The effect of explanatory captions on the reception of foreign audiovisual products
A study drawing on eyetracking data and retrospective interviews
The present research triangulates questionnaire, retrospective interview and eyetracking data, aiming to investigate how Explanatory Captions (ECs) are received by different viewers with varied educational backgrounds, and whether or not the presence of ECs improves their understanding of the AV content. The results show that the provision of ECs, for a subtitled video in a foreign language, greatly increased positive cognitive effects on the viewers. Viewers tend to reduce time spent on viewing images, but invest additional processing effort on the ECs, although their allocation of processing effort on subtitles experienced little change. Furthermore, the eyetracking data suggest that most participants adopted a fixed reading pattern on subtitles and ECs when they appeared simultaneously, which could balance some of the negative impact of ECs on their viewing experience. The findings gained through this experimental research will provide some guidance and suggestions for subtitlers when preparing subtitles and ECs.
Keywords: Explanatory Caption, reception, Relevance Theory, eyetracking, retrospection
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