Issue 46 Punishment Summer 2012

Talking at the Movies

Kevin McMahon

  1. Donald Crafton, The Talkies: American Cinema’s Transition to Sound, 1926–1931 (New York: Scribner, 1997), p. 419.
  2. Anna Sofia Rossholm, Reproducing Languages, Translating Bodies (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2006), p. 83. Available at Accessed 16 March 2012.
  3. Kristin Thompson, Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market, 1907–1934 (London: BFI Publishing, 1985), p. 159.
  4. Henrik Gottlieb, “Titles on Subtitling 1929–1999,” in Rassegna Italiana di Linguistica Applicata, vol. 34, nos. 1–2 (2002), p. 436. This double issue contained the proceedings of the conference “Cinema: Paradiso delle lingue. I sottotitoli nell’apprendimento linguistico,” held in Pavia, Italy, 19–22 September 2001.
  5. Kristin Thompson, op cit., p. 159.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Film Daily Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1930), p. 999.
  8. Herbert L. Matthews, “The Screen in Paris,” The New York Times, 17 April 1932.
  9. William P. Carney, ”Queer Talking Film Idea,” The New York Times, 27 October 1929.
  10. Film Daily Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1935), p. 1011.
  11. Kristin Thompson, op. cit., p. 163.
  12. Donald Crafton, op. cit., p. 439.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, “Socialism, Fascism, and Democracy,” in Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, ed., The Oxford History of World Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 337.
  15. “Britons Fear Our Talkies May Ruin Accent: Censorship Urged to Guard Children's Speech,” The New York Times, 2 May 1929.
  16. “Keeping Slang Out of Ireland,” The New York Times, 2 October 1930.
  17. Donald Crafton, op. cit., p. 425. The complaints endure and work both ways. In the late 1970s, “TV stations even wanted to revoice David Attenborough into American for the series Life on Earth.” See Geoffrey T. Harris, ed., On Translating French Literature and Film (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996), p. 76.
  18. J. W. Collins, “Sound Films Win Favor in Turkey,” The New York Times, 3 November 1929.
  19. “A Director Abroad,” The New York Times, 1 June 1930.
  20. Herbert L. Matthews, op. cit.
  21. Kristin Thompson, op. cit.
  22. Film Daily Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1931), p. 995.
  23. Ibid. p. 996.
  24. Ibid. p. 997.
  25. Film Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1929), p. 1001.
  26. Rita Belda, “From Silence to Sound: A Studio’s Transition from Silent films to Talking Pictures,” presented at the conference “The Reel Thing XXV,” held in Los Angeles, 12–14 August 2010.
  27. Film Daily Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1930), p. 999.
  28. Kristin Thompson, op. cit., p. 162.
  29. Ibid.
  30. “Cinema-Minded Japan,” The New York Times, 20 December 1931.
  31. Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press., 2004), p. 409.
  32. Peter Fawcett, “Translating Film,” in Geoffrey T. Harris, op. cit., p. 65. Fawcett also notes the practice in Eastern Europe and Siberia.
  33. Mordaunt Hall, “A French Musical Farce,” The New York Times, 21 May 1931. The British commentary is unfortunately missing from the 2000 Criterion DVD of Le million, featuring new subtitles by Lenny Borger of Titra.
  34. H. T. S., “Another Russian Robin Hood,” The New York Times, 15 December 1933.
  35. For example, Christian Baumeister’s Die größten wasserfälle der erde: Naturwunder Iguaçu was first broadcast 8 January 2007 on ARD in Germany, and the English version, The Megafalls of Iguaçu, premiered on 1 March 2007 on the National Geographic Channel. Light & Shadow GmbH “Air Dates” Available at Accessed 17 March 2012. Also of interest are the National Geographic Society’s links to different language resources at Accessed 9 March 2011. Also see Jan Emil Tveit, Translating for Television: A Handbook for Screen Translation (Oslo: Kolofon, 2004), p. 23.
  36. Tino Balio, Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930–1939 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p. 34.
  37. Film Daily Year Book (New York: John W. Alicoate, 1932), p. 4.
  38. Mordaunt Hall, “Emil Jannings in a Dour German Language Pictorial Drama of Berlin’s Underworld,” The New York Times, 16 March 1932; and Mordaunt Hall, “The Screen,” The New York Times, 7 February 1934, in which he reviews La frochard et les deux orphelines.
  39. F. S. N., “Italy Since 1914,” The New York Times, 14 November 1934.
  40. William P. Carney, op. cit.
  41. Herbert L. Matthews, “The Screen in Paris,” The New York Times, 23 September 1934.
  42. Herbert L. Matthews, “The Cinema in Paris,” The New York Times, 4 June 1933.
  43. Jorge Luis Borges, “On Dubbing” [1945], in Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, op. cit., p. 118.
  44. “The ‘dubbed’ text, though it fills the auditorium and my ears, has not even an auditory existence for me, and I have ears for nothing but those other soundless words that emanate from the screen. When a breakdown of sound all at once cuts off the voice from a character who nevertheless goes on gesticulating on the screen, not only does the meaning of his speech suddenly escape me: the spectacle itself is changed.” From Maurice Merleau-Ponty Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), p. 234.
  45. Jan Emil Tveit, op. cit., p. 25.
  46. B. Ruby Rich, “To Read or Not to Read: Subtitles, Trailers, and Monolingualism,” in Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, op. cit., p. 161.
  47. Jan Emil Tveit, op cit., p. 92.
  48. Simon Laks, Le sous-titrage de films: Sa technique, son esthétique (Paris: Propriété de l’auteur, 1957), p. 18.
  49. Peter Fawcett, op. cit., p. 66.
  50. “Reputedly, the first live titles in an opera house were in Hong Kong in the early 1980s. … English surtitles were first used in Canada in about 1984. In Britain, they appeared experimentally at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1986, and were soon taken up by other organizations ….” See Jonathan Burton, “The Art and Craft of Opera Surtitling,” in Jorge Díaz-Cintas and Gunilla M. Anderman, eds., Audiovisual Translation: Language Transfer on Screen (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 58.
  51. Sky Sitney, “The Search for the Invisible Cinema,” Grey Room, no. 19 (Spring 2005), p. 110.
  52. Amresh Sinha, “The Use and Abuse of Subtitles,” in Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, op. cit., p. 172.
  53. Now known as Described and Captioned Media Program. Available at Accessed 16 March 2012.
  54. Now known as the Media Access Group. Available at Accessed 16 March 2012.
  55. Gary D. Robson, The Closed Captioning Handbook (Burlington, Mass: Focal Press, 2004), p. 12–14. Al Gore’s 1993 information superhighway speech was the first close-captioned webcast. Activision’s 1998 Zork Grand Inquisitor was the first close-captioned video game.
  56. Telecommunications Act of 1996, Public Law 104-104, US Statutes at Large 713 (1996): 79. See Accessed 21 June 2012.
  57. B. Ruby Rich, op. cit. p. 157.
  58. Simon Laks, op. cit., p. 49.
  59. Henri Béhar, “Cultural Ventriloquism,” in Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, op. cit., p. 81.
  60. Panayota Georgakopoulou, “Subtitling for the DVD Industry,” in Jorge Díaz-Cintas and Gunilla M. Anderman, eds., op. cit., p. 30.
  61. Jorge Díaz-Cintas, “Audiovisual Translation: An Overview of its Potential,” in Jorge Díaz-Cintas, ed., New Trends in Audiovisual Translation (Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2009), p. 10.
  62. Melissa Bell, “Gaddafi, Gadhafi, Qaddafi: The Revolution Will Be Translated,” The Washington Post, 26 February 2011. Available at Accessed 16 March 2012.
  63. Géry d’Ydewale, Patrick Muylle, and Johan Van Rensbergen, “Attention Shifts in Partially Redundant Information Situations,” in Rudolf Groner, George W. McConkie, and Christine Menz, eds., Eye Movements and Human Information Processing (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1985), p. 381.
  64. Jan Emil Tveit, op. cit., p. 105.
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