Linguistic Approaches to Translations The Case of Amharic-English Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling

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The practice of translation is getting growing in different texts. It increases the need in audiovisual texts aswell. Especially, in Ethiopia where the film industry is growing, the practice of subtitling is increasing. But, it was observed that translators are facing linguistic challenges on how to udertake their work. Hence, it is worthy to conduct a research on the area. The main purpose of this study was therefore to examine how translators utilize the different linguistic materials of the source text in order to produce a corresponding target text in the process of Amharic-English subtitled films in Ethiopia. To ensure this, descriptive qualitative research design was used. Interview was made with translation practitioners. Ten out of eighteen Amharic-English subtitled films were selected purposivelly for the study. An attempt was made to describe and analyze the audio texts. The study revealed that literal translation, loan, grammatical transposition, shift of grammatical unit, expansion of phrase, division of sentence structure, expansion of sentence structure, syntactic condensation and change of word order are the basic syntactic translational strategies applied in the practice. Using synonym relation, antonym relations, hyponymy/hypernym relations, converse of perspectives, semantic expansion, semantic reduction, semantic substitution, semantic compensation, merging semantic repetitions, keeping repeated words unchanged and semantic abstraction are identified as important semantic translation strategies during subtitling. Domestication, foreignization, pragmatic explicitation, pragmatic implicitation, pragmatic omission, pragmatic substitution, illocutionary equivalent and summary translation are found to be important for pragmatic translation. It has been discovered that sayings, proverbs, idioms and figurative expressions can be translated by using similar meaning and form, similar meaning but dissimilar form, paraphrasing and literal translation. Established equivalent, borrowing plus explicitation, hypernym plus linguistic description, cultural ad andaptation, discursive creation, and lexical recreation are the major lexical choices employed. Syntactic calque, partial calque including fronting, extraction, juxtaposition, voice change, verb change and re-categorization are identified as basic features of syntactic translational choice. It is found that subtitlers used parallel patterns of grammatical elements. Some used certain grammatical elements on their own need; not based on the demand of the given linguistic features. There is inconsistency of using grammatical items during subtitling. Subtitlers imitate the style of the original to have structural equivalent and others use the style of the target text mainly for functional equivalent. Lack of adequate syntactic knowledge, semantic knowledge and pragmatic knowledge on the target text are identified as challenges in subtitling. Lack of equivalent lexical items between texts is also other constraint in the practice. To alleviate the problems, translators should know how propositions are structured (semantic knowledge), how clauses can be synthesised to carry propositional content (syntactic knowledge) and how the clause can be realised as information bearing text (pragmatic knowledge). Translators should be trained functional grammar, and it should be incorporated in their curriculum. Government should open translation schools and none government organizations should also have translation manuals and arrange in-service training opportunities for their translators to improve their skills of translation.



in Ethiopia where the film industry is growing, the practice of subtitling is increasing