Audiovisual Translation and Interdisciplinarity
Special Issue of Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Introduction | Ocean’s Eleven Scene 12: the sample as methodological cogitation – rationale and data
By Marie Noëlle Guillot
Ocean’s Eleven stand-alone Scene 12 with subtitles – a gift for teaching, what lessons for research?
By Marie Noëlle Guillot
Abstract | This article considers Scene 12 from Soderbergh’s 2001 Ocean’s Eleven from two angles: as a productive scene for teaching fundamentals of audiovisual translation (AVT), and as a cautionary tale for research. Scene 12 is unusual and unrepresentative in its all-in-one illustrative richness, and a comprehensive microcosm that makes it an excellent tool for teaching, and drawing attention to basic and more complex aspects and features of cultural and linguistic transfer in a multimodal context. By the same token, it is an invitation to (re-)appraise on the larger scale of full cinematic contexts the complexity of AVT as cross-cultural mediation and its implications for research. The article is one of several focusing on Ocean’s Eleven Scene 12 for the Special Issue of Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice on AVT and Interdisciplinarity of which it is a part. The shared dataset for the scene and rationale for its choice are found in the Introduction to the volume.
Ocean’s Eleven scene 12 – lost in transcription
By Thomas S. Messerli
Abstract | Research on film is typically transparent when it comes to identifying the excerpts of film on which it is based. Since analysts view film scenes in different reception situations and since even the same reception situation will lead to differing textual representations of data, the basis for researchers’ analyses may nonetheless be underspecified. This article identifies aspects of data selection and transcription that are all too often neglected, but are critical for analysis and should not only be reflected on more thoroughly but also explicated to readers. It describes viewing constellations and analytical criteria and compares transcription conventions both theoretically and empirically, with the use of excerpts from Scene 12 of Ocean’s Eleven (2001).
Subtitled artefacts as communication – the case of Ocean’s Eleven Scene 12
By Thomas S. Messerli
Abstract | This article examines how Ocean’s Eleven’s (Soderbergh, 2001) Scene 12 and its English DVD subtitles can be analysed and understood from the perspective of the pragmatics of fiction and more generally pragmatics and communication studies. Examples from the scene are used to describe the film’s participation structures. Communication with film viewers is approached from a cognitive-pragmatic perspective and in terms of Grice’s Cooperative Principle. Agency in this communicative setting is discussed from the perspective of Constitutive Communication Theory. On the example of Scene 12, the article provides specific insights into the meaning of the scene in the context of the film as well as within communication between collective sender and the film’s audience, and it demonstrates the usefulness of pragmatic theories for the understanding of subtitled film in general. Interlingual subtitles are instrumentalised as access points to film scenes in the first part, and they are discussed as situated language in the second part.
Looking behind the scenes: an analysis of dialogue lists for Ocean’s Eleven
By Silvia Bruti & Serenela Zanotti
Abstract | In this article we consider the process involved in creating foreign language versions of feature films by describing and analysing paratextual elements in the dialogue list for the audiovisual source text Ocean’s Eleven. We aim to assess the potential translational impact of this accompanying material on the final product and to offer insights into the complex mediation process that lies at the heart of the linguistic transfer in audiovisual translation. Our analysis initially starts out from Scene 12, the common thread focused on in the volume, but widens to consider the strategic role of paratextual elements such as translator’s notes in the translation of dialogues in the whole film. The approach adopted is descriptive-qualitative as it aims to first disclose the most typical and frequent annotation types and highlight the semantic, pragmatic, and narrative aims they pursue in each case, and then to relate them with the options adopted in the dubbed dialogues. More than offering conclusive results, the study aims at opening up research into the process of translation in the context of audiovisual communication, by means of integrating descriptive analyses of the translated product and an informed consideration of professional practices that are part and parcel of the post-production process, focusing in particular on paratextual materials for the use of translators.
Insights into the dubbing process: a genetic analysis of the Spanish dubbed version of Ocean’s Eleven
By Rocío Bańos
Abstract | This paper sets out to investigate the traces left by the agents involved in the dubbing process in an attempt to shed light onto its dynamics. The aim is to foreground the role of the different dubbing professionals in the forging of the final dubbed text that reaches audiences, with an emphasis on the translator and the dialogue writer. This will be done reflecting on the concept of genetic analysis in dubbing and undertaking such an analysis on the Spanish dubbed version of Ocean’s Eleven Scene 12. Three different versions (the translation, the adapted version and the final recorded version) will be analysed and compared to describe their characteristics, identify the types of changes introduced by different agents, and investigate the reasons that might have motivated such shifts. In line with existing studies drawing on genetic analysis, the results indicate that the changes introduced during the different dubbing phases tend towards text reduction and condensation, and are mainly motivated by synchronisation. The analysis has also underscored the collaborative nature of dubbing, which goes beyond collective agency, suggesting that the document provided by translators is indeed preliminary, but not as ‘rough’ as we might be led to believe.
Audio describing Ocean’s Eleven scene 12 out of context: decision points in AD drafting
By Louise Fryer
Abstract | Drafting an audio description script for a short excerpt from a film is often presented as an early didactic task to students. It is presumed to be a simpler exercise than describing a film in its entirety. Is that really the case? How can the challenges of audio describing out of context illuminate AD processes and inform AVT and with what training implications? This article takes the opportunity of what would be a most unusual brief for an AD professional – dealing with a single film scene presented out of its full cinematic context and as a text transcript only – to consider these questions. They are addressed introspectively exposing the thought process behind drafting AD, using autoethnography. Exploring how context affects the decision-making process of the professional describer, highlights the importance of the initial stages of the workflow and the prerequisites of an AD task. It argues that students should be provided not only with the scene itself but also with a description brief outlining the circumstances of the translation. Ultimately it illustrates that a task often set for beginners is not so simple as it seems.
The look of the con: eleven thoughts on the historical absence of subtitles in film analysis
By Keith M. Johnston
Abstract | This article considers the lack of dialogue between Audio-Visual Translation and Film & Media Studies, despite the fact that both disciplines clearly have shared interests in the content of audio-visual texts. The apparent lack of any developed and consistent overlap between these areas of study is the starting point for a series of eleven ‘thoughts’ that identify commonalities and differences in how film and television texts might be studied and analysed. Inspired and led by the specific example of a scene from Ocean’s Eleven (2001), the article explores the potential for interdisciplinary research collaborations through ideas of authorship, genre, history, technology, industry labour, and reception and audience studies. While identifying areas where different theories might clash or complicate collaboration, the article also highlights potent areas where shared experience and different perspectives could enrich both fields.