For a translator, subtitling films and series set in the MCU requires particular effort with regard to intertextual coherence for two reasons. As a result, all the movies and television series not only con- sistently include references to other MCU films but also exist in a purposeful narra- tive continuity with one another. Producing a loyal translation, therefore, requires comprehension of the preceding and sometimes even forthcoming releases and their translations. Secondly, the viewership of MCU films is enormous; in fact, it is the highest-grossing film franchise in the world and many of its characters have become household names.
The sheer amount of viewers demands precision from the translator, especially as most moviegoers—often MCU or Marvel aficionados—are familiar with at least some of the earlier installments, as well as their inter-filmic discourse, and would consequently detect inconsistencies and potential errors in the subtitles. These two qualities sparked my interest in conducting a research on the MCU. Moreover, they make it a fascinating and contemporary research topic in the field of translation.
The objective of the present thesis is to study the extent of intertextual coherence and inter-filmic discourse retained in the Finnish DVD subtitles of the twelve released feature films and ten episodes of the transmedia extension, television series Agents of S. I wish to determine this by look- ing into two different categories that contribute to coherence in translation: the trans- lation of MCU-related proper names and the translation of certain MCU-related allusions. When the aim of this study and the presented twofold division aiding to reach this aim are constructed into research questions, the below problem setting is established: 1.
Are the translations of MCU-related proper names uniform in all the install- ments? How are MCU-related allusions retained in the subtitles when the retention of the allusion is a strategic choice? I will analyze the applied translation strategies in both categories separately and, in addition, the consistency with which the strategies have been applied in comparison with those in preceding and following releases. I intend to analyze and present my findings numerically, which makes this study quantitative, but the analysis of the translation strategies will also be approached from the qualitative perspective.
In addition to seeking answers to the presented questions, which is my primary objec- tive, I do wish to qualitatively examine the studied proper names and allusions in their source-text context, although this shall be done in brief. The present study will commence with the definition of some of the most central terms applied in the research throughout. We shall then proceed to the theoretical section, the focal points of which will be proper names and allusions, respectively.
Germanely, both chapters will primarily approach the concepts from translatorial perspectives; with regard to allusions, also the context of audiovisual translation in particular will be addressed.
The materials and methods of the present thesis will be! The study is concluded by a conspectus of the research and its findings. Though generally speaking rather common and thus at least ap- proximately comprehended by most, these key terms still need to be defined in the context of this thesis. The concepts defined here are intertextual coherence, its re- spective stems, and inter-filmic discourse.
As these terms are assumably quite straightforward, I believe a concise discussion on the concepts will suffice. Bakhtin himself has, in fact, influenced the expansion of the term: he developed an approach to intertextuality that is applicable to language use in general, not merely literary texts Hatim Defining intertextuality has proved to be challenging: according to Hatim ibid. The fundamental notion of the term, however, is that all texts are interconnected in some way.
Everything one says or writes is, ulti- mately, constructed on words spoken and written before, and therefore interpreting a text or an utterance is to comprehend it in relation to other previously written texts or spoken utterances.
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There are many ways in which to categorize intertextuality see e. Ruokonen and Hatim , but this chapter will only address the two most relevant in ap- proaching intertextuality in the present study. Firstly, the intertextuality studied here is horizontal cf. When the material examined here are films and a television series that merge chronologically and narratively, this is the natural category in which to place them. Secondly, the intertextuality relevant here is restrictive, which Ruokonen describes as denoting references that allude to identifiable texts or groups of texts While MCU installments are surely eligible for studies on this type of intertextuality as well, the focus of this thesis is on recognizable refer- ences that allude to a limited set of works.
Intertextual coherence, then, is primarily perceptible observing these types of inter- textuality: restrictiveness makes the referents identifiable to begin with, and horizon- tality establishes a meaningful connection between the referent and the reference. The implicit, detached, and even abstract nature of both vertical and general intertex- tuality makes it virtually impossible to identify a referent text, let alone find purpose- ful mutual references between texts.
In effect, coherence could be simply defined as systematic conceptual con- sistency within a text or between texts. In this study, as established, the focus will be on consistency between texts or—to be exact—between works of screen fiction.
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The last concept to be addressed in this chapter is inter-filmic discourse, although it is perhaps the most self-explanatory of the presented terms. I use the term indicating discourse between two or more on-screen narratives in a manner that is purposeful. This discourse comprises explicit and implicit references, and also narrative conti- nuity—meaning that the events of an on-screen narrative occur in a logical order and in a logical manner in relation to what has been depicted in a previous, related narra-!
However, inter-filmic discourse does not have to extend to this degree of inter- connectedness in order to be defined as such. In the context of MCU, however, also narrative continuity is an indispensable constituent of inter-filmic discourse. Many Marvel-related proper names are mentioned and repeated in multiple films and in the case of films focusing on virtually the same set of characters—such as Thor Branagh, and its sequel Thor: The Dark World Taylor, —the amount of repetition is considerable.
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I will begin this chapter by shedding some light onto the concept of charactonyms and motivators. I will then proceed to discuss some of the distinguishing qualities of Marvel and comic books in general that should be considered when translating proper names in this genre. The last section of this chapter reviews different strategies of proper name translation.
Many proper names in comics are intentionally expressive by nature and, consequently, carry imageries of their respective referents. For example Red Skull, the name of the antagonist in Captain America: The First Avenger Johnston, , conveys rather specific a description of its referent. Charactonym requires a common stem, which may comprise the entire name e.
Wasp or the aforesaid Red Skull or part of it e.
In order to be defined as a signifi- cant element in the name, a common stem must include a motivator. Motivators may be explicit or implicit, depending on the broadness of the context in which they are expressed. Explicit motivators appear in narrow contexts: they are usually expressed in a single word or a word combination and are, therefore, the easier type to detect. In a cinematic context, this could be interpreted as correspond- ing to a single shot or a line.
A good example would be Black Widow in her first appearance shot as Black Widow cf. The character is named after the species of spider, known for its black and red color combination; the character Black Widow has red hair and wears an all-black bodysuit with a red mark on her belt, thus exhibiting the same colors. Implicit motivators, conversely, appear in wider contexts: they characterize the bear- er based on all the information provided on them.
Coincidentally, Black Widow work as examples here, too: the poisonous black wid- ow spiders are notorious for the widespread belief that the females eat the males after mating.
Therefore, the name carries a rather sinister connotation of a dangerous, powerful and merciless female, which is supported by character progression on- screen. So, while identifying the characterizing function of a prop- er name is—generally speaking—moderately effortless in comic books and feature films based on them, there are also factors that challenge proper name translation in these genres. In her study on charactonym translation in Marvel comics, Balteiro discusses the qualities that challenge the translators of both Marvel comics!
At the center of the discussion is the notable degree of intertextuality prevailing the Marvel universe.
Balteiro presents three distinguishing qualities of comics published by Marvel Enter- tainment, Inc. These three qualities are presented below, as all three also function as distinctive features of films by Marvel Studios. Brief appearance of a character introduced in a prior film is always an allusion to said installment and virtual- ly always functions as an instrument of MCU intertextuality and interrela- tionship.
The main cast also includes supporting characters from previous films. Balteiro writes that the proper name translation conventions prevailing in the field of comic book translation are set by pre-existing translations rather than the source text ST. Even though she discuses the matter in a Spanish context, I believe this state- ment applies to most target languages TLs. As a result, and due to the three features presented above, there is rarely more than one translation available for Marvel characters in Finnish, too.
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Despite tradition conquering in the translations of Marvel proper names in comic books, it is debatable whether the same conditions triumph in the cinematic realm. Balteiro acknowledges the influence of feature films in the translation of proper! This is another reason for which studying the cinematic world of Marvel is particularly relevant.
Translators are intertwined between trend and tradition: while the globalization of Marvel encourages the preservation of original charactonyms, pre-existing translations from the comics affect the translation process as well. In the next section, I shall discuss the different proper name translation strat- egies in order to provide a more comprehensive grasp of the translation tools availa- ble when embarking on transferring a proper name from one language to another. This section presents seven proper name translation strategies, partly combining and collectively reviewing the three classifications mentioned.
It should be noted that this thesis does not seek to establish a new applied classification based on the pre-existing ones presented, as the purpose of this study is not to comprehensively analyze the translation strategies applied, but rather do this as a contributory activity to supplement the empirical discussion. Sub- sequently, the following strategies are presented to provide an overview of the proper name translation strategies available and, additionally, define terms applied in the forthcoming pages.
As established in section 3. Reproduction refers to the process of conveying the proper name from the source language SL to! For example Hulk and Thanos retain their original forms in Finnish; furthermore, as exemplified in the previous section, also the MCU film titles tend to be reproduced without alterations. Repro- duction is probably the least costly strategy to apply when the proper name is not a charactonym, as in the case of Hulk and Thanos. In addition, Vermes 93 points out that reproduction is often used when also the processing of the utterance is determined to otherwise become too costly.
Therefore, while reproduction is the least time-consuming of the strategies per se, assessing its sufficiency may require sup- plementary effort. In other words, a pre-existing, established translation is used. This mainly refers to geographical names, which often have conventionalized equivalents in the TL e. London — Lontoo. Substitution, by definition, cannot be applied to translating ficti- tious proper names and is therefore unlikely to reappear in this thesis; however, it is an essential and very common strategy, and overlooking it in this section would consequently not be desirable.
In other words, translation as a strategy refers to the acknowledgment and recreation of the authorial intent of the ST in the TT.