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The clip I chose to subtitle for this assignment is CSI NY. CSI: NY (Crime Scene Investigation: New York) is an American police procedural television series that premiered on September 22, 2004, on CBS. The series was the second indirect spin-off from the veteran series CSI: Crime Scene. The show follows the investigations of a team of NYPD forensic scientists and police officers as they unveil the circumstances behind mysterious and unusual deaths as well as other crimes. The episode I have subtitled dealt with 2 crimes. The first one is the stabbing of an individual, with the primary suspect being a woman he was accused (and later acquitted) of raping, seen fleeing the crime scene. The second crime was the shooting of a woman on the stairs of a museum. Being a police procedural television series, the clip had a lot of jargon used in forensic science which needed to be adequately subtitled. Because of the good quality audio, most of the time this was not an issue. While subtitling the clip I have repeatedly encountered three major problems Reading speed constraint Shot changes Misheard sentences

Reading speed constraint

The reading speed constraint (180 wpm) proved to be very difficult to maintain because the lines of the actors contain very much information and the time allocated to each line is very short. This, coupled with the limited on-screen space I had at my disposal put me in a position where I had to either edit the subtitle very aggressively so that I shortened the original line (Diaz Cintas & Remael, 2007 : 82-85) or I had to rephrase it completely, trying to maintain the general flavor and tone. Being a police TV show the clip contained certain words that I could not edit, unfortunately these were space consuming.

Subtitle Number 7

Original Line Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.

Subtitled Anything you say will be used against you in court

Solution I had to cut down the Miranda rights to the bare minimum as it was followed by a quick shot change that faded to black. I left out the Hospital where she was working as it did not provide any usable information and was not mentioned again in the clip. I had to edit the sentence down very much as it was impossible to leave it in its original form because of the reading speed. I had to change the sentence in such a way that it didnt lose its original meaning even though its structure had to change to have a normal reading speed. This is the sentence that got edited down


Fern Lazlow, an ER nurse over at Queen and Mercy, was seen running from the crime scene to her apartment

Fern Lazlow, an ER nurse, was seen running from the crime scene to her apartment


Discovered the body right here, the gun was lying next to her.

Found the body and the gun next to her.


She hasnt been here long, maybe a few hours.

She has been here for maybe a few hours.


Which totally contradicts Hawkes theory that she was shot


It contradicts Hawkes' theory

from behind.


-Walking would have become very difficult - Standing up straight virtually impossible. But not so upset that you couldnt dispose of your bloody clothes, or take the time to try and wash away the evidence, come on.


the most, the speed of which the character speaks, the shot change and the quick reply from his colleague made it impossible to edit any other way. - Walking would Because of the time have been hard. constraints and - Standing up reading speed I found impossible no other way of editing this subtitle. But you still disposed This part was of your bloody particularly tricky as clothes, and took the I had to rephrase the time to sentence in such a wash away the way that it was short evidence. and didnt lose its original meaning Thats from the coat you tried to dispose of. Again, I had to leave out certain parts of information that I felt were not possible to be subtitled as it damaged reading speed and did not really contribute much to the conversation.


Thats from the coat you tried to dispose of, it was found at the crime scene.

Shot change Issue

The second major problem I encountered in subtitling the clip was the overwhelming frequency of the shot changes. The problem with very many shot changes is that they disrupt reading behaviour by provoking frequent deflections to the image. ( Zo De Linde, Neil Kay, 1999 : 66). Being a television show filled with action, the shot changes are necessary to keep it dynamic. But the sheer number of them makes life for subtitler very hard as they interfere with subtitling procedure, making it virtually impossible to apply basic rules. Subtitles that are allowed to over-run shot changes can cause considerable perceptual confusion and should be avoided (Guidance on Standards for Subtitling: 1 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SUBTITLE DISPLAY).

Because of the vast number of shot changes I had problems with, I will only give few examples. Editing the subtitles further was not possible, so the only option I had was to leave them over the shot changes. Subtitle Number 9 33 39 73 Number of shot changes 2 3 3 3

Misheard sentences
The third problem I had with the clip was audio related. Even though the quality of the video and audio on the file was excellent, at certain points I could not make out what the characters were saying. This was either due to the fact that the character had a certain way of talking, background noise or because I was not familiar with a certain word. The problem with mishearing certain terms is that it spawns a new type of rather common translation error, when a misheard term is translated (Institute of Linguists Volumes 42-43 : 97). Mishearing reflects not only the linguistic incompetence of the subtitler but also the ideology and poetics of the target language side (Fong & Kenneth , 2009 : 125). Subtitle Original Line Number 9 Placement of these knives is precise. Misheard Part Solution


It took countless tries until I got this right. I tried playing the part frame by frame to see if I can pick up the proper word, play the scene back in slow motion, and try to read the actors lips. After numerous tries, I got it right, and the sentence made sense.


Each knife found its mark with the first

Found its mark.

Again because of the way he speaks I didnt hear the sentence properly, all that I got on the first 4-5 tries was


each knife is marked with the first strike which didnt make much sense. Again I used the techniques mentioned above to solve the problem


Smooth edges, no stellate tearing, no powder burns


As I wasnt familiar with the word, I couldnt pick it up when playing back the video. I heard there was an additional part but I didnt understand it. The solution for this problem was to search for the phrase gunshot tearing, and then browsing through the results until I got the right answer.


Name of characters.

I searched for the cast of the show on websites that specialize in movies and tv shows, to make sure the names are spelt properly.

Template Commentary

Where appropriate I tried to give further information on certain words or expressions in the subtitle to help the translator as much as possible. In most cases I provided a link to a website where the translator can read about the said word/etc. in more depth, so he can decide how to translate it. Subtitle Number 1 11 13 In the first subtitle I explained what NYPD stands for (New York Police Department) as some people know it is a police force, but dont know what acronym actually stands for I have provided a synonym for the word mark that is used more frequently, target. I have given the full form of the word vic (victim) as to erase all traces of possible mistake. I have given a link and an explanation for the acronym ER (emergency room), as in non-native speakers of English would not know what exactly it stands for I have provided a link that offers a pretty interesting explanation for the word folk I chose to give explain what the word bucks means, a slang term for dollar, as I feel it should be translated with a similar slang term for money. I gave a link to a site explaining what a black credit card is, and the importance and wealth of the person who owns it, even though the main character offers a partial description. I explained what the slang term grand means so that it can be translated using an appropriate word. I offer and explanation on what a through-and-through is. Being a term usually used in forensics, even native speakers I have explained what the slang term hit means. This subtitle contained reference to the movie The Godfather, in which a character who is part of the Mafia says the exact same line after he and a fellow Mafioso carry out a contract killing. Out of all the comments I felt that this was amongst the most important as it not only referenced one of the best mob-films ever made, but is also linked to what the character said earlier (he assumes Joanna has been the victim of a hit). I also left a link at the end of the comment to an article about what cannoli is. I provided an explanation to what the postural group/muscles are. I have provided a link explaining what epithelial cells are.

18 31 39


43 55 68 70

94 149


When I first started subtitling the clip I didnt know the amount of problems I would run into. Having many scenes in which the characters didnt speak or had few lines coupled with the fact that it is a relatively new show and therefore had good audio and video quality made it seem easy to work on. I have tried to stay as faithful as possible to the script, but unfortunately due to the technical limitations imposed this was not always possible. As stated, I have had great difficulty in maintaining the 180 wpm reading speed. I feel that I had to edit some subtitles too aggressively and that the flavour of some lines and some character treats has been lost. Even though some lines have been shortened or completely rephrased, I think that I have succeeded in maintaining the original message. Because of the many shot changes, the subtitling may seem sloppy at certain times, I have tried my very best to make them appear and disappear with shot/scene changes or any onscreen movement, but due to the spatial and temporal dimension constraints this was not possible.


Institute of Linguists, The Linguist: journal of the Institute of Linguists, Volumes 42-43. 2005. The instititute Zo De Linde, Neil Kay, The Semiotics of Subtitling,1999. St. Jerome Publishing. Diaz Cintas, Jorge & Remael, Aline . Audiovisual Translation : Subtitling. 2007. Manchester. St. Jerome Publishing. Guidance on Standards for Subtitling , 1.9 Shot Changes http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/itc/itc_publications/codes_guidance/standards_for_su btitling/subtitling_1.asp.html Gilbert C. F. Fong and Kenneth K. L. Au, Dubbing and Subtitling in a World Context. 2009, The Chinese University Press.

For information on CSI NY http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Csi_new_york