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Dubbing, Film and Performance

Uncanny Encounters


Charlotte Bosseaux

Research on dubbing in audiovisual productions has been prolific in the past few decades, which has helped to expand our understanding of the history and impact of dubbing worldwide. Much of this work, however, has been concerned with the linguistic aspects of audiovisual productions, whereas studies emphasizing the importance of visual and acoustic dimensions are few and far between.
Against this background, Dubbing, Film and Performance attempts to fill a gap in Audiovisual Translation (AVT) research by investigating dubbing from the point of view of film and sound studies. The author argues that dubbing ought to be viewed and analysed holistically in terms of its visual, acoustic and linguistic composition. The ultimate goal is to raise further awareness of the changes dubbing brings about by showing its impact on characterization. To this end, a tripartite model has been devised to investigate how visual, aural and linguistic elements combine to construct characters and their performance in the original productions and how these are deconstructed and reconstructed in translation through dubbing. To test the model, the author analyses extracts of the US television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its French dubbed version.
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Chapter 2 Performance and characterization


← 24 | 25 →CHAPTER 2

Performance and characterization

We may well be rewarded for concentrating on a performer as they merely turn a street corner, sit in a chair, touch a wall, move around a bedroom or carry a bunch of flowers. Fresh aspects of even familiar films emerge when we attend to gestures, postures, expressions and voice – and how they are situated. (Klevan 2005: preface)

2.1 Introduction

Performance in a filmic context can be defined as ‘what the performer does in addition to the actions/functions she or he performs in the plot and the lines she or he is given to say. Performance is how the action/function is done, how the lines are said’ (Dyer 1979: 151). Additionally, actors’ performances also give us access to characters’ feelings and thoughts and as such contribute to the ‘revelation of the interior states of characters’ (Murray Smith 1995: 151). Both of these definitions of performance mention actors and characters and it can be seen that performance and characterization overlap. Andrew Klevan explains this succinctly:

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