An investigation into subtitling conjunctive markers from English into Arabic: a corpus-based study
Subtitling is an effective channel through which films are communicated to certain viewers, yet the technical constraints associated with this mode present challenges to the construction of subtitles. Conjunctive markers (CMs) constitute an integral part of language systems and contribute to the coherence and cohesion of texts by explicitly suggesting semantic relations between clauses, sentences, and paragraphs (Eggins, 2005). In subtitling, conjunctive markers play a significant role in establishing ties between clauses within a unique discourse that is constructed from small chunks of texts that appear on the screen simultaneously. Against this background, a self-designed, parallel, aligned corpus involving 90 Hollywood films is compiled, including English and Arabic subtitles of films released between 2000 to 2018, to answer the following research questions: (1) what are the most frequent conjunctive markers, their categories and functions in English and Arabic subtitles? (2) To what extent can the differences in the frequency of CMs in the source and target texts be attributed to or associated with subtitling? And (3) are there any consistent or recurrent patterns in the use of conjunctions between English subtitles and their Arabic counterparts? In correspondence to the above research questions, this study involves qualitative and quantitative analysis within the classification and categorisation of conjunctive markers offered by Halliday and Matthiessen (2014). The quantitative analysis will be conducted to account for the frequencies of the conjunctions in question, with the aim to identify their occurrences within the ES treated as the source text (ST) and their Arabic counterparts as the target text (TT). The qualitative analysis will aid in exploring the functions of the conjunctive markers in English and Arabic. Moreover, the analysis of the frequencies and categories of the conjunctive markers informs the qualitative analysis of the concurrent patterns of conjunctions in English and Arabic subtitles, intending to explain the tendencies in semantic relations in each direction. Based on the quantitative analysis of the frequencies of the conjunctions in question in English and Arabic, a quantitative analysis will be performed to account for the frequency of these conjunctions in subtitling discourse against other domains outside of audio-visual translation (AVT), with the aim to establish whether the differences in frequencies between these domains can be attributed to or associated with the subtitling process. The findings show a dominant presence of the English and, but and so and their Arabic equivalents. Also, the examination of the concurrent patterns of the above conjunctive markers reveals a tendency to explicitation and semantic shifts from one category to another. Finally, the examination of the occurrences of these conjunctives within subtitling discourse and other corpora outside the domain of AVT (i.e. BNC2014 as an English reference corpus, arTenTen (2014) as an Arabic reference corpus, and OPUS2 as English-Arabic parallel corpora) shows that these conjunctions are less frequent in subtitling than other discourses.