Giuseppe De Bonis - Mediating intercultural encounters on screen. The representation of non-professional interpreting in film
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Giuseppe De Bonis
Mediating intercultural encounters on screen. The representation of non-professional interpreting in film
1. The representation of non-professional interpreting in film: an overview
This chapter aims to shed some light on the different ways in which non-professional interpreting has been represented on the big screen. By “non-professional interpreting” we refer to those cases in which a bilingual character in a film acts as a lingua-cultural mediator on a specific occasion, without necessarily being a professional in the field. Generally, this lay interpreting is portrayed on screen when a film depicts an intercultural encounter, that is when the story has an “international” setting with characters coming from different countries and thus (allegedly) speaking different languages. “Diegetic interpreting” (O’Sullivan 2007, 2011: 80–93, Bleichenbacher 2008: 183–190) – i.e. when a character performs as an interpreter for other characters – occurs in so called “multilingual films” (Heiss 2004, Wahl 2005, 2008, Dwyer 2005, O’Sullivan 2007, 2011, Bleichenbacher 2008, Berger and Komori 2010, Sanz Ortega 2011). The term “multilingual” in cinema refers to those stories which portray a multilingual situation in which a primary language is present along with one or more secondary languages. The primary language is the prevailing language, the one which is most significant in terms of quantitative presence throughout the film. From a narrative viewpoint, the so-called “dominant language” can be considered as the film’s main language of communication (Heiss 2004), in the sense that most of the dialogues are...
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