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Subtitling Humour from the Perspective of Relevance Theory: The Office in Traditional Chinese

Pai, Feng-shuo; (2017) Subtitling Humour from the Perspective of Relevance Theory: The Office in Traditional Chinese. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Subtitling the scenes containing humorous utterances in cinematic-televisual productions encounters a myriad of challenges, because the subtitler has to face the technical constraints that characterise the professional subtitling environment and the cultural barriers when reproducing humorous utterances for viewers inhabiting another culture. Past studies tend to explore more limited humour-related areas, which means that a more comprehensive picture of this specialised field is missing. The current research investigates the subtitling of humour, drawing on the framework of relevance theory and the British sitcom The Office, translated from English dialogue into Traditional Chinese subtitles. This research enquires into whether or not relevance theory can explain the subtitling strategies activated to deal with various humorous utterances in the sitcom, and, if so, to what extent. The English-Chinese Corpus of The Office (ECCO), which contains sample texts, media files and annotations, has been constructed to perform an empirical study. To enrich the corpus with valuable annotations, a typology of humour has been developed based on the concept of frame, and a taxonomy of subtitling strategies has also been proposed. The quantitative analysis demonstrates that the principle of relevance is the main benchmark for the choice of a subtitling micro-strategy within any given macro-strategy. With the chi-square test, it further proves the existence of a statistically significant association between humour types/frames and subtitling strategies at the global level. The qualitative analysis shows that the principle of relevance can operate in a subtle way, in which the subtitler invests more cognitive efforts to enhance the acceptability of subtitles. It also develops three levels of mutual dependency between the two variables, from strong, weak to null, to classify different examples. Overall, this study improves our understanding of humour translation and can facilitate a change in the curricula of translator training.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Subtitling Humour from the Perspective of Relevance Theory: The Office in Traditional Chinese
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: Audiovisual translation, subtitling strategies, humour, relevance theory, frame, chi-square test
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > CMII
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1560820
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