A research seminar organised as part of the Translation, Adaptation and Perofrmance research theme with guest speaker, Carol O'Sullivan from the University of Bristol.
Very few of us are able, on leaving the cinema after watching a subtitled film, to name the subtitler. This may be because we do not wait around long enough for the end of the end credits; because the subtitler isn't named on the print; or because we are not primed to think about the subtitler having an author-function at all. But many classic films circulate in different versions produced in different eras, or for different viewing formats. The quality of these subtitles may substantially affect the viewing experience. My paper looks at resubtitling as a phenomenon linked to retranslation in general, and asks what the implications are for the researcher. It will be argued that resubtitling cannot be seen in isolation, but must be understood as part of a wider localisation process which happens at the level of text and of paratext. Researching resubtitling presents formidable challenges of film-textual scholarship, and (for films subtitled before the digital era) non-trivial logistical problems as well. I will use a case study of Rossellini's Roma città aperta and subtitled versions of the film including the first US release version subtitled by Pietro di Donato and Herman G. Weinberg.
Carol O'Sullivan studied Italian and French language and literature at Trinity College, Dublin and subsequently at the University of Cambridge, where she obtained a PhD on translations of and by Raymond Queneau, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. She is Director of Translation Studies at the University of Bristol where she convenes the MA in Translation. Her research interests include translation history, literary translation and film translation. Her book Translating Popular Film was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. Her current project is a history of film translation in the 1920s and 1930s. Carol is an Associate Editor of the journal Translation Studies.