[New publication] Perspectives, 27 (2): Audiovisual Translation – Intersections
Audiovisual Translation – Intersections
Intersections: audiovisual translation at the crossroads of disciplines
Abstract: This brief article serves as an introduction to the contributions collected in the special issue devoted to interdisciplinarity in audiovisual translation. Using the notion of intersection to reflect on the inherent multidisciplinarity of AVT studies, it offers an overview of recent studies that explore the fruitful methodological intersections and cross-contamination between AVT and other disciplines, stressing ‘the independence of AVT as an autonomous discipline and its dependence on other related disciplines’ (Romero Fresco 2006). It is argued that multidisciplinary approaches can show the full range of possibilities of AVT research.
Film censorship in Franco’s Spain: the transforming power of dubbing
Abstract: Since the invention of cinema, the prominence and significance of the moving image have never been underestimated by the powers-that-be, especially, though not exclusively, in totalitarian states, where foreign films and their translations are, and have been, ideologically controlled in order to avoid any conflict with the socio-cultural values predicated by the rulers of the hosting community. This paper focuses on the dubbing into Spanish of the classical film The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1954), in which glamorous Ava Gardner plays the role of a voluptuous Spanish flamenco dancer that becomes an international film star in the USA. Hollywood’s appropriation and subsequent representation and internationalisation of Spanish mores and customs, embodied in the film by Ava Gardner and her Spanish family, was diametrically at odds with the values and virtues advocated by the Francoist regime (1939–1975), making this film a battleground for ideological manipulation and forcing the unleashing of a creative remediation process aimed at shrouding any criticism of Spanish interests or customs and cementing traditional values cherished by the regime.
Investigating the genesis of translated films: a view from the Stanley Kubrick Archive
Abstract: This article reports on a study of translation-related material in the Stanley Kubrick Archive, housed at the University of the Arts, London College of Communication. By examining a variety of documents from this extensive collection, it attempts to show what archival materials can reveal about the genesis of the foreign-language versions of Kubrick’s films, focusing on the film director’s role and degree of intervention in the translation process. Building on previous research on filmmakers’ role in translation and linking with recent developments in the research on accessible filmmaking. I argue that Kubrick’s case provides a significant example of ‘unorthodox’ practices within the film industry, offering an alternative model in which film translation is integrated within the creative process of filmmaking through the film director’s active participation in the translation process.
Voice in French dubbing: the case of Julianne Moore
Abstract: It is an acknowledged fact that dubbing practices vary across countries. In France, it is common to have different dubbing artists lending their voices to the same foreign actor. For instance, Julianne Moore has had 11 French voices since the beginning of her career, and her French designated voice, Ivana Coppola, also dubs several other actresses, including Michelle Yeoh and Vera Farmiga. This paper presents a short case study on the voices of Moore in France. I consider four films that were all released in 2014 in which she has four different French voices. The possible effect changes in her voice might have on French audiences is discussed using Freud’s concept of the uncanny. This discussion is underpinned by a presentation of the different agents taking part in the dubbing process and a reflection on the methodological tools used, with a view to contemplating further research. My main goal is to show what happens to the voice of foreign actors in French dubbing, using Moore as a case study. The article also emphasises the importance of voice choice as part of a film’s artistic content, and eventually aims at triggering more conversations on voice as part of the dubbing process.
The Cockney persona: the London accent in characterisation and translation
Abstract: This contribution focuses on the London accent, in its traditional Cockney realisation and in its more recent developments. The function of this accent in the original texts and its translation into Italian dubbing are both considered. After a description of the iconic features of the London variety, significant examples are presented, which showcase this accent in contrast with other accents and sociolects, especially the received pronunciation, according to a typical narrative topos. Rather than concentrating on the frequent realistic portrayals authored by socially oriented writers and directors, the examples chosen here to illustrate some typical telecinematic renditions of this popular variety are more stereotypical realisations of the London accent, whose aim is to portray an emblematic character with a distinctive idiolect. In the last section, dialogue excerpts will be analysed through the lens of two functions in particular, those defined by Kozloff (2000) as ‘opportunities for star turns’ and ‘exploitation of the resources of language’, two of the least quoted, but most interesting categories of her seminal taxonomy. Emphasis on these functions will arguably give the opportunity to approach the much-discussed topic of dialect translation from a fresher perspective.
A reflection on the translation of sex-related language in audio-visual texts: the Spanish version of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy
Abstract: Studies on the way sex-related language has been approached in audio-visual translation are still rather limited. This article documents the range of solutions given in Spanish to the sex-related language present in the British TV series The Casual Vacancy (2015), based on the novel of the same title by J.K. Rowling. In order to do so I will cursorily follow the sex-related items on their way from the original novel (The Casual Vacancy, 2012) to its Spanish translation (Una vacante imprevista, 2012) and, later on, to the Spanish screen. For my analysis, the TV script for the BBC One series (February 2015) and the Spanish dubbed version for Canal Plus (May 2015) will be considered. The study shows that patterns of sexual terms, and of how sexual terms are translated, are key indicators of a society’s attitude towards sex/sexuality, (im)morality, (in)decency, the body and gendered/sexual ideologies.
Translating reality TV into Spanish: when fast-food TV challenges AVT conventions
Abstract: In Spain, as in other countries, reality TV seems to be a pervasive phenomenon, materialised in a myriad of domestic and foreign productions. The latter require interlingual translation, which in most cases takes the form of voice-over translation. Despite the prevalence of reality TV and voice-over translation in Spanish television, both fields are still widely underexplored. This article sets out to bridge this research gap by presenting an exploratory study of the translation of reality TV in Spain. To this end, it will first document the prevalence of foreign reality TV in Spanish TV schedules, to then explore the similarities and differences in traditional voice-over translation (i.e. used for documentary translation) versus voice-over translation for reality TV. The focus is on the different types of synchrony observed in voice-over translation, yet the discussion highlights other relevant issues (e.g. approaches to the translation of semi-spontaneous speech) and illustrates how this genre is challenging audiovisual translation (AVT) conventions, as well as blurring the boundaries between AVT modes.
Paolo Virzì’s glocal comedy in English subtitles: an investigation into linguistic and cultural representation
Abstract: Paolo Virzì’s film production is deeply rooted in Italian (often Tuscan) contemporary society, with a focus on the daily lives of ordinary people and the difference between their true selves and their public persona. The language spoken by his colourful characters, which includes regionalisms, slang, colloquialisms and a vast array of idiosyncratic traits, is the quintessence of Virzì’s world and of his bittersweet irony. In this contribution, we aim to illustrate how these culture-specific scenarios are transposed in the English subtitled versions of three recent Virzì films, namely La prima cosa bella [The first beautiful thing] (2010), Paolo Virzì, Italy, Tutti i santi giorni [Every blessed day] (2012), Paolo Virzì, Italy, and Il capitale umano [Human capital] (2014), Paolo Virzì, Italy. We identify the indices of regional or Italian identity, linguistically or culturally expressed, in the three aforementioned films, with a view to elucidating the difficulties behind their translation in the English subtitles.
Voicing diversity? Negotiating Italian identity through voice-over translation in BBC broadcasting
Abstract: This contribution focuses on voice-over translation as a form of intercultural communication. The pilot study discussed here aims to investigate the role of voice-over techniques such as revoicing, narration and simultaneous interpreting in negotiating Italian cultural identity in non-fiction BBC broadcasts. The study is divided into five parts. The theoretical perspectives underpinning the research, narrative theory, imagology and critical discourse analysis are introduced in the first sections. An overview of the literature on voice-over translation follows in section two, while sections three, four and five present the analyses of three mini case studies spanning three non-fiction genres. The contribution concludes with some tentative observations and directions for further research.
Translation of digitized filmstrips: sociocultural aspects and pedagogical potential
Abstract: Filmstrip (a roll of 35 mm positive film containing still images and text) was a medium widely used in educational settings between the 1940s and 1980s. Projected still images were accompanied either by recorded narration or a text read out aloud for the audience, which made filmstrip a unique multimodal medium before videotapes. Filmstrip can be given a special status in the media history of Eastern Europe, where, in addition to education, it was extensively used in home entertainment. This paper presents the technical and sociocultural aspects of this medium and addresses questions about the current trend of digitization, online publishing and translation of filmstrips by amateurs. The paper argues that working with filmstrips offers considerable pedagogical advantages in foreign language teaching and acquisition. It also discusses a survey conducted at Osaka University, where filmstrip translation was used as a preparatory activity of L1 subtitling. The findings show that besides improving learners’ reading and translation skills, the translation of filmstrips might be an optimal didactic tool for sensitizing learners to questions of audiovisual translation, and preparing them for more complex audiovisual translation tasks such as subtitling.