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The possibilities provided by subtitling to the SABC TV in the recognition and protection of language rights
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The degree to which the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) as public broadcaster gives shape to its language policy and language mandate, against the background of an investigation of language rights, establishes the central problem statement of this research.It is widely acknowledged that it is difficult to define the concept of language rights. Although the language-sociological literature associates this concept with minority and cultural rights, it can also be seen as individual rights. According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, it is clear that language rights should be seen as individual rights that can be exercised within a particular community. Although this dissertation provides an extensive juridical and language sociological explanation of the concept of language rights, the description by Judge Albie Sachs will be used as a working definition for this research. His division between the following four fundamental language rights, viz.: (i) the right to use your language; (ii) the right to develop your language; (iii) the right to be understood and to understand other languages as well as (iv) the right not to be discriminated against because of your language, provides a useful investigation instrument with which the degree to which the SABC-TV acknowledges and protects language rights can be measured.It is found that despite the policy documents on national and corporate level that has equal consideration and treatment of the diverse South African languages in mind, it still happens that the SABC-TV fails to give form to the language rights of individuals that belong to indigenous minority language groups in South Africa. Due to this, the research suggests that the extensive implementation of subtitles, as a form of screen translation that differs from lip synchronised dubbing, can make a significant contribution to the acknowledgement and protection of language rights by the SABC-TV.In addition to a discussion on what subtitles entail, the technical nature and specific parameters thereof, a feasibility study is included within which the affordability of this project for the SABC-TV is indicated. It is found that this form of screen translation is ideal for the South African situation because it is cheaper than both lip synchronised dubbing and the creation of new television programmes, but also because it can effectively be employed in regional broadcasts. Furthermore, the use of bilingual subtitles and pivot subtitles are also alternatives that may be considered. It is essential though that subtitles can indeed contribute to the way in which the SABC, as a public broadcaster, acknowledges and protects the fundamental language rights of the multitude of South Africans that belong to different language communities in South Africa. (Written in Afrikaans)