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Opera Surtitling as a Special Case of Audiovisual Translation

Towards a Semiotic and Translation Based Framework for Opera Surtitling


Anna Rędzioch-Korkuz

Despite the growing interest in various translation activities, there is still a potentially vast area of research. The statement may be true for opera surtitling, which was introduced in the nineteen eighties and has been used in opera companies worldwide ever since. This book aims to offer a theoretical framework for opera surtitling, based on several factors, including the semiotics of opera, relevance theory, or fundamental rules of audiovisual translation. The author provides a more illuminating insight by means of practical research into surtitling in Poland, which proves that surtitling is not as simple a task as it may seem, demanding a multimodal and multifaceted analysis of an audiovisual complex and requiring a constant struggle to guarantee optimal relevance of the surtitled performance.

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Chapter One: On Opera as a Genre


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Chapter One: On Opera as a Genre

1.1  Culture as a Means of Communication

Human beings have always lived within the phenomenon of nature, their role consisting in redefining and thus remodelling nature. This old dichotomy between nature and culture has always puzzled not only scholars but also laymen. In the course of history it is possible to encounter varying approaches to the understanding of those words. As for this book, however, the discussion will be limited to the very global understanding of culture as opposed to nature.

Rickert (1984) suggested that in order to arrive at the broadest definitions of culture and nature it seems necessary to go back as far as to the very etymological source of the words. And so he indicated the Latin present infinitive colere and nasci respectively. The latter presupposes that nature will denote what has grown out of itself without any interference on the part of the human and what has been left to develop independently. The Latin colere, on the other hand, will refer to cultivating fields or growing crops. Along the same line, culture will presuppose specific actions taken by humans. Unlike designata of nature, designata of culture will be created, developed, improved or modified by humans. By drawing the boundary between the two words and designata thereof indicated by the human action it is possible to arrive at a rather global understanding of the word culture.

But it...

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