Trying to do a research on C-drama subtitle translation.

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MovieMonster
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 3rd, '20, 01:23

Trying to do a research on C-drama subtitle translation.

Post by MovieMonster » Dec 3rd, '20, 01:30

To find out the problems in C-drama subtitle translation and to produce better subtitles, our group is now trying to do a research on translation quality. Since we need native speakers' evaluation so much, if you find the questionnaire meaningful, we hope you could share the link to your friends who are also interested in C-drama. Thanks a million!

Here is the link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/852VKRH

MovieMonster
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 3rd, '20, 01:23

Re: Trying to do a research on C-drama subtitle translation.

Post by MovieMonster » Dec 5th, '20, 01:41

just desire for more responses

Nudafu
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 21st, '21, 09:57
Australia

Re: Trying to do a research on C-drama subtitle translation.

Post by Nudafu » Jul 22nd, '21, 06:38

Without the survey, I can suggest the challenges to C-drama subtitle translating. Let's split this to modern and historical dramas. I won't comment on modern dramas because I don't subtitle modern C-dramas. Nor do I ever intend to. Simply not an interest of mine.

As to historical C-dramas, the existing non-professional software for translating Classical Chinese (the form of Chinese that historical C-dramas try and abide by) is still a long way from being usable for translating without heavy editing. Solution: if your group doesn't already use it, get Pleco. It's a free app. But you'll need to pay for downloading the Classical Chinese dictionaries. I don't solely rely on it but I know it is favoured by even professional translators.

Court dramas like The Rise of Pheonixes/Tian Sheng Chang Ge will be particularly challenging because it's not merely the language, it's the prose-like quality of the wording. Translating prose and poetry is going to be challenging in any language for obvious reasons. Solution: a tad difficult. Ideally, the group finds a translator who grasps Chinese and English prose. And have the ability to adapt English prose to plain English. There are more people who get plain English compared to English poetry. Best to write for what is clearly and easily understood by the audience.

Fantasy wuxia has it's problems due to terms and ideas referencing Daoist, Buddhist, and Classical literature e.g. Mountain and Seas Classic/Shan Hai Jing. Solution: this is surprisingly easy. A lot of explanations for the terms and ideas can be found on Baidu. It will be an advantage if your translator is familiar with philosophical concepts - it makes understanding Daoist and Buddhist content easier, which makes the translation workflow ideally quicker.

Then there are characters of status referring to themselves and being referred to in the 3rd person. While I see borrowing from English peerage titles, I've never seen anything that quite grasps the unique way it is meant to be used in historical Chinese etiquette. Does this matter? I think it does because how a character is referenced may change the way we perceive them and their relationship to the story. Solution: admittedly, I don't believe I could do better than what has already been used. An emperor announcing: "The One Alone sees fit to execute this criminal", just sounds plain weird to me in English. I will chalk this down to organic differences between Chinese and English that loses things in translation.

An overall factor affecting translating quality is the quality of the English. Audiences don't judge translating quality; if they could, they wouldn't need translating in the first place. What is judged is the experience of reading the subtitle. And this relies on how well the English is written. Solution: simply edit the English. If one of the marks of a professional translator - assuming the output language is English - is the ability to produce well written English, there is your answer to high quality translations.

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