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Subtitling - Essay Example

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This is where film translation fills the gap.
Dubbing is basically recording new audio over the original audio to make the content of the film more understandable and domestic to the target audience. This method gained popularity because the audience does not have to read any titles on the screen and math it to what's going on in the movie simultaneously. This makes it ideal for translating a whole movie into a completely new language with a more satisfied audience.
This is rather different from dubbing. It basically provides a translation in the form of a caption at the bottom of the movie screen of the spoken source language. This has its own advantages in the sense that the content of each dialogue is synchronized and it is therefore least altered compared to the source dialogue. This gives the audience some form of learning of the foreign language which is the source language.
This paper specifically deals with subtitling and its related issues. It does not mean that other forms of translation are not worthy of studying, but for clarity and time constraints these topics will be covered.
Source language countries like the United States and the United Kingdom there is fairly less demand for subtitles. Where the importance is greatly felt is in countries where movies made by these countries are exported to, like France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal and others. These countries find subtitles helpful because they know some English and the presence of subtitles helps them in understanding the film better. If we look at the other side of the world we have countries like India which does not know how to speak a whole sentence in English or even spell their own name so they prefer having dubbed films.

Issues in Subtitling
As good an idea that subtitling may sound right now, it actually poses quite a few problems to the translators.

Culture based issues
American movies presently dominate the western world. Eastern and Arabic countries prefer to watch movies which are closer to their own lifestyles and daily scenarios. It hasn't helped by the fact either that America is always picking on these underdeveloped countries which has created an anti American belief in the natives of these countries. This is why translators who translate English movies in the native languages of these countries need to be very cautious of not including very pro American words which might offend these people who come from very different cultures.

Inexperienced audiences
English is increasing in popularity all over the world. This is one reason why globalization is also sometimes jokingly referred to as Americanisation. However, the fact remains that even in countries like Pakistan, education in English language is on the rise and students in private institutions find it easier to study courses in English rather than in Urdu, which is their national language. This however, causes a problem. Whenever these type of audiences watch a movie, they tend to make their own translations and disregard the actual sub titles as the right translations. This creates a difference in the understanding of the movie especially if it's a complex plot. It might leave the audience completely ...Show more


Globalization is on the rise. In an era of high awareness and equal opportunities there is hardly any give for any product to be biased towards a specific target market. This case is more so for movies, which are primarily created for entertainment purposes…
Author : zaria91
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