Article published in:Between Text and Image: Updating research in screen translation
Edited by Delia Chiaro, Christine Heiss and Chiara Bucaria
[Benjamins Translation Library 78] 2008
► pp. 101–115
High felicity: A speech act approach to quality assessment in subtitling
This paper contains some thoughts on how an approach based on speech act theory can be used for quality assessment in subtitling. It is assumed here that subtitling is a pragmatic form of translation and that it might be more felicitous to give a speaker’s primary illocutionary point (what is meant to get across) precedence over what is actually said, if there is a conflict. Analyses of subtitled utterances containing Extralinguistic Cultural References (ECRs) illustrate the approach, showing that there is a difference in kind between more or less felicitous translations and translation errors. By considering the sender’s primary illocutionary point first, a felicitous subtitle is faithful to the original message, despite the media-specific constraints, while giving the viewer/reader guidance to access the message. In this way, high fidelity is achieved through high felicity.
Published online: 14 August 2008
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