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A Survey of Translation Errors in Korean Subtitles of DVD Movies

Moon, Won Leep 1

1동국대학교

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ABSTRACT

A Survey of Translation Errors in Korean Subtitles of DVD MoviesMoon, Won-Leep(Dongguk University)Recently DVD has replaced VHS as the preferred format of personal or institutional acquisitions. But the quality of subtitle translations in those DVDs has been felt to be dismal. To confirm this I extracted English and Korean subtitles from 32 selected movies and compared them. The movie selection was made using an independent list in order to avoid this researcher's possible bias. Translation errors are divided into four categories: Improbable Interpretation (IP), Unsuited Interpretation (US), Better Literal Interpretation (BL), and Inappropriate Omission (IO). IP error occurs when the given interpretation of a source sentence can be rarely correct in any real contexts, not just in the context of the movie. US error occurs when the given interpretation is unsuited to the context of the movie. BL error occurs when a more literal interpretation is preferred. And lastly, IO error occurs when some part of the source text is inappropriately omitted in translation.The result was as expected: the translation was often unacceptably bad and in about a sixth of the movies more than 20% of the subtitles had one or another kind of errors. An interesting fact, however, is that there were also movies with very good subtitles, and that the quality difference between movies was very wide. I believe the variety is due more to the differences in translator's ability than to those in the movies themselves. Since it shows there are at least some good translators out there, suitable policy and support would be able to markedly increase the average quality of Korean subtitles. As for the type of translation errors, IP's and US's were most often. And the IP type increased with the increase of translations errors.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.