A Study of Movie Subtitle Translation in Forrest Gump: A Relevance Theory Approach
|School||Central China Normal University|
|Course||Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics|
|Keywords||relevance theory subtitles subtitle translation Forrest Gump|
Since movie subtitle translation, as a relatively new and special translation mode, has become a more and more important and inseparable branch of translation, it is necessary to have a deeper and better understanding of subtitle translation not only in terms of translation theory and practice but also with the consideration into the cross-cultural communication through the translated subtitles. This paper sets out to be devoted to the analysis of the subtitle translation of English movie Forrest Gump into Chinese with relevance theory as the theoretical basis. Relevance theory has the emphasis on the importance of intention and inference in communicative activities, that is, the inference should be made about what the original speakers or writers is meant to convey to the listeners or readers. In this process, the original information must be explicit enough for the listeners or readers to easily infer the original meaning and intention with the least effort to spare. As for the subtitle translation, the subtitle translator is involved in this two-way inference and communication. On the one hand, the subtitle translator must understand the original intention and related information based on his or her agreement with the original writer;on the other hand, he or she must take into consideration the cognitive ability and expectations of the target language viewers. In the course of his or her inferring and conveying the related information, the subtitle translator combines the two sides, together with his or her own information and knowledge in his or her own cognitive context, trying to achieve the optimal relevance and produce the optimal contextual effects to make the original intention and meaning explicit enough for the target language viewers to understand with the least information-processing effort possible. Thus, the successful cross-cultural communication can be conducted through the subtitle translation.A tentative attempt has been made to discuss the movie subtitle translation from the perspective of relevance theory with the purpose of finding out whether subtitle translations of Forrest Gump into Chinese are consistent with relevance theory and whether the subtitles in this movie are successfully translated on the whole. Many translation theories of different schools and other theories related can be adapted to the analysis of the translation practice, nevertheless, relevance theory stands out to be the most appropriate one to explain the movie subtitle translation with its central claim thatthe expectations of relevance raised by an utterance are precise enough, to guide the hearer towards the speaker’s meaning. Relevance is to make the translated movie subtitles relevant enough to produce the optimal relevance and the optimal contextual effects from the original’s intention manifesting, the translator’s conveying and the viewers’ information-processing effort to achieve the best communicative effects.Relevance theory, subtitles, subtitle translation, and the correlation between relevance theory and subtitle translation are reviewed first, and then the focus is on the case study of the subtitle translation of Forrest Gump from the prospective of relevance theory. The translated Chinese subtitles have been transcribed and collected from the movie screen produced by an Internet work group. Of all the subtitles, 25 examples are taken for the analysis according to the time sequence and divided into the two parts, respectively successful and unsuccessful subtitle translations.It is found that the subtitle translation of Forrest Gump is consistent with relevance theory and is a success on the whole in that most of its translated Chinese subtitles have yielded adequate contextual effects to produce the optimal relevance at minimal processing efforts for the target language viewers to understand the original movie in this special inter-lingual communication through the subtitles.Suggestions are made that more future studies concerning the subtitle translation be done. It is hoped that the increasing attention and interest of translators and other researchers concerned will bring about more and more research in the movie subtitle translation. A deeper and fuller analysis of the subtitle translation is expected to be made to facilitate the cross-cultural communication.