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Title: Coherence and audience reception in subtitling : with special reference to connectives
Authors: Kao, Huan-Li
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Due to time and space constraints, subtitling is often subject to reduction, which in turn may lead to information loss and hamper comprehension of subtitles. However, little research has been done to investigate the potential conflict between subtitle reduction and comprehension. Therefore, with the aim of exploring both ‘cohesion in text’ and ‘coherence in mind’, a two-phase study was designed to investigate textual reduction and audience reception with particular reference to connectives (e.g. moreover, but, because, and at first). More specifically, the present study aims to find to out how connectives are translated in different genres of factual TV programmes and whether and to what extent their reduction may affect audience comprehension. The first part of this study involved textual analysis of source texts and target texts of two TV genres: scripted documentaries and ‘spontaneous’ (i.e. unscripted) travel programmes. The occurrences of connectives in STs and TTs were manually counted and statistically analysed. The results showed that the addition or omission of connectives was related to the difference between these two genres: documentaries were translated more explicitly with more connectives translated and added, while a travel programme were translated more implicitly with more connectives omitted. The second part of this study involved a questionnaire survey using four English clips (two scripted documentaries and two spontaneous travel programmes from Discovery Channel) to test the perception of 158 participants on the reduction of connectives in Chinese subtitles. The results of the survey showed the participants seemed to have no difficulty comprehending Chinese subtitles when most English connectives were intentionally not translated. That is, the omission of connectives did not seem to affect their perception on the coherence of subtitles, which may be explained by contextual factors such as register (field, tenor, and mode), pragmatic principles (e.g. the cooperative principle and Gricean maxims), and multi-semiotic features of subtitling (e.g. co-presence of subtitles, image, and sound). In other words, the present study shows that reduction in subtitling could be justified from the perspective of context in subtitling. These findings can be further applied to the teaching and assessment of subtitling.
Description: Ph.D. thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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