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Title: Normalizing Unnaturalness: Indexing "Foreignness" in Japanese-Dubbed Versions of American Movies and TV Dramas
Keywords: Japanese, gendered language, dubbing, translation norm, role language, dubbese
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2011
Citation: JUNKO SAKOMOTO (2011-06-01). Normalizing Unnaturalness: Indexing "Foreignness" in Japanese-Dubbed Versions of American Movies and TV Dramas. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In Japanese dubbed versions of foreign movies and TV dramas, there is an over-use of feminine sentence-final particles and exaggerated prosody for Western female characters. However, this speech style of dubbing is not an accurate reflection of actual Japanese women?s speech. Moreover, such speech style is not a reflection of how foreign women actually speak Japanese. Such speech style of dubbing seems to be unnatural and it is widely recognized as translationese. In this paper, I explain that such unnatural women?s speech is normalized in Japanese dubbing with an interdisciplinary approach involving translation studies such as theory of translation norms (Toury, 1995), the concepts of translationese and dubbese, and other disciplines such as theatre studies, gender studies, Japanese linguistics, history, and the concept of role language (Kinsui, 2003). This paper not only analyzes the final translation products, but also the process of how dubbed foreign female characters? voices are produced. Methodologically, there are two phases. The first phase is to identify a translational phenomenon by analyzing how foreign female characters? voices are actually dubbed in the Japanese dubbing of five selected Hollywood movies and American TV dramas in terms of the use of feminine sentence-final particles and dubbed-in voices. During the second phase, by interviewing audiovisual translators and voice actresses, I test my hypothesis which states they purposely incorporate unnatural women?s speech style in dubbed Japanese. My analysis of translation texts and interview data reveals that unnatural women?s speech style used in dubbed Japanese is a virtual language functioning as role language (Kinsui, 2003) for marking foreignness, or Westerner speech style and, hence, has become part of the norms of dubbed Japanese. As the term, dubbese, has been defined as peculiarities of language spoken by characters in dubbed movies by Italian audio-visual translators (Cipollomi and Rossi as cited in Antonini, 2008). Such unnatural women?s speech in Japanese dubbing is also a type of Japanese dubbese which is neither source language nor target language but a third genre of language. This Japanese dubbese has already taken root not only in Japanese audiences but also in the Japanese dubbing industry. Audiovisual translators and voice actresses tend to confirm the given norm in order to keep their jobs and because of the lack of time for producing dubbing. Therefore, the Japanese dubbing norm has not yet been broken at the present time, even though there is a budding trend, in which some directors prefer a more natural way of dubbing speech style.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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