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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 4 The model


← 84 | 85 →CHAPTER 4

The model

4.1 Introduction

My research is concerned with the universe presented in texts, which I have referred to in my previous work on literary texts (Bosseaux 2007) as the ‘feel’ of a text. The term ‘feel’, initially coined by Paul Simpson (1993: 46), can also be used in a film context to discuss elements of character perception or characterization. As Pye puts it, ‘a story is capable of being told or dramatised in many ways’ (2007: 29). The previous chapters have highlighted that audiovisual materials tell stories in various ways and that gestures and movements can likewise be performed in many ways. The model I am putting forward in this book will therefore consider micro-elements of the oral and visual levels of audiovisual materials as they build up to give audiences a specific image of the film world. My focus is on how performance can be affected by dubbing and particularly on its impact on a character’s identity, i.e. characterization.

Subtitling, in comparison to dubbing, allows one to keep the original dialogue, including the voice quality and intonation of the original actors. At the same time, however, this ‘authenticity’ is partly lost when it comes to reconstructing the polysemiotic whole:

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