Audiovisual translation is a branch of translation studies concerned with the transfer of multimodal and multimedial texts into another language and/or culture. Audiovisual texts are multimodal inasmuch as their production and interpretation relies on the combined deployment of a wide range of semiotic resources or modes.
Major meaning-making modes in audiovisual texts include language, image, music, colour and perspective. Audiovisual texts are multimedial in so far as this panoly of semiotic modes is delivered to the viewer through various media in a synchronized manner, with the screen playing a coordinating role in the presentation process.
Since the 1970s, screen-based texts have become increasingly ubiquitous. Scholars have been quich to bring the investigation of new textual manifestations-ranging from software to videogames into the remit of audiovisual translation research, thus extending the boundaries of this area of study.
Considering that the mainstream forms of audiovisual translation – i.e. subtitling and dubbing – were born on the back of sound motion picture, it is only natural that terms ‘film dubbing’ and ‘film translation’ came to feature prominently in early scholarly work.
The subsequent emergence of television as a mass medium of communication and entertainment provided new avenues for the dissemination of translated audiovisual texts, with labels such as ‘film and TV translation’ and ‘media translation’ and ‘media translating’ gaining visibility in the literature.
The most recent developments relate to the exponential growth in the volume of audiovisual texts produced by and for electronic and digital media.
Terms like ‘screen translation’ and ‘multimedia translation’ issustrate the extent to which audiovisual translation has outgrown its core domain of enquiry and annexed neighbouring fields under an all-inclusive research agenda.
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