3 SUBTITLING FOR THE INTENDED AUDIENCE INCLUDING CHILDREN
The typical pace and complexity of subtitling can exclude a minority of less able readers within the deaf community. For many pre-lingually deaf children, preliminary experiments suggest that a subtitle presentation rate of 70-80 words per minute is appropriate. Similarly, the subtitler may consider adjusting the speed of presentation if the programme is primarily intended for profoundly deaf viewers.
3.2 Children's Subtitles
Care however should be taken not to give the impression of spoon feeding, as this can be resented. In these instances these three main editing devices should be remembered:
In case i), the subtitler must choose which sentence to present verbatim to the exclusion of other sentences. In case ii), the analysis of the whole meaning is made and the subtitler should then attempt to retain as many ‘idea units’ as possible. (See Section 4.4). For case iii) the use of three-line captions allows the material to be on screen for a longer period, thus helping the development of scanning techniques. These guidelines represent a level of subtitling suitable for the ‘average’ hearing-impaired viewer.
- Reduce the amount of text by reducing the reading speed and removing unnecessary words and sentences.
- Represent the whole meaning.
- Increase the use of three-line subtitles and reduce the number of add-ons.
Subtitles should accurately reflect the spoken word and as such should not be censored.
Special care is needed for the provision of children's subtitles.
Many deaf children over 11 years benefit from subtitles as they are currently provided. Recent ITC research has shown, however, that children under the age of 11 years need simpler subtitles.
The following guidelines are recommended for the subtitling of programmes targeted at children below the age of 11 years.
Additional Note For Schools Programmes
- There should be a match between the voice and subtitles as far as possible.
- A strategy should be developed where words are omitted rather than changed to reduce the length of sentences.
Dialogue: Can you think why they do this?
Simplified: Why do they do this?
Dialogue: Can you think of anything you could do with all the heat produced in the incinerator?
Simplified: What could you do with the heat from the incinerator?
Difficult words should also be omitted rather than changed.
Dialogue: First thing we're going to do is make his big, ugly, bad-tempered head.
Simplified: First we're going to make his big, ugly head.
Dialogue: All she had was her beloved rat collection.
Simplified: She only had her beloved rat collection.
Where possible the grammatical structure should be simplified while maintaining the word order.
Dialogue: You can see how metal is recycled if we follow the aluminium.
Simplified: See how metal is recycled by following the aluminium.
Dialogue: We need energy so our bodies can grow and stay warm.
Simplified: We need energy to grow and stay warm.
Difficult and complex words in an unfamiliar context should remain on screen for as long as possible. Few other words should be used.
Dialogue: Nurse, we'll test the reflexes again.
Simplified: Nurse, we'll test the reflexes.
Dialogue: Air is displaced as water is poured into the bottle.
Simplified: The water in the bottle displaces the air.
Care should be taken that simplifying does not change the meaning, particularly when meaning is conveyed by the intonation of words.
Numbers, including price, weight etc are easier than words to read and remember. They should, therefore, be presented in numerical form.
Dialogue: It takes about one kilojoule of energy to lift someone off their feet.
Simplified: It takes 1kJ of energy to lift someone.
Dialogue: We took a gram of margarine and placed it in a dish.
Simplified: We put 1 gram of margarine in a dish.
Often, the aim of schools programmes is to introduce new vocabulary and to familiarize pupils with complex terminology. There are a number of options when it comes to subtitling schools programmes:
- Introduce complex vocabulary in very simple sentences and keep it on screen for as long as possible.
- Provide teachers with scripts before the programme is broadcast, so that they can introduce and explain any new vocabulary beforehand.