The effect of translation on humour response

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A small-scale investigation was carried out to explore how Italian audiences perceive Verbally Expressed Humour (VEH) when it is translated for the screen and how far translation might have an impact on individual Humour Responses (HR); i.e. the physiological responses to humorous stimuli in terms of laughter and smiling (McGhee 1979). 22 British informants watched seven video-clips containing examples of veh in their original language (English) and recorded their hr to each clip. Similarly, 34 Italians recorded their HR to the same clips in their dubbed and/or subtitled Italian versions. A t-test for independent samples on informants’ responses revealed that the Italians’ hr was slightly lower than that of the British respondents thus implying that translational impact on hr was minimal.


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