Audiovisual translation in South Asia: text, image and sound on the move

Location 25H92
Date and Start Time 23 July, 2014 at 14:00


Hephzibah Israel (University of Edinburgh) email
Matthias Frenz (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) email
Smita Banerjee (Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

The panel explores translations of literary, religious, filmic representations to understand how new technologies of translation increasingly involve audiovisual materials. Papers welcome on contemporary shifts in translation and technology regenerating South Asian texts for a global marketplace.

Long Abstract

This panel proposes to explore the recent history of rich translation in South Asia across several linguistic boundaries impacted by new technologies of communication. The rising use of bilingual communication and audio-visual translation have influenced the status and circulation of South Asian representations and offer new sites for the production and consumption of literary, film and religious communication. Despite the current technological boom in South Asia, its impact on forms of cultural representations has not had systematic attention and deserves to be reviewed critically. The panel invites papers that explore translations across literary, religious and filmic representations to understand how new technologies have enabled translation to go beyond the linguistic and textual and increasingly use audio-visual materials. More specifically, the panel will investigate the implications technology shifts have on the quality of translation and analyze the dimensions of communication opened by these shifts. Impeding or limiting factors of new technical means with regard to the translation process will equally be discussed.

Ideally the panel would be divided into 3 sessions each focusing on one type of representation involving any form of audio-visual translation:

Session 1: Literatures in Translation

Session 2: Religious messages in Translation

Session 3: South Asian film in translation: including dubbing and subtitling practices

The conveners invite papers on any aspect of contemporary shifts in translation and technology to examine the manner technologies of audio-visual translation continue to re-generate South Asian representations in and for the global marketplace.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Introduction to audiovisual translation in India

Authors: Hephzibah Israel (University of Edinburgh)  email
Smita Banerjee (Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University)  email
Matthias Frenz (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)  email

Short Abstract

A brief introduction to current audiovisual translation practices and state of the industry will be presented jointly by the conveners of this panel, with a view to stimulating research interest in this new area.

Long Abstract

Presented jointly by the conveners of this panel, this session will be a brief introduction to current audiovisual translation practices in India. The session will begin with the main themes and issues of the field of audiovisual translation in relation to India. It will then address dominant subtitling and dubbing practices in the Indian film and television industries and their use on literary and sacred internet sites. Some broad research avenues and questions to investigate in the future will be set out towards the end. This session is envisaged as a broad introduction to a new field of research in the South Asian context that it hopes to initiate.

Linguo-cultural aspects of translating cinema and video production of South Asia for the Russian market

Authors: Indira Gazieva (Russian State University for the Humanities)  email
Irina Maksimenko (”Voice of Russia” (Russian International Broadcasting Company))  email

Short Abstract

Russian television actively purchases art soap opera and films produced in South Asia (India and Pakistan) which are mostly being presented to the wide audience into prime time. We explore lingvo-cultural aspects of their translation from Hindi and Urdu into Russian.

Long Abstract

The work introduces a number of linguo-cultural and didactical aspects of translating cinema and video products as specific type of translation practice. Cinema becomes the dominating source of information about cultural and social aspects of various ethnic communities, in other words it takes the role that literature had performed historically. The realities of today's world (globalization, cultural integration, onrush of IT technologies in mass media) allot new tasks for translators. One of the tasks is studying various types of audiovisual translation, including cinema-video translation.

The objectives of the present work are the following:

1. Understanding historical determination of cinema video translation.

2. Analysis of special linguo-cultural aspects of cinema-video translation.

3. Reviewing specifics of subtitles as forms of translating words, interviews, animated cartoons, theatre pieces.

Considering nation-specific practices of translating cinema and video-production in South Asian the work analyzes each method of translation independently as well as combined with the other types of translation. Tactics and strategies of translating cinema and video films in an optimum manner are also suggested. In the course of discursive analysis we take into account not only lexical and sentence analysis of the text structure but its pragmatic aspects as well.

The corpus studies are drawn from original dialogues chosen from Indian and Pakistani TV films of different genres (feature films, TV series and animated cartoons) and translations of those into Russian. The material of the study is in Hindi, Urdu and Russian.

Audio-visual translation and film studies in India: issues in pedagogy

Author: Smita Banerjee (Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University)  email

Short Abstract

The paper aims to explore the contemporary disciplinary domains of audio-visual translation and Film studies in the Indian University system to understand the possibilities of integrating the study of film and audio-visual translation.

Long Abstract

The paper aims to explore the contemporary disciplinary domain of audio-visual translation and Film studies in India.The emerging media landscape has necessitated the rise of many academic and technical programs in film and related media. Focusing on the syllabus of Delhi University's courses on Translation and Literary adaptation and Jawahalal Nehru University's Cinema Studies program,the paper will examine how the courses are still framed within discrete disciplinary boundaries.The tentative explorations of interconnections within Translation Studies and Film studies that have appeared in other contexts(Bartrine 2004) do not seem to operate in the Indian context.The questions that I ask are the following: What could be the possible reasons for the lack of integrating the disciplinary domains? How can a teacher of literature who is also a cinema studies researcher combine the two/ Can she be the 'intermediality', the contact zone(Littau 2013).How can pedagogy participate more meaningfully in the flow of film and translation practices and aid the students to become stakeholders in the new media landscape? These are some questions that the paper will examine to suggest some possible directions that teaching of film and translation is taking in the Indian context.

Translating the ineffable: communicating religion in textual and audio-visual media

Author: Matthias Frenz (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)  email

Short Abstract

Christian missions to South Asia have taken several approaches to translate religious ideas that are difficult to express in words. Compared to traditional media, new audio-visual media offer broader channels of communication. The paper will explore the implications of this technological shift.

Long Abstract

Although most religious traditions use language to express and transmit religious concepts and experiences, the inadequacy of words is often a matter of debate. If the approximative value of verbal representation is already problematised within a single religious tradition, the translation of religious concepts and experiences across linguistic and/or religious boundaries appears even more difficult. This paper will investigate various approaches to the 'translation of the inexpressible' taken in the history of Christian missions to South Asia, and explore the potential of increasingly popular audio-visual media technologies. Apart from the interplay of sound and images in filmic representations, virtual environments in the internet will be of particular interest.

Conversion videos on the web: South Asian accounts made global

Author: Hephzibah Israel (University of Edinburgh)  email

Short Abstract

The paper examines the semiotic complexity of audiovisual productions of conversion testimony videos that are available on the internet: the type of audiovisual translation, the extent to which nonverbal signs accompanying translated speech convey the sacred and the response from viewer comments.

Long Abstract

The contents of South Asian audiovisual religious materials now available globally extend much beyond that of written or spoken languages. They increasingly include sounds effects, images, colour and perspective along with language to produce sacred effect on consumers. This paper seeks to explore the role of translation in such multimodal forms of communication and the effect of multimodal texts in new forms of global media on consumers of the sacred. I will examine the plethora of short recordings of conversion 'testimonies' given by South Asian converts to Christianity uploaded either on church websites or on Youtube. Audiovisual translation of these testimonies, given to attract viewers to Christianity, entails either subtitling or consecutive interpretation of the conversion testimony often undertaken by non-professional interpreters. I investigate the semiotic complexity of audiovisual production of such conversion testimonies that are available on the internet: the type of audiovisual translation undertaken, the extent to which nonverbal signs accompanying translated speech convey the sacred and the available response from viewer comments. I focus on two videos in particular that involve the conversion of Hindu sadhus to Christianity. I argue that this category of converts deploy a combination of dislocated verbal and nonverbal signs to indicate the transference of religious affiliation and that it is important to take into account this interaction between text, image and sound to fully analyse how these audiovisual texts function in the global conversion context.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.