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Article   | Translation of dialogues

 Translation of dialogues

As more and more entertainment tries to reach maximum audience possible, translation of dialogues are much in demand.  These dialogues are either heard (dubbed in target language) or seen (in subtitles). It’s great fun but requires caution to translate dialogues.

As compared to the written word – a book or a document – dialogues have two interesting features: Dialogues are always expressive and condensed.

In the original piece of work, say a documentary, a web series, TV serial, short film, advertisement or a feature film, they are always ‘heard’.  This is a distinct feature of dialogues.  They are meant to be spoken and heard.  This  also means that there is a tone and emotions attached to words in dialogue. 

Dialogues are always supportive in expressing the content.  In a scene, images are very impactful.  They are the main carriers of content.  They carry emotions, actions, drama, story. Words or dialogue play a supportive role. This is very natural, as they are being used in an audio-visual medium.  The sentences “Where is it?”  “On your forehead, honey” will mean nothing on a piece of paper.  However, once they are spoken, in a scene, with context, it can be hilarious, scary, or plain factual; depending on the scene.

The translator has to very aware of the weight of words in both the languages, the load of context they carry along, the various styles of talking while choosing the right equivalent.  Often, the translation is entirely different from the original words, but conveys the exact meaning!  And that’s perfectly ok, because what we are translating, is not the words, but ‘the screen’!


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