Despite being a professional practice that can be traced back to the very origins of cinema, audiovisual language translation (AVT) has been a relatively unknown field of translation studies until very recently In fact, during the 1950’s to 1970’s the subject area of translating audio video content didn’t go through any evolutionary changes. Instead, the field hibernated until the mid 1990’s and early 21st century. Primarily, the lack of progress in the field was due to the lack of major technological developments that could generate new efficiencies and produce higher quality. By reviewing this article, people interested in AVT will have a greater understanding for what it is and how it has improved.
For those in the translation service, entering the AVT arena will demand even greater technical skills and linguistic competencies because there are many more obstacles that must be faced. Indeed, while attempting to recreate a real live situation on screen, they may hamper comprehension of a given scene due to fast paced dialogue exchanges among characters, the use of unknown dialectal and sociolectal variations, instances of overlapping speech and interfering diegetic noises and music, to name but a few. The skilled Audio Video Technicians must be able to internalize the entire scene and know the best way to present it to the greatest number of foreign speaking viewers.
In nearly all cases, the Japanese Translation of audiovisual content is most easily provided to the client in one of two preferred methods. Either oral output remains oral output, as in the original production, or it is transformed into written output. If the first option is favored, the original soundtrack is replaced by a new one in the target language, a process which is generally known as ‘revoicing’. The replacement may be total, whereby the target viewer can no longer hear the original exchanges, as in dubbing (also known as lip sync), or partial, that is, when the original spoken dialogue is still (faintly) audible in the background, as in the case of voiceover.
Although it is true that habit, cultural disposition and financial considerations have made of dubbing, subtitling and voiceover the three most common translation modes of AVT, this does not mean that they are the only language transfer options available in the industry. Surprisingly, Russian Translation workers who are employed in Hollywood have counted up to 11 distinguishable forms of multilingual transfer alternatives for audiovisual communication. Instead of going into every type available, we will instead provide a brief description of the main methods that include voiceovers, dubbing and subtitling.
Dubbing involves replacing the original soundtrack containing the actors’ dialogue with a target language recording that reproduces the original message, ensuring that the target language sounds and the actors’ lip movements are synchronized, in such a way that target viewers are led to believe that the actors on screen are actually speaking their language.
Subtitling provides a textual representation of the spoken audio in a video program. Subtitles are often used with foreign languages and do not serve the same purpose as captions for the hearing impaired.
The term Voiceover refers to a production technique where a non-diegetic Arabic Translation voice is used in a radio, television, film, theatre, or other presentation. The voice-over may be spoken by someone who appears elsewhere in the production or by a specialist voice actor.. It is common practice to allow viewers to hear a few seconds of the original foreign speech before reducing the volume and superimposing the translation.