Analysis of film subtitle translation from the perspective of George Steiner’s hermeneutics

As the messenger of the gods, Hermes was responsible for passing messages between the gods and humans. Since the language of the gods is different from that of humans, he interprets his message according to his own understanding. Thus, his name became the source of the word “hermeneutics”. According to George Steiner, the process of translation is the process of language production and understanding. He applies hermeneutics theory to translation, and believes that translation is actually an act of demystification, which breaks people’s traditional cognition of translation and broadens the field of translation studies. Steiner’s hermeneutic translation theory is divided into four steps: trust, attack, merger, and compensation.
  1. Trust
  George Steiner believes that the translator should first trust the source language text before carrying out the translation work, that is, he believes that the content he is going to translate is valuable. In other words, the translator believes that the text he chooses to translate has something to learn, such as the culture, writing style, and central idea reflected in the source language text, and the translator has his own aesthetics, preferences, and value systems. Trust in the value of the original text means that the author is in agreement with the source language text in at least one of the above aspects, which can increase the translator’s interest in the translation work.
  2. Attack
  The second step in the translation activity is the attack. In cross-language translation, this is an inevitable aggressive behavior. Any translator’s understanding of the original text and its author’s creative intent will be subject to a certain degree of deviation. Influenced by subjective and objective factors, it is impossible for the translator to fully reproduce the original author’s intention. This limitation is historical and difficult to overcome. However, the translator’s “aggressiveness” also has a positive side. Because only through active activities, through the processing and conversion of the translator, can the target language readers have the opportunity to approach the original author’s intention and thus understand the original to the maximum extent.
  3. Integration
  Integration refers to inputting the content and form of the source language into the target language and presenting the information of the source language text in the translated text. At this stage, different translators will adopt different translation strategies, incorporating their own understanding of the original text and the original author’s intentions as new elements into the target language. For example, some translators are likely to adopt localization, while others adopt Alienation, or a combination of the above methods. In cross-language translation, the target language already exists, which is different from the original language, and the language itself is rich in meaning, expression and culture, so different translators have different degrees of integration of foreign works.
  4. Compensation
  Due to differences in language and culture, translators will inevitably lose some functions and even information when integrating into the source language and culture. In order to make the translation fully understood by the readers of the target language, the translator often adopts the method of domestication, which causes the loss of the original culture and image of the source text to a certain extent. In order to maintain a balance between the original text and the translation, the translator needs to make up for the missing elements in the translation process and convey as much as possible what is expressed in the original text. While there is no perfect translation, as Steiner says, the translator must do his best to make up for it in order to strike a balance between the original and the translation.
  2. Analysis of the subtitle translation of the American love movie trilogy from the perspective of George Steiner’s hermeneutics
  According to George Steiner, translation can help preserve history and culture. Translators should believe in the value of the source language text and emphasize the understanding and integration of the original elements. His theory also emphasizes compensating the information of the original text in the translation in order to achieve a balance between the original text and the translation. Using hermeneutic translation theory to guide translation not only makes the translator play a major role in translation, but also fully considers the readers’ feelings. Through the four steps of trust, attack, integration and compensation, the translator can well understand and interpret the meaning of the original text, which is very practical and operable, and provides valuable theoretical resources for the study of translation theory at home and abroad. This step is innovative and provides a new perspective for the study of subtitle translation.
  1. Literal and Free Translation
  The American Romance Trilogy is a series of films directed by Richard Linklater. In the first film in the series, Before Sunrise, the hero and heroine ride on the same train. The hero and heroine who are reading look up at each other as a quarreling German couple passes them. The protagonist, Jesse, begins to collide with the heroine, Celine, who is sitting on the other side of the carriage aisle. Then they started the following conversation:
  Jesse: “Do you have any idea what they were arguing about?”
  Jesse: Do you know what they were arguing about?
  Celine: “No, I’m sorry. My German is not very good.”
  Celine: I don’t know what they’re talking about, sorry, my German is not very good.
  ”Have you heard that as couples get older, they lose their ability to hear each other?” “Have you heard that as couples get older, they lose their ability to hear each
  Celine: “well, supposedly, men lose their ability to hear higher-pitched sounds. And women eventually lose hearing on the low end. I guess they sort of nullify each other.”
  Celine: It is said that men lose their ability to hear higher-pitched sounds. women gradually lose the ability to hear low voices. I think they are ignoring each other.
  Jesse: “I Guess. Nature’s way of allowing couples to grow old together without killing each other.”
  Jesse: Maybe. This natural law allows couples to grow old.
  In the above passages, the translator used a combination of literal translation and free translation. Feng Qinghua said in “Practical Translation Course”: “Literal translation is a way of translation in which the text not only retains the content, but also remains as it is. Literal translation requires the translator to convey the content of the original text to the target readers while retaining the written form of the text in the source language. However, Due to the language and cultural differences between the translation and the original text, if the translator uses literal translation to directly translate the original text, for example, the original Jesse said “Have you heard that as couples get older, they lose their ability to hear each other? “Have you heard that, after being married for a long time, couples can’t hear each other’s voices”, such a translation will become rigid. Therefore, some words are handled by free translation. Free translation pursues the original content in the translation Equivalent expression, but do not have to be bound by the original form. Therefore, it is translated as “Have you heard that after a long marriage, do couples turn a deaf ear to each other’s words? “It is more in line with a very relaxed chat atmosphere after many years of marriage between the couple at this time. According to Georg Steiner’s hermeneutic theory, in the process of attack, due to differences between languages, sometimes it is impossible to fully reproduce the original meaning. Therefore, , when absorbing the original information, translators need to use free translation appropriately so that the translation is more natural.

  2. Domestication and Alienation
  Domestication is the habitual expression of the target language readers, which conveys information that the target language readers can understand. Naturalization means translating from the point of view of the target language readers, making the target language more in line with the readers’ thinking, culture and aesthetics. In a translation of “Before Sunset,” the second film in the series, Celine says, “Women pretend things like that.” translates to “Women pretend things like that.” “Reserved” here is a unique Chinese expression that represents the translator’s use of domestication to show the true meaning of the original text and adapt to its context, rather than simply translating it as “pretend…” . As George Steiner’s hermeneutic theory suggests, when a translator attacks and incorporates original information, he is influenced by factors such as his own hobbies, purpose of translation, cultural background, the readers he serves, etc. Therefore, translators sometimes tend to use domestication to process translations in order to make the translation more in line with the culture and expression of the target language. For some unique foreign histories and cultures, translators also use foreignization to translate them. The process of alienation is to destroy the traditional thinking mode of the target language, so that the translated version can retain the singular characteristics and language style of the source language text. Alienation is characterized by making readers actively approach the original work and the author’s ideological culture. For example, when Celine described her childhood experiences, she said: “I remember as a teenager I went to Warsaw…when it was still a strict communist regime.”, which translates to “I remember when I was a teenager Been to Warsaw…it was still strictly communist at that time.” The “communist regime” in this sentence is translated as “Polish communism” in Chinese, which is a foreignization translation. “Polish communism”, involving the history of Poland, made it difficult for Chinese readers to immediately understand. However, the phrase refers to a specific foreign culture, and it is difficult to replace this expression with other translations, so it is appropriate to treat this phrase with alienation.
  3. Transliteration and annotation
  According to the fourth step of George Steiner’s hermeneutic theory, in order to make the translation perfect, so that the translation has the same effect on the target language readers as the source text has on the target language readers, the translator needs to make up for the missing elements in the translation, and realize the original text and the translation. balance relationship. So in the subtitle translation of this series of movies, translators should compensate the subtitle content of these movies with transliteration and annotation methods to help readers better understand the movie content. The method of transliteration and annotation refers to transliterating proper nouns such as names of people and places, and then adding annotations to further explain the translated content. For example, in the film “Sylvia Plath”, the translator translates it as “Sylvia Plath (American genius poet, novelist and short story writer)”, and “Euripides” is “Euripides (Ancient Greek)” One of the three great masters of tragedy)”. In addition, Medea, is translated as “Medea” (a figure in Greek mythology, because of Prince Jason’s empathy, he personally killed two of his own children)”.
  IV. Conclusion
  This paper is based on the theory of George Steiner’s hermeneutics This paper studies the subtitle translation of the American love movie trilogy. The translator must first believe that the work he translates is valuable, then interpret and analyze the original text, integrate the original text information into the target language, and finally compensate the translation so that the The balance between the original text and the target text is the translation process supported by Steiner’s hermeneutic theory. Under the guidance of this theory, translators will adopt appropriate translation strategies in the process of subtitle translation, considering the characteristics and limitations of subtitle translation. A better translation effect can be achieved upon request.

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