[New publication] Reception Studies and Audiovisual Translation

Reception Studies and Audiovisual Translation

Edited by Elena Di Giovanni & Yves Gambier


The coming of age of audiovisual translation studies has brought about a much-needed surge of studies focusing on the audience, their comprehension, appreciation or rejection of what reaches them through the medium of translation. Although complex to perform, studies on the reception of translated audiovisual texts offer a uniquely thorough picture of the life and afterlife of these texts. This volume provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of reception studies related to audiovisual translation and accessibility, from a diachronic and synchronic perspective. Focusing on all audiovisual translation techniques and encompassing theoretical and methodological approaches from translation, media and film studies, it aims to become a reference for students and scholars across these fields.
[Benjamins Translation Library, 141]  Expected September 2018.  xii, 347 pp. + index

Publishing status: In production

Chapters and Abracts

Elena Di Giovanni and Yves Gambier
Media audiences and reception studies
Annette Hill | Media and Communication, Lund University, Sweden

Media audiences and reception studies is a shifting area of research in terms of theories and concepts, methodologies and methods. Audiences are on the move, and ways of understanding these transitions involves multi-faceted, pragmatic approaches to varieties of audience experiences in context, including contexts of distribution and media flows, genres and communicative form, and identities and everyday life. The range of methodologies and methods available to audience researchers are multi-form, mixing media, social and cultural theories, with flexible methods for capturing transforming audiences. Transnational audiences for global formats and local content signal an increasing range of audio-visual content available to consumers, fans and publics, including translations, subtitling and fan subbing of fiction and non-fiction television and social media. In relation to audience engagement with screen culture there is an increasing significance of distribution contexts, and the centrality of place and time, to research in transnational audiences. The case study of production and audience research of the Nordic noir television drama The Bridge highlights how engaging with multi-layered storytelling and reading subtitles makes for intensities of cognitive and emotional engagement with the drama, and suggests a sense of place and time is critical to understanding cultural engagement with transnational drama.

Keywords: transnational audiences, Media audiences, Nordic noir, television drama, cultural engagement
Film, cinema and reception studies: Revisiting research on audience’s filmic and cinematic experiences
Daniel Biltereyst | Ghent University, Belgium
Philippe Meers | University of Antwerp, Belgium

This chapter aims at introducing the reader into the field of film reception studies, more particular into the field which deals with audience’s contemporary and historical filmic and cinematic experiences. After providing an historical overview of this expanding field, the chapter goes into the various strands of cinema and film reception research. The contribution argues that in recent years, this field of research grew into an ever more mature, inter- and multidisciplinary domain, where perspectives are now utilized, which were often neglected within film studies so far, like ethnographic research, memory studies, social geography, urban studies, history, or the digital humanities. Much of this recent work is driven by the idea that a perspective on audience’s ‘bottom up’ experiences of films and cinema, leads to a more profound understanding and eventually to a revision of theories, concepts, and the history of film and cinema. This chapter is to be seen as part of the scholarly endeavour, often called ‘new cinema history’, which aims at rewriting film’s and cinema’s past precisely by integrating audiences’ experiences.

Keywords: cinematic experiences, filmic experiences, Film audiences, film history, new cinema history
Translation studies, audiovisual translation and reception
Yves Gambier | University of Turku, Finland/Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia

Reception of translated texts has thus far received relatively scant, uneven attention in Translation Studies (TS), even though reception studies theories have been applied in the last decades, first to literary translation and then touching upon other areas and text types. This chapter reports on the development of reception studies within TS, focusing on some of the most significant theoretical frameworks and methodologies proposed. It then moves on to audiovisual translation (AVT) in particular, exploring the very concepts of audience and reception. Adjacent concepts are also discussed, all having a bearing on the approach and the methodology, and all chosen for the investigation of reception. Last but not least, the chapter discusses the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinarity which has brought, is bringing, and may continue to bring advances to the study of the reception of AV texts in translation.

Keywords: reading, viewer, reader, hermeneutics, reader-response criticism, audiovisual complexity, reception, audience, accessibility
Multi-method research: Reception in context
Tiina Tuominen | University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

This chapter discusses research approaches that investigate reception in its context, both the audiovisual context in which the translation appears and the social context in which it is being viewed. The studies introduced in this chapter include thematic studies which focus on examining the viewers’ interpretations of a specific aspect of the translated programme, as well as wide-ranging studies which explore viewers’ attitudes and expectations towards audiovisual translations. The methods introduced in the chapter include questionnaires with qualitative and quantitative approaches, interviews, focus group research, observation, and some novel research approaches arising from the model of user-centered translation and the concepts of usability and user experience. Finally, the chapter argues for the benefits of large-scale, collective research approaches and replication of research designs in a variety of contexts.

Keywords: Context, interview, questionnaire, user-centered translation, focus group
Triangulation of online and offline measures of processing and reception in AVT
Jan-Louis Kruger | Macquarie University, Australia/North-West University, South Africa

This chapter reviews methodologies for investigating the cognitive processing of audiovisual translation products using the triangulation of physiological, psychometric and performance measures. It also provides an analysis of the strengths and limitations of these measures to offer a synthesis of what has been achieved in this field and what remains to be developed. Such triangulation faces many challenges and rewards related to conducting interdisciplinary research that combines tightly-controlled experimental research with real-world, ecologically valid studies. Hence, the discussion emphasises the importance of both borrowing methods from other disciplines, and employing them effectively to add value to the study of film. We call for increased quality and integrity in AVT research to resolve questions on the cognitive processing and reception of AVT products.

Keywords: AVT, triangulation, eye tracking, post-hoc measures, EEG
Discourse analysis, pragmatics, multimodal analysis
Roberto A. Valdeón | Universidad de Oviedo, Spain/University of the Free State, South Africa

This chapter explores three approaches to AVT rooted in the linguistic tradition, but which can prove valuable in the study of the texts and of their reception, namely pragmatic, discourse and multimodal approaches. The first section discusses discourse analysis, and more specifically features of informal dialogue and their translation into other languages, as well as the use of corpus-based methodologies. The second section presents AVT research based on Grice, Searle, and Sperber and Wilson, with particular reference to the creation of humour. Finally, the section devoted to multimodality considers the various layers that contribute to defining the audiovisual text as multimodal, and how these can affect the audience. It posits that reception research will need to draw on the work of communication scholars such as Kress and van Leeuwen. The concluding section summarizes some of the methodological approaches that have been used in AVT, and also suggests that, apart from television and films, reception studies should also consider other genres, such as opera performances, tourist leaflets and news texts.

Keywords: multimodality, pragmatics, corpora, discourse analysis, colloquial language, multilingualism, extralinguistic features, humour
Historical approaches to AVT reception: Methods, issues and perspectives
Serenella Zanotti | Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy

Drawing on insights from historical film audience studies, this chapter aims to explore the role AVT has had in shaping the viewing experience of film audiences in the past, as well as the methods available to researchers for investigating AVT reception in a historical perspective. The chapter is organized into three main sections. Part 1 provides an overview of the range of studies on historical reception and AVT. It is argued that, although there has been wide and growing interest in the lived experiences of film audiences, little attention has been paid to translation and its implication for the reception of films and television products. In Part 2, selected studies conducted by film and AVT scholars are reported to explore how the issue of translation has affected the reception of films as well as the movie-going experience in different cultural contexts and in reference to different translation modes. Part 3 deals with theories, methods and research practices, looking at the vast array of empirical methods that have been employed in historical reception studies. Research methods based on classical sources such as press reviews, interviews, and articles are here illustrated, highlighting their potential and limitations compared to other methodologies. Studies dealing with different research approaches are reported to show how existing methods can be used in historical research and to consider whether new approaches can be devised.

Keywords: historical reception, dubbing, film audiences, live interpreting, subtitling
Dubbing, perception and reception
Elena Di Giovanni | University of Macerata, Italy

Dubbing is one of the oldest, most commonly employed and best known audiovisual translation techniques, yet still relatively underresearched, at least from the point of view of its reception by audiences across the world. This chapter offers an overview of approaches, tools and methods which can be used for reception-centred dubbing research, by drawing from the literature on media and reception studies. Subsequently, it provides an overview of studies on the perception and/or reception of dubbed films and television products as carried out and published by scholars within and outside audiovisual translation studies, in Europe and beyond. In its final sections, the chapter offers a critical reading of the studies previously reviewed, in view of fostering further research along these lines and encouraging audience understanding, involvement and empowerment.

Keywords: reception, dubbing, audiences, perception, cross-disciplinary research
Reception studies in audiovisual translation – interlingual subtitling

Kristijan Nikolić | University College London, U.K.

Interlingual subtitling is the principal way of translating audiovisual content in many countries. It has been descriptively studied by scholars in numerous books and articles. However, studies attempting to tackle this phenomenon empirically, such as reception studies, have been scarce until recently, and only over the last couple of years have such studies become more common. The reason for the relative scarcity of empirical research in interlingual subtitling is its complexity. Finding the right subjects, using the adequate technology and obtaining funding may be a complicated and lengthy process. For instance, eye tracking technology started to be used only recently in studies that offered scholars concrete findings about viewers’ reception. But is eye tracking the only valid research method? This chapter follows the developments in empirical research into interlingual subtitling, introducing the findings of such research and suggesting future directions.
Keywords: eye tracking, empirical research, interlingual subtitling, language learning, viewers
Reception studies in live and pre-recorded subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Pablo Romero-Fresco | University of Reohampton, U.K.

This chapter aims to provide an overview of reception research in the field of subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH). Given that the development of reception research in this area is closely linked to the development of SDH as a professional practice and academic field of study, a historical approach has been adopted here. It starts from the origins of pre-recorded and live SDH in the US and Europe and continues with the first and often overlooked classroom-based experiments and large-scale user surveys that substantiated the introduction of TV subtitles in the 1970s and 1980s. The focus is then turned to the more specific parameters studied in the 1990s, followed by the first eye-tracking studies and the development of SDH as a field of study in Europe in the 2000s and, finally, the internationalisation and specialisation of the recent experimental (re)turn experienced by reception studies in SDH. The chapter concludes with a section on the scarce reception research conducted to date in the area of live SDH and with some final thoughts on the features, challenges and requirements of experimental research in this area.

Keywords: pre-recorded SDH, live subtitling, viewing speed, subtitling parameters, caption, attention
Audio description and reception-centred research
Elena Di Giovanni | University of Macerata, Italy

This chapter focuses on audio description research from a reception studies perspective. Since its inception into audiovisual translation studies slightly over ten years ago, research on audio description has grown exponentially and, unlike other audiovisual translation techniques and the related research, it has very often placed the needs, priorities and preferences of the end users at its core. After reviewing the tools and methodologies so far employed in reception-centred audio description research, by highlighting their shortcomings and merits, the chapter moves on to identify four major strands in this area. Several experiments and publications are then discussed with reference to each research strand, focusing on their replicability but also reflecting on the role (and dangers) of interdisciplinarity in such an ever-growing field of study.

Keywords: audio description, end users, reception, blindness, interdisciplinarity
Media interpreting: From user expectations to audience comprehension

Franz Pöchhacker | KU Leuven, Belgium

This chapter offers a thorough conceptual analysis of media interpreting as a form of audiovisual translation, with special reference to interpreting performed for broadcast mass media programs, especially on television. Based on criteria such as interpreting modes, language modality and communicative scenarios, a fourfold (proto) typology of media interpreting is proposed as a framework for the presentation of reception-oriented studies. Following a review of the evolution of reception-oriented research on media interpreting, with special attention to methodological approaches, two main lines of work are identified: research on media users’ expectations and assessment of interpreted audiovisual content, and studies on media accessibility for deaf viewers through signed language interpreting. Relevant research designs are exemplified in an effort to highlight promising avenues for future studies.

Keywords: interpreting mode, TV interpreting, accessibility, user expectations, conference interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, signed language interpreting
Reception studies in game localisation: Taking stock

Carme Mangiron l Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

This chapter aims at providing an overview of the existing reception studies in the area of game localisation. After briefly describing the main characteristics of game localisation and its focus on users and their player experience (PX), the paper discusses the small number of reception studies in game localisation that have been carried out to date within the framework of Translation Studies, discussing their research objectives, methods and tools. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for further reception studies in the area of game localisation and presenting future paths for research in this area.

Keywords: reception studies, game localisation, quality in game localisation, player experience, user-centered translation
On the reception of mobile content: New challenges in audiovisual translation research

Alberto Fernández-Costales l University of Oviedo, Spain

The reception of translated audiovisual contents in mobile devices has been largely ignored in Translation Studies. The current chapter is intended to identify key areas and challenges for research in Audiovisual Translation, so we can have a better understanding of how mobile contents are received and appreciated by users. Research in this field is modulated by the hybridity of audiovisual texts in mobile phones, since this type of text is multimodal, multichannel, and multiplatform. A second challenge is the potential target of mobile contents: the notion of audience(s) needs to be revisited in the new scenario, where ubiquity, immediacy, and global access to digital contents have sparked the diversification of users’ profiles. The spotlight of this chapter is on research opportunities within the reception of mobile contents; the complexity of investigating new types of global audiences clearly demands interdisciplinary approaches and research designs.

Keywords: audiovisual translation, reception, mobile contents, users, audience
New audiences, international distribution, and translation

David Orrego-Carmona l Aston University

The interconnectivity made possible by the technological advancements of the past three decades has changed the way how audiences engaged with audiovisual content around the world. On the one hand, viewers have become empowered consumers who are also engaged in the distribution of content; on the other, companies serving global audiences have emerged as key players in the audiovisual market. With more access to content, through piracy or official channels, new consumption habits, such as binge watching, have become common among viewers. Non-professional subtitling has played a key role in the expansion of the audiovisual market, the configuration of international audiences and the development of new viewing traditions. By looking at non-professional subtitling as a constituent of the international media flows, this chapter proposes Translation Studies should look at the reception of non-professional subtitles at a global scale to understand the interplay between non-professional subtitling, its producers/users and the audiovisual market, as well as the social impact of the phenomenon.

Keywords: piracy, binge watching, non-professional subtitling, convergence, reception