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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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Conclusion Where do we go from here?


← 210 | 211 →CONCLUSION

Where do we go from here?

Dubbing as a practice has a long history and is very much ingrained in the psyche of the audiences that have grown used to it, even though the situation is changing with the advent of DVDs and the internet. As a consequence, audiences from countries commonly referred to as ‘dubbing countries’, such as France, Spain or Thailand, are accustomed to watching dubbed versions. The main role of dubbing can be summarized as allowing spectators to have access to the works of directors, necessitating a process of ‘localisation’ or ‘naturalisation’ (Mingant 2010: 730) in which not only dialogue is translated but also ‘cultural allusions’, ‘adapting to local dubbing conventions [and] finding convincing voices’ (ibid.). Strategies used in dubbed versions will therefore correspond to what a local audience ‘expects’ from this dubbed version, with audiences accepting that American or German actors speak French or Thai; this is the suspension of disbelief that permeates the dubbing experience. However, as some of the online comments by fans of BtVS have shown, dubbing is not accepted blindly by all audiences.

This monograph was written with three main goals in mind: to emphasize the complexity of reading audiovisual products, to examine the effect that dubbing has on performance and characterization and finally to show the importance of multimodal analysis, thereby suggesting a new line of research that bridges the gap between analyses in Translation and Film Studies. I therefore started with...

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