Presentation on theme: "Characterisation in The Wire’s subtitles: ‘the game done changed’"— Presentation transcript:
1 Characterisation in The Wire’s subtitles: ‘the game done changed’ Dr. Jane LugeaUniversity of HuddersfieldCharacterisation in The Wire’s subtitles: ‘the game done changed’
2 Aimsto introduce you to our research on the effect of omissions in subtitles on the characterisation process in The Wireto begin with, I will describe:The Wiresubtitling practicecharacterisationsome preliminary findings on the first episode of The Wirethen together, we will analyse the changes between the audio dialogue and the English subtitles of a single scene…to identify:subtitling strategiesthe loss of characterisation cues;the possible effects on our understanding of character and the drama
3 The Wire‘it’s all in the game’: parallels between drug-world, police, political and school systems.‘chain of command’.power of institutions over individuals.‘listen carefully’ to Baltimorese.
4 Subtitling spatial, temporal & financial constraints omissions are necessarylack of trainingEnglish subtitles used by:non-native English speakersspeakers of English unfamiliar with Baltimorese/AAVE (e.g. Toolan 2011)
5 SubtitlingPrevious research has found that language that contributes towards interpersonal meaning is most often cut……while elements that contribute towards ideational meaning are most often preserved…3 kinds of meaning aka ‘metafunctions’ (Halliday 1976):ideational (propositional content)interpersonal (personal stance and relationships)textual (linking)these 3 kinds of meaning work in tandem and are not always extricable from one another!
6 Gathering DataIsolated the subtitles in a text file from the DVD using SubRipWatched the episode, noting the subtitling strategy used:addition, condensation or deletion (Gottlieb 1992)swap, orthography (my labels)Marked-up the 883 subtitles from episode 1:using underline for additionsusing square brackets for deletionsLabeled each change according to:speaker, metafunction, dialect, word class, illocutionary effect, surge feature, characterisation cues (Culpeper 2001)
7 Culpeper’s (2001) Model of Characterisation derived from research in social and cognitive psychology, stylistics and pragmatics.accounts for the process of creating character in the minds of readers, not the result.considers the blend of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ processes:top-down: the schematic knowledge frames that readers bring to a text based on their experience.bottom-up: the cues provided in the language that contribute to our understanding of character.
8 Characterisation: Top-down Processes Schema: “a structured cluster of concepts” used to organise information in discourse processing.“People frequently perceive others as members of social groups rather than as individuals. These groups are assumed to provide the basis for cognitive categories. Such categories are viewed as having prototype-like structures…” (Culpeper 2001: 75)personal categories (preferences, habits)social roles (kinship functions, occupation)group membership (class, race, religion, nationality etc.)Our impression of a character can be:category-based impression, the activation of cognitively-stored schemata to form an impression of a person (i.e. more top-down processes involved)person-based impression, formed by perceiving that person as they are described and inferred in the text (i.e. more bottom-up processes involved).
9 The blend of top-down and bottom-up processes I would argue that first impressions of characters are guided by the implicit models offered by social schemata. Such schemata, once activated, offer a scaffolding for incoming character information. Moreover, they allow us to make further knowledge-based inferences and thereby flesh out our impressions of character.(Culpeper 2001: 86-7)
10 Characterisation in Drama “…it is in drama that characters are particularly salient. Unlike typical prose fiction, in drama there is usually no narrator who intervenes and guides our perception of a character: we are exposed in a direct way to their words and actions...”(Culpeper 2001: 2)-> this is the same for television drama.
11 Textual Cues to Character in Drama Cues from CharactersAuthorial CuesStage directionsCharacter namesExplicit CuesSelf-presentationOther-presentationImplicit CuesConversational implicature(Im)politenessLexis (e.g. register, social markers)Syntactic featuresAccent & dialectVisual featuresContext
12 Research Question:Q. Do the changes made to subtitles effect the characterisation process?
13 Research Question:Q. Do the changes made to subtitles effect the characterisation process? Lets look at the spreadsheet on your handout…
15 Preliminary findings: Subtitling Strategies Change StrategyFrequency in episode 1%orthographyThat's the price that you were going to [gonna] quote me?21.1swapI ain't going to [in] no court.10.5additionYou're up in New York on this?52.8condensationDetectives McNulty and Santangelo aregoing [back down] to the hall to116.1deletionThen you don't do it at all.[-What the f-]16089.4TOTAL CHANGES179 in 883 subs:20.3%
16 Preliminary findings: What is being cut in general? whole sentences:[I didn’t mean to cross you-]-I work for Stringer. [I work with Stringer, okay?]whole turns: [Stop playing. I’m telling you, man]discourse markers: yo, you know, all right, well, nowvocatives: boss, Detective, Stringer, man, motherfuckerinterjections/surge features: Oh, um, shitspatial adverbs: round the way, back down, aroundrepeated elements, e.g.:imperatives: Get down! [get down!], Hold up [hold up].parallel structures: This'll teach you to give a fuckwhen it ain't your turn [to give a fuck].
17 Coherence: Parallelism & Discourse Markers 286 00:18:36,516 --> 00:18:39,849This'll teach you to give a fuckwhen it ain't your turn [to give a fuck].[See]
18 Analysisthe results of our analyses are being published (McIntyre and Lugea, 2014; McIntyre and Walker, forthcoming; Lugea forthcoming)let’s have a bash at an analysis and see what you think the answer to the research question is…Q. Do the changes made to subtitles effect the characterisation process?
19 Analysis: Group task What is your schematic knowledge for US cops? watch scene 5 from Series 1, episode 1the changes are identified for you on the handoutcategorise the changes in terms of:the kind of meaning that has been affected (interpersonal, ideational or textual)implicit characterisation cuesthink of the effect on our impression of character
20 Conclusionsas previous research has shown, interpersonal meaning is often reduced while ideational meaning is preserved;many characterisation cues are also cut: discourse markers, interjections, non-standard syntax, dialect etcdespite attention to cohesion at the micro-level, textual meaning on macro level is neglected;the characters that are so central to The Wire are less nuanced in the English subtitles.
21 Future avenues for research: Quantitative analysis of omissions in subtitling (Lugea, forthcoming)Gather eye-tracking data to assess real viewers’ behaviourTranslated subtitles
22 ReferencesCulpeper, J. (2001) Language and Characterisation: People in Plays and Other Texts. London: Longman.Gottlieb, H. (1992) ‘Subtitling. A new University Discipline.’ In Dollerup & Loddegaard (eds.), Teaching Translation and Interpreting: Training, Talent and Experience, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, ppHalliday, M.A.K. (1976). Halliday: System and function in language. (G. Kress, Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Lugea (forthcoming) ‘The statistics and socio-stylistics of The Wire’s English subtitles’.McIntyre, Dan and Brian Walker (forthcoming) ‘Missed cues: subtitles and characterisation in TV drama.’McIntyre, Dan and Jane Lugea (2014) ‘The effects of deaf and hard-of-hearing subtitles on the characterisation process: a cognitive stylistic study of The Wire.’ Perspectives: Studies in Translatology.Toolan, Michael (2011) ‘"I don't know what they're saying half the time, but I'm hooked on the series": Incomprehensible dialogue and integrated multimodal characterisation in The Wire.’ In Piazza, Bednarek and Rossi (eds.), Telecinematic Discourse: Approaches to the language of films and television series, Amsterdam and Philedelphia: John Benjamins, pp