Parameters for the tertiary training of subtitlers in South Africa : integrating theory and practice
Kruger, Helena Catharina
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This study is aimed at integrating theory and practice in the training of subtitlers in South Africa. In spite of the apparent benefits of subtitling for South Africa (improved access to information for viewers with impaired hearing and non-first language speakers of English, raised literacy levels and the promotion of language acquisition), subtitling has not been implemented on a large scale. However, there does seem to be a higher incidence of subtitling on SABC television, albeit of an uneven quality. This study attempts to define the parameters for the training of subtitlers in order to provide in the demand for this type of language transfer. Although the demand is as yet non-existent, PANSALB recognises subtitling as a valid way of addressing a number of language-related problems. In anticipation of the large-scale implementation of subtitling, it is worth initiating training for subtitlers who will be able to supply in this demand in a professional way when it does occur. Subtitler training needs to be firmly rooted in the user needs of South African viewers. Chapter 1 provides an analysis of the needs of viewers with impaired hearing (including pre-lingual and post-lingual deafness), viewers with low literacy levels, as well as viewers who are non-first language speakers of English. The needs of these groups are defined in terms of reading rate, access to non-linguistic audio elements, language structures, phoneme-grapheme correlation, translation, and vocabulary. Chapter 2 investigates existing subtitler courses in other (predominantly developed) countries. Aspects that shape these courses include the national context of subtitling, training aims, academic level, duration, course content, subtitling software and equipment used, practicum, entry levels, candidates envisaged, and the (non) use of scripts. The courses range from vocational to academic-theoretical. Chapter 3 proposes an outline for a South African curriculum for the training of subtitlers by integrating the domestic user-based parameters (chapter 1) and the aspects that shape existing courses in other countries (chapter 2). The curriculum is defined in terms of outcomes that are broken down into knowledge and skills required for their attainment. Chapter 4 addresses a perceived lack in existing subtitling theory, namely the absence of a model for balancing equivalence and condensing. The chapter proposes a semiotic model for subtitling that is aimed at providing a framework for South African subtitlers, as well as contribute to the international debate on equivalence in subtitling.
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