In spring 2011 AVT Lab carried out an online study on subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) in multilingual films. Our goal was to find out which strategy is preferred by hearing-impaired viewers in subtitling multilingual films.
For instance, what should be included in SDH translated into Polish when in the original English-speaking film there appears a third language, say French? It seems that it depends on whether the utterance was translated for the orignal English viewers. If so, it should also be translated into Polish. What should be done, however, when the French utterance was not in any way explained to the original English-speaking audience? There are several ways in which this can be done:
1. Vehicular matching, i.e. showing the hearing-impaired viewers the transcribed version of the foreign language spoken in the film, as in: Bonjour.
2. Translation + explicit attribution, i.e. translating the foreign-language dialogue and telling the viewers that a foreign language is spoken, as in: [IN FRENCH] Good morning.
3. Translation + colour-coding, i.e. translating the foreign-language dialogue and colour-coding it, as in: Good morning.
4. Explicit attribution, i.e. telling the hearing-impaired viewers that a foreign language is spoken, as in: [IN FRENCH]
5. Linguistic homogenisation, i.e. avoiding the marking of the foreign language in dialogue at all, as in: Good morning.
135 participants took part in the study. They were shown five pairs of short clips with different sets of subtitles from the following films: “Inglorious Basterds”, “2 days in Paris”, “Life is Beautiful” and “Little Princess”. The overall findings of the present study indicate that deaf and hard of hearing participants would prefer to have more rather than less information on foreign dialogue in multilingual films. The preferred strategies were “translation and explicit attribution” and “vehicular matching”. The study was carried out by Jagoda Żbikowska. For information on the results, please contact Jagoda Żbikowska or Agnieszka Szarkowska.