SPEAKER: Mohammad Ahmad Thawabteh, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

TITLE: The Practice and Intricacies of Live Subtitling in Arabic Context

ABSTRACT:  The present paper sheds some light on live subtitling in Arabic context. The paper first argues that although subtitling has gained weight for the past few decades in the Arab World, live subtitling has still received scant attention, and is mainly practiced in few contexts such as in interviews and in news media production (e.g., Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news satellite channel of live English subtitles of its Arabic language content. In another context, the paper further argues that ‘quasi-live subtitlesʼ or pre-recorded subtitles (rather than live subtitles) of the Quran bulging round-the-clock in some satellite channels are common as is the case in evening prayers like Tarawih (extra prayers in Ramadan) whereby pre-recorded subtitles of the Quran can be observed on these channels, e.g., Saudi TV Channel 1. The paper reveals that only official pre-recorded live subtitles generating software seems to be possible, for live subtitling leads to subtitles errors for which the inimitable Quran is not tolerant at all. To further explore the nature of quasi-live subtitling, a sample of ten live subtitles of Tarawih broadcast on Saudi TV Channel 1 on May 2018 is analysed. The paper reveals several linguistic, cultural and technical problems. The study finally concludes with some pedagogical implications that will hopefully help to situate live subtitling in the context of Arab AVT.  


MOHAMMAD AHMAD THAWABTEH (mthawabteh@staff.alquds.edu)  Mohammad Ahmad Thawabteh earned his PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies from Universidad de Granada, Spain. He is currently an Associate Professor of Translation at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. He taught translation at undergraduate and graduate levels at Al-Quds University (1999-2017) where he was Chair of English department (2011-2012). His research interests include Audiovisual Translation, Translation Technology, Translator Training, Cultural Studies.