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Taming teen-language: The adaptation of <i>Buffyspeak</i> into Italian

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Abstract

This paper examines the Italian dubbed version of the US TV series <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i>, focussing in particular on the translation of the show’s idiosyncratic slang, the so-called Buffyspeak, and the representation of unconventional femininity embodied by the character of Buffy. Our analysis shows how the changes made in the adaptation radically alter two of the most debated elements of the programme: its youth language and its ‘feminist’ content, resulting in what we argue is a ‘tamer’ version of the show. We believe that linguistic and technical problems are insufficient to explain the normalisation strategies adopted throughout so other factors have been considered. In particular, we focus on current working practices in the Italian dubbing industry, the importance of clear generic labelling on TV and the difference between US and Italian teen series, all of which have been cited as elements that are likely to have affected the adaptation of the programme. Ultimately this illustrates that, when analysing dubbing for television, it is necessary to take into account the socio-cultural context to understand how certain strategies are chosen and why.

References

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