Bringing gender into the subtitling classroom

De Marco, Marcella (2011) Bringing gender into the subtitling classroom. In: Audiovisual translation: subtitles and subtitling:theory and practice. New trends in translation studies (9). Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 139-155. ISBN 9783034302999, 9783035301670


Over the last thirty years Audiovisual Translation (AVT) has experienced an impressive growth in terms of research interests, developments and applications. It is common knowledge now that AVT is not only a question of linguistic and technical constraints: it also affects the social, political and educational spheres. Therefore, diverse approaches have been developing in order to face the new technological challenges and meet the needs of increasingly heterogeneous audiences. One of the recent lines of research which has highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of AVT, is the one which explores gender within and through screen translation (De Marco, 2006). It has been observed that the ways in which films are dubbed and/or subtitled may contribute to encouraging or preventing the reinforcement of gender stereotypes and prejudices in people’s ways of thinking and behaving. At the same time, the training of the newer generations of subtitlers and dubbers and the didactics of AVT have become an issue (Díaz Cintas, 2008).
This paper tries to combine these two areas by exploring how gender and identity-related issues may be integrated within the curriculum design of a subtitling module. In line with the didactic objectives of most translation courses, the primary goal of this module remains that of enhancing the students’ capacity to deal with linguistic and non-linguistic difficulties inherent in the (audiovisual) text, and to enable them to acquire the transferable skills necessary to further gain experience in the professional environment. However, the author believes that the classroom represents the best arena where awareness may be raised about problems of social discrimination and marginalisation. For this reason, the development of the aforementioned skills is seen along with that of sensitivity to social issues which are intrinsic to any professional environment. The subtitling module offered for the Master in Applied Translation Studies at London Metropolitan University serves as a point of reference. The methods used by the lecturer in order to test this new teaching approach, as well as the students’ reactions to the introduction of this unusual topic will be here investigated and discussed

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