Pictures and Sound: Audiovisual Terminology


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Tomorrow November 8th, I’ll be presenting my first-ever American Translators Association conference session. If you’ve ever wondered what translating audiovisual content is all about, come join me for session T-10: “Pictures and Sound: Translating Television and Other Audiovisual Media” from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

So that attendees don’t have to give themselves hand cramps scribbling down new vocab or carry around yet another sheet of paper, I want to make a short list of the medium-specific terminology I use here. Please enjoy!

  • Dubbing/ADR吹き替え – Recording over a source for which audio has already been recorded, but is unusable or in another language.
  • Recording – アフレコ – Though the Japanese comes from “after recording,” this is recording voices for the first time to a video source (think cartoons in their original language).
  • Lip flaps (or “flaps” for short) – 口パク – The movements of the characters’ mouths onscreen. This term is mainly for animated video.
  • Subtitles – 字幕 (**Caution: サブタイトル in Japanese often refers to an episode title in a TV series or the secondary title/”sub-title” of a work.)
  • Script/screenplay – 台本/脚本 – We’ll be talking lots more about this in the presentation!
  • Dialogue/lines – 台詞
  • Licensor – English term for the rights holder of the TV or film. Licensors license distribution rights to other companies.
  • Licensee/distributor – The entity to which the licensor grants rights to distribute the film.

I look forward to meeting many of you. And if you translate from Japanese, Korean, or Chinese into any other language, don’t forget to bring your business cards!

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