Help with dissertation please!
Thread poster: Eleonora Monoscalco

Eleonora Monoscalco
Italy
Local time: 08:32
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Jun 24, 2015

Hello to everybody.
I am an Italian student willing to gradutate with a dissertation focused on the problems of dubbing foreign TV series into my language.
I would like to ask you some advice since I am not sure either to pick one TV series and focus on that particular one or to pick examples from different TV series (In this case, how many?).
My original idea was focusing on an English TV series never dubbed before in Italian, but some people are telling me that it could be better to have an Italian version to compare mine with that one.
Also, my teacher doesn't want me to translate the whole TV series, but just some bits of it. The rest of the disseration will be talking about some difficulties of translating humour, cultural differences and maybe some made up expressions or dialects.
If you have some ideas - suggestions related to the TV series or to the books to read it would be really helpful for me.
For now, I have been thinking of Black Adder and Miranda as English TV series, or some more popular ones in the US (ex. According to Jim). For the bibliography I will start by reading The Language of Jokes: Analyzing Verbal Play; Delia Chiario, but I will have to find more books related to the issue.
Thank you very much for you help in advance.

Eleonora


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:32
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Jun 24, 2015

elemon wrote:

Hello to everybody.
I am an Italian student willing to gradutate with a dissertation focused on the problems of dubbing foreign TV series into my language.
I would like to ask you some advice since I am not sure either to pick one TV series and focus on that particular one or to pick examples from different TV series (In this case, how many?).
My original idea was focusing on an English TV series never dubbed before in Italian, but some people are telling me that it could be better to have an Italian version to compare mine with that one.
Also, my teacher doesn't want me to translate the whole TV series, but just some bits of it. The rest of the disseration will be talking about some difficulties of translating humour, cultural differences and maybe some made up expressions or dialects.
If you have some ideas - suggestions related to the TV series or to the books to read it would be really helpful for me.
For now, I have been thinking of Black Adder and Miranda as English TV series, or some more popular ones in the US (ex. According to Jim). For the bibliography I will start by reading The Language of Jokes: Analyzing Verbal Play; Delia Chiario, but I will have to find more books related to the issue.
Thank you very much for you help in advance.

Eleonora


Hi Eleonora,

Blackadder would be excellent in your case. It has tons of puns and metaphors, and is a huge pain in the neck to dub. I speak from experience, because I've watched both the original and the Russian dub of the series, and I can tell just how much the Russian translators struggled with it.

Here's an example. Take a look at this bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cy4SvQedA0

Here Blackadder uses a pun: "pointless" means both "meaningless" and "broken, without the point". The Russian translators gave up on this joke, as they couldn't find a way to translate it in a sensible way (or didn't have the time to come up with a decent solution). So, the translators used the omission strategy and just translated is as "meaningless", thus losing the joke and leaving the viewer dumbfounded as to why there's background laughter. Can you find a great way to translate this bit into Italian?

The series bristles with such difficult moments and presents great material for your dissertation.


 

Eleonora Monoscalco
Italy
Local time: 08:32
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jun 24, 2015

Hey,
thanks for your advice. I will try with this, but I may have to change the topic in case I find it too difficult. As you said, it's difficult to dub in Italian, too.
This scene would be actually meaningless in Italian as well.
Do you happen to know if I can find the English script somewhere?


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
Maybe a bit dated, but... Jun 24, 2015

You could look at sexual innuendo in British comedy, a fixture since the music hall tradition, and probably long before that. Think of the Carry On films (1950s to 70s) and series. Miranda also uses sexual innuendo at times, but it's definitely less crude than some of the stuff in the 1970s.
Lots of sketches of the Two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett) are based on word play. If you haven't seen it, definitely watch the 'four candles' sketch. It's an absolute must.
Porridge (about prison) has lots of dialect/jargon words, although the comedy itself is rather situational.

More modern, though not 'series' per se, you have stand-up comedians Tim Vine and Milton Jones. Amongst others, like Canadian Steward Francis, though he isn't British. Not Going Out with one-liner comedian Lee Mack in the first two seasons had lots of witty one-liners. Though I think after that it became less.

In terms of Blackadder, I'd particularly take series 4 (Blackadder goes Forth), as it's less situational and more based on language and cultural references like 'there is a bullet with your name on it' and Baldrick carving his name on a bullet because then he owns it.


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:32
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Jun 24, 2015

elemon wrote:

Hey,
thanks for your advice. I will try with this, but I may have to change the topic in case I find it too difficult. As you said, it's difficult to dub in Italian, too.
This scene would be actually meaningless in Italian as well.
Do you happen to know if I can find the English script somewhere?


You can find the scripts here: http://allblackadderscripts.blogspot.ru/2012/11/season-1-episode-1-foretelling.html

Kirsten Bodart wrote:

You could look at sexual innuendo in British comedy, a fixture since the music hall tradition, and probably long before that. Think of the Carry On films (1950s to 70s) and series. Miranda also uses sexual innuendo at times, but it's definitely less crude than some of the stuff in the 1970s.
Lots of sketches of the Two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett) are based on word play. If you haven't seen it, definitely watch the 'four candles' sketch. It's an absolute must.
Porridge (about prison) has lots of dialect/jargon words, although the comedy itself is rather situational.

More modern, though not 'series' per se, you have stand-up comedians Tim Vine and Milton Jones. Amongst others, like Canadian Steward Francis, though he isn't British. Not Going Out with one-liner comedian Lee Mack in the first two seasons had lots of witty one-liners. Though I think after that it became less.

In terms of Blackadder, I'd particularly take series 4 (Blackadder goes Forth), as it's less situational and more based on language and cultural references like 'there is a bullet with your name on it' and Baldrick carving his name on a bullet because then he owns it.


Some great ideas. Although I would argue that the Four Candles sketch is probably untranslatable.


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
The four candles sketch Jun 24, 2015

I think you'd need to be incredibly lucky with your target language to be able to translate it all, with the images. In a sense, puns are potentially easier if you can find a different expression that means the same.

Like the pointless one. Is it really untranslatable? Or might there be another Russian expression you could use to make a pun?

Come to think of it, Agent Crabtree's terrible 'French' in 'Allo! 'Allo! is riddled with puns (he enters the series from season 2). Care to try and get all these puns in Italian?


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:32
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Jun 24, 2015

Kirsten Bodart wrote:

I think you'd need to be incredibly lucky with your target language to be able to translate it all, with the images. In a sense, puns are potentially easier if you can find a different expression that means the same.

Like the pointless one. Is it really untranslatable? Or might there be another Russian expression you could use to make a pun?


You could — in theory — come up with something decent for the "pointless" pun, but in the case of the Four Candles sketch it's impossible, because you are restricted by the visuals. If you see fork handles on the screen, you expect to hear something about fork handles specifically, and not something different that mimics the original. So yes, you need to be incredibly lucky with your target language to be able to translate even one such pun — but the problem is, the sketch blazes them away like a machine gun.


 

Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:32
Member (2009)
Russian to English
A few thoughts Jun 24, 2015

How good a comic writer are you? I would be wary of what you're getting into as regards any actual translation you might have to do -especially if you pick something that's already been translated. Because then the jokes will fall into two categories: ones so hard to translate that professionals haven't managed to, and ones that professionals have translated, but you need to come up with a solution as good or better. And the best comedies have a lot of funny lines -not just the ones everyone remembers, but dozens in each episode -three or four a minute according to this site: http://www.sitcom.co.uk/writers/why_audiences_laugh.shtml

 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
More ideas Jun 26, 2015

My husband mentioned 90s sitcom One Foot in the Grace where Victor Meldrew gets into trouble for saying the wrong things or understanding things the wrong way. The one where they have returned from a holiday in Greece and he's had a strip search on the way in to Britain because he was asked whether he had anything to declare and he says, 'No, apart from the crack in my bottom,' which obviously referred to the bottom of his suitcase being cracked. Sadly the customs officer thought it was something more alarming... There are loads in this sitcom like this, but it's in the detail, so it could take a long time.

There are some witty bits in 1980s sitcoms Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, but it's also all in the details.
In a sense the 'pointless' pun in Blackadder and some of Sir Humphrey's puns are the epitome of English wit: they are clever and not everyone always gets them.

Yesterday, one of my friends posted this kind of remake of the 'four candles' sketch with the surviving one of the Two Ronnnies duo (Corbett) and Harry Enfield: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSpx3yVgv6k.

My husband also said that maybe The Kumars at No. 42 and Goodness, Gracious, Me could be a possibility to look into, but he couldn't remember that it would be of any value for your dissertation.


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Top Gear Jun 26, 2015

I was watching this last night and thinking how much fun it must be to dub and subtitle.

It's the world's most popular factual programme, supposedly viewed in 212 countries (though I think they mean territories, because there aren't 212 countries in the world). There must be a HUGE amount of translation involved.

If you haven't come across it, I recommend watching some episodes on YouTube. It has me rolling around with laughter.


 

Eleonora Monoscalco
Italy
Local time: 08:32
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everybody Jul 1, 2015

Thanks to everybody, I will have a think about that

 


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