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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Audiovisual Communication and Language Transfer

In 1995, we celebrated 100 years since the Lumière Brothers developed motion picture film in France and the World Decade of Cultural Development.  In honor of the occasion, the historical city of Strasbourg, also known as the capital of Europe, hosted the Audiovisual Communication and Language Transfter Forum under the auspices of the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the Federation of International Translators Committee for Media Translators and Interpreters, as well as others.  This colloquium was held at the Palace of Europe, on June 22-24, on the conference premises where the Congress of Europe conducts parliamentary sessions.
The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, has a membership of approximately 33 states committed to the protection of human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of the law.  Founded in 1949 by ten western European states, the Council now counts several central and European states among its members, so that it is taking an increasingly pan-European role.
All of the 150 participants in the forum travelled from 30 countries of Europe and overseas to compose an international spectrum--Austria, the Basque country, Belgium, Bulgaria, Catalunya, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.  The official languages at the conference were French and English.  Simultaneous interpreters facilitated language transfer from their state-of-the-art booths overlooking the assembly hall.
The dual purposes of the forum were to reveal the extent of culture and identity of languages in the production of audiovisual works and to arouse the awareness of professional bodies involved in audiovisual communication to the problems, concerns, limitations, and challenges of linguistic transfer.   Issues of discussion involved standards of language transfer and media intepreting, the use of technological tools in multimedia settings, copyrights, the need for research on audiovisual communication and language transfer, e.g. the study of eye movement and reading habits/rates for subtitles/captions in all languages; non-verbal  cues and body language.
In a general sense, the process of audiovisual translation is the transfer of words and images from one language to another using multiple senses.  Methods of Audiovisual Linguistic Transfer include dubbing, voice-over, voice synchronization or lip sync, subtitling as an art form, narration, "morphing" technique, i.e. changing the dynamics of lip movement on film frames, instead of changing the dialogue.
In order to maintain a multicultural heritage, the media should facilitate the transfer of information among languages and across cultures considering that English is spoken by 65% of the population, French 30% and other languages 5% (these are estimated figures quoted by delegates).
To summarize the resolutions of the forum, drawn in consensus by the participants, it was proposed to promote systematic analysis and comparative studies on the various modes of language transfer and the linguist effects derived from each one; to research the role and costs of these modes; to support a consorted world effort fostering linguistic and cultural plurality in audiovisual media; to implement training efforts sponsored by authorized public European institutions; and to confront copyright problems in order to prevent plagiarism and improve upon the demands on standards of quality for language transfer in film, television, videos, and Compact Discs for multimedia technology.
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