How Existing Literary Translation Fits into Film Adaptations

Key information

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Online Seminar
Event type
Virtual/online & Event highlights

About this event

How Existing Literary Translation Fits into Film Adaptations: The Subtitling of Neologisms in Harry Potter from a Multimodal Perspective

SOAS CTS Global Seminar Series 2022-23

Speaker: Dr Siwen LU (Visiting Post-doc Researcher, University of Bristol)

This is a free event hosted by SOAS CTS. Please register on this form and we will send you the link to the Zoom meeting by 25 January 2023.


In this talk, I will address the relatively under-researched issue of applying existing literary translation into the subtitles of film adaptations. Concentrating on the Chinese subtitling of neologisms in the Harry Potter films (2001-2011) and by drawing on the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)-informed multimodal framework, the aim is to investigate how subtitles and other modes in film interact to make meanings and their potential effects on the subtitled films when applying existing literary translation into subtitles of film adaptations. The results show that the application of literary translation into subtitled films may run the risk of downplaying some crucial elements of the original, such as the relationship between the fictional world and the audience. This study serves to highlight the importance of considering more than the literary elements when analysing film adaptations and to point out broader possible areas, such as multimodality and audiovisual translation, which have only been partly recognised in adaptation studies.

Key words: subtitling, film adaptation, multimodal, neologism, Harry Potter

About the speaker

Dr Siwen LU is currently a Visiting Post-doc Researcher at University of Bristol. Her research interests include audiovisual translation (e.g. subtitling, fansubbing, danmu subtitles, non-professional subtitling), multimodal discourse analysis and informal media cultures. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals including Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, Babel: International Journal of Translation, Visual Communication, New Media & Society, and International Journal of Communication. She is a member of The British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS) and European Association for Studies in Screen Translation (ESIST).