Nigel J. Ross

Dubbing American in Italy

English has influenced various other languages in many ways, at times quite directly (vocabulary and so on), sometimes less so. A very specific kind of translation from English - dubbing - has had a very subtle influence on some languages, Italian being one good example. In their search for good labial matches, dialogue translators may resort to using words and phrases which are not really suitable or natural Italian expressions, but which nevertheless render the idea. This is particularly true for certain short one-word expressions and other short phrases. Pronouns and swear words are often particularly problematic. As a result of this 'imaginative' translation, and due to the vast numbers of dubbed (principally American) films and TV series shown in Italy, the Italian language is starting to show some subtle effects of this process. We can pin-point the way that dubbing from English has influenced various aspects of the Italian language from new meanings and new usages for words to shifts in meanings, and from word order to pronunciation.

published in English Today (No. 41, Vol. 11/1, Jan. 1995), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

reprinted in Redesigning English: new texts, new identities, ed. Sharon Goodman & David Graddol, Routledge (in association with The Open University), London, UK., 1996

Publishers' details

English Today
(editor: Dr Tom McArthur)
Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge, CB2 2RU, England
and 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA
email: English Today
website: Cambridge Journals

Redesigning English: new texts, new identities
edited by Sharon Goodman and David Graddol
copyright 1996 The Open University
published by Routledge in association with the Open University
Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE, England
and 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA




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