SARA RAMOS PINTO
LECTURE: MULTIMODAL FILM, MONOMODAL SUBTITLING. TRANSLATING THE VERBAL AND BEYOND
I am currently an Associate Professor in Translation Studies at the University of Leeds, where I assumed the role of Director of Translation Studies from 2014-17. Before my current appointment, I held the position of Marie Curie ITN Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Turku (Finland) as well as teaching positions at the University of Manchester (2009-2011) and at the University of Kent (2008-2009). I hold a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Lisbon (2010) but during my doctoral studies, I was a visiting fellow at the University College London (2006-2009).
My research has been focused on audiovisual translation as I am interested in investigating the translation of multimodal products. At the moment, I am particularly interested in examining the reception of subtitled products in order to better understand the impact of specific translation strategies in the audience interpretation and perception. Among my most recent publications, I have a number of journal articles (namely Target 32:1; The Translator 24:1; Anglosaxónica 3:3, Target 21:2), a special issue (Target 28:2) and an edited volume by John Benjamins on Audiovisual Translation: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges.
The appeal of audiovisual products comes greatly from the combination of visual, aural and oral resources; but professional subtitling remains focused on words, reducing nonverbal elements to a contextualising role. This assumes that nonverbal elements such as images or sounds are universal codes easily interpreted by viewers without further mediation and leaves viewers with glaring losses of meaning (Cavaliere 2008; Ortabasi 2001; Ramos Pinto 2016). The history of film translation (O’Sullivan and Cornu 2019) has shown us how verbal and non-verbal elements used to be equally considered by teams with translators and film professionals. This, however, has evolved into a complete divorce between the film and translation industries (Romero-Fresco 2019) and the reduction of subtitling to verbal transfer. In this presentation, I will contend that all resources co-occurring with speech are signs in their own right that might present different challenges to (different) viewers. This will be achieved on the basis of empirical data collected by a recent reception study (80 participants) focused on comparing the impact on viewers’ meaning-making of a) current subtitling practices focused on the verbal, and b) innovative subtitling procedures aiming at translating meaning expressed by nonverbal resources. The results collected through a triangulated methodology (eye-tracking, questionnaires and interviews) point towards the need for a fundamental shift in our understanding of nonverbal resources, reconsidering the impact of logocentric subtitling practices on the target product’s profile and reception.