Wendy Fox | Integrated titles: An improved viewing experience?

Wendy Fox (2016) ‘Integrated titles: An improved viewing experience?’ In Silvia Hansen-Schirra & Sambor Grucza (eds.) Eyetracking and Applied Linguistics, 5–30. Berlin: Language Science Press.


Abstract. While there are a few examples of (sub)titles placed individually in the image as a means of translation of an additional language into the film’s main language, this practice has not yet been used to commercially translate a complete film for a foreign target audience. Using eye tracking data, this study examines to what extent the placement and design of (sub)titles affect reading time and the visual perception of the image. The applied placement strategies were based on the undistracted focus points of 14 English native participants and image composition principles from film studies. Additional 31 German participants with little or no knowledge of English watched the English film with traditional subtitles or integrated titles. The results of the eye tracking data analysis indicate that, while reaction time (time to first fixation) increases, the reading time (total visit duration) for integrated titles decreases, the viewers are less likely to focus on the title area before the title appears and their focus resembles the undistracted gaze behaviour of the native participants to a much greater degree. Additionally, the split attention between image and title shifts towards the image. Integrated titles appear to motivate the viewer to return to the focal points faster and spend more time exploring the image in between titles. Their placement allows for shorter saccades and thereby
decreases the time in which no visual information is obtained.