Any ideas about film translation thesis topics?
Thread poster: translstudent

Local time: 05:29
Feb 25

[Edited at 2018-02-26 08:11 GMT]


I'm an undergradute student, pursuing academic education in the field of Translation Studies. I'm interesed in film translation as a form of audiovisual translation and I'm thinking translating a film for my thesis. However it is almost impossible for me to find a film whose original dialogues have never been translated into my A language. It is like almost all films have been translated by either commercial or non-commercial translators. That is the first part of my problem so far: finding a movie whose original dialogues have not been translated into my A language.
The second problem I'm having with my thesis is that I do not know which film I will be or should be translating. I am aiming for films which are rich in culturally-bound expressions and idioms so that that film could provide me with sound material to further examine and criticize in later parts of my thesis. But I do not know which movie suits these requirements. Do you know any film whose language is English and contains a great deal of culturally-bound expressions and idioms? If you do, could you please suggest a few? What kind of approach should I be following in my thesis? Translating a film which has not been translated yet or which has an existing translation in the market? What kind of a film should I choose and what are the names of those films? Thank you in advance.

[Edited at 2018-02-26 08:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-02-26 08:15 GMT]

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:29
German to English
Woody Allen films Feb 25

I don't know whether the dialog of his films has been translated into your native language, but many of films written/directed by and starring Woody Allen might be suitable. The films are full of references to American popular culture. The "mockumentaries" of Christopher Guest are likewise largely culture-bound; for example his "Waiting for Guffman" is probably almost unintelligible to someone who hasn't spent time in the United States, or at least familiar with American culture.

I don't know whether this will help or not.

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jbjb  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
limit Feb 26

I think maybe you are limiting yourself too much (depending on your language).
If you really want to find an untranslated film, you have to ignore
- anything that has been shown in theatres
- anything that has been released on DVD/video
- anything that has been shown on local television
Basically you might be left with some obscure American Playhouse productions.
It's almost like trying to write a thesis about defining a word that has never been included in any dictionaries.

Remember that films are not like fiction where you would have a single approved translation.
Most films are translated a number of times, some a dozen of times. Quite often the theatrical and DVD translation are different and every time it is shown by various TV stations, it can get a new translation in each TV station.
The translations are lost, as the licenses for showing the films expire, and with most titles nobody is keeping track that it has been translated before.

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Daniel Frisano
Local time: 04:29
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
World English Feb 26

How about something from South Africa?

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Local time: 04:29
English to French
Do as I did Feb 27

Why not translate any movie by yourself, then compare with other translations? I did that for my specialized DESS (PGD) and it's really fruitful and relevant to our field. My piece was about translating insults in films and series, which is almost always a cultural challenge. Anyway, I don't think you will find anything of interest that's not been translated previously nowadays.

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Oh well
United Kingdom
English to French
When in doubt... Chekhov! Mar 10

Sounds like an interesting idea for a thesis. I've always thought that translations of works by Chekhov were particularly interesting to study as a lot of translators - in English and French anyway - have applied their own idea of what Chekhov was "trying to achieve" in their translations, which caused a lot of the beauty of his work to get lost in those versions. It could be interesting to study an adaption of one of his works... All the best with your project!

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