Accounting for multilingual films in translation studies. Intratextual translation in dubbing
Title of edited book
Media and translation. An interdisciplinary approach
Year of publication
A longstanding view of translation is that it involves two languages: L1, the language we translate from; and L2, the language we translate into. This is generally regarded as interlingual translation or translation proper, as Jakobson (1959: 232) called it. His words have frequently been interpreted to mean that both the target text (TT)—the translated text— and its source text (ST) are each in a different language, (although he only mentioned languages, not texts). This entails that each text has but one language. From the point of view of traditional statements about translation, these languages are preferably of a standard variety and high or literary register, as found in canonical texts (e.g. sacred texts, classical literature, science or philosophy). This fundamentally semantic approach to translation studies, which also reduces the notion of text to a verbal message—with form and meaning— resulted in a complete blackout of phenomena such as poetry translation in theoretical models like Jakobson’s. Rather than criticize his own model, Jakobson preferred to claim that poetry was untranslatable. This kind of attitude is also applied to other practical cases of translation that question the general validity of the theoretical model, such as humor translation, audiovisual translation, or the translation of texts that include language variation. Intratextual language variation raises several awkward questions for the idea of interlingual translation as being translation proper. These questions are not marginal or frivolous, and include such issues as how to determine the borderline between one language and another, and what to do with cases of texts that involve more than one language.