Translating banlieue film: an integrated analysis of subtitled non-standard language

Silvester, Hannah (2018) Translating banlieue film: an integrated analysis of subtitled non-standard language. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the subtitling of films depicting the French banlieue into English. The banlieues are housing estates situated on the outskirts of large towns and cities, and are primarily home to the underprivileged, and immigrants to France or their descendants. The sociolect spoken in the banlieue differs from standard French in terms of grammar, lexicon and pronunciation. Three films released between 2000 and the present day are studied; La squale (Genestal, 2000), L’esquive (Kechiche, 2003) and Divines (Benyamina, 2016). A new integrated methodology is developed, which examines the films within their broader contexts of release, and in light of paratextual material contributing to the context of reception, and to the viewer’s understanding of the topic at hand. Directors representing the banlieue on screen generally do so with a view to provoking thought or public discussion in relation to the banlieues.
In addition to macro- and micro-contextual analysis of the films and subtitles, the work is underpinned by an examination of the subtitling situation, encompassing the views and experiences of subtitlers working on banlieue film, and technical analysis of the subtitles in terms of readability. Through interviews of professional subtitlers, and close technical analysis of the subtitles, this research is contextualised within the industry, and within current conventions and guidelines. Close analysis of subtitles and the translation solutions they present reveals that some of the socio-political messages presented in the films may not be evident to a non-French speaking viewer of the English-subtitled versions. Although the informal nature of many conversations featuring the langage de banlieue is sometimes clear in the subtitled version, the unique sociolect of the characters is not. In two of the case study films, a dialect-for-dialect approach was adopted, where African American vernacular English was used in the subtitles to demonstrate the use of non-standard language. However, it is argued that ultimately, this dialect-for-dialect approach, combined with cultural similarities between the French banlieue and American street culture, could lead the British Anglophone viewer to negotiate the banlieues and those who live there via their knowledge of American street culture. This could contribute to American cultural hegemony, and does not convey the specificity of France’s banlieues as cultural melting pots.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Audiovisual translation, translation studies, French, non-standard language, Banlieue, Sociolect, French cinema.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Funder's Name: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Clarke, Dr. Jackie and Tuominen, Dr. Tiina and Campbell, Mr. Dougal
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Hannah Silvester
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30976
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2018 14:49
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2019 11:02

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