Paul Memmi

Film Translator

Art beyond technique

Doctoral Thesis

How can we automatically transform long phrases into concise ones? How can phrastic concision software be designed for subtitling audiovisual utterances?

Intelligentiæ pauca – To intelligence, little (is enough). Through its elliptic form, the pleasure it arouses and the wit it calls for, this phrase praised by Stendhal points out what concise writing is. How can a software be made to generate such writing which is as efficient and pleasurable as it is incomplete and ambiguous? It is a huge challenge since modernity demands concise communication, plus its multimedia integration. Conceived for audiovisual applications, ©ÉCAO (French for Automatically Processed Concise Writing – APCW) should find numerous and various uses as a word processor and also for Internet, subtitled translations and subtitling for the hearing-impaired. This Thesis aims at its conception.

A semiolinguistic study of the subtitling, a proven example of concise writing which interacts with a verbal and audiovisual environment, leads to coming up with a method for referencing and disambiguating the source information as well as a set of phrastic concision operators. Some are programmable, others reveal the automaton’s deficiencies faced with sense constructions which are yet of capital importance. Therein lies the essential purpose of this research : the study of cognitive integration of complex communications and the study of concision as a mode of representation.

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