translational unit that will predictably overcome the boundaries of the "utterance/line" to take into account all the specific semiotic resources employed by film discourse grammar within the broader framework of the "scene" (Metz 1968). To this end, a thorough analysis of plain and sufficiently extensive audiovisual data is needed to account for systematic similarities and/or differences in the dubbing process. Moreover, just as translation studies have significantly benefited from the development of translation corpora, audiovisual translation can similarly take advantage from organized collections of data available in their aural and visual entirety for scientific observation.

Drawing on such premises and on the experience of Forlixt I, the Forlì Corpus of Screen Translation developed at the University of Bologna's Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in Translation, Languages and Culture, the aim of the present paper will be to compare statistical data relating to significant macro and micro linguistic and communicative phenomena observed in a number of dubbed Italian products from different source languages. In addition, this study will set out to pilot the inventory of cultural, communicative and linguistic categories used to annotate the Forlixt corpus in order to study their variation and distribution, and as a possible indicator of translation strategies adopted to overcome specific translation and/or technical obstacles. In so doing, we will try to propose a methodological data-driven approach for the study of specific translational phenomena and the discovery of "operational norms" at work in dubbed products (Toury 1995) which includes the resistance or compliance to target language and culture norms, interference from different source languages, as well as the conformity with acknowledged translational routines and conventions (Pavesi 2005).

Gambier Y. 2005. La traduction audiovisuelle est-elle l'avenir de la traductologie? paper presented at the International Conference "Between Text and Image. Updating Research in Screen Translation", Forlì, 27-29 October 2005.
Metz, C. 1972. Essais sur la signification au cinéma. In: Klincksieck, Paris.
Pavesi, M. 2005. Spoken language in film dubbing: target language norms, interference and translational routines. Paper presented at the International Conference "Between Text and Image. Updating Research in Screen Translation", Forlì, 27-29 October 2005.
Toury, G. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

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Gert Vercauteren (Hoger Instituut voor Vertalers & Tolken - Antwerp)

Practical guidelines in audio description: a comparative study

Throughout history, visually impaired people have always had sighted people telling and describing to them what was happening in the world surrounding them, and we can thus say that audio description has been around for many centuries. The formalised development of audio description however, is generally believed to have started in the early 1980's in the US, followed by the UK a few years later1. By the end of that decade (1989) and especially in the 1990's, the increased media accessibility became the subject of various EU directives, such as the "Television without Frontiers" directive and Council Directive 97/36/EC (the European equivalent of the US Telecommunications Act (1996)).

Although these first official documents drawn up at EU level do not contain any binding requirements2, the increasing awareness of the importance of access for all resulted in the unfolding of a considerable number of national and transnational initiatives (AUDETEL, CENELEC). In some countries, legal frameworks were set up and technical standards were developed. With the number of audio described TV programmes, cinema films, etc. growing, the need for practical guidelines for describers also grew. This resulted in the origin of three kinds of standards:
  • standards drawn up by official authorities (e.g. Spanish Standard UNE 153020:2005; ICT Guidance on Standards for Audio Description);
  • standards drawn up by professional describers (e.g. German guidelines by Bernd Benecke3);
  • standards drawn up by people involved in teaching audio description (e.g. Belgian guidelines by Aline Remael of the HIVT).
The aim of this paper will be to compare these different sets of standards and try to give an answer to various questions (Are there any noticeable differences depending on the level where the guidelines were drawn up?, What are the main similarities and - probably more interesting - what are the main differences between the different guidelines?, Are there things missing or irrelevant norms?, etc.).

Based on the findings of this comparison, we will try and draw up some kind of "common denominator" which will be up for discussion, together with the final question whether it is at all possible (and desirable) to have one commonly agreed, international set of standards.

1 According to various sources, e.g.:
   • "ITC Guidance on Standards for Audio Description" (2000), p.4;
   • Benecke, Bernd (2004): "Audio-Description", Meta 49 (1), 78-80
2 See for a more detailed discussion of legislative provisions on a European level
3 Benecke, Bernd & Dosch, Elmar (2004) : "Wenn aus Bildern Worte werden - Durch Audio-Description zum Hörfilm". München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, 48p.

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Brigitte Widler (University of Vienna)

Viennese cinema audiences revisited

A survey conducted in mid-2002 for the first time yielded detailed information on the target audience of subtitled films in Viennese cinemas. The collected data included educational and professional backgrounds, quality awareness, viewing habits and preferences as well as the various motivations for watching subtitled films.

At first glance the overall situation may not have changed significantly over the past four years but is that really so? Are the 2002 data still valid today or do cinema subtitlers now have to cater for a different audience? Have subtitles become more popular as a tool for foreign-language learning? Has the frequency of cinema visits increased over the past years? Have recipients become more critical of the quality of subtitles? Have audiences become more aware of DVDs as a subtitling medium? A 2006 update survey will provide answers to these and other questions.

Widler, Brigitte (2004): "A Survey Among Audiences of Subtitled Films in Viennese Cinema". In: Audiovisual Translation, Meta Translators' Journal Vol. 49. Yves Gambier (Ed.). Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, pp. 98 - 101.

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Lew Zybatow (Innsbruck

Audiovisual Translation & Translation Studies - (I think it's) the beginning of a beautiful friendship

The booming Audiovisual Translation (AVT)* promises to make a strong beneficial impact on Translation Studies: both on their applied research output and on improving their scientific methodology. In fact, we witness how speculative (translatosophical) translation theories just fade away, while empirically based translation research gains ground. This is clearly manifested in our MuTra-Conferences (including this Conference), which demonstrate a big multicoloured variety of fascinating empirical studies on AVT covering different aspects of dubbing, subtitling, voice-over etc. These studies reveal a simple methodological truth: translation science is an empirical science. But there is something to keep in mind: empirical sciences observe the reality of their subject (in this case of translating and interpreting), formulate a theory (or rather, theories) about it, and verify/falsify the theories by comparing them to reality. According to Mittelstraß (1998), a science always has a theoretical form and a research form. In its research form, it tries to find out what is the case, whereas in its theoretical form, it shows, how and why something is the case. The "what" is the description, and the "why" is the explanation. And it is both the "what" AND the "why", that are for empirical science of crucial importance.

In this paper I try to show possible ways to empirically based explanative modells/theories on the bases of the Probabilistic Theory of Translation (s. Zybatow, in preparation) illustrating this on the problems of the orality, typical of AVT, especially of dubbing.

Starting by empirical observations of typical dubbing-examples (English, German, Italien, Russian, Spanish) for orality-problems, the paper offers some theoretical interpretations and probabilistic solutions, as well as some considerations on possible theoretical approaches and interdisciplinary allies.

The second part of the paper deals with metatheoretical questions concerning the way to adequate verifiable theories, capable of mapping what really takes place in different kinds of translation, and to deal with the complexity and specificity of different kinds of translating/interpreting process and result.

One of the conclusions: if AVT did not exist, it should have been invented: since the AVT-investigations make a significant contribution both to its own applied business and to the improvment of Transaltion Studies in general, the initial flirt between Audiovisual Translation and Translation Studies seems to be very promising or - to quote from the famous film: I think, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  *  "Today, the words heard in dubbed or voiced-over productions or read in subtitles constitute a major part of the daily linguistic input of most people in most parts of the industrialized world." (Gottlieb, Henrik (2004): Screen Translation, in: Text and Translation. Translation Theory and Methodology. 6-8 May 2004, Saarbrücken. Abstracts, 43 "Subtitlers in Central Europe are invariably university graduates of translation studies who have undergone specialized training in subtitling and translation for audiovisual media." (Caroll, Mary (2004): Subtitling: Changing Standards for New Media. 422.htm[Accessed 12 March 2006], 2

Mittelstraß, Jürgen (1998): Die Häuser des Wissens. Wissenschaftstheoretische Studien. Suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft 1390. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp
Zybatow, Lew (2004): Some metatheoretical remarks on Translation Science, in: Zybatow, Lew (Hg.) (2004): Translation in der globalen Welt und neue Wege in der Sprach- und Übersetzerausbildung. Innsbrucker Ringvorlesungen zur Translationswissenschaft II. ("Forum Translationswissenschaft", Bd.2). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang
Zybatow, Lew (in preparation): Skizzen zu einer Probabilistischen Theorie der Translation. ("Forum Translationswissenschaft", Bd. 8) Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

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PhD Tutorial
     •   Sunday, 30 April,
     •   Monday, 1 May, 9:50 to 12:40
     •   Room 22.0.47, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 130 (Euroconference venue)

A special PhD Tutorial will be held on April 30th and the morning of May 1st             (Programme)
  • It will feature progress reports of last year's participants and structured instruction on critical reading and literature state-of-the-art analysis.
  • The instructors are Daniel Gile and Heidrun Gerzymisch-Arbogast.
  • There is an extra cost of EUR 50,00 (payable in cash on site) for this tutorial which is not part of the regular conference program.
For additional information contact

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Workshop — Consecutive Interpreting Techniques
     •   Tuesday, 2 May, 9:50 to 12:40

Sylvia Kalina (University of Applied Sciences, Cologne)

The workshop is intended for those who do consecutive rather irregularly and have never had full training in this type of interpreting. Its aim is to suggest ways of developing a more professional approach to such assignments.

The main subjects to be addressed:
  • Types of consecutive and their requirements
  • Memory and note-taking in interaction
  • Communicative skills and how to improve them
The workshop will take up participants’ preferences and focus on these as far as possible. We will discuss principles and their implementation in consecutive practice. Practical demonstrations of professional behaviour in the different settings will be given. Participants are invited to bring note-pads and writing material and to contribute actively to the workshop.

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Workshop — Audio-description
     •   Thursday, 14:35 to 17:30

Bernd Benecke (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich) &
Joel Snyder (Audio Description Associates, USA)

Audio Description (AD) is the art of turning what is seen into what is heard; the visual is made verbal. AD allows persons with visual impairments to hear what can be seen at theater performances, on film and video, in museum exhibitions – in a wide range of human endeavor.

Based on the presentations of Bernd Benecke (Thursday morning) and Joel Snyder (Thursday afternoon), the workshop will allow people to learn more about this technique by trying it themselves.

In small groups workshop participants will develop and present descriptions of video excerpts..

The results of this work are then presented and discussed with the whole group. Finally everybody will see how professional describers prepared the video selections..

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will know:
  • how to develop skills in concentration and observation
  • the art of "editing" what you see
  • how to use the spoken word to make meaning

Target group:
People with an interest in Audio Description but who may have had limited or no exposure to this important service for people who are blind or vision impaired.

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Workshop — Subtitling for the hard-of-hearing
     •   Wednesday, 3 May, 9:45 to 12:30

Josélia Neves (Leira, Portugal)

Being Deaf or hard-of-hearing often means being left out of society and being given a reduced portion of what is offered to hearers. In practice, living with deafness may mean greater difficulties in getting through the educational system, reduced opportunities in the professional world and limited access to culture and information.

At a time when information and entertainment are intrinsically connected to the media and where audiovisual texts are important vehicles for complex polissemiotic messages, it is clear that the hearing impaired are constantly put through the strain of decoding texts which they cannot fully perceive.

Over the last 50 years, subtitling for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) has come to be seen as a valuable instrument for making audiovisual materials accessible to hearing impaired audiences. In recent years the offer has grown considerably and SDH may now be found in cinemas, on television, on DVDs, on the internet and in multiple situations and events, such as conferences, plays and religious contexts, among others.

Subtitlers doing SDH are called upon to devise solutions that will be as comprehensive and readable as possible within the constraints of the media in case and the needs and requirements of their specific addressees. The task is seldom easy for they find themselves bound by norms and impositions that derive from pre-established conditions and concepts that may need to be questioned anew. Supplying adequate subtitling solutions may require questioning present practices and testing innovative solutions with deaf audiences so as to arrive at the best possible solutions for the greatest possible number of viewers. This is a task that requires investment, time and the will to start anew, a situation which is presently being offered to all those in the field, thanks to the introduction of digital technology in general and of TDT in particular.

With all the above said in mind, in this workshop, participants will be given an opportunity to address many of the main issues of SDH, in an exercise that is equally valuable to new comers to the subject and to experienced subtitlers wishing to reflect about common practices. The workshop will be divided into three basic parts:
  • An introductory talk focusing on the overriding issues to be taken into account when subtitling for Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences;
  • An analysis of actual practises in European Countries;
  • And a practical hands-on group project.
Points to be addressed during the workshop:

Part 1:
  1. Hearing and Deafness: The mechanism of hearing and the implications of different types of hearing impairment in the perception of sound.
  2. Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing addressees and audiences: From a preconceived notion of deaf and hard-of-hearing addressees to a better understanding of the needs and requirements of actual audiences.
  3. Accessing the audiovisual text: A clarification of which components of the audiovisual text need to be made visual for hearing impaired viewers.
  4. SDH - Types and Modalities: An outline of the different SDH types in terms of media, text type, preparation and presentation.
Part 2:
  1. SDH - On norms and practices: An overview of the main components that characterise SDH and of the solutions presently in use in various European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom) through the presentation of illustrative clips and stills.
  2. The challenges of digital technology - where dreams may come true: A proposal for a "new" concept for SDH.

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