Video Translation
Thu. 2nd. 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 mainly work on Japanese to English 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 dub scripts for English videos for a few weeks, we finally move on to using Japanese materials to create the English versions.

In class, we will use short video segments and work on the translation in pairs or small 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 the course, mini-lesson


Translation work 1
Using a movie (English-language), Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 2
Using a movie (English-language), Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 3
Using a movie (English-language), Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 4
Using a TV show (English-language), Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 5
Using a TV show (English-language), English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 6
Using a cartoon/animated film (English-language), English-to-Japanese translation


Translation work 7
Using a movie (Japanese), Japanese-to-English translation


Translation work 8
Using a movie (Japanese), Japanese-to-English translation


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


Group work
Working on group project (Prepare script 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. I am constantly amazed by how much we learn about our own language as well as about English through the creative process of translation. The project videos presented by the students every semester are unexceptionally well-produced and very entertaining. I warmly invite you to join us in our exploration of language and culture, and look forward to seeing many of you in class. (Students who have already taken the class are advised NOT to register again.)