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Dealing with Difference in Audiovisual Translation

Subtitling Linguistic Variation in Films

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Claire Ellender

Subtitling films in another language becomes especially complex when the original language deviates from its standard form. Films that feature non-standard pronunciation, dialects or other varieties of language, especially when juxtaposed with more standard uses, are said to display «linguistic variation». As language use is central to characters’ identities and to a film’s plot, it is essential to retain the source language (SL) specificity as fully as possible in the target language (TL) subtitles so the target audience can experience the film as authentically as possible. Given its considerable difficulty, subtitling in this manner is often advised against, avoided or, when attempted, subjected to considerable criticism.
This book focuses on a collection of British and French films selected for the range of approaches that they adopt in portraying linguistic variation. Each chapter explores the challenges posed by the subtitling of such linguistic difference in the given films and the corresponding solutions offered by their subtitlers. Drawing on these findings and referring to contemporary thinking in the field of translation studies, this book argues that with insight and skill, linguistic variation can be preserved in film subtitles.
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About the author

About the author

Extract

Claire Ellender is Maître de Conférences in Translation at the Université de Lille III in France and is an academic member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). She is the author of a number of publications in the field of translation studies, including her recent monograph, Preserving Polyphonies: Translating the Writings of Claude Sarraute (Peter Lang, 2013). Alongside her teaching and research, she also works as a freelance translator.

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