University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: Disney works and their original soundtracks are extremely popular in Japan. This study examines the differences between the subtitled and the dubbed songs featured in Disney’s Aladdin from 1992. The field of Audiovisual Translation, which subtitling and dubbing are a part of, has not been researched enough. Hence, more studies of the unique differences and challenges of these translation forms are necessary. This thesis seeks to answer the question of whether the different limitations in dubbing and subtitling produce differences in the resulting translations, or if there are any differences between the source text and the translations that are specific to the Japanese language or Japanese translation. In order to do this, the songs were analyzed through a quantification of characters and syllables, and discussed in detail through the extraction of examples. The quantitative results showed that the dubbing was considerably shorter than the subtitles in character count, and nearly identical to the English lyrics in syllable count, in order to match rhythm and musical notes. The subtitles contained mostly literal translations and favored foreignization in the translation of cultural elements. The dubbing tended to omit most culture-specific items and was more liberal in its translation, often neglecting the original syntactic structure in the English version in favor of semantic interpretation, with phrasing suitable to the lyrical nature of the translation.

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