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Dealing with Difference in Audiovisual Translation

Subtitling Linguistic Variation in Films


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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In today’s globalised society, translation and interpreting are gaining visibility and relevance as a means to foster communication and dialogue in increasingly multicultural and multilingual environments. Practised since time immemorial, both activities have become more complex and multifaceted in recent decades, intersecting with many other disciplines. New Trends in Translation Studies is an international series with the main objectives of promoting the scholarly study of translation and interpreting and of functioning as a forum for the translation and interpreting research community.

This series publishes research on subjects related to multimedia translation and interpreting, in their various social roles. It is primarily intended to engage with contemporary issues surrounding the new multidimensional environments in which translation is flourishing, such as audiovisual media, the internet and emerging new media and technologies. It sets out to reflect new trends in research and in the profession, to encourage flexible methodologies and to promote interdisciplinary research ranging from the theoretical to the practical and from the applied to the pedagogical.

New Trends in Translation Studies publishes translation- and interpreting-oriented books that present high-quality scholarship in an accessible, reader-friendly manner. The series embraces a wide range of publications – monographs, edited volumes, conference proceedings and translations of works in translation studies which do not exist in English. The editor, Professor Dr Jorge Díaz Cintas, welcomes proposals from all those interested in being involved with the series. The working language of the series is English, although in exceptional circumstances works in other languages...

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