Translating Popular Film
Year of publication
In recent years, foreign languages and subtitles have moved out of the arthouse into the multiplex, with films such as Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai, Traffic and Inglourious Basterds. Foreign languages have always been part of popular cinema – think of The Third Man or Treasure of the Sierra Madre – but often foreign speech has been represented in English or reduced to the hubbub of voices in the background. This book deals with the tradition of foreign languages in the cinema, showing how a diverse range of devices and narrative conventions has evolved to represent and translate foreign languages for cinema audiences. Devices such as the translating dissolve, the close-up, the ludic subtitle and the narrational subtitle used in films from the silent period to today are analysed in the light of cinema's mission to tell stories about characters who don't share a language with the cinema audience.