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Translating Emotion

Studies in Transformation and Renewal Between Languages


Edited By Kathleen Shields and Michael Clarke

This collection of essays can be situated in a development that has been underway in translation studies since the early 1990s, namely the increasing focus on translators themselves: translators as embodied agents, not as instruments or conduits. The volume deals with different kinds of emotion and different levels of the translation process. For example, one essay examines the broad socio-cultural context, and others focus on the social event enacted in translation, or on the translator’s own performative act. Some of the essays also problematize the linguistic challenges posed by the cultural distance of the emotions embodied in the texts to be translated.
The collection is broad in scope, spanning a variety of languages, cultures and periods, as well as different media and genres. The essays bring diverse questions to a topic rarely directly addressed and map out important areas of enquiry: the translator as an emotional cultural intermediary, the importance of emotion to cognitive meaning, the place of emotion in linguistic reception, and translation itself as a trope whereby emotion can be expressed.


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MICHELLE WOODS - Love and Other Subtitles: Comedic and Abusive Subtitling in Annie Hall and Wayne’s World -125


MICHELLE WOODS Love and Other Subtitles: Comedic and Abusive Subtitling in Annie Hall and Wayne’s World In Europe, his films are greeted and loved there as equals, all of the same stature. In America, some are hits, some are f lops. Critics draw sharp distinctions among them. ‘Maybe they gain something in translation’, he says wryly. — Woody Allen1 Alvy Singer and Wayne Campbell are smitten, and they try to convey their love to Annie Hall and Cassandra Wong. As both are awkward com- municators they cannot speak of love; instead Alvy talks about Annie’s photographs and the ‘aesthetic criteria’ of the ‘new art form’; Wayne talks about his ex-girlfriend Stacey and her ‘self-nullifying behavior’. The women respond and all four, in these mostly monolingual films, speak in subtitles. In Annie Hall (1977), those subtitles reveal what the characters are really thinking (‘I wonder what she looks like naked’), and in Wayne’s World (1992), they translate the f luent Cantonese that the slacker Wayne can suddenly speak. Can we read this comedic use of subtitling in ostensibly monolingual English-language films as a form of what Abé Mark Nornes has described as ‘abusive subtitling’?2 If so, does it suggest models of sub- titling for translating films? 1 ‘My Bust Up with Mia Would Have Made a Great Movie’. Interview with Woody Allen, The Guardian, 24 November 2000. nov/24/culture.features. Accessed 3 June 2010. 2 Abé Mark Nornes, ‘For an Abusive Subtitling’, Film Quarterly 52.3 (Spring 1999), 17–34. 126 MICHELLE...

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