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Afterthoughts On “For An Abusive Subtitling”
January 29, 2016 12:00 am - 1:30 am
Location: Lathrop Library, Room 224, 518 Memorial Way
Free and open to the public.
In 1999 I published “For an Abusive Subtitling,” which was reprinted in the Routledge Translation Studies Reader and became the subject of much debate over the years. The essay uncovered the invention of and historical transformations in subtitling practice in the 20th century. It demonstrated how the market pressures of capitalism “corrupt” the translation process, leading to subtitles that focus on superficial denotative meaning while downplaying cultural, gendered, linguistic and other differences. This “corrupt” approach has been enforced by a complex set of naturalized rules that translators accept without question. The essay ended by theorizing and advocating for an “abusive” approach inspired by emergent subtitling approaches, such as those of anime fansubbers. This paper revisits this often-misunderstood essay. It rejects key planks in the original argument, as well as the rhetorical violence of the essay for the new terms “sensible” and “sensuous” subtitling. Engaging critiques of “For an Abusive Subtitling,” I clarify and refine a number of the original positions while opening up new theoretical perspectives on the practice—particularly significant differences to literary translation and a new ontology of the subtitle.
Link to original “For an Abusive Subtitling” essay: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/90898