How should culture be rendered in subtitling and dubbing?
A reception study on preferences and attitudes of end-users
Empirical reception research in audiovisual translation (AVT) has long been neglected as most previous studies focused primarily on features of AVT as a product and the producers of AVT, but not on end-users. The importance of these studies is emphasized by the fact that AV content is designed for target audiences. Knowing their preferences, expectations and needs can inform the industry and, thus, increase positive reception, placement and usability of the product. The present contribution aims at answering the question of whether there is a difference in preferences when it comes to translation strategies used for rendering the elements of culture (EC) in two different AVT modalities (subtitling and dubbing) and what could be the underlying reasons for it. For this purpose, we conducted an experiment with 136 participants among the undergraduate students at two universities in Montenegro. Results indicate that end-users have different general preferences and expectations for these modalities. We hypothesize that the observed differences are related to the “vulnerability” of subtitling. Furthermore, fluctuations from the general preference in subtitling have been noted in monocultural ECs in connection with encodedness of the EC in source text humor. This shows that industry’s translation guidelines should be modality-specific and that an over-simplistic approach to the treatment of such a complex issue as rendering culture within certain modalities should be avoided.