Accessing Audiovisual Translation

by Lukasz Bogucki (Volume editor) Mikolaj Deckert (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 216 Pages
Series: Lodz Studies in Language, Volume 35


Audiovisual translation continues to be a dynamically developing genre, stimulated by interdisciplinary research and technological advances. This volume presents recent developments in the area. Renowned scholars in the field discuss aspects of captioning, revoicing and accessibility, as well as research methods such as eyetracking. The discussion occasionally departs from the confines of audiovisual translation proper, to tackle related areas such as translation for advertising purposes.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Editors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction: Łukasz Bogucki and Mikołaj Deckert
  • Dubbing intertextuality in Dreamworks animated films: Rebeca Cristina López González
  • Introduction
  • 1. Constituent and Contextual Factors Within the Dubbing Activity
  • 2. Dubbing Cartoons and Animated Films
  • 3. Intertextuality and Animated Films
  • 4. The Study
  • 5. Examples
  • 6. Conclusions
  • References
  • Films
  • Cultural and linguistic issues at play in the management of multilingual films in dubbing: Ilaria Parini
  • Multilingual films and dubbing
  • A case study: Cedric Klapish’s trilogy L’Auberge Espagnole, Les Poupées Russes and Casse-tête Chinois in Italian dubbing
  • Concluding remarks
  • References
  • Taming the foreign in Polish dubbing of animated films: Iwona Sikora
  • 1. Introduction – dubbing in Poland
  • 2. The polysemiotic nature of audiovisual texts and the imperative of image in translation
  • 3. Foreignness in animated films and in translation
  • 4. Strategies and techniques for translating cultural content
  • 5. Taming the foreign in Polish dubbing of animated movies for children
  • a. Visual culture-specific elements – non-verbal and verbal
  • b. Taming foreign names – translating proper nouns
  • c. Taming the foreign and cultural contamination
  • 6. Conlusions
  • References
  • Translating the unsaid and not translating the said: Janusz Wróblewski
  • References
  • Challenging the stereotypes of male social roles in advertising. A case study in car adverts placed on Polish television: Aleksandra Beata Makowska
  • Introduction
  • The origins of male and female stereotypes
  • Marketing background
  • The distinction between notions of sex, gender, gender stereotype and gender roles
  • The traditional approach to stereotypes of men in advertising
  • Stereotypes of men in advertising – new a approach?
  • 1. Men’s Men
  • 2. Men’s Women
  • 3. Women’s Men
  • 4. Women’s Women
  • The analysis of car adverts broadcast on Polish television
  • Interpretation of the results
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Teaching audiovisual translation with products and processes: subtitling as a case in point: Gary Massey and Peter Jud
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Background
  • 2.1. Cognitive process research in translation
  • 2.2. Process-oriented teaching in translation
  • 3. Teaching AVT with products and processes: study design
  • 4. Results of the study
  • 4.1. Eye-tracking data analysis
  • 4.2. Questionnaire data analysis
  • 5. Discussion: findings of the study
  • 6. Conclusion
  • References
  • Audio description as a verbal and audio technique of recapturing films: Barbara Szymańska and Monika Zabrocka
  • References
  • Why big fish isn’t a fat cat? Adapting voice-over and subtitles for audio description in foreign films: Anna Jankowska, Martyna Mentel and Agnieszka Szarkowska
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Voice-over and audio subtitling – two different genres?
  • 3. Cognitive linguistics in AVT
  • 4. Results
  • 5. Level of specificity and its implication for accessibility
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Media accessibility and opera in Poland: Anna Rędzioch-Korkuz
  • Introduction
  • Accessibility or Access for All
  • Accessible Opera around the World
  • Accessible Opera in Poland
  • Accessible Opera: A Myth or Reality?
  • References
  • Voices about Polish voices in foreign films: using an Internet forum as a source of information about the opinions of Polish viewers on dubbing as a mode of AVT: Magdalena Kizeweter
  • Introduction
  • Preliminaries
  • Dubbing as a mode of AVT: pros and cons
  • The modes of AVT as used in Poland
  • More reasons for examining viewers’ attitudes towards dubbing
  • What people say in surveys
  • Casual observations concerning the reception of dubbing as a mode of AVT
  • Using an Internet forum as a source of data for research: pros and cons
  • The objectives of the present research project
  • The data and the problems encountered
  • The findings
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Internet sources
  • Poland – a voice-over country no more? A report on an online survey on subtitling preferences among Polish hearing and hearing-impaired viewers: Agnieszka Szarkowska and Monika Laskowska
  • Subtitling in Poland
  • Subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing in Poland
  • Previous studies on AVT preferences in Poland
  • Study
  • Participants
  • Preferences on the kind of audiovisual translation
  • Subtitling or voice-over?
  • Subtitling or sign language interpreting?
  • AVT mode in children’s programmes
  • Technical aspects of subtitling
  • Font
  • Number of lines
  • Subtitle layout
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Eye-tracking in Translation and Interpreting Studies: the growing popularity and methodological problems: Paweł Korpal
  • Introduction
  • Why eye-tracking?
  • The main types of eye movements
  • Eye-tracking metrics
  • Eye movements in Translation and Interpreting Studies
  • Methodological problems
  • Summary
  • References
  • Notes on Authors


Łukasz Bogucki and Mikołaj Deckert

In this volume the notion of “accessing AVT” is instantiated in three discernible fashions. First, it is used in the general sense of deciding that the field of audiovisual translation is worthy of scholarly attention, should be explored from a range of perspectives and with a choice of methodological tools. Second, if we take “audiovisual translation” to stand for the tangible target text – visual or aural – the title will be alluding to the book’s inquiries of how translations are processed, or consumed, by audiences and what the status and prospects are of the different modes of AVT. Third, the title hints at the volume’s papers that tackle the problem of accessibility of the translation product for disabled members of the audience.

The collection comprises a total of twelve articles by researchers working in different European countries and across Poland. It opens with Rebeca Cristina López González’s paper “Dubbing intertextuality in Dreamworks animated films” where the author analyses the handling of intertextual references in Spanish dubbed versions of source productions. In the article that follows – “Cultural and linguistic issues at play in the management of multilingual films in dubbing” – Ilaria Parini discusses the dubbing of multilingualism in the Italian setting and demonstrates that change is underway. The paper “Taming the foreign in Polish dubbing of animated films” by Iwona Sikora positions the analysis of dubbing in the Polish context and focuses on culture-specific items. Janusz Wróblewski in his article “Translating the Unsaid and Not Translating the Said” looks into a range of examples where the multimodal and multilingual character of the film poses a transfer problem. In turn, Aleksandra Beata Makowska’s paper “Challenging the stereotypes of male social roles in advertising. A case study in car adverts placed on Polish television” deals with audiovisual material that was either translated for the Polish target viewer or was originally designed with the Polish audience in mind. With the contribution by Gary Massey and Peter Jud we pass on to subtitling. Their paper “Teaching audiovisual translation with products and processes: subtitling as a case in point” reports on the applicability of product- and process-oriented techniques in subtitling training, based on a study conducted at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. The next three papers are concerned primarily with media accessibility. In “Audio description ← 9 | 10 → as a verbal and audio technique of recapturing films” Barbara Szymańska and Monika Zabrocka talk about a range of variables to be considered when audiodescribing multimodal input, and they point to some of the challenges and prospects of this type of AVT. Anna Jankowska, Martyna Mentel and Agnieszka Szarkowska in their article “Why big fish isn’t a fat cat? Adapting voice-over and subtitles for audio description in foreign films” apply descriptive constructs from cognitive linguistics to come up with cross-mode qualitative and quantitative findings. In the contribution by Anna Rędzioch-Korkuz titled “Media accessibility and opera in Poland” the author offers a global perspective and then talks about the status of opera accessibility in the local Polish setting. An analogous problem, i.e. audience perceptions of interlingual audiovisual transfer, is taken up in Magdalena Kizeweter’s article “Voices about Polish voices in foreign films: using an Internet forum as a source of information about the opinions of Polish viewers on dubbing as a mode of AVT”. A kin approach – drawing on online audience feedback – is employed in the paper “Poland – a voice-over country no more? A report on an online survey on subtitling preferences among Polish hearing and hearing-impaired viewers” by Agnieszka Szarkowska and Monika Laskowska who discuss audience reflections by incorporating the “accessibility” parameter into their study. The volume is concluded by current methodological insights in Paweł Korpal’s contribution “Eye-tracking in Translation and Interpreting Studies: The growing popularity and methodological problems”.

Audiovisual translation is a genre that is as dynamic as it is heterogeneous. The present volume is but one of a number of this year’s contributions to what only two decades ago was a niche area, cautiously probed into by a handful of translation and film scholars. Today, a text on audiovisual translation is more likely to be a fully-fledged outcome of methodologically sound research than a loose collection of observations on the nature of film translation or guidelines for subtitlers. This selection spans modalities (captioning and revoicing), issues (culture-specificity, intertextuality, translator training), types (interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic translation), audiences (the hearing-impaired, the vision-impaired, cinema- and opera-goers), methods and types of empirical material, from animated films to car advertisements. All this points to a particularly lively area of research, one that – as the title suggests – can be accessed through a number of avenues, which the present collection of papers does not intend to exhaust. ← 10 | 11 →

Dubbing intertextuality in Dreamworks animated films

Rebeca Cristina López González

University of Vigo


Several channels interact in audiovisual productions. The meaning built in a film needs to be translated so that its message can be understood by audiences from different cultures. Animation faces a double difficulty because it is often meant to attract a double audience – children as well as adults. The dubbing of cartoons and animated films has gained importance in recent years in Spain as the Spanish Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts 2011’s report discussed below has proven. The success of this genre and more specifically some of the DreamWorks SKG films – Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Monsters vs Aliens – shows that the usage of intertextuality has gained weight and demands a deeper analysis and systematization. The translation strategies employed by each of the translators in charge of the Spanish versions have played a crucial role in transfering this content. And precisely, the way these translators were able to surmount the constraints imposed by this type of text to transfer the intertextual meaning constitutes one of the main objectives of this research. Thus, three examples of intertextual references will be presented and commented on.

1.Constituent and Contextual Factors Within the Dubbing Activity

Dubbing is a common procedure in the Spanish media industry, and this it has been carried out for decades. The tradition of dubbing films in this country started under Franco’s dictatorship as a way of censoring the information viewers had access to. Thus, declared by Izard (1992: 83, 99) and Agost (1999: 47 and 48 respectively), quoting the latter as follows: “France, Italy, Spain and Germany initiated an intervention policy, of censorship as well. These countries aimed to promote a film industry which reflected its national identity”. (my translation) and:

Sound films became an ideology tool: Germany, Spain, Italy and France realized the importance and the potential influence of these on their people. For this reason they nationalized and reorganized their film industries, each one, respectively, creating one whose impact continues to this day. (my translation) ← 11 | 12 →

Nowadays, television programmes and films are broadcast in Spanish even if these products are not originally created and produced in Spain. As Alejandro Avila explains in his book El doblaje (2009: 17): “Whether we like it or not, dubbing is a reality in many countries of the world and in Spain it holds the first place from a qualitative point of view.” (my translation)

This can be confirmed when analysing the report released by the Spanish Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (Instituto de Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales- a section of the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports) which includes information regarding the box-office, audience and average performance of each film in accordance with the country where they were produced. To name some of these countries, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Philippines, France, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia can be mentioned. The number of released films is quite low for each of these countries except for productions developed in the USA which have apparently been an attraction to the Spanish audience for decades.

Specifically, out of the 48 countries named in the chart, in 2011, 578 USA films were released in Spain, representing 38.38% of the total releases. These over half a thousand films can be compared to the 351 Spanish films, namely, 23.31%. This percentage reflects the effort that the Spanish industry makes to attract more and more movie-goers.

This data demonstrates the importance of audiovisual translation in our daily lives. And what is more, if these films are originally in English there was/is/will be a high demand for the dubbing and subtitling of these. Of course, the researcher here is aware of the importance of other types of audiovisual translation as Chaume has established (2012), but in this paper focus is placed on the revoicing dubbing category. This can be explained recalling Avila’s insistence on the fact that dubbing, as a procedure, accounts for the highest number of translated films when compared to other types of AVT in Spain.

The answer as to why dubbing is preferred by the Spanish audience can be found in the several advantages which this modality bestows (Inigo Ros and Westall 1998: 91-92):

it facilitates the continuity of the film; it permits the reproduction of dialectal elements; it even allows for the reproduction of the subtleties of an actor’s voice, the transmission of puns, irony or sarcasm (which is usually lost in subtitled versions) as well as other typical features of the spoken language. Dubbing also allows the translator to include elements which might otherwise be eliminated (such as strong language, jargon or colloquial terms). Nevertheless, dubbing also presents problems such as the coordination of the words in the target language (TL) with the movements of the actor’s mouth. (…). ← 12 | 13 →

But we must not forget that these “pros” for the audience mean “cons” for the translator, who deals with the constraints imposed by this type of text. Historically first mentioned by Titford (1982: 113), the concept of constrained translation made reference to a text which is “only one of the components of the message or when it constitutes only an intermediate stage for a speech read aloud or dramatized” (Mayoral, Kelly and Gallardo 1998: 356). That is, a text which is part of the total message, and this brings us to the fact that several channels interact in the production of an audiovisual text as will be seen below, and this message will be used not as a written document to be read but a text to be said or reproduced orally, thus suffering other changes and rearrangements.

Furthermore, and as these authors continue explaining: “we also deal with the existence of more than one communication channel, the factors of source culture, target culture, “noise”, and the role of the translator in this complex process” [ibid. 356].

Beginning with the latter, the translator then decodes the SL (source language) and encodes the TL (target language) being the receptor of a message in the SC (source culture) while producing a new message in the TC target culture. Between these two messages there is a “dynamic equivalent relation” (Nida) in which the source message and its cultural content and the receptor’s response to the cultural content of the target message should be the same. Another similar approach would be to think of the purpose, or skopos (Reiss and Vermeer, Nord) of the source message within its culture and the needs observed by the translator to fulfill the same, a similar or a completely different purpose of the target text for the target culture.

Mentioned twice so far, the existence of more than one channel within the dubbing process also demands attention. According to Delabastita, the semiotic nature of the film sign complicates the act of translating this type of text. To quote his words (1989: 196): “It is a well-known fact that film establishes a multi-channel and multi-code type of communication.”

Using as an example two types of communication, radio communication or communication through books, Delabastita establishes how film communication combines two channels: the visual channel and the acoustic channel. Making the reader also aware of the fact that these channels cannot be confused with the codes used to produce the meaning of a film, this author also insists on the importance of the “multitude of codes that [give] shape to any film as a meaningful sign and that enables its spectators to make sense of it” [ibid.]

According to Delabastita (1989: 196-197) these are the codes involved in the production of a film: ← 13 | 14 →

the verbal code (which is actually an aggregate of various linguistic and paralinguistic subcodes: think of the various geographical, temporal, stylistic and social dialects of a language, etc.);

literary codes and theatrical codes (conventions of plot construction, models for dialogues, acquaintance with narrative strategies, with argumentation techniques and with literary genres and motives, etc.);

proxemic codes, kinesic codes, vestimentary codes, make-up codes, politeness codes, moral codes, and so forth (enabling us among other things to understand and assess the non-verbal behaviour of the characters);

the cinematic code (rules and conventions of the cinema, its techniques, genres, etc.).

Signs from these codes may be combined in a whole range of ways to form the “macro-sign” of the film as a whole.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (March)
Uebersetzungsstudien Mehrsprachigkeit Untertitel Synchronisation
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 216 pp., 2 b/w fig., 12 tables

Biographical notes

Lukasz Bogucki (Volume editor) Mikolaj Deckert (Volume editor)

Łukasz Bogucki is Director of the Institute of English Studies and Head of the Department of Translation Studies at the University of Łódź (Poland). He has published extensively on audiovisual translation. He is on the editorial board of JoSTrans and co-edits the Peter Lang series Łódź Studies in Language. He has organised a range of international conferences, including the Duo Colloquium, Teaching Translation and Interpreting, and Intermedia. Mikołaj Deckert is assistant professor in the Department of Translation Studies at the University of Łódź (Poland). His research is in translation, language and cognition, media discourse, corpus linguistics as well as linguistic pragmatics. He is the author of the monograph Meaning in Subtitling: Toward a Contrastive Cognitive Semantic Model.


Title: Accessing Audiovisual Translation
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220 pages