From: Jan Pedersen <Jan.PedersenEnglish.su.se>
Subject: Scandinavian Subtitles: A comparative study of subtitling norms in Sweden and Denmark with a focus on Extralinguistic Cultural References
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Institution: Stockholm University
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Jan Pedersen
Dissertation Title: Scandinavian Subtitles: A comparative study of subtitling norms in Sweden and Denmark with a focus on Extralinguistic Cultural References
Dissertation URL: http://www.english.su.se/pub/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=4166&a=18731&xmlUrl=http%3A
Subject Language(s): Danish (dan)
Subtitling is the most commonly read medium of all in Scandinavia, and this
study contains a survey of audiovisual translation (AVT), which illustrates
the predominance of subtitling over other forms of AVT in Scandinavia.
Still, the medium has not been very well researched academically.
This study compares Danish and Swedish subtitles with the object of
uncovering Scandinavian norms for television subtitling. The corpus used
consists of 100 contemporary anglophone films and TV programmes and their
Swedish and Danish (+ some Norwegian) subtitles.
The study investigates technical norms of subtitling, such as exposure
times, expected reading speeds, condensation rates and subtitle density.
However, the study focuses on Extralinguistic Cultural References (ECRs).
Generally speaking, ECRs are references to places, people, institutions,
customs, food etc. that you may not know, even if you know the language in
question. Seven main strategies for rendering ECRs in subtitles are
identified: Retention, Specification, Direct Translation, Generalization,
Substitution, Omission and the use of an Official Equivalent. Factors that
influence which strategy is used, such as Transculturality and
Extratextuality, are also identified. The results for Denmark and Sweden
are compared, and norms are formulated and discussed in some detail.
The most important finding of this study is that Scandinavian subtitling
norms - both technical and those relating to the rendering of ECRs - are
converging or have converged. While previous research indicates that these
norms differed a great deal as recently as the late 1980s, it now makes
sense to talk about pan-Scandinavian norms, rather than national norms.
This development is linked to advances in subtitling technology and to
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