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Language variation in source texts and their translations: The case of L3 in film translation

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In addition to the two languages essentially involved in translation, that of the source text (L1) and that of the target text (L2), we propose a third language (L3) to refer to any other language(s) found either or both texts. L3 may appear in the source text (ST) or the target text (TT), actually appearing more frequently in STs in our case studies. We present a range of combinations for the convergence and divergence of L1, L2 and L3, for the case of feature films and their translations using examples from dubbed and subtitled versions of films, but we are hopeful that our tentative conclusions may be relevant to other modalities of translation, audiovisual and otherwise. When L3 appears in an audiovisual ST, we find a variety of solutions whereby L3 is deleted from or adapted to the TT. In the latter case, L3 might be rendered in a number of ways, depending on factors such as the audience’s familiarity with L3, and the possibility that L3 in the ST is an invented language.
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Keywords: audiovisual; equivalence; invented; multilingualism; pseudo-language; secondary language; third language; transfer; translation; variation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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  • International Journal of Translation Studies
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