6.1 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
In most cases (60.1%) film titles were directly translated into Croatian. Direct translations were followed by free translations (17%) and transcriptions (15.5%). Transcreations were represented by 6.7% of the title translations, while combinations of a translation and transcription were scarce (0.8%). Film titles were chiefly transcribed into German (39.7%), while direct translations were also significantly represented (25.4%). These were followed relatively closely by transcreations (17%) and free translations (16.8%). Combinations of a translation and transcription were, similarly to the Croatian subcorpus, limited to 1%.
6.1.1 DIRECT TRANSLATIONS
Direct translations were considerably more represented in the Croatian subcorpus than in the German one. Some original titles in our corpora were directly translated although there were clear cultural and/or linguistic difficulties in the translation process. For example, the film title V for Vendetta (2005) was directly translated into Croatian as O za osvetu even though the grapheme V is a relevant visual motive in the film. Furthermore, we observed direct translations that were identical to the translation of a literary title on which the plot of the film was based, e.g. War of the Worlds (2005) > Rat svjetova. However, it is difficult to assess whether the title was translated anew or if the previous translation of a literary title was adopted. Nevertheless, it could be presumed that the adoption of an already existing translation could add to the appellative effect of the translation through the serial effect, which is “the consumer’s belief that new products from the same group have a constantly high quality” (Schubert 2004: 247).
6.1.2 FREE TRANSLATIONS
Free translations as a whole were present in similar proportions in both subcorpora. Croatian free translations were led by shifts (29.9%), which were closely followed by substitutions (26.8%) and additions (21.7%). Subtractions and the mixed type appeared in slightly lower proportions, 13.4% and 8.3% respectively. German translations were dominated by substitutions (36.4%), which were followed by shifts (18.8%), subtractions (17.5%), additions (16.2%) and the mixed type (11%). Subtle differences between the two markets are observable.
When it comes to additions, there were some differences between the two subcorpora. A closer look at additions in the Croatian subcorpus reveals that in most cases the motivation for additions can be discerned. In 32.4% of the cases there is a tendency of enhancing the serial effect by adding lexical-semantic structures indicating that the film is part of a series, e.g. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) > Cr. James Bond 007: Čovjek sa zlatnim pištoljem. Interestingly, most of the serial markers include character names. Addition seems also to have served as a means of explication, at least in 23.5% cases, e.g. Airplane! (1980) > Cr. Ima li pilota u avionu ‘is there a pilot on the plane’. Sometimes keywords for the explication of a genre were also involved, Dawn of the Dead (1978) > Cr. Zora živih mrtvaca ‘dawn of the living dead’. The addition of emotionally salient lexemes was discovered in only four cases (11.8%) and included in two instances the abstract lexeme death, a diminutive and an attribute. As was the case with the Croatian subcorpus, German additions had the role of creating the serial effect (in 37.5% of the cases), e.g. Sons of the Desert (1933) > Ge. Laurel und Hardy: Die Wüstensöhne ‘Laurel and Hardy: the desert sons’. The proportion of emotionally salient lexemes was somewhat higher in the German subcorpus, with 25% of the translations which were mostly expanded with the use of attributes. In four cases (16.7%) character names were introduced to the title, without having the purpose of achieving the serial effect, e.g. The Martian (2015) > Ge. Der Marsianer – Rettet Mark Watney ‘the Martian – save Mark Watney’. There were no such cases in the Croatian subcorpus.
Regarding additions, we also observed that in both subcorpora most additions include series markers and, interestingly, their proportions are comparable. This suggests that original titles of films belonging to a series which are not marked as such are similarly treated both in Croatia and in Germany. Contrary to these similar trends in the process of marking the affiliation to a series, there were no cases of explication in the German subcorpus, while this motivation was highly represented in the Croatian subcorpus. Moderate differences were present in the proportions of emotionally salient lexemes, the higher proportion being found in the German subcorpus. Personalisation was modestly present only in the German subcorpus. Although it is difficult to judge which of the motivations would produce a greater appellative effect, these results possibly suggest that the orientation towards a more powerful appellative effect was more present during the translation process into German than into Croatian.
Subtractions were present in similar proportions in both subcorpora. In the Croatian subcorpus, 38.1% of the subtractions excluded a redundant series marker. In all of these cases, original titles include either the marker part or episode (which incidentally only appears in titles of the Star Wars film series). One example is The Hangover Part II (2011) > Mamurluk 2 ‘hangover 2’. Subtraction which were the results of the shortening of an exceedingly long title also had the proportion of 38.1%. In most cases (75%) the subheading was lost, e.g. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) > Goli pištolj ‘naked gun’. In the German subcorpus, the shortening of an exceedingly long title was present in 25.9% of the cases, e.g. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) > Der Mieter ‘the lodger’. There were some cases (14.8%) of a redundant marker exclusion, e.g. The Godfather: Part III (1990) > Der Pate 3 ‘the godfather 3’. Apart from a single case when an already existing literary title translation was adopted, motivations for all other subtractions in the German subcorpus remain unclear. While the obvious trend in the Croatian subcorpus was to shorten long original titles, possibly to allow greater clarity, the percentage of shortening was significantly lower in the German subcorpus.
The proportions of shifts show moderate differences between the two subcorpora. What is perhaps more notable is that shifts and substitutions appear in similar proportions in the Croatian subcorpus, while their proportions are rather different in the German subcorpus, where substitutions are favoured over shifts. Initially one might assume that a higher proportion of shifts in the Croatian subcorpus can be explained by greater morphosyntactic differences between Croatian and English as the prevailing source text, as opposed to German and English. However, a closer look shows that only 12.8% of the shifts in the Croatian subcorpus can be interpreted as interventions due to morphosyntactic differences between the source languages and Croatian, e.g. He Who Gets Slapped (1924) > Onaj kojega su tresnuli ‘the one who they slapped’, where the passive construction was hard to transmit. There were three cases (6.3%) of salient emotional connotations resulting from a shift. For example, in The Thin Man (1934) > Mršavko ‘thin–suffix’, instead of a lexeme equivalent to man, the suffix -ko is inserted which nominalises the adjective, denotes a person and functions as a hypocoristic (Barić et al., 2005: 329). Only two cases (4.2%) of explication were detected, e.g. Roman Holiday (1953) > Praznik u Rimu ‘holiday in Rome’. Remarkably, motivation in other cases remains enigmatic. In the German subcorpus, 20.7% of the shifts were due to morphosyntactic differences between the languages, e.g. Edward Scissorhands (1990) > Edward mit den Scherenhänden ‘Edward with the scissor hands’. Yet other cases of shifts continue to be unclear. Although for reasons of linguistic typology one might expect a higher proportion of shifts in the Croatian subcorpus than in the German one, they are actually similar and slightly more substantial in the German subcorpus. It would appear that, when encountering difficulties due to the morphosyntactic differences between the source and target languages, translation strategies other than shifts are implemented in the translation process. Although the proportion of explication was very low in the Croatian subcorpus, it seems rather indicative that there were yet again no explication cases in the German subcorpus.
Substitutions were moderately more numerous in the German subcorpus compared to the Croatian one. Once again most changes were made with unclear motivation. Both explication and interventions due to linguistic differences were modestly present at 14.3% in the Croatian subcorpus. An example with a clear difficulty was the original title (500) Days of Summer (2009) which was translated into Croatian as (500) dana ljubavi ‘(500) days of love’. The difficulty was caused by the homonymy between the English lexeme summer and the character name Summer, which was impossible to convey in the translation. Five cases (11.9%) included emotionally salient lexemes as substitutes, e.g. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) > Ace Ventura: Šašavi detektiv ‘Ace Ventura: the wacky detective’. Most other cases of substitution remain vaguely motivated. Substitutions were the most common subtype of the free translation strategy in the German subcorpus. Although motivation is unclear in most cases, first explication cases were detected in the German subcorpus, but they were present in only 9.1% cases. Substitutes in most interpretable cases were emotionally salient lexemes (23.6%), e.g. Our Hospitality (1923) > Verflixte Gastfreundschaft ‘darned hospitality’. Clear differences are noticeable between the two subcorpora. While in the Croatian subcorpus substitutions had a role in the translinguistic reconciliation, no such aspect was detected in the German subcorpus. Yet again there were moderate differences in the proportion of emotional connotations, which were more substantial in the German subcorpus.
Free translations of the mixed type were modestly represented in both subcorpora. No systematic data was found in the analysis regarding free translations of the mixed type.
The proportion of transcreations showed mild differences between the two subcorpora, with the German subcorpus containing more instances of transcreation. In the Croatian subcorpus, 21.3% of the transcreations facilitated explication, e.g. Now You See Me (2013) > Majstori iluzije ‘masters of illusion’. In 13.1% of the cases emotionally salient lexemes were added during the transcreation process. Most other cases are without a clear interpretation. In the German subcorpus, a large number of transcreations did not have a clear interpretation either. In 9.3% of the cases an emotional connotation was introduced. In most of the cases the lexemes served for the explication of the genre, for example in White Heat (1949) > Sprung in den Tod ‘the jump into death’ where the translation suggests a thriller. In 7.4% of the cases a proper noun was inserted during the transcreation process, e.g. The Most Dangerous Game (1932) > Graf Zaroff – Genie des Bösen ‘count Zaroff – genius of evil’. There were few cases of explication in the German subcorpus, making the proportion of such interventions in the Croatian subcorpus noticeably higher than in the German one. The proportion of lexemes with salient emotional connotations was similar in both subcorpora.
There were pronounced differences in the proportion of transcriptions between the two subcorpora. While transcriptions were only modestly represented in the Croatian subcorpus, they were the primary choice in the German subcorpus. Croatian transcriptions were dominated by complete transcriptions (88.1%), which were followed by subtractions (9.8%) and additions (2.1%), which were represented by only three cases in the entire subcorpus. German transcriptions were again led by complete transcriptions (69.3%), but had considerably more additions, which took the second position (24.3%). Subtraction was found in 5% of the cases. In the German subcorpus, substitutions were found in only four cases, and there was a single shift. Considerable differences are, therefore, noticeable in the proportions of complete transcriptions and additions between the two subcorpora. The fact that the German subcorpus contained substitutions and a shift, which were not represented in the Croatian subcorpus, and the fact that most original titles from the corpus were in English, suggests that English lexical-semantic structures are more acceptable when translating into German than into Croatian. However, the proportion of both translation strategies remain very low, calling for further arguments for this kind of interpretation.
The proportion of complete transcriptions was significantly higher in the Croatian subcorpus compared to the German one. Most complete transcriptions in the Croatian subcorpus were transcriptions of proper nouns (83.3%), e.g. Mary Poppins (1964). In 13.3% of the cases proper nouns included compound proper nouns such as Iron Man or Spider-Man. There were six cases (4.8%) of transcription in which there were either no clear lexical-semantic structures, e.g. THX 1138 (1971), or the source language was ambiguous, e.g. Ex Machina (2015). There was one case of number transcription (0.8%), namely 300 (2006). Other cases of transcription have no clear motivation, but were quantitatively marginal. Contrary to the high proportion of clearly motivated complete transcriptions in the Croatian subcorpus, only 29.6% of the complete transcriptions in the German subcorpus are transcriptions of proper nouns. Cases similar to and including THX 1138 and Ex Machina were found to constitute 2.4%. The same case of number transcription was also found in the German subcorpus. Therefore, while 88.9% of the complete transcriptions in the Croatian subcorpus are clearly motivated, only 32.4% of the complete transcriptions in the German subcorpus fall into that category.
There were considerably more additions in the German subcorpus compared to the Croatian one, in which only three cases of such interventions were found. Two of these included serial markers, e.g. Octopussy (1973) > James Bond: Octopussy. Almost all cases of addition in the German subcorpus involved the insertion of subheadings (94.3%), with only five titles remaining without a subheading. In 28.4% of the cases, additions involved lexemes with salient emotional connotations. As many as 68% of these cases had the purpose of genre explication, e.g. Halloween II (1981) > Halloween II – Das Grauen kehrt zurück ‘Halloween II – the horror returns’. Although a preliminary visual examination suggests that most of the subheaded transcriptions are nonsense subheadings, one group that stands out is comprised of combinations of a complete transcription and a direct translation. Eleven such cases (12.5%) were found, e.g. The King’s Speech (2010) > The King’s Speech – Die Rede des Königs ‘the king’s speech – the speech of the king’. There were limited amounts of explication and cases where series markers were used.
Subtractions were found in similar proportions in both subcorpora. However, depending on the theoretical classification one wishes to pursue, it would seem appropriate to count a large proportion of subtractions in both subcorpora as complete transcriptions. In the German subcorpus, for instance, 77.8% of the cases are exclusions of the initial definite article, e.g. The Karate Kid (1984) > Karate Kid. This was the case in 57.1% of the cases in the Croatian subcorpus. Additionally there were three cases (21.4%) of the exclusion of subheadings and three cases of the exclusion of redundant series markers in the Croatian subcorpus. In the German subcorpus, beside the initial definite article exclusion, in one case a subheading was excluded and in another a redundant series marker. Two cases had no clear motivation, e.g. Silver Linings Playbook (2012) > Silver Linings.
Substitutions and shifts were not found in the Croatian subcorpus, as already mentioned above. Four of the five cases in the German subcorpus include titles of films belonging to a series, the earliest being from 2006. The remaining translation is a fairly peculiar case of substitution: The Addams Family (1991) > Die Addams Family ‘the Addams family’.
Translations in the German subcorpus systematically show lower proportions of explication compared to the Croatian subcorpus. Conversely, proportions of emotionally salient lexemes were higher in essentially all translation strategies investigated in our study. What is more, motivation for most modifications, when it comes to both free translation and transcription, was unclear in considerably more cases in the German subcorpus than was the case in the Croatian one. All this, along with the observed considerable differences in the diversity of transcriptions, suggests that the process of translation into German was much more modulated by the appellative effect transfer and increase, also allowing more room for the original appellative effect of English lexical-semantic structures. Because there were substantially more cases of explication and fewer cases of unmotivated transcreations and transcriptions in the Croatian subcorpus, clarity of title translation seems to be the central motivation in most cases. This interpretation is also supported by the fact that nonsense title transcriptions or nonsense subheadings were hard to find in the Croatian subcorpus, while they were abundant in the German one.
6.2 DIACHRONIC ANALYSIS
In the first examined decade, between 1928 and 1937, the Croatian subcorpus was greatly dominated by direct translations (78.5%). Free translations and transcriptions appeared in much lower proportions (8.6% and 7.5% respectively). Transcreations and combinations of a translation and transcription (CTT) show marginal results. For the next several decades, moderate or in some cases slight fluctuations in the proportions of direct translations, free translations and transcriptions can be observed. Transcreations remained peripheral while CTTs were non-existent until 2006. In the 1978-1987 decade, a pronounced drop in direct translations was observed, from 73.7% in the previous decade to 49%. Comparing those two decades, we further found a substantial increase in free translations, from 6.3% to 22.4%, and a moderate increase in transcriptions, from 15.8% to 21.4%. Most of the transcriptions from this decade involved proper nouns, which suggests that this increase is mostly or solely due to sampling bias. Free translations, however, do not show any clear cause from the translator’s point of view, as there were virtually no interventions due to linguistic differences between the source languages and Croatian. In the next decades no significant diachronic changes were detected. Free translations retained a higher proportion, constantly around 20%. Direct translations remained steady (around 50%). Transcriptions regularly constituted 20% after the end of the 1988-1997 decade. Transcreations gradually increased after the 1948-1957 decade to a modest proportion, regularly just below 10%. Diachronically, the most substantial changes were found in the proportion of direct translations, which dropped around 30% from the onset of our timeline. This was mostly picked up by free translations, which showed a moderate increase at one point and have remained at a similar level until present. Transcriptions recorded a moderate increase compared to the first decade, but the fluctuations observable from the second decade already showed values similar to the present ones. This led to the final decade still being dominated by direct translations (46.5%), followed by transcriptions (21.8%), free translations (18.8%), transcreations (8.9%) and CTTs (4%).
In the first examined decade, between 1928 and 1937, direct translations were the first strategy choice in the German subcorpus, with 44.4%. Other translation strategies shared similar proportions: transcreations 21.1%, transcriptions 17.8% and free translations 16.7%. The next two decades showed mild increases in transcreations and free translations, combined with a moderate decrease in direct translations. In the 1958-1967 decade, fluctuations are apparent in all strategies, while transcriptions recorded their first moderate increase. This increase gradually gained ground and exploded in the 1978–1987 decade, when transcriptions became the first choice translation strategy, making up 54.7% of the cases. Consequently, all other translation strategies recorded moderate or substantial drops. Direct translations went from 40.6% in the 1958–1967 decade to 16.2% in the following decade. The trends have continued with limited fluctuations until today, when transcription is a predominant strategy (75.2%), followed by direct translation (8.9%), free translation (7.9%), transcreation (5.9%) and CTT (2%). The last decade recorded only a moderate decline of free translations.
Diachronic differences and similarities can be observed between the two subcorpora. In both subcorpora we observed prominent decreases in direct translations. In the Croatian subcorpus, there was a pronounced drop in the 1978–1987 decade, while the German subcorpus recorded a similar drop in the 1958–1967 decade and a subsequent gradual decline in the periods approaching the last decade. It is, however, not clear why the observed change showed different temporal values. The gradual decline was probably a consequence of a steady rise in transcriptions. What is more, a similar gradual decline was recorded in free translations and transcreations as well. In the Croatian subcorpus, moderate changes were observed for free translations which do not seem to be a product of sampling bias.
Although not many major diachronic shifts were detected in our analysis, we can still make some connections to specific cultural-historical processes. According to the general timeline presented in our methodological framework, the major decline in direct translations observable in the German subcorpus seems to correlate with the onset of New Hollywood, which was characterised by a shift in the focus of major film studios from the artistic control of the movie production to the distribution of the film and its success on the global market. That is also the time when fluctuations in all translation strategies appear in the German subcorpus, suggesting that cultural-historical changes influenced the process of film title translation. It also possibly suggests that there was a period of adjustment, since steady proportions of particular translation strategies emerged only later. However, sampling bias should be taken as a possibly influential factor. The explosion of transcriptions in the 1978-1987 decade can be correlated to advances in Hollywood’s power during the later phases of New Hollywood. However, causal links remain unclear, probably due to the quite general outline of cultural-historical processes we used in our analysis. In the same decade that transcriptions ballooned in the German subcorpus, the Croatian subcorpus experienced a substantial decrease in direct translations and a moderate increase in free translations. These results imply that there were notable connections between cultural-historical processes in the 1980s, and possibly sooner, and diachronic changes in film title translation. Because film title translators are more focused on the appellative effect at present, it is possible that free translations and transcriptions, in the Croatian and German subcorpora respectively, were those translation strategies that were mostly associated with the appellative effect transfer.
 “dem Glauben der Konsument(inn)en, dass neue Produkte aus derselben Gruppe eine konstant hohe Qualität aufweisen” (Translated by the authors)