Language Differences In Multilingual Film

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It seems difficult enough to dub an audiovisual text in a source language into a target language, considering the technical and linguistic constraints imposed on dubbing. The question then arises: what about multilingual films, in which several languages are spoken? It must first be reminded that every single film is different and that there couldn’t be one single rule applicable to each situation, “given the multisemiotic nature of these cultural products, the many forms multilingualism may take, the different functions it fulfils, as well as the tremendous variety of reception situations” (Meylaerts and Serban 9-10).

Zabalbeascoa and Corrius explain that there are three main approaches when it comes to dubbing a multilingual film:
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Heiss strongly believes that, in multilingual films, “a meaningful element is represented by the fact that the viewers are confronted with what is foreign to them, and this must not be lost in the translation” (218). It is therefore especially essential not to unify languages with a narrative function, because the audience would otherwise lose crucial information about the characters and their social imbedding (211). Sepielak believes the first step in the translation process is to establish the number of L3 elements in the film since “the bigger the role played by multilingualism in the movie, the more L3 insertions appear” (252). Corrius and Zabalbeascoa also insist that L3 might be translated according to its function. For example, if it aimed at producing humour, then the challenge is to reproduce a similar humorous effect. In that sense, “L3 is frequently a means rather than a goal itself” (Ibid…show more content…
Scenes including an interpreter are challenging to dub since the target language becomes the main language of communication in the dubbed version, “thereby not only creating an unnatural communication, but also rendering one professional figure utterly superfluous, namely the interpreter” (208). In fact, as also pointed out by Dwyer, the character of an interpreter in a film becomes unnecessary if a multilingual dialogue in which he intervenes is dubbed in a single language (299). By fictionalising such characters, filmmakers would seek to make films that are impossible to dub (Ibid). Because they are particularly challenging for translation, some link multilingual films and the concept of “untranslatability” (Ibid 305). This does not mean that they cannot be translated, but rather that a good translation is really hard to achieve due to the inherent peculiarities of each language and

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