Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

On the New Features of Online Film and TV Subtitle Translation in China

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

On the New Features of Online Film and TV Subtitle Translation in China

Article excerpt

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1. Introduction

1.1 Research Background

The advent of the Internet has completely transformed the ways of spreading and enjoying foreign movies and TV programs worldwide. It offers people all over the world easier, cheaper and quicker access to foreign movies and TV programs. Due to the changes of the media and the promotion of cultural exchanges, the Chinese audience's appreciation of the imported English movies and TV has undergone some changes in many aspects. Especially in recent years, an increasing number of Chinese audiences prefer subtitled versions to dubbed versions since they long for the foreignness and cultural idiosyncrasies preserved in the original voice and subtitle. Watching subtitled versions has become many young Chinese people's dominant way of enjoying foreign movies or TV. Changes like this in turn call for changes in subtitle translation. However, the previous studies pay too much attention to dubbing-oriented subtitle translation or subtitling in the cinema or on TV (Qian, 2000; Li, 2001; Chai, 2006; Zhao, 2006; Lv & Li, 2013; Herbst, 1995; Karamitroglou, 1998; Diaz-Cintas, 2007). Few studies attach much importance to the changes in subtitle translation online and the needs of online TV or movie viewers (Diaz-Cintas, 2006). By studying many cases of subtitled English movies and TV in China, the present paper tries to find out and summarize the new features in the subtitle translation on the net and holds that it is quite necessary and worthy to highlight the changes so as to inspire the research of subtitle translation in the new era.

1.2 Literature Review

Western scholars started the study of film and TV translation quite early. The early studies are mainly descriptive without highlighting the particularities of screen translation. With the rapid development of film and TV industry in the 20th century, relevant translation studies began to make large strides in the 1980s and 1990s. In the past decades, western studies have covered every possible aspect of audio visual translation from various perspectives and many research methods have been adopted, especially, the method of case study. Translation strategies studies in dubbing and subtitling have been conducted by referring to various theories such as text analysis, pragmatics, reception theory, relevance theory and so on (Whitman-Linsen, 1992; Nedergaard-Larsen, 1993; Zabalbeascoa, 1994 & 1996; Herbst, 1995; Gottleib, 1993; Diaz-Cintas, 2007).

In China, Qian Shaochang, a famous translator, pointed out the importance of film translation and called for more attention to it in 2000. With more attention being paid to this field, Chinese scholars have mainly focused on film and TV translation principles and strategies (Zhang, 1998; Li, 2001; Ma, 2012). Other scholars have conducted case studies of some famous films by referring to some translation theories or theories from other fields, such as relevance theory or polysystem theory and so on (Wang, 2007).

However, few studies have attached much importance to the new trends in film and TV translation (Lv & Li, 2013; Diaz-Cintas, 2006). The popularity of the Internet and new digital technologies in the new era calls for attention to changes in online film and TV translation and the needs of online film and TV viewers. That's where this paper comes in.

2. Methodology

This present study focuses on making a comparison and contrast between traditional dubbing or subtitling practice and online subtitling so as to deduce the new features of subtitle translation in the new era. In this study, the basic research questions are as follows:

1). What new demands do the online viewers have for subtitle translation in the Internet era?

2). How do the new media and new needs of online viewers affect the subtitle translators, their choice of translation strategies and the functions of subtitle? …

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