The Art of Translation: An Analysis of the Usage of Spanish Subtitles in Gabriel Axel’s film Babette’s Feast

Translation is one of the oldest skillsets in the world, and its history dates back into the early days of the Biblical era. This ancient field of study is utilized in diverse domains daily, and one recognized domain that relies heavily on translation is the film industry. Translation allows audiences of any language to enjoy a film that may not be in their native language. While there are several techniques that translation can use in cinema, this essay will focus on its usage of subtitles. Subtitles are words or captions that show the dialogue in a film, and these captions are practical because they can be in any language; they are also valuable due to the fact that they are inexpensive to create. This essay will explore the application of Spanish subtitles using Gabriel Axel’s 1987 film Babette’s Feast. Concentrating on several scenes from Axel's film related to storytelling and gastronomy, readers will be able to compare the Spanish subtitles with the spoken English and see several ideas on why the subtitles are rendered in a certain manner. The first several paragraphs of this essay are dedicated to the discussion and summary of translation history. Subsequently, the reader will then learn about the creation of film subtitles and their importance to foreign audiences. As mentioned previously, readers will then be introduced to Babette’s feast and its plot. Originally released in the Danish language, readers will be directed to focus on the film’s English spoken word and its resulting Spanish subtitles.

Author: Grace Jones