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Translating Humour in Audiovisual Texts

Edited By Gian Luigi De Rosa, Francesca Bianchi, Antonella De Laurentiis and Elisa Perego

Humour found in audiovisual products is, of course, performative in nature. If we consider instances of humour – any droll moment occurring in today’s fare of mixed-genre products as a composite of cognition, emotion, interaction and expression – we see that the verbal code becomes just one component of four equally significant elements. And, as ‘expression’ is not limited to verbal output alone, humour may of course be created in absence of a verbal code. Translating humour for audiovisuals is not too different from translating verbal humour tout court. What makes humour occurring within audiovisual texts more problematic is the fact that it may be visually anchored; in other words a gag or a joke may pivot on verbal content directed at a specific element that is present within the graphic system of the same text. As the term itself suggests, audiovisuals contain two overlying structures: a visual and an auditory channel each of which contain a series of both verbal and non-verbal elements which inextricably cross-cut one another. The contributors in this collection of essays present a series of case studies from films and video-games exemplifying problems and solutions to audiovisual humour in the dubs and subs in a variety of language combinations.
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Fostering creativity in the translation of humour. The Stable Hyper-Islands Procedure: Francesca Bianchi



Fostering creativity in the translation of humour. The Stable Hyper-Islands Procedure

1. Introduction

1.1. Humour and translation

Humour is a complex event involving one or more features at the linguistic, semantic, pragmatic, cultural and contextual levels (Attardo, 2001). Audio-visual products seem to be an incredibly rich source of instances of humour, not only because of the wide range of comic films and sit-coms, but above all because they share all the possible forms of humour found in text-only products, such as punning, narrative jokes, and linguistic jokes (see e.g., Delabastita, 1997; Nash, 1985) – to mention some widely-studied varieties147 – plus some distinctive types of humour connected to the medium, i.e., visual jokes (Zabalbeascoa, 1996), whose effect relies on the images, and sound jokes (Díaz-Cintas, 2001), whose effect is due to acoustic features such as sound, noise, but also accent, intonation and other suprasegmentals. It must be noticed that, in audio-visual translation (AVT), the use of image and sound is never to be disregarded, even when humour seems to be anchored in language, since these semiotic elements are an integral part of the context.

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