An introduction to doing Audiovisual Translation history

Lecture presented by the Laboratorio Permanente in Media and Humour Studies

  • Data: 30 novembre 2023 dalle 11:00 alle 12:30

  • Luogo: AULA 15 - Teaching Hub, Campus di Forlì, Viale Corridoni 20, Forlì

An introduction to doing Audiovisual Translation History

Dr Carol O'Sullivan, University of Bristol

The field of audiovisual translation studies has grown massively over the past 25 years, to the point where it is one of the most vibrant areas of research in Translation Studies. It has, however, generally been presented as a new and exciting field of research rather than one which has its own historical tradition. This talk outlines some key moments in the history of AVT and discusses the challenges of research. I look at at the kind of materials available for the AVT historian, from newspaper databases to document archives, film archives, old film copies on film, VHS, laserdisc and DVD, human informants and Youtube videos.  

Some of these resources are easier to access than others. A major problem with AVT history is the poor visibility, or indeed invisibility, of the translators and other agents involved. I draw on my own ongoing project on the history of subtitling in the English-speaking world to show how this invisibility may be addressed. The paper draws on writing by and interviews with some of the key figures in UK and US subtitling history, including Mai Harris, Josephine Harvey, Charles Clement, Herman Weinberg and Julia Wolf to show how understanding the past of audiovisual translation can help to illuminate its present. I draw on a recent project on the translation and distribution of Chinese film in the UK to show how the narratives of how widely disparate materials can come together to shape a historical narrative, and how this might point the way to future research.