[New publication] The European Journal of Humour Research 7 (1), 2019: Special Issue on ‘Humour in Multimodal Translation’

The European Journal of Humour Research 7 (1), 2019: Special Issue on ‘Humour in Multimodal Translation’

Link: https://europeanjournalofhumour.org/index.php/ejhr/issue/view/26/showToc (Open Access)

Research articles in this issue:

Editorial: Multilingual Humour in Translation, by Margherita Dore

Abstract: This volume seeks to investigate how humour translation has been developing over the last two decades by focusing in particular on new ways of communication. The contributions seek to plot and debate how today’s globalised communication, media and new technologies are influencing and/or shaping humour translation. Furthermore, they seek to map out future directions for research in this field of inquiry and its practice within a variety of contexts.

An Austrian in Hollywood: the representation of foreigners in the films of Billy Wilder, by Delia Chiaro, Giuseppe De Bonis

Abstract: This paper examines the work of Billy Wilder whose rich cinematic production frequently involves the collision of different languages as well as the clash of dissimilar cultures. As an Austrian living in the USA, the director had the privilege of gaining insight into his adopted culture from the point of view of an outsider – a bilingual ‘other’ who made 25 films in almost 40 years of working in Hollywood. His films recurrently depict foreign characters at which Wilder pokes fun whether they are English, French, German, Italian, Russian or even the Americans of his adopted country. More precisely, the paper offers an overview of the multi-modal portrayals of diverse ‘foreigners’, namely Germans, Russians, French and Italians, with examples taken from a small but significant sample of Wilder’s films. The subtitling of dialogue in the secondary language for the target English-speaking audience and the specific translation solutions are not within the scope of this discussion, instead we focus on the comic collision of two languages and more importantly, on the way Wilder implements humour to highlight the absurdity of cultural difference. In other words, our main goal is to explore two or more languages in contrast when they become a humorous trope.

Lost in Warsaw: the subversion of multilingual humour in the Italian subtitles to the Polish war comedy Giuseppe in Warsaw (1964), by Monika Wozniak

Abstract: In 1964, many decades before multilingual movies have become fashionable, a Polish director, Stanisław Lenartowicz, made a war comedy called “Giuseppe in Warsaw”. It narrates the adventures of an Italian soldier who on his way home from the Russian front during World War II is stranded in Poland. Pseudo-language, translation, mistranslation,  and mock translation figure conspicuously in the movie, which shows a series of clashes between Polish, German and Italian languages in the most improbable combinations. The original film used no subtitles, because the linguistic chaos was pivotal to showing the absurdity of the war through the deforming lenses of the comedy. This paper analyses various mechanisms of the multilingual humour in the original film and in its subtitled version in Italian, in order to see how the dynamics of humour change in the case of L3TT which becomes L2 in translation (Italian), especially when the point of the view of the audience is subverted and the viewers identify with the protagonist rather than the Polish characters in the movie.

Transferring multilingual humour intralingually: the case of “Big Night”, by Giulia Magazzù

Abstract: Multilingual films usually tackle significant social and political issues. Sometimes, these films adopt linguistic diversity to create confusion and to trigger humour, accomplishing a comic effect. Normally, films about migration and diaspora are multilingual, as they want to recreate the linguistic diversity that exists in reality. There are many cases though in which the translator/adapter faces the struggle of translating into his/her own language. In this paper, we will analyse the Italian dubbing of Big Night, to see how the dialogues have been conveyed and especially how verbally expressed humour and stereotypes from the Italian language and culture are transferred intralingually and to what effect.

Multilingual humour in audiovisual translation. Modern Family dubbed in Italian, by Margherita Dore

Abstract: Audiovisual productions are increasingly featuring multi-ethnic communities which also reflect today’s globalised world. Characters in both films and TV series are often depicted as having a bilingual background and heavily relying on code-switching to express their bicultural identity (Monti 2016: 69). As such, this phenomenon poses important challenges for its translation, especially when dubbing is involved. Using this audiovisual translation (AVT) mode involves a necessary technical manipulation(Díaz-Cintas 2012: 284-285). As for Italian dubbing, multilingualism has often undergone a process of neutralization (Pavesi 2005: 56) or local standardization (Ulrych 2000: 410), although recent dubbed films have proved to be geared towards a more faithful rendering of this important feature of the source text (Monti 2016: 90). It should be borne in mind that contextual factors, such as genres, may play a fundamental role in deciding whether to retain or neutralise multilingualism in AVT, especially when it is used for humorous purposes. In those cases, the perlocutionary function of the ST should be considered (Hickey 1998; cf. also Zabalbeascoa 2012: 322). Comedy can make use of multilingualism to entertain and the American mockumentary (or docucomedy) Modern Family (Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, 2009-2019), is a striking example in this sense. It follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family in suburban Los Angeles. Linguistically speaking, the most interesting character is Jay’s second wife Gloria Delgado, a young and beautiful Colombian woman who often code-switches or code-mixes English and Spanish (with a marked Colombian accent), thus creating moments of pure comedy. Hence, this study investigates how Gloria’s humorous and multilingual persona has been transferred into Italian. The analysis confirms the current tendency of Italian dubbing to render otherness in the TT (Monti 2016: 89). This may be justified by the genre and scope of the programme, that allow for a more innovative transfer of vernacular matching via what I propose to call functional manipulation.

Multilingual humour in a polyglot multicultural author: the case of Fouad Laroui, by Cristina Vezzaro, Katrien Lievois

Abstract: This paper focuses primarily on the Dutch and Italian translations of Laroui’s works, in which the two central features of his writing, i.e. humour and multilingualism, are strictly related. Laroui is a transcultural author fluent in French, English, Dutch, dialectal Arabic and classical Arabic, and his works reflect the different layers of experiences and languages he has gathered during his life. Humour, on the other hand, is a way for him to present, in an axiological opposition, different viewpoints that mostly cross cultures, nationalities and social hierarchies. Our analysis of Le Jour où Malika ne s’est pas mariée and Une année chez les Français has allowed us to pinpoint the interaction between the two main features of his writing and examine the creation of puns by means of different languages or loanwords. We have then analysed the various strategies adopted by translators and commented their different solutions. Our analysis has allowed us to identify three different ways in which a third language (L3) in the source text – often connected to humour – is rendered in the target text, i.e. (1) taken as it is, (2) distorted or adapted to the target language and (3) kept with an intertextual or paratextual element or replaced altogether.

One text, two varieties of German: fruitful directions for multilingual humour in “translation”, by Mary Catherine Frank

Abstract: A heterolingual text is characterised by the presence of two or more different languages, or two or more varieties of the same language (Corrius & Zabalbeascoa 2011: 115). This article discusses possible methods of translating into English of a text containing two varieties of German: Ottokar Domma’s Der brave Schüler Ottokar [The Good Schoolboy Ottokar]. In these stories, about a schoolboy growing up in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the 1960s, Domma creates a zone of friction between child narrator Ottokar’s everyday German and the language of GDR officialdom (“official discourse”). This article first shows that following a conventional method of translating a literary text into English does not allow this satire to be conveyed to the reader. It then presents two alternative translational methods — “thick” and creative — that demonstrate how it is helpful, indeed in some cases necessary, for the translator to adopt a broad understanding of “translation” in respect of texts that exploit multilingualism for humorous purposes. It is argued that methods of translating in which effect is privileged over form — which here included introducing multimodality — can serve well to open up heterolingual humour for speakers of other languages.

(Un)translatability revisited: transmetic and intertextual puns in Viktor Pelevin’s Generation “P” and its translations, by Roman Ivashkiv

Abstract: Babylen Tatarsky, the protagonist in Russian writer Viktor Pelevin’s novel Generation “P” (translated into English by Andrew Bromfield as Homo Zapiens), works to adapt American advertisements for the Russian market and witnesses how the reality of Russia’s tumultuous 1990s is replaced by a consumer-driven television simulation. Puns in the advertising slogans that Tatarsky translates, interspersed throughout Generation “P”, are central to its plot. Some of these puns exhibit greater sophistication than others: in addition to utilizing homonymy, homophony, homography, paronymy, and polysemy, they involve transmesis, multilingualism, and intertextuality. This article compares how Pelevin’s translators (English, German, Polish, Spanish, and French) approached these difficult puns. The objective of this comparative analysis is to demonstrate how the intertext(s) evoked through wordplay may, on the one hand, impede translation, but, on the other, open avenues for creative solutions, by producing new traces and echoes of meaning that make the act of translation possible. The issues raised by the various translations point to a need to re-examine the roles and tasks of the translator and underscore the importance of keeping the (un)translatability debate open. Ultimately, this article aims to contribute to the ongoing reconceptualization of what literary translation is and, especially, what it does: with texts, readers, literatures, and, above all, with language.

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