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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 8 Summary and conclusions


Chapter 8

Summary and conclusions

8.1 Novelties of the theoretical approach

In order to analyse and reveal pragmatic shifts in translating directive and commissive speech acts in English to Hungarian dubbing, I have set up a complex multidimensional theoretical framework. One of its dimensions is based on House’s (1997, 2015) translation quality assessment model. House’s model serves to compare and assess full SL and TL texts; thus, it had to be adapted to make it suitable for the analysis of such subtextual elements as speech acts. With this in mind, I have drawn up a set of guidelines which assists in uncovering equivalence relations between conventionally indirect speech acts in the three categories of register, namely, field, tenor and mode. The guidelines also allow for screening out non-­equivalent translations.

The second dimension of the theoretical framework is a taxonomy which helps in identifying the types of speech acts the surface forms under investigation express. The taxonomy is based on the combination of the speech act theory (Austin 1962; Searle 1969, 1975, 1976, 1985) and the discourse act taxonomy (Tsui 1994), eliminating their weaknesses and retaining their strengths by taking into account the action/benefit analysis of the utterance (Tsui 1994), the perlocutionary effect (Austin 1962), retrospective classification (Tsui 1994) and a host of other supplementary conditions. The taxonomy has proved to be suitable for identifying directive and commissive speech act types as they occur in interaction.

The third dimension of...

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