Revoicing the Alien in Documentaries. Cultural Agency, Norms and the Translation of Audiovisual Reality
Year of publication
Voice-over translations require flexibility from Translation Studies. It is impossible to talk about documentary translation without going into the media dynamics, into questions of rhetoric, into cultural issues. All these fascinating fields of study are related, although some might claim that this is not the case, and voice-over translations promote the exchange. They have a central position in our perception of the world, of ourselves and of the other. A study of documentaries about Brazil produced by West Europeans and translated for the French and German Western European communities is clearly not enough to illustrate the dynamics of voice-over translations fully. Neither is it capable of assuming that findings are definitive of exhaustive. However, in view of the few studies developed so far on the translation of television factual output, and more specifically, on the voice-over translation of audiovisual (claimed) reality, this study can be understood as a first systematic attempt to delineate the principles of such an activity. [...] So, without claiming to have exhausted the topic of voice-over translation as such, but rather acknowledging the specificity and limitation of the corpus, we can now at least locate voice-over translation within the media research., where the phenomenon has not been – so far – a comm on object of study. It may also request some attention whether and to what extent some of the key questions about media translation are also an issue of the voice-over phenomenon. The terminological ambiguity that characterizes the scholarly discourse on “voice-over” demonstrates very well the current state of such a phenomenon. It testifies the little interaction among key areas which deal with the media world, namely Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Discourse Analysis, and Translation Studies, to mention just a few.