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Speech Acts, Directness and Politeness in Dubbing

American Television Series in Hungary


Károly Polcz

The culture specificity of speech acts may pose daunting challenges in translating audiovisual products. This volume offers intriguing insights into the ways dubbing translators seek to establish pragmatic equivalence in speech acts such as requests, instructions, advice, invitations and offers. What is the nature of pragmatic equivalence in speech acts? What types of pragmatic shifts do translators employ in the pursuit of pragmatic equivalence? Do shifts in directness have a bearing on target language politeness? While focused on a relatively large amount of linguistic data retrieved from more than 700 episodes of twenty different television series, the study introduces a multidimensional model that can be used as a heuristic tool in the analysis of speech acts in translation studies. This venture into the realm of pragmatics and translation research is aimed at capturing dominant patterns in translating speech acts in audiovisual translation, which, as the author claims, could be tied to translation universals.
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Chapter 5 Pragmatic shifts between the directness categories


Chapter 5

Pragmatic shifts between the directness categories

5.1 Introduction

Translators have two basic options in translating conventionally indirect speech acts. They can change the directness category of the utterance; that is, shift from conventionally indirect forms to direct forms (Would you do X? → Do X.), or they can make adjustments within the category of conventional indirectness (Will you do X? → Would you do X?). I shall refer to these replacements as pragmatic shifts. They pertain to syntactic and lexical changes which modulate the illocutionary force of the utterance to a lesser or greater degree and, as such, they exert an impact on linguistic directness and politeness.

The primary objective of this chapter is to test the following three hypotheses. (1) Pragmatic shifts between directness categories typically take place towards the most direct category, that is, the imperative and other direct forms. (2) Pragmatic shifts between the directness categories typically take place if the pragmalinguistic form has different communicative functions in the SL and the TL. (3) In addition to the pragmalinguistic form, pragmatic shifts towards the most direct category are mostly motivated by the power of the speaker. In addition, I shall present a complete survey of shifts between directness categories and discuss their pragmatic effects regarding illocutionary force and linguistic politeness. Further, I shall draw comparisons between the translation and reference databases. The analyses will shed light on how translators seek to establish pragmatic equivalence between speech acts.←105 | 106...

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