Video Translation
Thu. 3rd. Period Emi Karimata
Culture, Film, Linguistics, Presentation, Project, Vocabulary, Web Activities, Writing

This course is firmly based on the idea that language is a powerful reflection of cultural values, and therefore uses translation as a means to explore the workings and characteristics of our own language as well as those of English. Making use of subtitled/dubbed movies and TV shows as material, we will work on both Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translations. In every class, we will challenge ourselves with the task of creating our own "sub-channel" scripts or subtitles. It is an activity-based course in which students are expected to learn from practical experience and experimentation. Creativity, imagination, and humor will be highly appreciated. We will also be working towards a common goal- producing a dubbed ("fukikae") English version of a segment from a Japanese video of your choice in groups. In the beginning of the course we will work on English-language videos translating the subtitles or dubbed versions and "re-creating" the English scripts. After writing Japanese subtitles and dub scripts using English videos for a few weeks, we finally move on to using Japanese materials in order to create the English versions. In class we will use short video segments and work on translation in pairs or groups. Class activities will basically follow the same procedure every week:

  1. Watching the video segment
  2. Translating and discussing in pairs or groups
  3. Presenting the script sharing each other's work
  4. Comparing our versions with the original version
  5. Discussing the work and material

  1. Developing language awareness Exploring the range of expressions in each language, choosing words with context and register in mind, becoming aware of the connotative meanings that go beyond dictionary definitions
  2. Developing cultural awareness Reflecting on the cultural underpinnings of the structure/vocabulary of each language,translating the "untranslatable", regarding translation as a vehicle for exporting Japanese language/culture
  3. Thinking critically Sharpening observation and analysis, becoming able to discuss and present insights in English
  4. Working collaboratively Gaining inspiration and different perspectives through the exchange of ideas among peers
  5. Discovering the art of translation Finding out about the profession and basic skills required in making dubs/subtitles
  6. Appreciating bilingual broadcasts and movies Learning from the materials themselves which provide a rich source of authentic language and culture and can thus promote cultural understanding

Class Participation: 25%
Weekly Web (Moodle) Assignments: 25%
Group Project: 25%
Translation Assignments: 25%


Introduction, warm-up
Introduction to to the course, mini-lesson


Translation work 1
Using an English-language film, Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 2
Using an English-language film, Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 3
Using an English-language film, English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 4
Using an English-language TV show, English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 5
Using an English-language TV show, English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 6
Using an English-language cartoon or animated film, English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 7
Using a Japanese film, Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 8
Using a Japanese film, Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 9
Using a Japanese animated film, Japanese-to-English translation
Grouping for final project


Group work
Working on group project (Prepare scripts and work on translation)


Group work
Working on group project (Work on translation and rehearse for dubbing)


Group work
Working on group project (Dub voices and prepare for presentations)


Group presentations-Presenting dubbed videos


Group presentations and review

The work we do in this course has always been a valuable learning experience not only for my students but also for myself. It's amazing how much we learn about the two languages we are familiar with through the creative process of translation. The project videos presented by the students every semester are well-produced and very entertaining. I warmly invite you to join us in our exploration of language and culture. Looking forward to seeing many of you in class! (Students who have already taken this course are advised NOT to enroll again.)

To GIGA students: Since we are dealing with both English and Japanese scripts, having a good knowledge of written Japanese (vocabulary and kanji) would be beneficial. However, those who are eager to develop their Japanese skills through the work are welcome.