January 23, 2007

How much you depend on the subtitles?

This week we are learning about the subtitling translation strategies. They are: omission, compression, expansion, generalisation, specification, neutralisation. As for the systermetic definition of subtitling is based on the linguistic level, it includes three parts:

  1. the relation between spoken and writen language
  2. the relation between the foreign language and the target language
  3. the relation between complete and partial translation (Lomheim,1998)

So I wander after so many procedures, what the final translation would likely to be. If the receptors rely on the translation work completely, the message they receive would be partly inaccurate.

We watched a video about a small town in 1990s China. In my opinion, the subtitles are terrible, sometimes are even funny. For example:

(an old woman is bargaining with a seller about the price of a hen)

Old: How much?

Seller: 10yuan

Old:  so skinny

Old: useless, I will only give you 7

Seller: 9yuan

Another old: so skinny! useless!

Old: 8 yuan

Seller: No way!

I want to know if you read this subtitle, what image is in your mind?What do you think of the old woman and seller? What do you think about how people bargain in China?

When I read it, I think it is really funny. This dialogue is not like a negociation with price, but a quarraling. Do people here usually bargain like that?

As it is translated for English speaking country, at this moment,  the subtitler should think for the viewers, as well as the source culture. Because the carelessness is made might lead to misundering of a whole culture.

I feel a bit worried about people rely on subtitle too much, so inproper translation would lead to some negative influences.

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