What is Subtitling?

Subtitling can be understood as the translation of audio visual formats such as cinema, television, videos and computer games, in the form of short line by line written texts, which keeps appearing at the bottom of the audio visual screen, and changes as the screen dialogue or any other audio that requires translation changes. Below are different definitions of subtitling by some of the most notable scholars of subtitling and translation.

Definitions of subtitling by some of the most notable scholars of subtitling and translation

Diaz Cintas J and Remael A: As defined by Diaz Cintas J and Remael A in their book Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling, “Subtitling may be defined as a translation practice that consists of presenting a written text, generally on the lower part of the screen, that 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).” D. Cintas also names two main types of subtitling services which are intralinguistic subtitles and interlinguistic subtitles, in addition to a number of other types.

Shuttleworth and Cowie: Shuttleworth and Cowie defined subtitling as “the process of providing synchronized captions for film and television dialogue”. They also said that subtitling is a term used to refer to one of the two main methods of language transfer used in translating types of mass audio visual communication such as film and television.

OӃonnell: OӃonnell, a scholar in the field of subtitling, defines subtitling as “supplementing the original voice sound track by adding written text on the screen”. While pointing out the benefits of subtitling over dubbing, O’Connell points out that subtitling is an inexpensive, quick, foreign culture friendly and generally fairly politically correct mode of screen translation.

Jan Ivarsson: Jan Ivarsson another notable authority in the field of subtitling classified subtitling into various branches which are subtitling for cinema and television, multilingual subtitling, teletext subtitling, reduced subtitling, subtitling live or in real time, the translation of opera, theatrical works, conferences, etc. However the two primary branches of subtitling as mentioned by various scholars are intralinguistic subtitles and interlinguistic subtitles.

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