An empirical take on the dubbing vs. subtitling debate. An eye movement study
Lingue e Linguaggi
Year of publication
The empirical study of the processing of dubbed and subtitled audiovisual content still lacks attention in academic circles and the discussion commonly draws on anecdotal and speculative assumptions. To address this issue, we carried out two studies to explore the cognitive, evaluative and visual reception of dubbed and subtitled content using behavioural data and eye tracking, and different audiovisual materials with varying levels of complexity. The results support the value of both dubbing and subtitling as effective translation methods. Our findings suggest that both techniques are cognitively effective and positively received and assessed by viewers. However, the eye-tracking data suggest that in spite of these results, the processing of complex subtitled films might require more effort from viewers and require them to accelerate their reading process. Apart from highlighting the relevance of complexity, the experimental design also hints at the possible influence of stimulus length as a factor affecting performance.