Verbatim vs. adapted subtitling and beyond. An empirical study with deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing children


This study tests two different existing approaches to Subtitling for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing (SDHH) on deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing primary-school children in Italy: verbatim subtitles aimed at accuracy (SKY style); and adapted subtitles aimed at usability (RAI style). To this aim, three short, self-contained cartoons were intralingually subtitled (Italian into Italian). The videos were then shown to 35 hearing children and 5 DHH children. The subjects were administered three questionnaires: one collected background data, one measured perception and one measured reception. The data showed that verbatim subtitles not only were the preferred approach by each group of children, but they also facilitated understanding more than adapted subtitles. We also found that SDHH for children did not interfere with comprehension of images in the video, and that adapted subtitles seemed to favour understanding of images more than verbatim ones. Furthermore, analysis of the data collected provided food for thought regarding speaker identification, legibility, readability, text comprehension, and ways to express diegetic sounds, along with a new theoretical framework for the production of SDHH.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v36p7

Keywords: SDHH; perception; reception; legibility; readability; comprehension


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