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Can faithfulness to the original text betray the target public? The adaptations of Mononokehime (Princess Mononoke) in Italy

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Over the past few years audio-visual translation in ‘dubbing countries’ has been experiencing a significant shift from the traditional domesticating approach to a foreignizing approach that focuses more on faithfulness towards the source text rather than to the target readership. The Italian rendition of anime is a case in point: while appreciated by an increasing number of viewers, both serial and stand-alone anime, have either suffered a limited distribution or a highly homogenizing adaptation, in many cases through the employment of English as vehicular language. The first Italian dubbed version of the popular Studio Ghibli masterpiece Mononokehime (Princess Mononoke) (Miyazaki, 1996) is a clear example of the latter. The version distributed by Buena Vista International in 2000 as Princess Mononoke was adapted from the North American version, which included radical modifications aimed at providing a context with which the spectators would be more familiar. A second version, distributed by Lucky Red in 2014 under the title Principessa Mononoke, was re-adapted from the original Japanese script in order to improve fidelity to the original and was re-dubbed with a new voice cast. However, numerous viewers have criticized the unintelligibility of most of the dialogue. This article analyses the differences between the two versions and investigates whether the visibility of the translator can be seen as an obstacle for the understanding and enjoyment of films for the target viewership.
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Keywords: Mononokehime; Principessa Mononoke; adaptation; indirect translation; retranslation; translator’s invisibility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Bologna

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is the first academic peer-reviewed journal for scholars, teachers, and students from around the world who have an active and passionate interest in the Popular Culture of East Asia. The journal is devoted to all aspects of popular culture in East Asia and the interplay between East Asia and the wider world. With the growth in popularity of Asian visual products in the Western world and the increasing strength of the Asian markets, this publication fulfills the need for an international journal that allows Western and Asian film, media, literary, music, fashion, digital media, television, art and cultural scholars alike to engage in discussion. In the last few decades there has been a huge rise in the interest in East Asian popular culture. The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture will be engaging directly with that trend. From film to music; art to translation and fashion to tourism, this journal will offer a forum where multidisciplinary work can come together in new and exciting ways.
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