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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 6 Pragmatic shifts within the directness categories


Chapter 6

Pragmatic shifts within the directness categories

6.1 Introduction

Pragmatic shifts within the directness categories typically occur when translators choose to retain the directness category. According to Hypothesis 4, translators tend to retain the directness category if the pragmalinguistic form has similar communicative functions in the SL and the TL; that is, they convey the same speech act types. In addition to testing Hypothesis 4, this chapter is concerned with the analysis of subtle pragmatic shifts that typically take place within the individual directness categories in an attempt to shed light on their pragmatic effects. Quantitative analyses of the translation database will outline the major trends in pragmatic shifts within the directness categories in translating speech acts from English into Hungarian. I shall cross-­reference the results of the translation database with the reference database to find out whether TL norms have a bearing on translating solutions. The analyses of the individual examples will focus on the ways translators seek to establish pragmatic equivalence between SL and TL speech acts in terms of illocutionary force and linguistic politeness.

6.2 Retaining the directness category

The retention of the directness category means that SL pragmalinguistic forms are replaced with similar forms in the TL (SL query preparatory → TL query preparatory; SL suggestory form → TL suggestory form). In←159 | 160→ other words, retaining the directness category involves zero shifts regarding the five levels of directness set out in Chapter 3. Table 23...

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