O’Hagan & Sasamoto | Crazy Japanese Subtitles?

Minako O’Hagan & Ryoko Sasamoto (2016) ‘Crazy Japanese subtitles? Shedding light on the impact of impact captions with a focus on research methodology’, in Silvia Hansen-Schirra & Sambor Grucza (eds), Eyetracking and Applied Linguistics, 31–58. Berlin: Language Science Press.


Abstract. This paper addresses intralingual captions called “impact captions” (Park 2009) that have become an integral part of entertainment TV programmes in parts of
Asia. These captions are different from the mainstream intralingual captions designed for accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. Aimed at enhancing the entertainment value of a programme for hearing viewers, impact captions are designed to draw the viewer’s attention to particular elements according to the TV producer’s perspective. Despite the prevalent and increasing use of such captions, however, they are created without formal guidelines at the discretion of TV
producers. Focusing on these novel captions which fall outside the norms of TV captions elsewhere, this paper discusses their impact on viewers while exploring methodological issues in eye-tracking research. The initial experiment results show few fixations in the caption area; despite the participants declaring that they read the captions, viewers fixate far more on the middle region of the screen where faces are shown. The paper discusses the limitations and advantages of reception studies based on eye-tracking while contributing towards further refinement of empirically-oriented reception studies in audiovisual translation (AVT) research.