Subtitling for people with hearing impairments in the Arab world context: The case of the Blue Elephant 2 movie

Nadine AlBkowr 1, Ahmad S. Haider 1 2 *
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1 Applied Science Private University, Amman, JORDAN
2 MEU Research Unit, Middle East University, Amman, JORDAN
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 13, Issue 4, Article No: e202347. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/13602
OPEN ACCESS   211 Views   199 Downloads   Published online: 22 Aug 2023
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ABSTRACT

Although technology advancements have increased the availability of screens everywhere, making it possible to watch AV products anytime, the deaf-and-hard-of-hearing (DHH) accessibility to these materials in the Arab world is still poor. Only a few Arabic movies with this feature are available via Netflix. In this study, the subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) in The Blue Elephant 2 movie are analyzed. This study qualitatively examines the type of information covered in the subtitles of the investigated Arabic movie for Arab viewers with hearing impairment. It also quantitatively investigates the reactions of people with hearing impairment to the technical aspects of the subtitles using a structured questionnaire, which consisted of five open-ended questions. The qualitative analysis revealed two main types of information, namely, para-linguistic/extra-linguistic and linguistic. The para-linguistic/extra-linguistic aspect includes information about music, speakers, vocal non-linguistic features, and non-verbal signs. The linguistic aspect is related to the code-switching between languages where the speaker may use some languages other than Arabic. The quantitative analysis showed that the participants reacted positively to the technical aspects of the subtitles, including the length and synchrony. They stated that they had enough time to read and process the information included in the subtitles. The paralinguistic information was reflected in the subtitles and helped them better understand the movie. The sample attitude towards SDH was good and positive, and they like to watch more Arabic movies with this feature in the future. This study concludes that more attention to DHH people in terms of accessibility to audiovisual content should be paid. This will likely improve their linguistic and cultural skills and help them integrate more with the surrounding community. The study’s findings have substantial implications for enhancing DHH individuals’ access to audiovisual content in Jordan and the wider Arab region. The study emphasizes the need to deliver high-quality SDH that incorporates both linguistic and paralinguistic information to DHH viewers in order to improve their viewing experience.

CITATION

AlBkowr, N., & Haider, A. S. (2023). Subtitling for people with hearing impairments in the Arab world context: The case of the Blue Elephant 2 movie. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 13(4), e202347. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/13602

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