Spoken language in film dubbing: Target language norms, interference and translational routines

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One main feature which distinguishes film translation from other translation types is the need to produce a text which quite closely mimics spoken language. To which degree this is achieved and, more feasibly, which features are involved in doing so deserve in-depth investigation. Taking a small corpus of American and British films translated into Italian, a quantitative analysis of selected instances of spoken Italian associated with the constraints and situational factors of faceto-face communication has been carried out. The results suggest that major syntactic features of spontaneous spoken Italian tend at present to be reproduced in Italian film dubbing from English, with some features being systematically chosen as privileged carriers of orality. At least in some language areas and in the period investigated, dubbed language appears to result from the interaction of target language norms, which play the most significant role, source language interference, to a restricted extent, and formulaic language, a feature that has been widely recognized as typical of the language of audiovisual translation<i>.</i>


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