Reappraising verbal language in audiovisual translation: From description to application




fictive orality, conversation, the language of dubbing, naturalness, source language interference, creativity, demonstrative clefts


Focussing on the verbal code alone in audiovisual translation research is often criticised as it supposedly disregards the semiotic and cultural complexity of the audiovisual text. This article by contrast argues for the relevance of an in-depth analysis of the linguistic component of the multimodal complex. First, the article presents a model of key dimensions necessary to account for the space occupied by the language of dubbing, while placing it within a wider sociolinguistic context. Three pairs of dimensions are proposed: naturalness and register specificity, target language orientation and source language interference, and routinisation and creativity. Second, the article argues that translation for dubbing can be applied as a heuristic device to explore the translation of casual conversation. By analysing the rendering of a typical structure of conversational English in dubbed Italian, an illustration is provided of systematic cross-linguistic correspondences that potentially extend to spontaneous speech. Further sociolinguistic, diachronic and cross-cultural investigations are suggested as a way to push research into the language of dubbing forward.


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Author Biography

Maria Pavesi, University of Pavia

Professor of English language and Linguistics at the University of Pavia, where she also teaches audiovisual translation. Her research has focussed on orality in dubbing with special attention to personal, spatial and social deixis, and second language acquisition via audiovisual input. For the past 12 years she has developed the Pavia Corpus of Film Dialogue, a parallel and comparable corpus now comprising about 700,000 words of Anglophone and dubbed and original Italian film transcriptions. Her most recent publications include “Translational routines in dubbing: taking stock and moving forwards”, Routledge (2018) and “Corpus-based audiovisual translation studies: ample room for development” in The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation Studies (2018).




How to Cite

Pavesi, M. (2018). Reappraising verbal language in audiovisual translation: From description to application. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 1(1), 101–121.