Audiovisual translation, also known as multimedia translation, is a specialized branch of translation which deals with the transfer of multimedia texts into another language and/or another culture, and which involves the use of an electronic multimedia system in translation or in the transmission process.
It is the adaptation of an audiovisual work through dubbing or subtitling, whether it is a television series, a short or a full-length feature, documentary, etc… As the result of an original piece of writing, the audiovisual adaptation is similar to the so-called literary translation.
Multimedia translation may apply to various areas, including film, television, theater, advertising, the audiovisual sector as well as mobile communication devices. A text intended to the audiovisual sector can thus be described as multimedia when it is produced and interpreted through a range of resources such as the language, the image, the music, the color and the perspective, these latter being gathered within different media, and the major role being for its part, assigned to the screen.
There are different modes of audiovisual translation. One of the most studied being subtitling, or linguistic practice which shows a written text on a screen through which one gets « a target language as the version of the root speech ».
Voice-over, for its part, implies for example (but not always) the simultaneous broadcast of the original soundtrack and the translation. At the beginning, only the original can be heard, but the volume is reduced as the translated version becomes more audible and up to the end. This multimedia translation mode gives a realistic effect, it is generally used in documentaries or interviews. It is regarded as a cheap alternative to « dubbing », which involves lip synchronization and sometimes the participation of professional actors and actresses.
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