Book reviewThe Translation of Films 1900–1950 (Proceedings of the British Academy 218). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. xxii, 321 pp.
Reviewed by Łukasz Bogucki
University of Łódź
The emerging discipline of audiovisual translation (AVT) studies is clearly forward-looking. Its methodology is progressively experimental, including electroencephalography and psychophysiological measures (Orero et al. 2018), which not long ago were the preserve of medical studies. It embraces advances in audiovisual translation practice, such as interlingual live subtitling with respeaking (Romero-Fresco and Pöchhacker 2017), as well as changing audience expectations. It escaped the confines of linguistics long ago and seems to have an increasingly loose relationship with translation studies, inevitably veering in the direction of media accessibility (Bogucki 2019). The headway of AVT studies is thus such that not many disciplines within the new humanities (or ‘numanities’) can keep pace. However, at the core of audiovisual translation studies is research into film translation, chiefly subtitling and dubbing. Though somewhat neglected of late, studies of technical constraints, techniques, and untranslatability in preparing different language versions of movies continue to be the cornerstone of AVT. The Translation of Films 1900–1950 fills a glaring gap by boldly going where precious few AVT researchers have gone before – the beginning of the film industry.