The topics covered include the following: the use of multimodal transcription for the analysis of audiovisual data; the depiction and reception of cultural otherness in Disney animated films produced in the 1990's; the way in which subtitles in Flanders strengthen the already streamlined narratives of mainstream film stories, and how they 'enhance' the characteristics of the films and their underlying ideology; developing a research methodology for testing the effectiveness of intralingual subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing; the pragmatic, semiotic and communicative dimensions of puns and plays on words in The Simpsons; the reception of translated humour in the Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup; and non-professional interpreting in live interviews on breakfast television in Finland. The volume also includes a detailed profile of two postgraduate courses that have been successfully piloted and run at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: the Postgrado de Traducción Audiovisual and the Postgrado de Traducción Audiovisual On-line.
People speak different languages, and always have. The Ancient Greeks took no notice of anything unless it was said in Greek; the Romans made everyone speak Latin; and in India, people learned their neighbors' languages—as did many ordinary Europeans in times past (Christopher Columbus knew Italian, Portuguese, and Castilian Spanish as well as the classical languages). But today, we all use translation to cope with the diversity of languages. Without translation there would be no world news, not much of a reading list in any subject at college, no repair manuals for cars or planes; we wouldn't even be able to put together flat-pack furniture.
Is That a Fish in Your Ear? ranges across the whole of human experience, from foreign films to philosophy, to show why translation is at the heart of what we do and who we are. Among many other things, David Bellos asks: What's the difference between translating unprepared natural speech and translating Madame Bovary? How do you translate a joke? What's the difference between a native tongue and a learned one? Can you translate between any pair of languages, or only between some? What really goes on when world leaders speak at the UN? Can machines ever replace human translators, and if not, why?
But the biggest question Bellos asks is this: How do we ever really know that we've understood what anybody else says—in our own language or in another? Surprising, witty, and written with great joie de vivre, this book is all about how we comprehend other people and shows us how, ultimately, translation is another name for the human condition.