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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2007-2008

Seminar: 19 February 2008

Dr Carol O'Sullivan, University of Portsmouth, School of Languages and Area Studies, more ...

Travel, Migration and Multilingual Film

Abstract: Film has traditionally been seen as a monolingual medium, despite substantial evidence to the contrary in the form of multiple language versions (MLVs), 'polyglot film', to use Christoph Wahl's term; 'accented cinema' and international coproductions, to name but a few modes in which multilingualism enters the cinema. This paper looks at the ways in which a range of contemporary films of travel and migration engage with 'heterolingualism', in Rainer Grutman's formulation, as an intrinsic component of their reflections on transnational subjectivity and belonging. It is argued that these films foreground and problematise translation and also that they constitute a challenge which audiovisual translation has not yet fully assimilated.

As with film, translation tends to be seen as a process, which transforms a monolingual ST into a monolingual target text. The second part of this paper looks at the ways in which the international migration of film affects filmic multilingualism, showing that in translation, film is constantly renegotiating its own relationship with language. While subtitling may turn a monolingual into a multilingual film artefact in which languages are multiplied across the visual and verbal channels, multilingual films often become less so when subtitled or dubbed. Less commonly, monolingual films can become multilingual in ways, which reflect contemporary commercial and cultural pressures on the medium.

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

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