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In Other Words - additional talk 11 May 2017

Translating the effects of alcohol and other drugs on audiovisual dialogue

Guillermo Parra López

Department of Translation and Language Sciences

Pompeu Fabra University, Spain


Date: 11 May 2017

Time: 13:00-14:00

Venue: Elizabeth Fry Bulding 1.01

Professionals in the film industry are commonly encouraged to pursue principles such as clarity, coherence, and cohesion, and discouraged from deviating from the many norms affecting their activities, be they narrative, linguistic, technical, or of any other kind. This strategy helps to comply with the standards of the industry, but may not be appropriate for all works and contexts. Fictional audiovisual products that overtly flout established conventions by creatively portraying the effects of alcohol and other drugs in their dialogues are a case in point. The fact that some films deliberately forego simplicity and intelligibility for the sake of style, narrative, and character portrayal requires critical consideration, especially from the perspective of translation studies. This paper will raise awareness of this recurrent phenomenon in audiovisual fiction, termed here disorderly speech (DIS), and will provide both scholars and professionals with a tool for analysis and decision-making. It will be illustrated with excerpts from several English-language films, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny English and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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