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Opera Surtitling as a Special Case of Audiovisual Translation

Towards a Semiotic and Translation Based Framework for Opera Surtitling

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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 Three: On Operatic Communication

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Chapter Three: On Operatic Communication

3.1  Staging as a Text

Towards the end of the previous chapter a distinction between the operatic langue and parole was established. The first one was understood as an abstract system of various signs and rules that govern their composition. Opera creates its codified system by means of a number of other cultural codes, which regulate the system of dress, social behaviour, dancing etc. Consequently, the operatic macrocode draws on a number of varying semiotic systems, managing to integrate them into a simultaneously operating network of meanings, which exists in the form of a single performance.

The operatic performance was therefore interpreted as a concrete act of operatic parole exercised in given spatial and temporal dimensions. It was further understood as a means of contextualising the operatic Text, which is a construct meant to convey certain meanings and rendered in the Language of opera. Based on a relatively rich collection of sign systems, the operatic Text is a well- organized unit with clear boundaries, both spatio-temporal and semiotic. Thus, the operatic Text exerts the polysemiotic nature of the operatic macrocode, which caters for its complexity and multimodality.

The performance does not operate on a single dimension of interpretation but rather employs a number of perspectives and modes of signification, which influences the process of its reception. Another thing is the fact that all the signs incorporated in the performance are meaningful units and...

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