Friday, 24 July 2009

Introduction to subtitling

Periodically I get asked for basic reading material on subtitling, so I thought this might be an opportunity to collect together some good sites for any interested parties. These will be about interlingual subtitling (from one language to another) rather than intralingual subtitling (for the deaf and hard of hearing, also known as captioning). Subtitling has been defined in a recently published textbook as

"a translation practice that consists of presenting a written text, generally on the lower part of the screen, that endeavours to recount the original dialogue of the speakers, as well as the discursive elements that appear in the image (letters, inserts, graffiti, inscriptions, placards, and the like), and the information that is contained on the soundtrack (songs, voices off)" (Díaz Cintas & Remael, Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling, 2007, p.8).

Swedish subtitler Jan Ivarsson keeps a useful page of subtitling resources here. There's a nice piece by the filmmaker Peter Thompson on subtitles here. There's a great mini-workshop on subtitling by Jorge Díaz Cintas here which I thoroughly recommend (and feel free to drop me a line here if you want to know the answers to the last bit of the workshop!).

Subtitlers, like translators, don't tend to get famous, but there are a few who are well-known. Linda Hoaglund has subtitled films by Kurosawa and others, and has an interesting website here with subtitled film clips. There's a nice piece from the 1950s by David Gunston about the British subtitler Mai Harris on the blog of the Association des Traducteurs et Adaptateurs de l'Audiovisuel. The site is in French but the article and various supporting materials are in English. The novelist and translator Anthony Burgess, inventor of Nadsat and of the strange, proto-Indo-European language of La Guerre du Feu, subtitled Jean-Paul Rappeneau's film of Rostand's rhyming play Cyrano de Bergerac in rhyme:

Lastly, allow me to recommend this subtitled short film by the Italian filmmaker Maxi Dejoie, which I saw a couple of years ago at the London sf film festival. Check it out - it's bleak post-apocalyptic sf (so, my favourite) but the subtitles are also surprising. And try to guess what language the subtitles are translating... :)

1 comment:

mediamovers said...

thanks for posting interesting link/notes.

I am sure all students of subtitling will find this useful & add their notes as well.

Media Movers, Inc.